When the Society for Human Resource Management and EmployMedia launched the new .jobs domain a few months ago, there was a flurry of commentary and much speculation about what impact it might have. The answer should be obvious -- not much. After all, what's in a new domain name anymore? .Net, .tv, .biz... hardly anyone uses them. I can't remember the last time I landed on a site with any of these extensions. And I've never assumed any of these extensions when typing in a URL for the first time.
If you want to see the line up on NBC or HBO, what is the first address you try? I'll bet you automatically type NBC.com and HBO.com. And you would be right. In fact, neither of these networks has even bothered to register .tv or .biz domains (that should tell you something). Why? They're superfluous. If I'm shopping for an address for my new website, I may be able to get the one I want using a new domain extension (i.e., www.aceplumbing.biz) but that's not important because most of us use Google or another search engine to find what we're looking for, and we find it regardless of the URL.
This isn't 1995 anymore. We're all a little more savvy about the Net today. If I want to look for jobs on the Web, I've got dozens of options, including resources that consolidate job boards (Directemployers.com), others that consolidate corporate career sites (Wanted Technologies) and some that do both (Careerbuildiner.com; Oodle.com; SimplyHired.com). .Jobs may only force me to look in more places (until those postings, too, are quickly consolidated). If a .jobs domain helped smaller, less-known organizations gain exposure for their job opportunities it would be useful, but it can't.
The good ideas are the ones that make life easier for us (eBay, Amazon, etc.) or democratize and broaden information options (weblogs, forums, etc.). Irrelevant ideas, like .jobs, add unnecessary layers and make things a little bit more confusing and time consuming for job seekers while benefiting only a few (SHRM and EmployMedia, for example).
If there is a significant problem with bogus job listings (staffing firms sometimes post bogus ads to promote themselves and get resumes, for example) the new domain can't possibly solve the problem. URLs are routinely forwarded and masked -- if I want people to see my bogus job ads, I simply transfer them to the appropriate site after they type in the .jobs domain.
If SHRM and EmployMedia think they can properly police the new domain, they're almost certainly miscalculating the effort required to screen the virtuous from the villains. To adequately check every applicant would require effort and resources enough to push the price for the new domain beyond what all but a few would pay.
In short, I think it's a safe bet that the .jobs domain isn't going anywhere. Some, mostly big companies (especially those that belong to SHRM) will get the domain just to be covered off. This will be mostly irrelevant to job seekers, however, as they will still be able to get postings by going to that company's current corporate career site and/or by doing a Google search, which is what they do now and with much success.
Bottom line? .Jobs is likely to be ignored by the vast majority of organizations. If so, it won't gain the momentum necessary to reach critical mass -- the point when the average job seeker thinks Aceplumbing.jobs instead of going to Aceplumbing.com and then simply hitting the careers tab.