Aussie search aggregator takes on job giants

Comparison shopping services are an accepted feature of the Internet landscape, but the creators of a site which aggregates job searches from multiple providers in Australia are anticipating a battle for their service to be accepted.

Comparison shopping services are an accepted feature of the Internet landscape, but the creators of a site which aggregates job searches from multiple providers are anticipating a battle for their service to be accepted.

Launched in Sydney yesterday, myspider.com.au aggregates job advertisements from the three major career advertising sites in Australia -- SEEK, MyCareer and CareerOne. The site doesn't accept any job advertisements itself, but allows users to find jobs matching location or position descriptions across all three sites. Clicking on the 'apply now' button directs users to the original advertiser's site. Myspider plans to make money by selling conventional online advertising on its site and e-mail newsletters.

At the launch, media personality Lisa Wilkinson described the site as "the Google of the recruitment world". And like Google, which has faced constant battles with copyright owners over its indexing practices, myspider's creators don't foresee an easy role ahead.

The site was created by Jack Goluzd and Tony Hanly, owners of a conventional recruiting firm, Macquarie Recruitment. Hanly said that letters seeking a co-operative arrangement with the owners of each of the feeder sites were sent this week. SEEK is a listed company with a major investment from PBL Media, while MyCareer is owned by Fairfax and CareerOne by News Limited.

Hanly fully expects there to be some degree of resistance from those players. "It's a logical idea, but it's still challenging," he said. "There are major services in this space and they want to control it. We'll put a few noses out of joint."

A common response to aggregators is to change data structures and use blocking techniques to prevent access by indexing robots, a challenge Hanly says the company is ready for. "It's a full-time job seeing how the data is currently being stored. We can't just suck it in and expect it not to change over time."

Even prior to launch, the site has attracted "several thousand" registrations for users seeking daily e-mails on positions matching their criteria, Hanly said. The indexing code for the site was developed in-house on an ASP/.NET platform, and has gone through several iterations prior to launch.

Future plans for the site include options to eliminate duplicate advertisements and reclassify jobs that have been inappropriately advertised on the parent sites. Goluzd also hinted that a companion service might be launched to make it easier for casual workers to balance different job roles.

Online advertising has taken on a dominant role in the job classifieds market. According to the ANZ Job Series, more jobs are now advertised online than in traditional print platforms.

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