Thursday, April 02, 2009 Barks Up Wrong Tree Singing Praises of

Guilt and Scorn from Spam King If You Have Temerity Not To Sign Up

This morning I checked out a list of the supposed Top 20 best job-search sites, courtesy of
Remember when PC was a fat and happy magazine that came out twice a month? That was then. Now computer and tech print advertising has shriveled like a prune and the magazine is online-only.
Apparently, fact-checking was also a casualty of the cost-cutting.
My attention was caught by mention of a site I had never heard of called, which only searches company job boards. "In theory, this cuts out duplicate listings and shows opportunities that are not posted on other job boards."
In theory, because it wasn't in the budget for me to pay the $29.99 a month to actually use the site, which I departed soon after I saw it wasn't free and someone on live chat tried to engage me.
But, it seems, that was not the end of it.
A few minutes later, an elaborate email arrives that says "We have a marketing problem at Hound."
You betcha.
Then the email proceeds to scold me for running away.

You made a mistake. It’s ok. Lots of people leave without ever completing the sign up process. This is par for the course.

About that marketing problem? Seems it's getting people to pay:

You can go to a soup kitchen tonight for a free dinner if you want but the food and the company will probably not be very good.

In other words, you dumb ass who won't pay us, the best things in life aren't free.
But the bad guys in all this are really the other job boards who charge employers for listings, Hound barks, rather than prospective employees. Hound presumably is a way to help companies that wouldn't pony up for a help-wanted ad and only post vacancies on their Web sites.
Can there really be that many stupid enough to do that? I'm not going to be stupid enough to take the "leap of faith" to find out, even with a seven-day free trial. More on that in a bit.
Who's behind Hound? One A. Harrison Barnes, the wizard running many other career sites, especially the ones ending in "Crossing" that are especially prevalent on HotJobs and aggregators that spider thousands of other sites.
It should be no surprise that the Crossings all charge to see their full listings and to apply for the posted jobs. And if the jobs sound familiar, well, that's because they are. Other job sites have complained Barnes is scraping from their free listings, putting them together with other posts and then charging $29.95 to view them all.

“We visit over 100,000 sites a day and take as many jobs as we can find, classify them, and then publish them on our site,” Barnes told the blog Cheezhead. “In this way, what we’re doing is a lot more advanced than Indeed and Simply Hired.”

So, in essence, Hound is another "Crossing," but one devoted to company sites. It searches so you don't have to. Still, it's hard to verify just how many worthwhile listings would otherwise go unearthed if not sniffed out by Hound.
Put me in the "highly dubious" column. I won't pay to let this dog hunt.
Barnes' name sounded familiar, so I checked another email account. Sure enough, there he was, extolling the virtues of, which bills itself as the "largest portal of legal opportunities in the world."
Never mind that I've been continually spammed by LawCrossing and LegalAuthority despite continually emailing them to be unsubscribed and putting the address on my blocked senders list (sometimes it works).
What's galling is that Barnum, er, Barnes, is selling a dangerous bill of goods.

"...I can get you a job. How confident am I that I can get you a legal job? Just about 100% confident. If you can put on a suit and tie and walk into an interview and not act crazy, I am about 100% confident."

Among those he claims to have gotten jobs for:

A drooler,
People with ridiculous lisps,
Two transvestites (that I am aware of),
A guy who looks like Charles Manson on a bad hair day.

Woo-hoo! There's hope for me yet.
Just how does he do it? Magic. I mean, marketing. Pay him a lot of money to market you, and Barnes'll get you a job. Posh, to the thousands of lawyers who've lost their jobs in the recession. They're on the dole because "99% of attorneys do not know how to look for jobs and just keep doing the same stupid things over and over," Barnes bleats.
At least that what he wants you to believe. Some did, and now they're sorry. Among them: an anonymous California lawyer with an unequivocally titled blog called Legal Authority Scam.
There's someone who's crossed Barnes off his Christmas-card list.
I won't put myself in the position to contribute fodder for that blog, which does make for some interesting reading. But even if I didn't open my wallet, based on this missive from a former employee it appears it'll be hard to make Andrew Harrison Barnes truly go away.
Please work, spam filter. Please.
As for, do your homework before you press the send button. Or maybe you can pay Barnes $29.95 a month to do it for you.


John A said...

"People with ridiculous lisps"

Reminded me of the response when an interviewer asked Boris Karloff how he had been able to become so successful - notably as a Shakespearian actor - despite his lisp. The reply: "Lithp? What lithp?"

Anonymous said...

