Ferguson said ... he doesn't consider CraigsList and others like it to be much of a competitive threat. "I don't hear about free classifieds from our sales people. Part of what CareerBuilder and others will provide over time is consultation around the HR process, as opposed to just job listings. But the problem with free is that you don't invest in the technology, you don't invest in the customer service, you don't invest in the sales people. You don't invest in the things that are the differentiators in this business. I don't think there's a free model in the future… If CraigsList were trying to manage 2 million jobs and 22 million job seekers, it would be very difficult for them to match those two sides up. Quality is like beauty; it's in the eye of the beholder. Almost anyone who comes to our site is a quality applicant. It takes 200 engineers who are focused 24/7 on matching those 22 million applicants with the right employer. You don't get that in a free business. It doesn't impact our business today."
Um, hello? What decade is Ferguson living in? This is a scary throwback to the days (not so long ago) when a lot of newspaper executives had never heard of craigslist, even as it was eating their lunch. Ferguson appears to still be in denial. PS: craigslist is all about customer service. (How much customer service has Ferguson done for CareerBuilder? Since he doesn't seem to know much about his competitor, maybe he doesn't know that craigslist founder Craig Newmark personally does much of his site's customer service.) craigslist's posting mechanism alone puts the newspaper industry's feeble attempts to do online classifieds to shame.
And to the point of Ferguson's example: I've hired engineers (and other positions) in the past year. It never occurred to us to use CareerBuilder. We used craigslist (and others) and got good results. We've all heard anecdotes about newspapers themselves using craigslist to do hiring. Pretending that craigslist doesn't exist and isn't a competitor is just foolhardy. Maybe that myopia is one reason why McClatchy is thinking of bailing out of CareerBuilder.