Employ Media

Type: Private
Industry: Registry
Founded: 2005
Founder(s): Ray Fassett
Website: employmedia.com
Key People
Thomas Embrescia, CEO
Ray Fassett, Executive Vice President

Employ Media LLC is the registry in charge of .jobs; a sponsored top level domain created for use by the international Human Resource Management community.[1] Employ Media was created through the collaboration of The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and Verisign in 2005.[2]

Controversial Expansion

According to regulations set forth by ICANN, .jobs was originally intended to be designed as a resource for the HR departments of established corporations. In June of 2010, Employ Media petitioned ICANN to practically re-open .jobs as an entirely redefined TLD, which would be open to individuals interested in creating sites based off geographic location or other defining terms; such as, Chicago.jobs, or Marketing.jobs.[3] This move was undertaken with positive interest from both Employ Media and SHRM.[4]

By August, Employ Media was asking for proposals that would cater to its planned expansion.[5] They drew criticism for the highly controlling, and unorthodox role they planned on taking when accepting and distributing new .jobs domains.[6] ICANN revealed at its December, 2010, conference in Colombia that it would not allow Employ Media to expand beyond its original charter.[7]

Employ Media Arbitration Against ICANN

In 2009, Employ Media registered thousands of domain names to its business partner, the Direct Employers Association, and jointly launched the universe.jobs website, a jobs board that aims to help job seekers to easily find a job. However, the website became controversial and strong criticized by different organizations, particularly the .JOBS Charter Compliance Coalition, alleging that the service is a violation of the .jobs TLD charter.[8] Despite the complaints and criticisms, Employ Media officially launched the universe.jobs site in January, 2011, with more than 40,000 .jobs domain names operated by more than 500 leading companies in the United States.[9]

On February 27, 2011, ICANN issued a notice of breach on the .jobs registry agreement to Employ Media and to SHRM, its sponsor organization, in connection with the universe.jobs website. According to ICANN, the registry operators action is allowing the Direct Employers Association to register 40 thousand domain names is violation of its charter and the universe.jobs website appeared to be a jobs board competing with other companies that offer the same service. ICANN directed Employ Media and SHRM to resolve the issue and comply with its charter, if not it threatened to terminate the .jobs registry contract.[10]

Employ Media responded to ICANN's notice of breach with disappointment and argued that its new registry service-the universe.jobs website is in compliance with Phase Allocation Program, which was approved by ICANN. Employ Media agreed to resolve the issue through the cooperative engagement provision of the .jobs registry agreement. However, the company emphasized that it reserves its right to resolve the problem in any appropriate forum.[11] In April, 2011, the company agreed to amend its charter and to stop registering .jobs domain names that are non-company names until May 6.[12]

In May, 2011, Employ Media filed an arbitration request with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Court of Arbitration in response to the breach notice issued by ICANN on the .jobs registry agreement. The company abandoned its cooperative agreement proceedings with ICANN after accusing the internet governing body of "bad faith action" when ICANN posted the terms of their negotiation on its website. ICANN's legal counsel Eric Enson explained that ICANN was just performing its duty to maintain accountability and transparency when it published their correspondences related to the issue. Enso said Employ Media “has no intention to work with ICANN cooperatively to resolve the problem” and its lawyer Arif Ali of “legal posturing,” which was “seemingly geared solely towards use in future litigation.”[13] [14]

On July 11, 2011, ICANN filed its response to the arbitration request of Employ Media. The internet governing body strongly defended its notice of breach against the company and remained firm that its decision was appropriate. ICANN also asked the arbitration court to deny Employ Media's request for relief.[15]

In May 2012, ICANN and the ICC published a timetable for Employ Media's request for arbitration in May 2011. In the timetable, it was revealed that the earliest Employ Media can find out whether or not ICANN has the right to shut down .jobs is in February 2013, with face-to-face hearings scheduled between January 28 and February 8, 2013.[16]

Criticism of Employ Media

Employ Media was highly criticized by different organizations, particularly by the .JOBS Charter Compliance Coalition, for registering thousands of .jobs domain names to its partner, The Direct Employers Association, and for launching the universe.jobs website, a jobs portak featuring domain names advertising job opportunities from more than 5,000 leading companies in the United States. Its critics alleged that the universe.jobs is a violation of the .jobs TLD charter.[17] [18] [19]

New gTLD Program Disqualification Request Against Employ Media

On January 11, 2012, .JOBS Charter Coalition chairman John Bell asked the ICANN Board to block Employ Media and Direct Employers Association from participating in the new gTLD expansion program. Bell claimed that Employ Media should be automatically disqualified from the program because of its "history of abuse" for violating its charter. Bell also criticized ICANN's failure to resolve the complaints against the .jobs registry operator. According to Bell, "ICANN frequently proclaims its dedication to contractual compliance and asserts that the new gTLD program contains multiple stakeholder protection mechanisms, but based on ICANN's mismanagement of the current dot-jobs TLD dispute, the Internet community is rightly concerned that ICANN's public statements will once again prove to be empty words." Bell stated that ICANN can only regain a measure of regulatory authority by publicly excluding Employ Media and Direct Employers Association from participating in the new gTLD program.[20] [21]