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September 28, 2009 / Toby Dayton

Job Aggregators Versus Job Search Engines

There’s an interesting discussion going on in the comment section of a recent blog post by Alison Doyle between Alison and one of her readers. Alison wrote a post entitled “A Few Good Job Sites” in which she recommended that job seekers use job search engines such as LinkUp, Indeed, and Simplyhired. In a comment, ‘Paul’ criticized these and other aggregator sites as being very frustrating for job seekers due to the preponderance of old listings and duplicate jobs. Alison, in a reply comment, correctly points out that LinkUp’s job search engine contains no duplicate or outdated job listings because LinkUp only indexes jobs from company websites. In reading the exchange, I thought I’d weigh in on how I would define and differentiate sites like LinkUp, Indeed, and Simplyhired.

A job board aggregator such as Indeed or Simplyhired, is a site that aggregates job listings from multiple websites, usually dozens or even hundreds of other sites. These job listing contain links to the original source of the job, where job seekers can then apply for that job. In the case of Indeed and Simplyhired, job listings are supplied by hundreds of job boards all over the country that deliver a data feed of the jobs listed on their sites to Indeed and Simplyhired. Those hundreds of data feeds are then amassed into a gigantic database of listings that will undoubtedly contain duplicate listings for the same job because many employers advertise their openings on multiple job boards. Equally as problematic, the job feeds that Indeed and Simplyhired accept also contain old, outdated jobs that have already been filled, and even worse, garbage jobs that include work-at-home scams, phishing jobs, scam jobs, and listings from headhunters, staffing and temp firms, and recruiters. So in that regard, comments from ‘Paul’ on Alison’s blog are absolutely correct. Aggregators that rely on data feeds from jobĀ  boards for all or most of their job listings are very, very frustrating for job seekers (and employers, too, for that matter).

But LinkUp should not be lumped into that same criticism, as Alison rightly points out. LinkUp only aggregates job listings from company websites. We index the jobs listed on career portals from over 22,000 company websites and update LinkUp every day. We do not list any jobs from other job boards. Period. As a result, LinkUp’s job listings are always current, often unadvertised anywhere else on the web, and never fake. So while I might consider LinkUp a job aggregator given the fact that we list jobs from thousands of sites around the web, I’d more accurately classify LinkUp as a job search engine.

A job search engine is a site that actively scours the web for job listings that are only found on company websites and indexes those jobs into a giant search engine. Indexing is done with ‘spiders’ that crawl other websites rather than collecting a data feed supplied by someone else. And if the company doing the indexing is a considerate and responsible one (like LinkUp), that indexing is done in an open and transparent manner in the middle of the night when site traffic is low. While both Indeed and Simplyhired list jobs from larger company websites, the vast majority of their jobs are sourced from other job boards that pay for the traffic that Indeed and Simplyhired send to them.

It may seem like a minor or even trivial distinction, but the differences between aggregators like Indeed and Simplyhired and job search engines like LinkUp have a major impact on the quality of service delivered to both job seekers and employers alike.

4 Comments

  1. Marc Drees / Oct 9 2009 2:39 pm

    @Toby:
    The fact that LinkUp spiders company sites instead of receiving feeds from those sites doesn’t change the fact that LinkUp is an aggregator. And there is nothing wrong with that.

    You aggregate all that data into a database to allow user to search it. The difference is in the lack of duplicates and scam jobs. Which is a very good thing. The search process and linkthrough is identical. Which is also a good thing. Let’s not make more of a difference out of it than it actually is.

  2. Marc Drees / Oct 9 2009 9:39 am

    @Toby:
    The fact that LinkUp spiders company sites instead of receiving feeds from those sites doesn't change the fact that LinkUp is an aggregator. And there is nothing wrong with that.

    You aggregate all that data into a database to allow user to search it. The difference is in the lack of duplicates and scam jobs. Which is a very good thing. The search process and linkthrough is identical. Which is also a good thing. Let's not make more of a difference out of it than it actually is.

  3. Marc Drees / Oct 9 2009 2:39 pm

    @Toby:
    The fact that LinkUp spiders company sites instead of receiving feeds from those sites doesn't change the fact that LinkUp is an aggregator. And there is nothing wrong with that.

    You aggregate all that data into a database to allow user to search it. The difference is in the lack of duplicates and scam jobs. Which is a very good thing. The search process and linkthrough is identical. Which is also a good thing. Let's not make more of a difference out of it than it actually is.

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