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Geolocation based sourcing or stalking?

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 4:58pm Thursday 14 January 2010    Print Article

If you have been reading all the technology predictions for 2010, you may have noticed that location based services feature predominately. Online websites such as Foursquare, Gowalla and Twitter all have the ability to publically share and promote your current location.

Geolocation is the practice of determining the physical, real world location of a person, device, and address using digital information processed through the internet or other electronic means of communication.

Foursquare is like Twitter, but for locations. It is more of a game, and some people use it to obtain a high score and get badges (for checking in certain places). Just like every other social network, you build a friends list and when you decide to check-in (or publicly announce your location), it uses your phone's GPS to get your coordinates.

New mashup websites like Demand Spot plot geotagged tweets using the Google Maps API.

Geotagging will open up a plethora of privacy and security implications for the recruitment industry. We can now easily find, follow, track or stalk with the click of a button.

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Article Tags: geocodes geolocation geotagging location based sourcing location based recruitment proximity job search online recruitment foursquare using foursquare for recruitment demand spot mobile recruitment ip address stalking google maps api data manipulation privacy issues gowalla twitter

Comments Hide Comments (2)

Feel free to join in on the conversation. All comments are moderated before publishing. Comments posted by subscribers don't necessarily reflect the views of Recruitment Directory.

 Elad Kehat (2:27am Friday 15 January 2010)


I think you're spot-on. Location sharing technologies create a new reality that recruiters, as well as marketers of all kinds, will learn to use to reach out to their prospects. That raises all kinds of questions regarding privacy, like where exactly lies the boundary between following and stalking, marketing and spamming. The questions aren't new though - they exist in some form in almost any online-marketing technology (like email marketing vs spam) - and with time the boundaries between use and abuse become pretty clear.

I believe that the responsibility to take advantage of the new opportunities that geolocation offers without abusing them lies with all players in the game: services that publish people's geolocation must make that fact and its implications perfectly clear, consumers need to be aware of that publicity and how it may be used by third parties, and businesses must learn quickly which behaviors are appreciated by their prospective customers and which are considered invasion of privacy or spamming.

The big problem is figuring out where the line should be drawn - if a recruiter sends unsolicited but well targeted messages to job seekers, many will be thankful for the offer of help in their time of need, some will simply ignore the message and an unavoidable minority will not appreciate it.

Our experience in DemandSpot so far was very positive. Out of many thousands of messages sent by our customers to prospects over 30% resulted in a positive response while less than 1% led to a negative one. Moreover, all those negative responses can be traced to a few specific users of our system who apparently aren't good communicators (easily solved with a little education on online etiquette...)

It appears that the secret to successful marketing in this new environment, as opposed to stalking or spamming, is in offering a great service to people who really need it while avoiding too "pushy" behavior (if someone ignores your message leave them alone). This leads to an overwhelmingly positive response and most important - new business.

Elad Kehat
DemandSpot founder

 Yonica Pimentel (5:32am Friday 15 January 2010)

Recruiters now are, or should be too busy to continuously track the location of every job candidate or any candidate of interest.

If a person chooses to share where they are having lunch, it shouldn't have an impact on whether of not they get the job.

In general, yes, geotagging has a strong potential for becoming a privacy issue, not only to recruiters, but to the whole world.

That being said, if someone wants privacy, then don't share it on the internet.

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