30 May

A few weeks ago, Google for jobs was announced. Indeed and many other job aggregators and job sites held their breath. Dire protestations soon followed that this was Indeed’s Def Con 1 moment. Indeed had quickly climbed to the top of the recruiting tree. They had cemented their lead as the dominant player and supplier of talent to the world’s corporates.……..and then Google rained on their parade. Not so much rained as poured because when Google turns its attention to your industry…..be afraid, be very afraid. 

So just when Indeed and the others were hunkering down to a fight to the death (remember how Indeed has killed or mortally wounded the job board industry). No sooner had the battles lines been drawn up when an unlikely saviour has appeared from across the Atlantic in the form of Margrethe Vestager. Who I hear you ask? Margrethe Vestager is the European competition commissioner. She’s one of those unelected bureaucrats who decide vast amounts of trade, economic and social policies across all member states within the European Union. So what did the EU do? Well they slapped a rather tasty €2.4 billion fine (yes you read that right) on Google for abusing it’s market position…... "Google abused its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors." Google isn’t the first (Microsoft got the same treatment a few years ago) and they won’t be the last but, and this is an elephant in the room sized but…..this has massive implications for other Google services including quite possibly, Google for jobs.

They will now have to tread incredibly carefully when promoting jobs that they earn a commision from. Even if they don’t go down the route of creating a separate job board they will surely now be less inclined to promote listings from Google jobs in the same way the EU has suggested they did in shopping. Indeed currently gets a huge amount of traffic from Google and the suggestion from the Indeed doom mongers a month ago was that those prime listings at the top of Google organic search listings would be in jeopardy as Google would ensure the top spots would go to jobs coming from it’s own jobs product. Now there was no proof that that would have happened but given what the EU’s ruling, Indeed must now be at least partially reassured the demotion of their listings on Google’s search results is now much less likely.

Google may still be able to take on and beat Indeed or at least take a sizeable chunk of market share from them given the money they have and that they are the first port of call for many job applicants, but the battle probably just got a little harder for them and the team at Indeed may well be toasting a lady called Margrethe.

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