CEO Reed Hastings’s letter to Netflix customers may have dominated yesterday’s executive epistolary news cycle, but TheLadders.com CEO and founder Marc Cenedella also snuck in some pretty big news for the jobs site. In a post on his blog, Mr. Cenedella wrote:
“We’re expanding, and today we say ‘bye bye’ to helping only those over $100,000 and ‘hello’ to helping all career-minded professionals. TheLadders now takes all salary levels and shows the right jobs to the right person.”
Based on a sampling of the post’s 127 comments, folks were not pleased about a move that forgoes the company’s targeted focus for something, they worry, will end up more like Monster.com, but still require a monthly fee.
In the announcement, Mr. Cenedella wrote, “We’ve talked about preparing for the day when we would expand to cover all professional jobs.” He also tried to assure members that, “We won’t be letting in scammy jobs, work-from-home schemes, or commission-only opportunities — we’ll still be vetting every job and every recruiter before we allow them into our community.”
The latest Compete numbers show an increase in traffic to the site and Mr. Cenedella noted:
“We’ve tripled the number of recruiters and HR professionals in our community this year alone.
And so now that we’ve grown to almost five million members in the United States and 43% of high-end professionals used TheLadders in their job search last year, we’re expanding to serve all career-minded professionals and all professional jobs in the country.”
But the majority of commenters–admittedly not a group known for their willingness to embrace change–harped on the lack of differentiation between TheLadders and other job sites and the dilution of the brand. They wondered why TheLadder’s didn’t opt for the Netflix/Qwikster route and launch a separate line for generalists. They also zeroed in on the fact that Mr. Cenedella did not mention how the expansion would affect customer fees, which, on the job seekers end, start at $15 a month. One commenter named Billdwdg, whose note got 20 likes, was even moved to erratic punctuation:
“I subscribe because of the narrowness of the opportunties that pre-screen away the assistant to the assistant manager. Based upon this change you are making, I assume you will be also revising your business model to reflect a REDUCTION in your fees?!?!?!?”
Betabeat has reached out to Mr. Cenedella for comment and we’ll update you when we hear back.