Joblet: An exemplary online job service made in Japan

I recently visited “The Plant”, a Tokyo-based web development company, which was established in 2005 and now serves a number of big-name clients, such as MTV, Otto, NHK or Diesel. The company also runs Asoboo, Japan’s largest international social network (available in English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Spanish).
The Plant’s newest baby is called Joblet (online since September 2007 in English and Japanese versions). Joblet is a job vacancy advertising network aimed at changing the rules of the Japanese online job ad market, which is huge but has has one major flaw: The ads are almost ridiculously overpriced. This is where Joblet comes in.

For companies, placing ads via Joblet is completely free. Once posted, the job description will be distributed to Joblet partner sites which use Joblet widgets, integrate a job board or promote ads via Joblet mailing lists.
The way the service works is that a Joblet widget on a blog or site dealing with web design, for example, will mainly display design-related jobs. Applicants see ads relevant to them and send in their resumes. Companies then can decide if applications are interesting to them and pay a fee when this is the case. Prices are competitive to say the least.
What I liked about Joblet is its transparency. Companies are only paying for qualified applicants and fees are pre-determined. The system also offers real-time feedback: Site owners, companies and applicants have full insight and control over their account. Unlucky applicants even get to know why they were rejected (companies must name reasons), which is quite cool. Bloggers and site owners know how much they earned through Joblet at all times (currently 60% commission for every applicant referred).
While the pricing model is risk-free for companies it may at first appear to be too fair for The Plant itself, which seems to really believe in its system. So far, the concept seems to work though. By now, Joblet ads can be seen on 200 different blogs and sites (i.e. on the BCCJ site, Seek Japan etc.). More than 200 companies have signed up for the service so far. In May, over 1,000 applicants replied to ads posted in the Joblet network, although Joblet is a Japan-only service. A promoter system to further boost Joblet’s position in the Japanese online job ad market is currently in the works, The Plant told me.

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