On the Record: Placement.com

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 6.1% of the population was unemployed in April 2021. Competition for jobs is high, but the traditional job search can be a draining experience that can leave job seekers disillusioned.

Placement, founded in 2019, is a young startup that aims to help speed up the job search and get its users into employment faster.

As a consumer-facing service in the recruitment industry, trust in the brand is crucial, which is why co-founders Sean Linehan and Katie Kent opted to acquire the Placement.com domain name soon after launching.

in this edition of On the Record, we chat with Sean Linehan about Placement, the company's acquisition of Placement.com, and why the domain name is so important to Placement.

Can you tell me about Placement, and what Placement offers?

Placement helps people fly through their job search. We provide access to expert career coaches, job search playbooks, guides, interview prep, and powerful tools to stay organized.

Why did you and your fellow co-founder, Katie, originally create Placement? What pain point were you addressing?

The hiring process takes forever and it's hard to know if you are on the right track. Getting rejected from job after job leaves folks feeling like an imposter. Not hearing back from companies at all makes them feel lost and confused. We thought there had to be a better way, so we created Placement.

How did you initially come up with the Placement brand name? Did you have any other considerations?

We spent dozens of hours on the naming exercise, looking at hundreds of names along the way. We followed the PPRESS framework for naming:

  • Pronounceable: can our target audience correctly pronounce the name without ambiguity?
  • Protectable: can we trademark the name or otherwise prevent folks from using it?
  • Relevant: does our target audience get a sense of what we do from the name?
  • Extensible: if the company is successful, can we keep this name even as our scope expands?
  • Spellable: when spoken out loud, can your target audience spell it without ambiguity?
  • Short: ideally <8 characters or 1-2 syllables

How important was domain name availability during your naming process?

We are building a consumer-focused, web-based company so we put a lot of importance on the domain name. Consumers need to be able to find our site quickly and easily. We thought securing the .com was critical. We also bought all other relevant gTLDs as well.

You launched on Placement.co, but quickly made the switch to Placement.com. Why did you opt to acquire Placement.com so early in your company's lifecycle?

We acquired placement.co after we were already confident that we could acquire placement.com. We launched on placement.co while negotiations for placement.com were still ongoing and switched as soon as we could after that.

How did you acquire Placement.com? Is it a name that was offered to you, or did you seek it out?

We sought it out. It was owned by a private entrepreneur who I reached out to and negotiated with directly. He was a reasonable man, a tough negotiator, and a pleasure to work with.

How did you determine the value of Placement.com to your company when you were considering acquiring the domain? Did the $3 million funding round, closed in late 2019, have any influence on the price you were willing to pay?

We valued the domain as a marketing expense. It wasn't a process that a financial analyst would be impressed with, though. It was more feeling than sober analysis.

I don't think our funding made a difference to the price we paid for Placement.com. The funding we took on helped expand the domain options available to us, but ultimately the price is the price.

What are the positive impacts for your brand using a premium domain?

I think it's easier to establish trust with customers. Our name proves that we are a serious company with serious resources. Any random person on the internet can't just get placement.com

Your website says that you're trusted by talent from the likes of Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. Do you think the domain name plays a part in gaining trust and credibility as a new company?

Absolutely.

What would be your advice to other startup founders who may be considering a premium .COM purchase?

If you're in a consumer business where the web is important, get the premium domain if you can. Some B2B businesses also benefit from a premium name, though I think you have a few more degrees of freedom there.

Also, you're going to need to be prepared to spend on this - definitely with money and also with time. If you go at it alone, you're going to need to generate a lot of potential names and work through them methodically. It's a lot of work to ideate, vet, and then try to acquire the name.

You can skip that process by working with a domain broker, but don't expect to get any "deals" through a brokerage.

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Thanks to Sean for taking the time to talk about Placement.com. If you're currently looking for a new job placement, Placement.com may be able to help. You can also follow the company on Twitter @Placement.