Monster Worldwide Inc. has reached a deal with The New York Times Co. to sell and display help-wanted advertising online, landing the Internet job search provider a key ally as it expands its partnerships with traditional media companies.
Monster had long been seen as a threat to newspaper publishers, which have been struggling to stem the losses of their highly profitable classified advertising business to online rivals, which in addition to Monster include Yahoo Inc.'s HotJobs and the free site Craigslist.
That began to change last August after Monster signed a deal with the new owners of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News to run the online job search sites of those newspapers and share revenues.
Since then, Monster has signed joint ventures with a total of 60 daily newspapers, including the St. Petersburg Times in Florida, the Akron Beacon Journal in Ohio, The Orange County Register and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
The deals appear to be driving the newspaper industry into three separate camps as they seek ways to preserve their help-wanted advertising revenues as more employers and job-seekers use the Internet instead of printed newspapers for recruitment.
In addition to Monster, which is based in Maynard, Mass., another major contender is CareerBuilder, a print and online job-search provider that is jointly owned by the three largest newspaper publishers in the country, Gannett Co., McClatchy Co. and Tribune Co.
Also, last fall Yahoo announced a broad arrangement with more than 150 newspapers in which Yahoo's HotJobs site, a rival to Monster, will work together with newspaper partners in classified employment advertising.
Abbe Serphos, a New York Times Co. spokeswoman, said the company went through a thorough review of its options and found that Monster was the best fit.
"Monster is the market leader in recruitment, they have a singular focus on that category, and they're best in class," Serphos said. She said the deal both "accelerates our growth rate and at the same time turns a competitor into an ally."
Monster's deal will create an online recruitment area on the Times' Web site as well as on the sites of the various local and regional newspapers the company owns, including The Boston Globe, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette and 16 other newspapers.
As with the other newspaper deals, the sites that Monster runs for the Times will be "co-branded," meaning they will feature the brand names of both the newspaper and Monster. Revenues will be shared, although the companies declined to provide financial details.
Douglas Klinger, president of Monster North America, said the company began to approach newspapers last year after determining that they could work better together than as rivals. Klinger said the strong brand names the newspapers have in their markets would help bring in more business than Monster could alone.
"Sometimes you have to give up complete control of the customer and a percentage of the revenue you're making in order to reach other people's customers," Klinger said. "You can have the greatest product in the world, but if no one knows about it then it doesn't matter."
Despite the history of rivalry with Monster, Klinger said he found that newspaper publishers were surprisingly receptive to doing business with them. Klinger said the company is also holding talks with TV networks and cable TV providers about possible partnerships.