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Kelowna company launches national job website

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010 | 12:30 pm

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Kelowna.com news

What should have been a simple process of hiring an employee has led two local entrepreneurs into a new opportunity which, if successful, will help thousands of people get hired.

Robert Montgomery and Shaun Pilfold are the minds behind Ogopogo Media Inc, which operates Kelowna.com and many other internet properties. Their latest project is an attempt to create a national job board service based out of their Kelowna office through its domain Jobs.ca.

Pilfold says a national job board began looking like a prime opportunity shortly after his partnership with Montgomery began.

“There are other companies in Canada like Monster and Workopolis—big companies—but that is partially what got us into this business,” he says. “We were looking for employees and used a couple of the national brands but using their interface was like playing Where’s Waldo. We both said there has to be a simpler way to do this.”

Each made a name for himself as “Internet Entrepreneurs.” They bought and developed various internet domain names and between them they retain some 10,000 names. Their strategy was simple—find and own intuitive names like pos.com, creditcards.ca, campgrounds.com or gifts.ca.

The same strategy applied to the job board business opportunity.

“The job board industry in Canada spends millions on branding for people to remember who they are,” Pilfold says. “Our idea: What is the best way to get instant recognition? Buy the best name in the space. We knew Jobs.ca was the category killer for our entry into the Canadian online job board industry.”

They launched on Super Bowl Sunday, armed with the most intuitive name and an agreement with Astral Media to run commercials on 22 radio stations across B.C. and hope to expand advertising across the country.

They returned to the idea that led them there in the first place and tackled it head on. Where their competitor’s websites seemed overly complicated, Jobs.ca is based on simplicity. Some job boards offer a premium service—for more money—just to sift through all the resumes and clutter.

“They are creating a service out of their own confusion,” Pilfold says. “We want to make it easier for the job seeker. We want them to get to the point right away so within five seconds he can see the jobs listed in jobs.ca.”

The name is also important because it has what he calls “search engine independence.” Like Kelowna.com, people can type it into the URL bar and come up with the results they expect. It partially negates the need to get a high ranking on Google.

But what about the current market? Pilfold hears it all the time: Why start this in a recovering recession?

“We think this is the best time,” he says, noting that their prices are less than half of some of their major competitors. “From an employer’s point-of-view, this is something that can save them several hundred dollars on every job posting. That can make a difference.”

The two web entrepreneurs come from vastly different beginnings but both now make their homes in the Okanagan. Montgomery hails from Chicago, Illinois and most recently from Calgary. He now lives in Vernon. Pilfold grew up in B.C. but spent many years in Winnipeg before he followed his daughter to Kelowna. She won a scholarship at UBC and chose Kelowna over Vancouver which suits Pilfold just fine.

“I love it here, who wouldn’t,” he says, adding his business suffers nothing by not being in a major market. “Just because you are a national job board, it doesn’t mean you have to be based out of Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal. Kelowna has the infrastructure, the people and the environment. Besides, those who live here know that Kelowna is the centre of the universe,” he says with a wink.

The new project is only been running for a few weeks but so far, so good, he says.

“We are very pleased with the launch. Early indications are very positive and we look for an exciting 2010.”

news@kelowna.com

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3 Responses to “Kelowna company launches national job website”

  1. Richard says:
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    Sitting on 10,000 domain names doesn’t really get one the reputation of “entrepreneur” so much as “cybersquatter”.

  2. Richard Taylor says:
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    In response to the first comment above – Cybersquatting is registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name with bad faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else. Cybersquatters typically offer to sell the domain to the person or company who owns a trademark contained within the domain at an inflated price.

    It’s not really an accusation to throw around lightly.

    Do I find it annoying when I want to register a domain name and then find it has been registered, yet never used and seems to be owned by a company in the business of reselling domain names at a profit? Sure I do. Are the people that do this conducting a legitimate business – of course they are.

    Owning 10,000 domain names is likely to cost over $100,000 a year in registration fees. This is an investment. Making profit on an investment is called capitalism and it’s how our society works.

    Sure, the industry could be regulated more to prevent this. Or yearly registration fees could be increased significantly to discourage it (which of course would hit every website owner’s pockets).

    At the end of the day, if you want to go out and buy a dozen cars, park them in a garage and never drive them, you can.

  3. Richard says:
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    Richard Taylor

    Cybersquatting is indeed not something that should be taken lightly, which is why I simultanously applaud these two for their admission while finding it reprehensible.

    You first confirm the definition of cybersquatting, but then go on to point at the cost involved, and lable it an “investment” and a “legitimate business”.

    First, the money involved is completely irrelevent. It does not matter whether 10$ or 10,000,000$ was spent. This in no way changes it’s status as either an investment, or more importantly, as an ethical action. (note however that many cybersquatters have deferred fees, waiting until the get a payoff).

    Second, cybersquatting involves the registration of names in bad faith. Precisely what is happening here. While the laws are only beginning to catch up to this behavior now, they are finally doing so. Thus, the legality is now indeed in question. In terms of morality, I would be interested in hearing your justification. Both from a deontological and utilitarian perspective, this behavior is harmful. One of the reasons, every attempt has been made to keep the cost of domain registration down is to honor the spirit of the open internet and the efficacy of doing business on the internet. Taking advantage of this system, for personal gain, is harmful to both. In addition, it’s harmful to society, as the profits acquired by cybersquatters (as well as the many court battles now being fought) are ultimately funded by society. All this while the cybersquatter produces NOTHING.

    Finally, your analogy to buying cars is flawed. First cars are not a scarce resource, and second, in purchasing the item, you have paid for the product in entirety as was intended. Applying in bad faith for the privilege of using a unique item breaks not only the spirit of the law and the service, but now it breaks the newly forming laws. If you wish to use an analogy to common goods/services, a better one would be this, a person or person(s) books all the appointments with the doctor(s)in the city, to go in with fake problems. This is done in bad faith, and in the hopes that a few of the slots can be sold to desperate people for exorbitant amounts. This is type of behavior is precisely why bodies of oversight often must limit or restrict distribution to unethical individuals who would attempt to take advantage. For example, most apartment complexes would not allow one owner to buy up all the car slots, in the hopes of selling them off for profit. We do not applaud this as capitalism, but as an abuse of the system. Cybersquatters were lucky, in that no regulatory body or regulations had yet been formed for the rapidly evolving internet, however, despite the previous loopholes in policies, those engaged in this behavior need evaluate their morality.

    Please continue discussion on the forum: link

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