image of Ray Fassett of Employ MediaThe following guest post was written by Ray Fassett, the Founder and Executive Vice President of Operations & Policy at Employ Media LLC, which is the licensed Registry Operator of the .jobs TLD.

Raise your hand if you have assumed the Internet and the World Wide Web to be interchangeable terms. You would not be alone if you did. In reality, the Internet was invented in 1969. The invention of the World Wide Web did not occur until 20 years later. It is no coincidence the Internet took off only after the invention of the World Wide Web.

The World Wide Web is the watershed event
The Internet is commonly defined as a vast array of connected networks, including private networks. The World Wide Web is commonly defined as publicly accessible web sites residing on these networks. Without the invention of the World Wide Web, there would not be web sites for people to access. There would not be a Google or Facebook. The invention of web sites – the World Wide Web – is what made the Internet a mainstream medium to a global population.

It’s those 3 w’s
It was the inventors of the World Wide Web project who coined its name and then abbreviated it to “www” for short. This is the reason we know web addresses today as rather than Good call.

After some internal discussion, the inventors decided to gift to society their World Wide Web invention for anyone to use, free of charge. With this, web sites were born. The Internet suddenly took on an entirely new purpose emerging as a mass media publication comprised of web sites. Building a web site is what assures a presence on the World Wide Web (and therefore the Internet). The “webmaster” trade emerged and blossomed into the workforce in droves across the world for one purpose: To build web sites on the Internet.

The Domain Name System
A little known and obscure Internet architecture known as the Domain Name System had to be invoked in order for the World Wide Web invention to work. The Domain Name System is what is used to manufacture web addresses. Each web site requires a unique location within the World Wide Web. As the name implies, a web address identifies the exact location of a web site so that people know where to find it, not much different than the purpose a physical address serves. People use the address bar in a browser (such as Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Firefox) to type in the web address to locate the web site. Later, Google came along to organize all this.

The Internet would be chaos if a web address produced different web sites to different people. This is the reason each web address must require a unique domain name. At the time the World Wide Web was invented, domain names existed only in select suffixes commonly known as .COM, .ORG, and .EDU to name a few. These suffixes – formally called Top Level Domains – are each operated by private entities by license under authority ultimately provided by the US Government.

The invention of the World Wide Web transformed these rather obscure Top Level Domain operators into global, broadcast license holders. Even FCC licenses for radio and television spectrum carry geographic limitations by comparison. Internet Top Level Domain licenses carry no such geographic limitation due to the networks comprising the Internet being globally connected by its very design and architecture.

Challenges of Supply and Demand
The invention the World Wide Web created a feverish rush across the globe to register domain names in the few suffixes that existed at the time. Driven mostly by ecommerce, the demand for .COM domain names skyrocketed. The rules of the World Wide Web architecture are simple: You must have a domain name in order to have a web address and you must have a web address in order to have a web site. Quite suddenly, the obscure Domain Name System took world center stage. To be clear, not everyone was paying attention.

The few Top Level Domain operators in existence at the time faced challenges they never could have anticipated causing each to have to react to the sudden new demand for domain names. Each Top Level Domain is its own “zone” on the Internet with each licensed operator able to determine their own rules of registration. Many liken this to “zoning laws” where each Top Level Domain license holder is able to determine their own as the independently owned operator.

The licensed operator of .EDU for example reacted by installing very strict registration requirements whereas the .COM license holder went completely the other way opening their doors to all comers, first come first serve. The sheer volume of registered domain names in .COM grew significantly with demand introducing to the Internet all sorts of new web site behavior on the one hand while creating a scarcity in the availability of “good” .COM domain names on the other. The race was on, venture capital was infused, entrepreneurs were made…and the bubble was created.

Employers were busy running their businesses
Traditional business was the slowest to catch on to the power of the World Wide Web. Even into the mid to late 90’s, some of the largest employers (with the most resources) were still dismissing “the Internet” as a mainstream medium. The term “behind the curve” is putting it kindly. In fairness, the Internet had been around already for over 20 years and had been looked at…so what’s going on that’s different and lasting all of a sudden? This was a reasonable question of the time. Meanwhile, web sites were rather crude compared to today. Bandwidth capacity was not what it is today. But, as we now know, many industries were blindsided and upheaved eventually leaving no industry untouched. This is how the World Wide Web changed the Internet with the Domain Name System underpinning all of it.

Who’s up first?
The stodgy newspaper industry was one of the earliest to get rocked. Every day people began flocking to the Internet for their daily information. Classified revenue, the lifeblood of newspapers for decades, naturally began to follow. Job listings are classified revenue. While traditional business was strategically slow to shape the World Wide Web, their recruiters were far more in tune. Recruiters always follow where the people are…call it audience, circulation, or traffic, doesn’t matter, recruiters will go where the people are and very good early identifiers of such trends. Recruiters and talent acquisition managers were not the ones who “missed” what was coming…it is far more likely that it was other departments in the company that just weren’t listening.

So-called “job board” web sites emerged literally duplicating the newspaper classified model recruiting departments were accustomed to. This made it relatively easy for recruitment budgets to be tapped by the job board operators. Businesses slow to the World Wide Web found themselves chasing it with their recruitment budgets. Still today, 20 years after the invention of the World Wide Web, recruitment budgets almost singlehandedly fund billion dollar market cap web sites from to and every similarly purposed web site in between.

The truth
Where recruitment and the Internet are concerned, employers truly control their own destiny for one simple fact: Employers are the source of all jobs. Without employers, there are no jobs. And this is true throughout the entire world. This was true before the Internet and true afterwards. There are no cultural barriers. Every employer in the world shares this common trait. Neither the invention of the Internet nor the World Wide Web changed this. Here’s what changed: The Internet became the first global medium invented by human kind and, later, web sites became the first low cost channel of communication to an audience globally connected.

In Internet speak, this means employers own the content. With the information overload, quality content is what is required to obtain attention and an audience. This is the reason content is king with the Internet. Where recruitment is concerned, content starts with the job listings owned exclusively by all employers everywhere.

I understand the traditional classified advertising model. I understand how, through a strange set of circumstances, the Internet has grown up with the classified model more or less intact for job listings. But something is terribly backwards with “the Internet” when the content owners (employers) accept they must pay web site operators to carry their content. There is something terribly inefficient with “the Internet” when obstacles are placed in front of job seekers completely out of the control of employers. This is the little secret those that have staked early claims – and in some cases today empires – in .COM don’t want employers to be strategically thinking about in any sort of organized way as a group.

Take action because you can
DirectEmployers Association (DE) exists for the very purpose of performing as a vehicle where employers can combine resources that, as a whole, will produce the kind of mite the World Wide Web has never before seen for recruitment. To my knowledge, DE is the only such vehicle in existence and itself a reaction to the disruptiveness brought about by the Internet and the World Wide Web to recruitment. DirectEmployers serves as a venue for employers to gather under one roof to implement strategies to produce efficiencies and cost savings content owners are meant to realize from the Internet, if they want it.

In 10 years the Internet is going to be much different than it is today no different than how the Internet was much different 10 years ago. It is only a matter of who will be the ones chasing what others have shaped. This is what history has taught us.

Share This