JibberJobber Competition

Over three years ago I knew about direct competition.  I’m not talking about spreadsheets, I’m talking about companies who have websites that are very similar to JibberJobber.

I haven’t blogged about competition for a few reasons, but it makes sense to blog about them now.

The first competitor launched the week after we did, in May of 2006.  It was called Isabont, but has since been renamed to Virtual Job Coach.  I had a phone conversation with the founder that November and found him to be a nice person.

For a while it was just Isabont and JibberJobber – we did a lot of stuff the same, and I tried to watch what they were doing.  Over time I heard about other sites that were considered competition – we watched all of them, wondering who was going to do what.

Regularly when I am on the road speaking I hear about a new competitor coming out – it has happened across the country – most recently from someone from my hometown (lol).

Today I got the following Contact Us message (this is the entire message):


I have known about Red Salsa for a while, and figured someone had hired them to develop a competitive system.  Someone at Red Salsa told their team to get JibberJobber accounts so they could reverse engineer the system (or, as the message above says, copy the features).

I sent an email to Red Salsa and asked them what was up, but of course got no reply.

It is unfortunate that companies can’t create their own stuff, and use unethical/deceptive means to reverse engineer someone else’s intellectual property.

I’d love to know who is behind this (is it Red Salsa or someone else), and what they plan to do.  I wish them well as they enter this market with about 10 other competitors.

I think I can only do one thing about my competition (outperform them and gain a critical mass of users/evangelists)… what do you think I should do?

18 thoughts on “JibberJobber Competition”

  1. Hmmm. If the message is really from the President, you don’t have very much to worry about. He’s an idiot.

    If someone is spoofing the account of the President, you have something more to worry about. This is more likely the case. It could easily be a disgruntled ex-employee. It could also be a different competitor entirely hoping to cause you to shift your focus away from product excellence and on to nonsense.

    Did you get the IP address from which the message was sent?

    Best bet is to focus on building your customer base. Copying a technical process is no guarantee of market success. Stay focused.

  2. Jason, you know the answer in your heart and you pretty much said it in your last sentence. “I think I can only do one thing about my competition (outperform them and gain a critical mass of users/evangelists)”

    You have built community on every platform and continue to do so, whether it be on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter or where I first met you, on the many career industry e-lists. You have evangelists because we know you have integrity, approachabilty (my word – I think I just created it) transparency, authenticity, and all the other buzz words of social media… but they are you.

    You can worry about competition, unethical or legitimate, global or in your own backyard or you can continue to do your best to provide the best product, engineering and innovativeness backed by outstanding customer service that you always have.

    You have nothing to worry about but if I were them… I would worry about a reputation in a global community where everyone knows everything much more rapidly than ever before. I would worry about legal consequences of stealing concepts and products. I would worry about it, if I were them… But I would never be them, because like you, I founded my business and my life on honesty, integrity, and doing my best for the people who use my services…

  3. Jason,

    From what I see in the competition’s message, they are lacking the professionalism necessary to make any kind of impact on the market. My biggest competition is my own company – how can I do better…how can I give my clients more…how can I out-perform myself?

    Your relationships are solid within the career industry – any new company (quality or not) are already way behind you!


  4. Keep doing what you are doing Jason, JJ is a great program!

    Sure others might copy it…but they don’t have YOU. Over the years you’ve been a huge gift to jobseekers and the careers community. You’ve been authentically giving, generous of your time and thought leadership, all while building a business, raising a wonderful family, and coming of what I imagine was the heartbreak and hardship of the job search that was the start of it all. Anytime we in the careers field suggested something we’d like to see in JJ, you were right on it, and made it happen if you could. You’ve been there for JJ subscribers in the same way.

    YOU are the visionary and the heart of JJ. You’ve always been entrepreneurial, you’ve always been smart, you’ve always been innovative. Yet, I’m guessing quite a few folks out there can say that. But they are not Jason Alba, and they don’t have hoards of raving fans who will go to the mat for them. You do.

    Hey JJ/JA fans, what do you say?

    Deb Dib, one of your original raving fans 🙂

  5. They may be able to copy your product, but they can’t copy the essence, credibility, and connection that your brand has with its customers. Brands win by staying true to their core values and vision and letting those values guide innovation.

    Continuing to offer innovative products and services that marry your brand values with emerging trends will always keep you light years ahead of them. Being known as a reputable innovator will not only help you attract new customers but will also excite your existing ones.

    I have to remind myself of this too because I have my panic moments with competition. As one of former bosses once said, you get ahead by staying focused on the road before you, not looking behind or side to side. That said, it’s important to know your competition and what they’re doing, but not let their activities take you off track. Good luck!

  6. In the last 15 years, I’ve seen so many Internet companies flame out – burning through lots of investor dollars (sometimes spectacularly) before disappearing into the ether(net). You already have the premier service, the brand name, the “installed base” of loyal users and supporters, and the experience.

