The Gray Hair Speaketh

Advice that is largely Unsolicited.. – useful company research for job seekers

Vishwas Mudgal, CEO and Founder, requested me to review his website,

What is it about? is a value added service in the online recruitment sector. Specifically, the value that it provides is in the form of company reviews and salary reports, which would be of interest to any person looking for a job.

What more?
The company reviews and salary reports are largely user content. In other words, the site depends on users to come and give the feedback, and which is organized suitably, company wise, with graphs and charts, giving a good visual feel to the data present. One can view companies sectorally and also directly using search. There is a clear community participation angle and a Web 2.0 business here.

Other Observations:
The key to a site of this nature is volume. If I can depend on relative ratings of companies or even a stand-alone review summary for a company, it would need to be based on a large enough quantity of reviews and responses. With few reviews, one cannot base a conclusion about the company. Since the few reviews can just be isolated opinions, or worse, these could be manipulated ones. For JobeeHive to be taken seriously, volumes become the absolute necessity, then.

Having said that, the core components that have been incorporated for the project, are quite good. It would indeed be valuable, if we can get at one place, the employer’s views and data, and employee as well as ex-employee feedback, besides having a shared professional network and salary data, in the same place.

Wisdom Nuggets:
1. The most critical thought that I can give is to find ways to increase the usage. In other words, to get more data for reviews of companies. If money needs to be spent and budgets are available, so be it. Incentivize people to participate in the feedback mechanism. Otherwise, find ways to partner other sites, or social networks and ensure that numbers pick up, and larger number of reviews are present on the site. I mean, for IT companies employing 30-40,000 employees, if I see only 15-30 reviews, it does not help me much.
2. There are a lot of business models that make perfect sense, but which may just have a long gestation period before they start making money. And in this interim, for the business to attract users and grow, it does not have a choice, but to keep investing and improving the service. I am afraid that JobeeHive might fall in that space. Ultimately, when there is a lot of data, and when it can be integrated in individual transactions itself, then it will make money. At least serious money. The management needs to be prepared for that long haul.

3. In the few verticals where online businesses have taken off in India, the recruitment vertical has been the most interesting one. Matrimonial, recruitment, real estate, etc. are all about match making. But it is in recruitment that one side of the match, viz. the employers, are willing to spend good money, they are willing to spend it continuously, and due to which reason, that vertical is most profitable. But if that revenue option is taken off, then what remains is a tough call on business viability.

4. JobeeHive will need to grow usage. Can that be done creatively? Why should an employee take the effort to put a survey in? Is there an incentive? If JobeeHive cannot part with money, can it find non-conflict partner sites, who may value the user, and give them some “in-kind” incentives, e.g. filling in a review on JobeeHive could get a user, a free registration on BharatMatrimony, say. Or similar other services / sites.

5. Once usage has grown, JobeeHive has to explore out-of-the-box opportunities to generate revenues. Can it become the ultimate annual HR survey of best companies in India? There are other media houses that already do these. But if JobeeHive can improve the process significantly, and in so doing, claim to have the most relevant survey, that could give huge branding and stature.

6. JobeeHive could create a concept of a JobeeHive rank of a company. Which is partly based on the facts and figures, and partly on user feedback. There could be an overall rank, and an industry / sector rank. And these numbers can be dynamic as user feedback keeps coming. Can this number become a prestigious number that companies will strive to work towards? Like an Alexa rank or a Quantcast rank, can companies work to improve their JobeeHive rank?

7. If that is done, in lines akin to Alexa in fact, can JobeeHive create content that can be put on affiliate sites or create widgets to show company ranks, and which can be made popular, for users to put on their own sites / blogs??

8. Advertising is the main revenue channel at this time. Is JobeeHive creating enough data and IP to convert its information into HR publications that can be sold?

In conclusion, JobeeHive is a very interesting business proposition. In order to keep making money, till they make the big pot of gold (they could be acquired), they will need to keep reinventing themselves in different ways, to earn money. And in doing so, the question that they need to ask of themselves is simply about what they are? Are they an online job related value added service, or do they perceive themselves as an HR research company, who happen to have an online presence? Clarity on this will decide how their business pans out!!

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March 6, 2009 - Posted by | Recruitment, Social Networking, Startup | , ,


  1. Hi Sanjay,
    Thanks for this great post. I have gone through your Wisdom Nuggets and will take them as suggestions for our roadmap.

    Will keep you updated on the progress of

    Vishwas Mudagal
    CEO & Founder,

    Comment by Vishwas Mudagal | March 6, 2009 | Reply

    • You are welcome, Vishwas.
      I am glad you found these to be of interest.
      Will be happy to stay connected and track progress of
      – Sanjay

      Comment by Sanjay Mehta | March 6, 2009 | Reply

  2. Your points are interesting, but my own experience(in and from whatever i have heard so far, web 2.0 revenue is very small in India – its negligible and can be ignored, you can ask the web 2.0 business owners if you want to confirm……, and most importantly everywhere you will see “find out new revenue sources” which is to say – your main business is not giving money but since you need to make money you are forced to start new services which is not what your idea was.

    Tell me which indian web 2.0 site other than naukri and shaadi earns in crores?

    Comment by Sujoy | March 8, 2009 | Reply

    • Sujoy,
      I have been in the business long enough, and am aware of the revenue side. But my response to your question / comment is as under:

      Be clear about the definition of your business. In this converging world where connectivity is ubiquitous, are there businesses that can claim to be “Internet only” businesses? Well, maybe if you are an ISP, then you may be “Internet only”.

      Then, MOST other businesses are a BUSINESS first, and Internet (or mobile or whatever) may be only a means to the market.
      JobeeHive can define itself as a resource to give valuable information about companies, for benefit of prospective employees. And in addressing that business, if it makes sense to also disseminate its data via HR survey books, it is not an alternate business. It is in the same business interest.

      Naukri and Shaadi that you mention, not to speak of scores of others like BharatMatrimony, MakeMyTrip etc. have all gone offline as well. Not to pursue new businesses, but to pursue their fundamental goal, viz. to become the biggest recruitment resource, or to become the premium matrimony service, etc.

      Whether online or offline, if there is a business that does not find an adequate market, and still desires to pursue that route, then it is an entrepreneur’s mistake. If you open a 7-screen multiplex in a suburb which does not have that kind of size, and then you find it not delivering adequate footfalls, who is at fault? Likewise, if someone chooses to pursue an exclusively online business, but due to lack of numbers, it is not sustainable, what do you do?
      The choice for the multiplex would be – that having already invested in the infrastructure and the real estate, can it also put up some shopping, dining and entertainment and ensure that there is larger traction. That is assuming that the business definition was to provide wholesome entertainment to families. If the business definition was to be a 7-screen multiplex only, then it is stuck! It may as well have to wind up and close shop.
      So also for the online business, if once you find that the numbers are not there, on exclusive online activity, what do you do? Understand that the business is a recruitment service, and create a clear goal based on that understanding. You will be in your core business focus only! The only other option in case of non-viability is to wind up and shut down (or if pockets are deep, then to keep funding the losses!).
      Web 2.0 in most cases, is a means to the end, and not the end in itself!

      Comment by Sanjay Mehta | March 8, 2009 | Reply

  3. […] 6. The Gray Hair Speaketh: Useful company research for job seekers […]

    Pingback by Introducing - an employer and salary review website « Mtaram’s weblog | April 21, 2009 | Reply

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