HotJobs Hops on Affiliate Bandwagon

Online recruiting site HotJobs this week launched a program designed to increase its database of resumes, in partnership with affiliate marketing ASP Commission Junction.

Commission Junction oversees a network of more than 1,500 merchants and 400,000 affiliated Web publishers. Using the company’s technology, affiliates place merchants’ offers, ads and links on their pages, for which they earn commissions on sales.

The payoff for online merchants is that they potentially extend their reach, boost sales and lower customer acquisition costs by paying for the service on a pay-for-performance basis.

With HotJobs, the program — which it’s calling “HotReach” — works a little differently. Commission Junction offers its affiliates banners ads and links to HotJobs.com, which pays a commission when a company posts a job from the affiliate’s site, or when a job-seeker posts a resume.

Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Commission Junction handles tracking and commission payout.

“By launching an affiliate program through Commission Junction, they can reach across the Internet in a very cost-effective way, paying only when a sale or lead is made,” said Commission Junction chief executive Lex Sisney. “HotJobs is using the power of affiliate marketing to increase the effectiveness of their online advertising budget.”

That point raises some interesting questions. While HotJobs is a fairly large advertiser on the Web — with advertising and sponsorship deals with several large Web publishers, including About.com — the new program seems to indicate a move away from CPM-based advertising.

Instead, the move seems to affirm the rise of what online advertising’s critics say is more accountable online marketing spending — though HotJobs.com officials dismiss the idea.

“We’re looking for the most effective mediums and programs to … build traffic to the site, collect resumes and work to build the brand,” said HotJobs.com’s vice president of business development, Marc Cenedella. “It’s just another weapon in our arsenal.”

However, Cenedella did say that if the program continued on the current track, the company could increase the amount it spends on pay-for-performance programs.

“Initial returns are showing that affiliate marketing is a great way to get great-quality, low-cost resumes,” he said. “If affiliate marketing continues to show it’s better than general online advertising, it will get a bigger share of our dollar. I wouldn’t be surprised if we are running a seven-figure figure annual affiliate marketing program in 12 months.”

Already, the firms say they are seeing results from the campaign — more than 1,000 sites have agreed to post HotJobs links.

“It’s beaten all of our initial goals … a fantastic success,” he added. “A lot of that builds off of that HotJobs is a brand people know and trust, but Commission Junction’s technology has enabled us to leverage that brand much more rapidly than what we had even expected.”

HotJobs.com didn’t disclose fees for the work, although Cenedella said initial set up costs were marginal.

The move comes as action in the affiliate program space, and other non-traditional ways of online marketing, seems to be heating up. Affiliate marketing has long been a mainstay for e-commerce players, but now unexpected companies are beginning to build programs. Earlier this week, marketing technology firm BeFree rolled out an affiliate program for Xerox, aimed at driving traffic and boosting sales of the struggling copier, fax and printer manufacturer’s products and supplies.

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