In the search for new ancillary revenue streams, b-to-b media companies have to be willing to think outside the box. That was the case for the Society for Human Resource Management.
Gary Rubin, SHRM's chief publishing and e-media officer, said the society was approached a few years ago by a company that was in the process of trying to register a new sponsored top-level domain (sTLD) name with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the international organization responsible for the management and oversight of the Internet's domain name system. The proposed sTLD, which would be at the same level as .com, .org and .edu, was .jobs.
"ICANN is very careful about giving out new sTLDs," Rubin said. "The sponsor wanted us to be involved in their application because we represented a community of interest in the area of recruitment, which is what the .jobs domain is designed to flag."
The .jobs sTLD was approved in April 2005, and SHRM is collecting a percentage from every site that registers under .jobs. The "uber-royalty," as Rubin calls it, is already sizable and will grow larger over time.
While opportunities to partner in the development of a top-level domain name are few, Rubin said the .jobs partnership is, at essence, a reflection of SHRM's third-party credibility and deep connection to its business community. "This is the core of what every b-to-b publisher should have," he said, "and there will be other ways to leverage that."