Virtual snobs

T wo years on and I'm still being bugged by the inverted logic and arrogance that went along with the dotcom bubble. Where do American journalists and analysts get off with describing the 'offline' world (aka planet Earth)?

An example of what I'm talking about is seen in a report of how the troubled Kmart Corp has ditched in preference for using the Kmart brand as its online presence (the US Kmart which has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, not the Coles Myer-owned Australian outfit). was meant as a spin-off of the old practice of rolling a trolley-mounted, flashing blue light to a particular aisle in order to highlight the latest store special. US Computerworld reports have a Forrester Research analyst saying that it "wasn't a surprise that Kmart extinguished [as it] made sense that the retailer integrate its Web site with its bricks-and-mortar stores....[and that] it was more important that the Web site support the offline store and operate as a place where consumers can get information about the brands being sold in Kmart stores". Huh?? This jargon suggests a world where people and buildings are an offline unit interchangeable with their company's Web site. Enough of the unreal perspective on everyday 'bricks-and-mortar' and 'offline' reality.

Incidentally, if you're into e-commerce, and you're in charge of an Australian-based site which has failed to follow appropriate useability design principles and commit to some level of usability testing, then your site probably isn't half as good as you think it is claims usability specialist Dr Jakob Nielsen of the Nielsen Norman Group. He reckons most sites are cobbled together from random designs, but at least they're getting better.

Agencies under fire

Is it a sign of poor service or a sign that most applicants in a tough job market don't even get an interview? A recent column by 'self-unemployed' Melbourne-based project manager Alex Alexander accused recruitment agencies of being little more than users of the 'Find' facility in Word in order to match three-letter acronyms in applicants' resumes (Computerworld, June 10, page 32).

In this issue on page 1, we report on Resource Exchange's survey of 600 IT professionals and claims that 26 per cent of respondents ranked recruiters as 'poor' in understanding their needs and some 85 per cent said they would be happy to negotiate directly with a prospective employer. On the flip side, about 44 per cent of the IT&T pros participating in this survey described recruitment agencies as the most successful way of finding a job.

What's your recent job market experience? Email me at

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