DrecomWanted, rewards for finding people October 16, 2006Posted 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.