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January 02, 2007


Amitai Givertz

Bob, thanks for the analysis. As always, you raise some interesting points.

It occurs to be that by its very definition cosmetic changes are designed to mask flaws (as you describe the functionality). I think the question is, without feeling a significant competitive pressure, or without realizing a significant competitive advantage, where is the motivation for Monster to make wholesale "upgrades?"

First, job seekers have an occasional interaction with Monster. I'm sure they would not have the same issue with interstitial ads given their visiting is relatively infrequent and purpose driven versus daily – evenly hourly – interaction with Google. Here those ads would be intolerable, counterproductive.

Second, I think the average job seeker has a lower expectation for what to expect from Monster vis-à-vis “industry standards.” I’m not sure job seekers view Monster with the same critical perspective that we might, or make functional comparisons with alternative sites like or SimplyHired. Rather they go to Monster because what draws traffic is their branding. And therein lays the value in the changes Monster has made, if you are prepared to accept that – as in this instance – branding is only skin deep.

Happy New Year, Bob!

Bob Wilson

Great comments as always Amitai ... thanks!

I agree with all but one point ... interstitial ads drive me nuts. Perhaps this is an annoyance that is not shared by the general public; but usability theory suggests that regular web users bring expectations gleaned from past experience to each new site they visit; and when a new site breaks from these expectations, the reaction is mostly negative.

A note to my regular (and irregular) readers ... if you're not reading Amitai, you should. He's at the top of the list of blogs I read.

Best wishes,
Bob :-)

Amitai Givertz

Wow! Thanks, Bob.


1. Am I good enough to read even if you have to put up with a couple if interstitial ads?

2. Would you suffer the inconvenience if I found that threshold of tolerance, annoying you perhaps, but not enough to abandon my site?

3. And what if I had just one ad, just one, that piqued your interest? And what if you clicked and you consumed? Would that one consummation of the process have validated my putting ads up in the first place?

4. Am I really that good, Bob? Would you tolerate a couple of little ads just so that I could support myself making you happy?

When all is said and done, Monster needs the ad revenues because the downward pressure on pricing for postings and resume access is unforgiving. When posting and resumes become commodities, branding becomes paramount in the battle for hearts, minds, traffic and dollars.

Anyway, Bob, thanks for saying nice things about me. You really are too kind.

Bob Wilson

Ami, you really know how to put me on the spot. :-)

1. Maybe … if I couldn’t find your content anywhere else, then yes; but bringing it back to the job space, there are alternate ways to view the same content without the interstitial ads. Monster – they have nothing that I personally find that compelling.

2. Yes … but we all have different thresholds. Mine might be much lower than others … would you risk losing me as a reader/customer? If there are less offensive ways to generate revenue, ways that might expand your user base, and might thus generate more total revenue, would you switch your strategy? Or would you sit by and watch as your traffic volume declines?

3. No … I love pecan pie, but if you blindfolded me and told me you were going to place a piece of steak in my mouth, and instead placed a piece of pecan pie, I’d be confused and disappointed. My taste buds expected steak, and I trusted you. How could you abuse my trust? We’re friends … at least I thought so. If I can’t trust you about issues of steak and pie, can I trust you with my personal information?

4. Little ads, you bet. Interstitial ads, no. Yes, I know you need to make a living, and I also know that content isn’t ‘free’, so I’m willing to play along. Mix a few of your ads in with the organic content I’m seeking (labeling them appropriately of course), and the trade is ‘fair’. Hijack me, taking me to a page that I didn’t ask for, and I’ll leave for greener pastures … unless you have a monopoly on your fine content.

In summary, interstitial ads, as used by Monster, are a form of ‘bait and switch’ … I came for the jobs, and instead get pitched a loan consolidation ad that requests my SSN. So I’m going down the virtual street to a vendor that treats me with respect.

Ami, great questions! You’re the best!

Amitai Givertz

OK, OK, I concede your every point. You are right. Those interstitial ads are a pain. I hate them too now.


Monster does have a property in its portfolio that is interstitial-free. It's called Job seekers can view ads that would normally be seen on the Monster Board, but without all the interstitials.

And if you're an employer, you can actually post ads on for only $25 (30 day posting) and they get to upload their company logo at no extra cost. I should specify that these low cost ads would only be seen on (not But, there is still very good traffic to the site, so an employer may be a decent return on their investment.

Bob Wilson

Hi Sam, thanks for adding the comment.

I've tried and find the search interface to be very clunky. Indeed, Jobster and SimplyHired all have far more content and more sophisticated search interfaces.

And I don't know about the traffic being very good ... I think it's about 1/10th that of Indeed.

If I was paying $25 to post an ad, I'd post to JobCentral ... they have distribution partnerships with over 1,000 other sites, including the big verticals, and they have a great search interface.

Amitai Givertz

Bob, interesting response to Sam. My question is: What is the rationale behind

Bob Wilson

Amitai, Monster paid $800k for the url in 2002. At the time, the url was drawing 400,000 monthly visitors, even though the site contained only a message saying its owner was reorganizing. So Monster was buying traffic plus the opportunity to upsell users to Monster's higher priced services.

Traffic to has been on a steady decline over the past three years according to Alexa data.

Amitai Givertz

Thanks, Bob. Got it. Like Jobster and, right?

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