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Newspapers have always been a pied piper kind of industry, where everyone follows the lead of a few influential players. Right now, the pied pipers are whistling for the recruitment partnerships offered by Yahoo! HotJobs or Monster.

There are definite merits in working with Yahoo! or Monster. By doing so, newspapers gain access to their tools, national networks and overall sense of momentum. But Adicio (formerly CareerCast), the “last” independent recruitment vendor and network, argues that newspapers shouldn’t give up their autonomy by going with a pure play.

It is a myth that newspapers can’t have state-of-the-art tools and participate in a meaningful national network, while retaining their independence, says Terry Baker, Adicio’s VP of business development. Baker’s position, not surprisingly, is that newspapers are taking the risk that Monster or Yahoo! may end up holding all the cards five years down the line if they make a “partnership” pact with them today.

Baker also suggests that the ROI of working with Monster or Yahoo! pales compared with licensing a private-label solution  but only if the papers are willing to invest the marketing dollars to really make it work. Many of the newspapers that are attracted to the insta-dollars of a national network are basically “also-rans” in the local recruitment business, says Baker.

Adicio has a national network too, and Baker suggests it has good numbers. It includes the “largest” job sites in 15 of the top 20 markets. The company also offers flexibility in pricing so that jobs can be priced differently, depending on a mix of local/national, and by category.

But “if you are a newspaper without a local position, it doesn’t really matter what happens nationally,” says Baker. “Those looking to focus on the national market are typically third or fourth in their own markets. They deal from necessity; they lack alternatives.”

Full disclosure: The Kelsey Group and I are jointly judging a Best Practices contest for Adicio, although we have no strategic role with the company.

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