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August 19, 2008 / Toby Dayton

Apple’s Ethics Lesson Lost On Employment Guide

Apple delivered a valuable lesson on corporate ethics with its recent decision regarding the ‘I Am Rich’ iPhone application. Unfortunately, the lesson was apparently lost on the Employment Guide.

With the release of version 2.0 for the iPhone, developers began releasing new iPhone applications via the Apple App Store. It didn’t take long before Apple was faced with its first controversy in working with 3rd party developers when a German developer began selling an application called ‘I Am Rich.’ The application was nothing more than a picture of a ruby that buyers could purchase for $999 (the maximum price Apple allows for an iPhone application) and place on their phone to show it off as some kind of bizarre status symbol. Allegedly, 8 people purchased the application and a few complaints trickled in as people claimed they errantly bought the app through Apple’s 1-click system. Within a day, Apple pulled the application off its App store. While some might argue that Apple should not limit the market by imposing restriction on developers, there is little doubt that Apple made the right call. It’s a model that should serve other corporations well, the Employment Guide in particular.

Unlike Apple, which elected to place the interest of its users above its own economic interests, the Employment Guide continues to run job scam ads (the postal jobs ad is the worst among them) that do nothing except prey on unknowing, uninformed jobseekers. I have written about this issue before (here, here, here, and here), and will continue to do so until the Guide stops aiding and abetting these fraudulent advertisers.

These ads that the Guide runs in every issue in every market every week of the year, most likely constituting their single largest single advertising segment, stand as a perfect example of corrupt corporate morals. They are also a heinous stain on the weekly employment newspaper industry and the Guide should be vilified by jobseekers, employers, competitors, bloggers, and consumer advocates for their wanton disregard for their readers. Almost immediately after Apple was made aware that an application made available through their platform was ripping off its customers, they pulled it. It’s a great example of a company demonstrating not only strong ethical behavior, but also acting to preserve the long-term interests of both itself and its customers. Then, there’s the Employment Guide.

The Employment Guide has, without question, received thousands and thousands of complaints over the years from angry readers who were duped out of the $24.99 they sent to obtain federal government job applications that are freely available through government sites. The Guide knows the ads are fraudulent. The Guide knows it is victimizing its readers. And yet, they continue to run the ads week after week in every edition around the country because they simply cannot give up the revenue. It’s not only a shame, I’d say it’s a crime. I just hope that whoever buys the Employment Guide understands the enormous discount that should be applied to the massively tarnished, permanently impaired asset.

3 Comments

  1. Adam / Aug 19 2008 5:50 pm

    It’s not just the Employment Guide, most dailies are running these ads too. I spoke with a career HR professional for the USPS recently at a job fair in Iowa about these scam postal ads and she had some equally venomous comments. Her anger was more towards the actual scam artists who run the ads, receive the calls, then take payment for something the USPS provides for free.

  2. Adam / Aug 19 2008 12:50 pm

    It's not just the Employment Guide, most dailies are running these ads too. I spoke with a career HR professional for the USPS recently at a job fair in Iowa about these scam postal ads and she had some equally venomous comments. Her anger was more towards the actual scam artists who run the ads, receive the calls, then take payment for something the USPS provides for free.

  3. Adam / Aug 19 2008 5:50 pm

    It's not just the Employment Guide, most dailies are running these ads too. I spoke with a career HR professional for the USPS recently at a job fair in Iowa about these scam postal ads and she had some equally venomous comments. Her anger was more towards the actual scam artists who run the ads, receive the calls, then take payment for something the USPS provides for free.

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