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The Trade Me Jobs Double-Wammy

By December 2, 20105 Comments

Is Trade Me Jobs, the self-styled “#1 job board in New Zealand”, having its cake…and eating it?  Certainly that’s the opinion of Absolute IT  Director Grant Burley.

I spoke with Grant earlier this week and he expressed grave concerns at Trade Me Jobs’ practice of placing adverts inside the body of their customer’s job adverts.  If you’re not sure what I’m on about, hop onto Trade Me Jobs  and click into a job ad posted by a recruitment company (I looked in IT and checked out ads from Absolute, Beyond and 920).  In the top-right corner is an advertisement tile which currently seems to be solely the domain of either Open Polytechnic or Fisher Funds, depending on when you happen to upload the screen.

To be fair to Trade Me clicking on the ad doesn’t navigate you away from the screen, but it does open a new window right in front of the job ad that the viewer is supposedly going to be interested in reading and perhaps applying for.   But is this really fair to the advertiser who has paid Trade Me to post their job ad?  Isn’t the revenue from the advertiser sufficient for Trade Me?  Do they really need to compromise the quality of the job ad by distracting the attention of the jobseeker away from the job ad itself?

And a distraction this really will be.  As New Zealand’s biggest web site Trade Me would be the first to tell you that people read web pages left to right, top to bottom.  The greatest number of click-throughs will come from links in the top left corner, followed by the top right corner (where these tiles are positioned), and lastly the bottom right corner (where their paying advertiser’s logos are situated).

I’ve had a look through some other major job boards in New Zealand and Australia and Trade Me Jobs seem to alone in doing this.  I also don’t ever remember seeing a billboard advert with another smaller advert covering part of the main one, or a TV advert with a bit in the corner saying “press the red button to see a message from our other sponsor”.

So is this fair?  Apparently Trade Me Jobs’ response to Grant was that no-one else had complained about it so they didn’t regard it as an issue.  So I thought I would put it out there to The Whiteboard readers to comment on this and express their opinion, for the benefit of Trade Me Jobs if nothing else.

Your thoughts?  Come on don’t be shy…

Lastly, apologies for my absence last week, especially to Chris at DG&A who called me in a panic to see if I was OK as he hadn’t seen my Linked In posting!  The Whiteboard was on holiday while I went to Australia to be the MC at my sister’s wedding.  Two observations about this.  Firstly, Australia has become incredibly expensive since I was there in 2005, well it has in Sydney and the Central Coast anyway.  Secondly, recruitment consultants must make pretty good MC’s, as I spoke to 2 other recruiters last week who were also Master of Ceremonies at various weddings.  Certainly my organisational skills came through when setting out place cards, my assessing the market skills when choosing background music, my negotiation skills when ordering more wine, and my persuasion skills when telling the band to get out of the bar upstairs NOW and play the frickin’ bridal waltz!

And could I close the deal?  You know it – well done sis.

Jonathan Rice

MD at New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice Consulting and co-founder of on-demand recruiter offering Joyn. Recruitment agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.


  • Dan Salter says:

    I’d agree with you that having someone elses advert showing in an ad I’d paid for would annoy me to the point of pulling it (lucky I don’t pay the bill). I think the lack of complaints to Tradme highlights two things though.
    Firstly, companies rarely login to Seek or Trademe and actually look at their ads as they appear on those systems. This affects those who use 3rd party systems that automatically post on trademe for them the most (like those using ATS’s for example), not those that post to the sites directly.

    Secondly I think it that people are so used to seeing ads appearing in certain places (as per Google Search) that this kind of thing just goes un noticed. I think if anything this will end up being a quesiton of principles and if trademe customers don’t see or consider the problem from either of the views mentioned above then they’ll just smile and accept the extra revenue. I’d expect Seek to follow suit if so. After all why not if the customers don’t care / don’t get why it’s wrong to do it?

  • Thomas Shaw says:

    Lets imagine someone listens to this request. The next step would be…

    – TMJ drops the 3rd party display ads
    – Raises job ad prices.

    – Creates branded job ad templates
    – Charges you for the branded template

    Either way you end up paying more. A few ads dont hurt. I didn’t even notice the google ads on this blog.

  • Auck says:

    Personally, if you pay for space then it should not be comprimised by other adverts. Quite simple really. With regards to the ‘options’ above, how about the choice to have a dedicated advetising space that you have paid for? Seek manage this for what is probably a marginal cost – yet from 5 years recruitment experience give a much better ROI.

  • What about a compromise where they remove the ads but allow you to pay a little extra to promote your job add on their singles site. The personal section has so much demographic information that potentially be able to do highly targeted advertising to people who are not actively looking for jobs. Win win for everyone

  • Carey Eaton says:

    Over the years, job seeker research has consistently shown that the frame of mind for job seeking is not generally positive and that job seekers respond quite negatively to the promotion of alternative products and services right at the point when they’re considering the future of their lives.

    For this reason SEEK has always avoided commercial display advertising near job ad content or where the user’s best choice is to respond to a job ads or employment brands.