Jobs: $300 to get to the Top 100 Jason 05 Oct 2006

38 comments Latest by JF

One of the reasons we launched the Job Board was to create an exclusive, high-value place to post and look for design, programming, and related jobs. We believe the 37signals Job Board should list the top jobs in the business for the top job seekers in the business.

We felt about 100 listings at a time would be the sweet spot. Enough to provide choice to those looking for a job. Not too many to dilute the listings like so many huge job boards do. When your post is 1 of 100 you feel pretty good about having it seen by the target. When your post is 1 of 500 or 1 of 1000 you start to feel like you’re wasting your money. We don’t want anyone to feel like that.

Even though there’s more competition in the job board space as of late, traffic and postings to our Job Board have been increasing significantly. As of right now there are 142 jobs listed on our Job Board. We think that’s starting to push the limit of what we’re comfortable with. We want less jobs.

So, it’s time to raise the price and try and bring the number of listings back in line with our sweet spot of “the top 100.” Starting now, Job Board posts will be $300 for 30 days (it used to be $250). If we need to raise or lower the price again in the future we will.

We’d like to leave you with an email we received yesterday from a satisfied Job Board customer:

We advertised our latest job posting far and wide, then bought 4 paid listings; Fog Creek Software, 37signals Job Board, Craigslist and Techcrunch. We received over 120 applications, but in the end 2 out of the 3 finalists (and the person we ultimately hired) found us on the 37signals Job Board. Thanks guys, this thing really works!

That was from Aaron Dragushan of Wondermill Webworks Inc. Thanks Aaron! We wish everyone the same success.

38 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Dan Boland 05 Oct 06

Nice to see that you guys care more about quality than quantity. As usual. =)

Chad 05 Oct 06

If you wanted the Job Board to only have Top 100, instead of increasing the price … couldn’t you decrease the amount of time the posting is on the Job Board instead?

Mark 05 Oct 06

And/or establish a queue?

Vanessa 05 Oct 06

What’s wrong with increasing the price and increasing value to satisfied customers who want to reach a targetted audience —unlike so many other Job boards out there?

Customers will pay for value, so charge accordingly.

Alfred Toh 05 Oct 06

Geez… what an excuse to increase the price… ;)

Well I think implementing a queue would work, but how about premium listings. LOL… Moneytizing your assets at its very best!

Aaron Blohowiak 05 Oct 06

Actually, raising the price is the correct thing to do.

Yay, economics!

Jonathan 05 Oct 06

Colleges do the same thing as well. In Texas all public colleges have to accept the top 10% of Texas high school graduates. To weed them out they raise tuition prices.

Phil 05 Oct 06

I like the suckups with their “thanks for caring about quality” responses. Clearly the goal here is to make more money… as an end user 100 jobs vs 126 jobs isn’t going to make a difference. I think you should raise the price to $400. I don’t think for a recruiter that will make that much of a difference. Plus, if your site is worth more then Joel’s shouldn’t it cost more?

Chris 05 Oct 06

Man, the negativity. If the aim is to go from 142 listings at $250 down to 100 listings at $300, 37s will be making less money, not more.

Phil 05 Oct 06

Chris, because that is their stated aim doesn’t mean that is what will occur or what they realistically expect to happen.

Clearly if they just wanted to limit it to 100 they could not allow any new ads until one drops off, or shorten the time an ad can stay on. Most likely it will drop down to 130 ads and they will make more money.

Jake Good 05 Oct 06

I would too like to comment on the quality of the job board… as I took a full time Ruby on Rails position (that is still listed) on your site from space150.com

Thanks 27 Signals! It’s crazy exciting!

JF 05 Oct 06

Clearly if they just wanted to limit it to 100 they could not allow any new ads until one drops off, or shorten the time an ad can stay on. Most likely it will drop down to 130 ads and they will make more money.

Phil we don’t believe in putting hassles in front of people. Waiting for a job to “drop off” so a new slot is open is a hassle. People have better things to do than wait for a slot to open up.

The goal here is to find the right price to keep about 100 jobs on the board at any one time. If it’s 107 that’s OK. If it’s 94 that’s OK. We’re not aiming for 100 on the dot all the time. That precision for the sake of precision and that’s a waste of energy.

But we do think 140+ is too many so we’re adjusting the price to see what happens. We’ll continue to adjust until we find the market sweet spot or until we have other ideas for bringing the number to around 100.

Phil 05 Oct 06

Fair enough, although I still think you should jack it to $400… I don’t see 30-40 companies a month balking at $50.

Congrats for leading the way in this area though, it’s interesting to watch all the copy cats!

Anonymous Coward 05 Oct 06

“Thanks 27 Signals! It’s crazy exciting!”

Yeah well done 17 signals!

My two-pence worth, it’s a good bit of business thinking to do this but do you really need to tell everyone about the fact that your able to put up your prices because your website is doing so well?

KMA 05 Oct 06

When was it ever so wrong to a) promote yourself b) make money?

Are you people really that stupid? They can charge whatever they want. Raise it…..lower it….give it away…. they could charge $1,000 …… nothing they do makes any of you happy….. the jealousy is beyond rampant in my opinion.

To anonymous coward….. They felt like writing about it. The beauty of the blog and our new found interest in it is that people tell us things without all the red tape that most traditional media goes through before it gets to us.

Some people are interested…. some people aren’t. If you aren’t please just stay off the board. “Oh what an excuse…oh this oh that”….. cmon….. Trying saying something intelligent for a change.

Nothing you say thank god will change the fact that:

a) 37s software is useful
b) 37s is popular
c) You will still probably be stuck at a dead end job 5 years from now.

Quit the yapping….. it’s getting really old.

Darrel 05 Oct 06

“Trying saying something intelligent for a change.”