    Since you have John Sumser, Julie Walraven, Marc, Deb Dib, me, and thousands of others behind you – truly a critical mass of users/evangelists – I strongly suspect it will cost them a more time, effort, and money than they want to spend to catch up.

    In many ways, competition is often helpful, maintaining the pressure to improve and exceed expectations, and I think that’s the best way to use it.

    So, just keep rolling, following your vision, as Deb and Marc pointed out. Look in the rear view mirror and out the side windows fairly often – but stay focused on your vision. They’ll be spending their money trying to catch up.

    I’m betting on you and JJ for the long run.


  7. Just go on with life.

    Don’t be like Robert Kearns (as in Flash of Genius, I watched it because of your review, btw). Sure, he won, and he won millions, but he lost something like 12 years of his life.

    There is NO OTHER JibberJobber or Jason Alba. You need not stress about this. Sure it pisses you off, but who cares? That’s like Walmart going into direct competition with Kohl’s.

    Apples meet Oranges. Seriously, no worries. 🙂

    — Jenn

  8. Jason – focus, focus, focus

    Although you have not created the category of Career Management, you have drawn attention to the fact that this has been an under served market. With that attention comes both good and bad. Good with many people using JJ to help them manage their career. Bad with other entrepreneurs (honest and those that are not so honest) jumping into the market.

    Do not over react, but leverage this energy to take JJ to the next level and…..crush them like an ant!!!

    Call me if you need help!!!


  9. Jason – competition, scrupulous or no, can’t keep up with JJ/you because you are ahead of the pack in two key categories that Peter Drucker espouses: innovation and communication. Those are hard (if not impossible) to replicate. Keep the vision.

  10. Jason,
    I agree with Deb, Susan (Joyce and Whitcomb!), Julie, et al. You are ‘good people’ and people sniff out the good from the bad. As well, you think forward while keeping your eye on today’s ball. You keep moving, while stopping to think (without dwelling). You take and manage risks. You are calculated, yet real and honest.

    People gravitate to your style, energy, savvy and value, and it’s people who ultimately matter in business growth and perpetuation.

    Jacqui (a JJ partner and evangelist)

  11. I agree with everything said already Jason. You HAVE no competition because you are the uniquely wonderful person you are. As for JJ this is an opportunity for you to reflect on how you can create an even stronger tool for people. Perhaps there’s a particular segment of the population that resonates with JJ more than any other.

    I know you and JJ will continue to thrive because your actions come from an ethical and honorable place. Your focus is on helping others and you reap rewards because of that. Those whose primary focus is on themselves take from others and they’ll attract icky people who are similar to them.

    I say let those icky people find each other.


  12. Jason,

    Not to worry. You and your team are the IBM like pioneers in the career management space. Imitation is the best form of flattery. The vision, integrity and thoughtful empathetic caring from you and your team is what sets Jibber Jobber apart from any nefarious entity.

    The United States was built on free enterprise and competition. The human relationships you so deftly develop everyday will always make the difference in out performing, out selling and keeping the bar raised high for any competitor. “Catch us, if you can” should be the Jibber Jobber team’s pioneering mantra.

    There are quite a few features of Jibber Jobber that cannot be duplicated, because they require other variables to maximize their impact. For example, this past Monday I gave a training session on “Advanced Networking Techniques”, which focused on a particular Jibber Jobber feature. To the untrained eye this feature appears innocuous, but when used properly it elevates a person’s networking skills to achieve powerful outcomes, by connecting with people of influence.

    If I may suggest a book for your team, I recommend Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive: Outsell, Outmanage, Outmotivate, and Outnegotiate Your Competition by Harvey B. Mackay. Mr. Mackay inherited an envelop company. He had steep competition, because every envelop in the world is made exactly the same way; with 4 folds. Harvey took his envelop company to the higher stratosphere of profits and blew his competition out of the water.

    Stay the course . . .

  13. I don’t have time to read everyone’s comments so I’m sorry if I’m repeating anything. 🙂

    Your JibberJobber application was one of the first off the blocks and helped to launch your stellar rise. It’s a great tool that’s helped a lot of people. When something’s good, it gets copied. Look at how Microsoft introduced Windows to emulate the Mac interface. We all know which one is best though, don’t we?

    It’s annoying, sure, but however many competitors you have, what people buy into is YOU. Your integrity, motivation, kindness. I don’t suppose your competitors started a post on depression that’s still getting comments and has encouraged countless people. And I don’t suppose your competitors have established themselves as social media experts either.

    I hate that there are people so lacking in creative energy they must leach off others, but I do believe the laws of Universal attraction have a way of making things right. ……Even when sometimes it doesn’t look that way.

    Sue x

  14. oh, and another thought ….unscrupulous, mean-spirited people are there for a reason….Their purpose in the wider scheme of things is to challenge us and make us stronger. I have far more determination to succeed since my own business was negatively impacted ……I don’t know if that’s helpful, depends on your beliefs I guess.

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