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SkySong companies serve today’s Internet users


March 25, 2008

Looking for a job? How about a great local Thai restaurant? Typically, a person’s first search outlet is the World Wide Web. Revolutionizing how we use the Internet is the next big market, and SkySong companies such as Locallife and CareerTours are doing just that.

Gone are the days when people would look for a pet store or coffee shop listing on a broad global online search, one that invites thousands of unrelated listings through which to sift. With today’s Web users employing more savviness in how they use the Internet, the area of local search is thriving.

Launched in the United Kingdom in 1999, Locallife has one main objective: to bring the local search engine to the forefront, challenging the Yahoo and Google’s of the world.

“We aim to be global leaders on the local Internet search,” says Bashir Manji, CEO of the U.S. Locallife that is headquartered at SkySong.

Already a leader in the UK, Locallife is the fastest growing local Web search engine, providing users with business and organization listings and profiles that are specific to the user’s location.

“We’ve come up with a system that gives the information the user asked for – no more, no less,” says Manji, who says his company offers a solution to the frustrated consumer inundated with tons of needless information.

Locallife not only serves the Web searcher in organizing and managing local data, but it also offers a venue for small- to medium-size businesses to promote themselves. Manji says Locallife makes it easy for small businesses to compete simply because they become more visible.

“Our model is unique. It serves the needs of the consumer, challenges the broad search engines, serves the needs of smaller businesses and also offers a free service to the community. Our goal is to produce a Locallife for every city and every town.”

As Locallife continues to work toward becoming a global player in the area of local search, recently having expanded to France, Australia, New Zealand and now the United States, multi-language capabilities are among its next challenges.

If major job boards, such as Monster and CareerBuilder, were to ditch the long list of qualifications and ambiguous employer profile summaries, and replace them with videos and interactive user-content, followed by instant feedback, well, then you would arrive at CareerTours.

Launched in 2006, the company recently set up shop at SkySong to help grow their Internet-based recruiting business that allows job seekers to get an inside look at companies through video clips, as well as view educational videos on a wide variety of careers.

“With all this new technology, we wanted to be able to create a better experience for both employers and candidates,” says Aaron Bare, CareerTours chief executive officer, who finds that job boards are geared more toward employers.

“Video is the future of recruiting. Companies and job seekers have a story to tell, and video is the most effective method to tell it. Video is transparent and provides an honest view behind the curtain.”

With CareerTours, job seekers have a better idea of how they match up with featured employers and therefore are more selective about which jobs they pursue; in turn, this presents a narrower field of candidates to employers trying to fill positions. CareerTours goes a step further in the filtering process by providing interested candidates with assessment questions that help to decipher their level of qualification for each job. Candidates receive instant feedback on whether they meet the standards, and employers are saved the time of delving through resumes of unqualified candidates.

“CareerTours speeds up the hiring process and bridges the gap between employers and candidates,” says Bare. “Our goal is to eliminate any friction.”

Boasting a video library of more than 950 career-type videos and powering more than 800 different Web sites, CareerTours partners with chambers of commerce and university social networks.

“As an educational tool, CareerTours is ideal for freshmen who want to get a better idea of what they want to do and study,” says Kristi Webster, chief operating officer for CareerTours. “The meaning of a ‘tour’ is to give you a glance, an idea of something.”

Bare and Webster view their partnership with ASU as critical in bringing CareerTours closer to their targeted audience.

“We are able to get honest and relevant feedback from students,” says Webster, who adds that helping out with student job fairs and career centers has been a positive experience for their company.