NEW YORK (TheStreet - LinkedIn (LNKD)has demonstrated that want ads pay. They used to be the cash cow of newspapers, good old classified ads. Then the Internet came along and stole all those help wanted advertisements. The issue, as always with Web sites, was how to monetize those job ads. LinkedIn has shown that they can successfully make money, and, as a result, has spawned a flood of other job offering Web sites.Professional Diversity Network ( IPDN)(PDN) is planning to go public this week and hoping to raise $20 million. The site has a narrow focus for its job applicants, namely minorities and women. It had an exclusive partnership with Monster Worldwide ( MWW), but that was terminated in December. PDN is now in a non-exclusive deal with LinkedIn. Monster accounted for 72% of PDN's total revenue in 2011 and 63% for nine months ending in September 2012. Since LinkedIn will not be exclusive, PDN only expects half of those fixed payments that they received from Monster. It also can't predict how much money it will earn in commission sales from the LinkedIn relationship. How many people actually find jobs online? A study from 2010 by Kroft & Pope noted no beneficial effects of searching online for jobs. Companies want to hire people they know, so they use referrals, opting to give bonus money to employees. According to a survey by Jobvite, 41% found their best job through family or friends. LinkedIn is more known for job seekers to use the network connections for job hunting as opposed to the actual job listing. Jobvite also discovered that 52% of job seekers use Facebook ( FB) to help find work. That hasn't stopped the number of job listing Web sites from exploding. Monster and LinkedIn have been mentioned, but there's also Career Builder and Taleo. Taleo was a private company, but Oracle ( ORCL) bought it last year for $1.2 billion. For PDN, they face competition from other minority sites like Black Planetand MiGente. The big guys like Facebook, Google ( GOOG), Microsoft ( MSFT)and Twitter are all jumping into the job hunting business.
All of the sites can tout number of members, number of visitors, number of ads, number of partnerships and on and on. What none of them will discuss is the success rate. The same ad will frequently appear on multiple sites, so it's almost impossible to know whose ad worked. Plus, it doesn't seem like any of these employment Web sites are really interested in the job seeker really getting the job. The focus is on the revenue from the job posters. These sites also make money from side efforts like resumes, coaching and advertising. It is rare to find any job Web site that promotes itself as successful for job seekers. Taleo claimed that it was responsible for 9,000,000 hires in 2010, but there is little information to back up that claim. That, however, hasn't stopped the IPO market from convincing investors that the LinkedIn model can be replicated or that once public you can get bought out by a big whale like Oracle. PDN doubled the size of its offering, even though it clearly states in its filing that it lost its biggest customer and the replacement will generate at best half the revenue. Ultimately, the investor in PDN will feel as much success as an online job seeker - time and money wasted. --Written by Debra Borchardt in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Debra Borchardt. Follow @WallandBroad