Hound has been taken to the woodshed for its spam behavior if not weirdness. Any CEO who sends long, drawn out messages to near-subscribers, well, is weird if not, stalkerish.
Thanks for adding your voice. Next? You should take on theLadders, cuz thy do NOT have only $100k jobs. Just saying,

Ask a Manager said...

Hilarious. I originally read it as "people with ridiculous lips," and I like that too.

Anonymous said...

I've been writing about the free movement for job postings at for a long time and watching the 'crossing' wondering if their marketing doesn't cross some thresholds.

In the long run, free will win out, but for now, this is THE recession that paid job sites have been waiting for. A big juicy bone for the hound.

RDC said...

It looks like BCG Attorney Search may not be around for long. Since January 2009 recruiters have left the company in Boston, San Francisco, Palo Alto, Texas, Los Angeles and Washington DC. Last year the manager of BCG quit the company because he was tired of putting up with Harrison Barnes’s shady methods and other recruiters left in Atlanta/Charlotte and New York. Right now there is one recruiter that has not done any work this year for “personal reasons” and at least two other recruiters are planning to leave.

BCG now has a couple of people in NY, 1 in DC, 1 in TX 2 in Chicago and a couple in southern CA but only a few of those are active. Morale is terrible and Harrison never discusses departures honestly with the rest of the recruiters so it is not clear if these people were fired or quit.

One thing for certain is that departures are usually bitter and Harrison Barnes speaks very poorly and disparagingly of his employees after they leave. What he says is much worse than anything written by the people he is suing and none of it is true. Harrison Barnes takes pride in running his businesses in secret while deceiving everyone including his employees. For example, during 2009 he constantly told the recruiters that BCG was strong and growing while the company was falling apart. The reason he speaks so poorly of other employees is so he can blame them for the problems that are entirely of his own making.

Part of the 2009 breaking point came in April when Harrison harassed the recruiters to attend a recruiting convention in DC and told the recruiters how important it was that everyone attend. Some people thought they would be fired if they didn’t attend. Then, instead of attending the convention himself, Harrison races off to a multi-thousand dollar motivational seminar (probably paid for by the company) and then continues to vacation in the Pacific. Harrison also annoys recruiters to fill their free in this bad economy time by writing articles and blogs even though he doesn’t pay any recruiters anything except for commissions and is less than honest with how he pays his recruiters.

I used to like Harrison Barnes but he couldn’t hide his true self this year. He became the Emperor with no Cloths and nobody would tell him the truth because he usually fired anyone who disagreed with him. I think the reason so much of the background is coming out now is because so people have left and are still leaving and have nothing to lose by revealing the truth. Every former and remaining recruiter at BCG are great, hard-working and caring people. It is a shame that it took so long for everyone to learn his true nature. My guess is that just about every remaining recruiter will leave at the first opportunity, especially as the economy gets better.

Sentry said...

More Proof That A. Harrison Barnes Resorts to Deceptive and Fraudulent Consumer Tactics!!

The FTC today finally ruled that blogsters who are paid to post reviews on products or services must now disclose the fact they were paid or face penalties up to $11,000 per infraction. This action by the FTC formalizes its long-standing belief that a lack of such disclosure violates consumer protection laws because such blog comments amount to undisclosed paid endorsements amounting to fraudulent and deceptive advertising.

The first indication that A. Harrison Barnes either paid people to post positive comments about his companies or asked people to post positive comments even if they were unfamiliar with the service first surfaced in 2008 in a blog posting by Cathy Gellis who confirmed that Mr. Barnes manipulated Amazon's mTurk service to enlist individuals to "plant" false positive comments about Barnes's companies. Ms. Gellis worked with Amazon to effectively bar Barnes from further use of mTurk. Since that time, scores of other similar incidents appeared on other websites.

In response to having been caught in his deceptive practices, A. Harrison Barnes then launched a virtual carbon copy of mTurk called Shorttask and used this site to pay thousands of people to plant comments and links that would make his companies appear to be much more effective, positive and favorable than the general view of other more reputable sites. Shorttask has been widely criticized as a deceptive and manipulative tactic to counter the rising tide of complaints against both he and his companies. (It should be noted that during the same period Barnes decided to sue individuals who posted negative comments about both he and his companies claiming $10 million in damages).

The latest move by the FTC merely formalizes what people have long known - that A. Harrison Barnes is willing to engage in questionabe, and probably illegal, consumer tactics to mislead the public as to the nature and poor quality of his companies and their services.

NYT Article:

FTC Statement: