Matt Mickiewicz Discusses Buying the Domain Hired.com for “About” $125,000

Jun 07 2016

Hired.com is a job marketplace established in 2012 which has raised over $70 million in funding.

hired

It’s yet another startup for co-founder Matt Mickiewicz, who was also involved with creating companies such as SitePoint, 99designs, and Flippa.

The company was started as DeveloperAuction.com, a domain which they acquired for $1,600, but the team ultimately decided this domain was too limiting for the company’s aspirations, and they picked up Hired.com in 2013.

Matt Mickiewicz recently did a Mixergy.com interview, where he in part discussed the rebranding and domain acquisition, starting at the 18:15 mark of the video (free signup required).

A few excerpts:

Matt: We actually hired a branding, naming consultancy and we spent a couple of days trying to brainstorm different ideas for a name for our company.

Mixergy: What does that cost?

Matt: $10,000-$20,000.

Matt: The Developer Auction name that we initially chose super-controversial. Auction implies highest bidder pays, which was definitely not the case on our platform. The candidates were not obliged to take any offer or the highest offer. In fact, 80% of the time, they chose the company that didn’t offer them the best salary package, but they were doing interesting work in an interesting industry with interesting, fun people they could learn from.

But I’d be limiting the scope of what we were doing way too much. We wanted designers in Developer Auction. We wanted to do product managers and data scientists and machine learning engineers. Now we’re in sales and marketing as well. We needed a name that was more all-encompassing of our vision for what this business would ultimately become.”

Mixergy: All right. I heard you paid about $125,000 for Hired.com the domain name.

Matt: That’s about right.

Mixergy: That’s about right. You had someone who had the domain. You asked a friend to go and email so no one could Google you and that’s how you bought it. That’s a freaking steal.

Matt: It was a very good deal. I was amazed that no one had used the name. Even the two words closer, Hire.com and Hires.com are unused worldwide. So, we weren’t one letter off from an existing well-known brand or popular website. The job space worldwide is over $400 billion a year. So, to have a definitive word felt like a really powerful statement.

But at the time, it was a pretty scary purchase. We had only raised our series seed round of money, which was $2.7 million. So, a six-figure wire transfer represented a not insignificant chunk of our capital. I remember when I send the email to one of the people on our accounts team to do the wire transfer, I got the whole call back asking, “Are you serious? Is there supposed to be a decimal here? Is this a typo?” We decided to buy the domain name rather than paying ourselves a salary.

The entire video is worth a watch.

A 2014 article from Inc. provides a little more detail on the Hired.com acquisition process, starting with their initial outreach to the Australian owner,

The price: $250,000. A lot of money, but the name–Hired.com–was ideal. Rather than risk being Googled as founders–each of the three co-founders had previously built successful tech companies–they enlisted a male friend to pose as a woman, with no link to startups, to begin negotiating.

A handful of emails later, “she” got the price down to roughly half the $250,000 that the sellers sought.

“The important aspect was that the Gmail address doing the asking wasn’t associated with me or my LinkedIn profile,” says Mickiewicz, a serial entrepreneur whose other successful startups include 99designs, SitePoint, and Flippa. (Mickiewicz has an inside perspective on the domain industry: SitePoint, a tech education site, covers them, and Flippa is a website, app, and domain marketplace. And Mickiewicz still owns hundreds of prime names, including the three-letter Yet.com.)

Still, he is a bit shocked the deal worked out so smoothly. “The original buyer had registered the domain in 1998,” Mickiewicz says. “He must have had thousands of prospective buyers contact him. Why he chose us is beyond me. Luck, maybe.”

You can find the full Inc. article here.

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11 comments


    1. Post author
      Aaron

      It reminds me of one of Mike Berkens’ comments on a NamesCon panel, when discussing how he deals with inquiries. He said something to the effect of, “regardless of their stated name or email address, assume the person inquiring is the ideal user for the domain, and price it accordingly”. (major paraphrasing there) That approach doesn’t work for every seller, but it clearly treated him well.

  1. dan

    Tx for this story

    Too bad not more startup founders / funders so smart about value of a good domain name; and process of negotiating for a domain – high asking price not predictor of ultimate sales price.

    Just had a very well known, successful vc contact me on a prime name i regged in 1994 and he didnt have the smarts to even make an offer, after my affirmative response to his initial contact inquiring whether it was available for purchase.


    1. Post author
      Aaron

      Agreed!

      It didn’t feel like an “ad”, based on (a) domains already being part of the discussion, and (b) Andrew’s casual, conversational delivery.

      Kudos to BrandBucket for spending some marketing $$ and continuing to get your name out there to different audiences.

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