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 business plan.

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.

 
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