Redux; Feedster CEO and VP Eng reply

Scott Rafer (Feedster‘s CEO) and Scott Johnson (Feedster’s VP of Eng) dropped by to comment on my Friday posting entitled “ – A Death Blow for CarrerBuilder, el al?

Since their comments were public, I’m going to take the liberty in quoting them in my response.

First, Scott Rafer wrote:

“We’re working solely with RSS on the inbound side so it’s reasonably good semi-structured data. The site is underfeatured since it only took Scott Johnson a few hours to throw it together. There are few significant improvements that we can make once he schedules a full day for it.”

See, you try to be kind and set the bar low, and some driven entreprenuerial CEO swings by and raises the bar on himself. To that, I say, Nice!

While I remain skeptical that Feedster will get to the search/presentation level of the current major job portals working solely with RSS (unless they take the painful route of building feed specific wrappers ala Junglee of old… or have some natural text/language processing tech beyond that commonly in play), it may not matter.

Why? What they have may be good enough after S. Johnson has more time to play… but moreso, if this does indeed catch on with consumers (and there’s no reason it shouldn’t), major employers will be inclined to structure the job descriptions in whatever way is necessary to make Feedster (and its inevitable competitors in this segment) happy; the cost would be significantly less than what they pay to run ads on Monster et al.

Rafer continues with:

“What’s really going on in certain vertical topic areas like jobs is that RSS and the tools that use it well are destroying the economies of scale for large destination sites. Any small recruiter can post a job feed, get it included in Feedster, and have the reach of the large sites. Even better, anybody with a good idea of how to build online recruiting software can simply use Feedster Jobs as a web service and go compete on a features basis with the big guys as they wish.”

I couldn’t agree more (and thank you for saying so with a bit more clarity than I did in my initial post). Disintermediation at its finest.

Scott Johnson adds:

“The ability of RSS + a service like Feedster to say ‘go out on the web and gather me what ***I*** really want’ is incredibly powerful. Effectively an aggregator + Feedster amounts to a “Content Router”. And we all know that routing technology has been a rather large business …”

Also completely agreed, with the caveat that “What I really want” isn’t truly satisfied by Feedster’s (or any other feed/blog searcher’s) current approach.

As I wrote in my note to Scoble on info overload and literal clipping services:

“What if, in addition to telling PubSub his specific keywords, Robert could point it to his Link Blog (which is essentially a collection of his broader interests), and have it return conceptual clusters of posts/feeds, ala Clutsy? Then, turn it up yet another notch by giving Robert an interface to score the results, providing the engine with yet more context on what Robert is really after.”

Obviously this applies to too. Don’t constrain me to “internet product manager san francisco” and similar literal searches. Let me point to my blog, an HTML version of my resume, etc, in order to a) define the scope of my search, b) help me avoid the myopia of literal search and c) help me avoid info overload.

Looking forward to seeing where you guys take Jobs next, and, which vertical you decide to “disrupt” next!

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