News that Monster.com is introducing a new employment index is pleasing to me along a couple of dimensions.
First, it recognizes that “offline” employment indexes are no longer very representative of the broader population. After all, I’m assuming most job hunters see newspapers, at best, as just another option after they’re done looking online.
Second, the index adds an interesting new datapoint to the economics mix, and that is always nice. Assuming Monster publishes the methodology and we can get a sense of how credible and comparable it is, this could be a fine new data series for economists to work from.
Third, and most interesting (at least to me), is that it fits into one of my pet theories. As I have said here on multiple occasions, a largely unplumbed revenue stream at most major sites, from eBay to Monster to Expedia to Amazon, is the meta-information created by so much traffic. Monster creating an employment index is interesting for the same reason that it was interesting eBay is selling information on used product prices, and that it would be interesting to know what Amazon plans to do with the reams of market data it has collected.
I expect more of this sort of meta-business. It would not surprise me much at all to find out, say, that five years from now one of eBay, Amazon, Monster, or Expedia generated more than 10% of its revenues from such ancillary information streams.