It's not a Monster, it's local
April 26, 2000
By Bill Holland, dbusiness.com
CLEARWATER, Fla., April 26 (dbusiness.com) -- Pam Kauten's biggest
frustration in trying to land venture cash is the narrow attention span
of potential investors. "They keep saying, "Oh! Like BrainBuzz (.com),"
she said. "No," she tells them, "not like BrainBuzz at all."
BrainBuzz.com is designed to create a community of
information technology workers and then sell that community to
exclusive employers as well as sell education and training courses to
the community. CareerLINK.com sells help-wanted web sites to radio
stations and, Kauten hopes, independent newspapers across the country.
"Why risk their resources on trying to reinvent the wheel," she asks.
These are backbone jobs: administrative assistant, customer service
reps, sales and managerial. Not BrainBuzz at all.
The needs of radio stations and newspapers differ,
but the solution, Kauten said, is the same. Newspapers are struggling
to protect their classified advertising franchise in towns and cities
nationwide, protect it from the Internet juggernaut, which could steal
that cash cow from under their noses. Classified advertising makes up
an estimated 80 percent of a newspaper's revenue, Kauten said.
Broadcast outlets have a different problem. "What do you do when you've
sold out all your advertising slots?" Kauten asked rhetorically. "You
have to look at non-traditional ways to create revenue." CareerLINK.com
Inc. offers radio and TV stations a way to extend their brand name and
franchise while creating even more cash flow, Kauten said, selling help
wanted advertising on a geographically localized web site carrying the
station's brand name.
Kauten knows something about creating sales from new
sources. She founded and headed Jacor Broadcasting's non-traditional
revenue unit before Texas-based broadcasting giant Clear Channel
Communications bought that chain.
She came to the media business from an unlikely
source: she sold work uniforms for CINTAS (Nasdaq: CTAS) and was a
President Club Member. She got that job on the strength of her
performance as a Mary Kay Cosmetics saleswoman. "I got the big car, the
TV, everything," she laughed.
Kauten runs CareerLINK.com with her husband Neil.
She handles the selling; he handles everything else and manages the
firm's employees. Previously with Danka Office Products (Nasdaq:
DANKY), Neil Kauten also brings a heavyweight advisor to the company
stable, former Danka executive and founder of copier sales company
Global Imaging Systems (Nasdaq: GISX).
Typically, CareerLINK.com strikes a deal with a
local media outfit and collects 20 percent of the classified
advertising revenue along with a three-year licensing fee for setting
up and running the LOCAL web site. The licensing fee includes set-up
training and quarterly visits for the local sales force, client
seminars and technical customer service, according to the company's
To grow the company nationwide CareerLINK.com's
business plans calls for a $3.5 million investment with $1 million in
cash up front to fuel the marketing effort. Later debt will be
converted to equity as the company hires nearly 100 new workers, mainly
in the sales force.
The company claims the 85-employer/customer
floridacareerlink.com site is profitable and predicts the company will
be ready for an IPO or be acquired within three years.