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DrecomWanted, rewards for finding people October 16, 2006

Posted by fukumimi in Internet, Japan.

Drecom launched an alpha version of their DrecomWanted service in September. This service allows users who are finding a particular individual or someone who fits the right profile to post their requests together with a reward, which is shared by the network of people through which the target is identified. It launched with the CEO of Drecom putting up a not insubstantial reward to find his childhood sweetheart.

I felt at the time that this particular type of usage was particularly distasteful, perhaps seeding a hoard of internet bounty hunters driven by the cash reward. A hoard of amateur private investigators looking for people is a scary though. Abuse of the system by users lying about their motivations to find particular individuals must be considered a serious possibility.

However, I could see that the concept itself could be used effectively in certain markets, in particular to disintermediate the recruitment/headhunter industry. The UK startup Zubka promises exactly that. Headhunters get a pretty nice performance bonus for referring successful candidates (30% of the candidate’s 1st year compensation is pretty normal). A site like Zubka which disintermediates these recruitment professionals and instead taps the professional networks of individuals working in industry (or even allows headhunters to earn some money on the side?) could probably function with taking a lower cut and splitting it with the referrer (and perhaps the candidate as well).

Disruptive businesses are often about shrinking the pie as much as growing it, if the new businesses are built leveraging technology to allow them to operate more efficiently than their legacy counterparts. By adding features like rating referrers and perhaps also throwing in a bit of LinkedIn type social networking functionality to even extend the services beyond pure referrals and providing an environment to carry out much of the recruitment process on the site, such sites could probably attract some decent leads from industry professionals.

Then again, the model could probably be replicated by an established SNS, especially one that contains a higher proportion of career professionals (rather than high school or university students) – like LinkedIn, perhaps.



1. Ben Miller - October 17, 2006

All about the Zs. I have been playing with ZoomInfo, Ziggs, Ziki (and Naymz). Now with Zubka, I have another Z to check out. Naymz, Ziggs and Ziki are more about providing personal SEO to people who want to get the work out about themselves. On the other side of the coiin, ZoomInfo (and Zubka) is more about building the database to sell off to recruiters (which seems to be from where the greatest interest in LinkedIn comes). They all seem to be about information arbitrages. The personal SEOs take money for doing what you could probably do more cheaply yourself by dealing direct with AdSense. ZoomInfo is trying to harness the social networking aspect so that their candidate pool plus those at one degree of separation are in a database that can be sliced and diced for the benefit of a recruiter who wants to go a step further than looking for people who are actively submitting their resumes to sites (Japan examples – daijob and careercros). I think these aggregators are temporary, and eventually it will be the OpenID/ClaimID route that ends up collecting the most information. How they will monetize it is something I haven’t been able to think through.

2. Tim Latham - May 31, 2009

Saw your post and thought that you might be interested in what we have developed which might be described as the 2nd generation on referral recruitment.

Prefio.com (http://prefio.com) is focused like a laser beam on a defined sector (commercial property / commercial real estate) and in the few weeks since we launched we already have hundreds of great referrers participating – all of whom are genuine vetted practitioners in the commercial property sector. There are many “quality” elements that we’ve built into the business but would want to bore you with them here. Absolutely central to our success has been to make the model compelling to HR Director and corporate recruiters in our sector and a key part of that has been building a really credible referrer base of relevance and scale.

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