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Monster Bashing Still Fun (Despite What Cheezhead Says)
Always one step ahead of everyone else, Cheezhead has declared that he has moved beyond ripping Monster, declaring in an early June podcast that he no longer finds it sporting, fun, or even interesting. I still, however, cannot resist. Monster has lost its leadership position in online classifieds to CareerBuilder in large part because the company has persistently neglected its users, always considered short-term revenue to be a far higher priority than long-term revenue and a quality user experience (annoying pop-up ads, job scams, etc.), and failed to transition from a 1.0 job board to a 2.0 job board. Furthermore, the company has made a pile of suspect acquisitions and engaged in illegal activity to enrich its executives through options backdating. It’s been one blunder after another for Monster over the past 5 years or so, and while it may no longer be surprising to anyone that the company is mismanaged and well on its way to being an ‘also-ran,’ Monster remains a large company in the space with decent mindshare (albeit largely negative).
In any event, Monster has been in the news recently with two significant announcements. Monster announced that it was shuttering its social networking site Tickle.com, a company that it had acquired for $70 million in 2004. That’s $70 million in shareholder’s money that they flushed down the toilet. Whether the idea was bad from the start or poorly executed after the fact (I suspect it’s a lot of both), the fact of the matter is that the Tickle debacle is another black eye for Monster. The $61 million acquisition of Affinity Labs will undoubtedly share the same outcome.
Monster also announced this week that it had formed an ad network with 19 newspapers. I am not sure yet how this announcement differs from Monster’s previous announcements that it was working with local daily newspapers (here and here and here). As I have said in the past, these partnerships between print and online media companies make sense in theory in that jobseekers and employers can access and deliver job classifieds across multiple media channels depending on their preferences. Unfortunately in practice, however, neither Monster nor the dailies deliver value to either party. And these partnership deals are miserable for the companies striking the deal. The dailies who sign on with Monster are simply throwing in the towel on a vital revenue stream, and Monster is tying its fortunes to a sinking ship. As the saying goes, mating two dinosaurs does not result in a gazelle.