Sting in the tail - BeKnown vs BranchOut

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Today Monster launched BeKnown, something which I said could change the face of Facebook. But of course, it's not the first recruitment type app - there's also BranchOut, which I completely failed to mention in the article.  It seems BranchOut are not too happy about this new competition...

At #TRULeeds last week we talked a lot about social networks and platforms but I don't recall anyone mentioniing BranchOut. And I didn't know about BeKnown at the time. I have, of course, heard of it - James Mayes spammed me a lot with BranchOut requests when it came out and it filled my feed for a while. I have a lot of friends who are recruiters and they love this stuff, for obvious reasons.

Anyway today I just read Jim Stroud's great blog - he's a sourcer, so a specialist recruiter, if you will, and it gives some tips on what recruiters (and therefore, organisations as a whole) will find useful. The blog is good but what has also caught my eye is the comment from Alison Hillman - I've pasted it below but would recommend you still visit Jim's blog, as it's a good overview.

"Alison Hillman
June 26, 2011 at 8:49 pm

BeKnown is an example of yet another late entrant in the online professional networking space. LinkedIn was a pioneer outside of Facebook and BranchOut is the #1 professional network on Facebook, launching in July 2010, and now serving well over a million users.

Rather than offering a new or innovative way to help job seekers and recruiters, Monster copied BranchOut’s app, from the overall concept down to endorsements and badges. Copying features is easy, but building a robust community that truly helps job seekers and recruiters is difficult. BranchOut is the only successful solution on Facebook, which is why over 50,000 new people join BranchOut everyday.

As always, we are happy to share more information on BranchOut, our network, and products that help companies source top talent. You can always learn more and sign up at http://www.branchout.com

The BranchOut team"

Ouch. "Monster copied BranchOut’s app, from the overall concept down to endorsements and badges."

I just spoke to David Henry, VP of digital marketing and media EMEA for Monster, and he was keen to point out that the offering is quite different. He also pointed out to me that there are maybe a dozen professional networking apps on Facebook, but (and as Jim points out) Monster's app allows 19 languages and also enables organisations to 'own' their own page.

Naturally, Monster are going to say that, but for BranchOut to accuse them openly on the web of this looks a bit, well, petty. Yes, it's competition, but that's not a bad thing, especially for jobseekers. (Whatever happend to 'we're all in this together', guys?)

I wonder if her comments really are endorsed by BranchOut? It looks like it, but I can't find anything about this on the BranchOut blog, or any stories about it, or any comment from anyone from BranchOut other than Alison. But she has been tweeting about it too:

and again...

and... well, you get the picture. I'm a bit disappointed she hasn't come over to us to have a comment, but there's still time. Monster has indeed been discovering bugs, but with a launch product that seems pretty normal.

Alsion said: "Copying features is easy, but building a robust community that truly helps job seekers and recruiters is difficult."

I should imagine Monster know all about that - they are a worldwide job board, after all...

But I have another question: Would you let your employees post messages like that on social media about your competitors?

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By jamesmayes
14th Jul 2011 16:02

 Hi Charlie,

First off, nice post - not sure why I didn't spot it sooner. Apologies for the BranchOut spamming - as you no doubt guessed, I was investigating various aspects of the product - I didn't realise at the time quite how much outbound material it generated.  I think BranchOut also learnt from that though!

J.

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