Like your rant?

Mike Papageorge 05 Oct 06

Nice work guys, kinda fun to watch economics at work in such a transparent fasion. Inspiring to some of us.

Anonymous Coward 05 Oct 06

_”We want less jobs.”_

I know “less” is all the rage, but really… It should be “We want _fewer_ jobs.”

Dan Boland 05 Oct 06

I like the suckups with their “thanks for caring about quality” responses.

Why does that make me a suckup? 100 listings at $300 is less money than 142 listings at $250. They could take the low road and go for more cash, but they want to make sure the job board is satisfactory for everyone. Go fall in a dumpster.

Anonymous Coward 05 Oct 06

To my mind this is a lot like a restuarant business. Let’s say a new restuarant opens down the road from you, they offer good food at good prices and before long they are getting packed out every night. They’ve reached saturation point whereby some customers may stop coming because it’s too busy and so they have two choices; expand the business to cater for the volume of customers and create more profit or increase the prices which in turn will reduce the amount of customers but again increase profits.

Doing either of these is better than doing nothing and in my opinion the latter is probably the best idea. But im still not sure that it would be a good idea to put a notice in the window telling the cutomers that the prices are going up and some of them are not really welcome.

JF 05 Oct 06

Doing either of these is better than doing nothing and in my opinion the latter is probably the best idea. But im still not sure that it would be a good idea to put a notice in the window telling the cutomers that the prices are going up and some of them are not really welcome.

I guess we’ll find out. Life is one big experiment. If one thing doesn’t work try something else. If that doesn’t work try something else. Writing it up the way we did is an experiment too. We like experimenting and watching what happens. That’s how we learn.

Big boy 05 Oct 06

Ha ha, I wonder if they got this idea after seeing this thread:
http://discuss.joelonsoftware.com/default.asp?biz.5.398314.9

Andy 05 Oct 06

Very nice, Adam Smith would be proud of you guys!

Phil 05 Oct 06

Dan, sorry maybe i was a little harsh on you there… theres nothing wrong with increasing profit or realizing something might be priced low, so I was semi annoyed with what I perceived as 37sigs trying to sell a price increase as some attempt to increase quality. It would be like OPEC saying their recent decrease in oil supply is good for the gas user.

And posts like yours saying essentially “thanks for giving us less jobs, companies that can pay $50 more for job ads are better quality!” just seemed a little silly to me. Off to fall in a dumpster now…

Benjy 05 Oct 06

From my POV, trying to limit the listings to approx. 100 simply makes the Job Board less useful. As a job seeker, a job in SF isn’t equal to a job in NY. While 100 may sounds like a lot of jobs, many cities have only one or two listings at most. Not a lot of choice for those seeking jobs. If too many listings is that much of an issue, wouldn’t it be better to provide some mechanism to limit by city, field, etc. and allow users to hone in on what’s relevant to their search?

John Koetsier 05 Oct 06

Two comments:

Phil: it’s impressive to see an apology on an online forum. That’s too rare these days, and congrats for being big enough to do it. (Flame wars suck, civility is a perishable commodity!)

Benjy: very, very good point. As the tail gets long, we need filters to manage the data. I’d rather have a long skinny tail with good filters than a short fat tail with no filter at all.

Short & fat is great for a small number of people, but for the majority it just doesn’t have anything to offer.

Joe Ruby 05 Oct 06

I guess it’s good to see Wondermill hiring again — they had mass layoffs a while ago.

Audrey 05 Oct 06

I have to second Benjay’s comment about geographic selection. I’m in Portland, OR, and the only way I’m going to see any jobs for my area on here is if the pool is bigger. Or are you trying to encourage everyone to move to SF?

Tony 05 Oct 06

Do most people look for jobs in more than one category? Might it not be better to shoot for a certain number of jobs in each category? Maybe charge more for listings in the most popular categories and less for the least popular?

Mike McDerment 06 Oct 06

This is a wonderful application of a “less is more” philosophy. Approaches like this are amazing (IMHO) for both you and your advertisers - much like your Deck ads which run only one ad at a time on the page….The Deck listings are so much nicer than the clutter your see on other pages loaded with ads…your design looks cleaner, and the advertiser (of which I am one) gets a nice spot in the sun (…in rotation of course :) ).

I tip my hat once again…great call gents.

"D" 06 Oct 06

At $10 a day, it still is a bargain -

Kieran 06 Oct 06

Do you guys seriously make $30k a month from a job listing board, with only 100 jobs, what the ****?

George Morris 06 Oct 06

You can’t make everyone happy. If you increase the price you are a greedy capitalist. If you shorten the timespan from 30 days you are changing the rules and decreasing the value of your service. If you allow 1000 postings you become Monster.com.

Increasing the rate is the correct move. 37Signals has earned a reputation for high quality thru simplicity. If you want high quality then it is only natural to increase price, otherwise you cheapen the overall brand. The increased price will eventually cap out when the job posters preceive a decreased ROI from the service. Apparently the job board has not reached that cap yet.

Good move.

The Joker 06 Oct 06

I believe job boards should be free of charge. But people just like money and people get paid to work. So why not indulge ourselves with this whole economy. We create value and share it to use that further. If a blog is succesful or a website, its value rises and therefore its value is high. What I dont understand that people are so open to tell all their financial stories wide open to anyone. That is beyond me. Like showing flicker photos to the public, I can understand this when you have houses for rent, are a bird watcher, are a professional photographer. But everyday life in the wide open is really like television now, one big reality show.

Stephanie 06 Oct 06

I would like to point out that some of the jobs (or employers) that you have posted on your board violate your own, 37 Signals work ethics. Scratch the surface on these listings & you shall see what I mean.

Andy 08 Oct 06

It’s an interesting experiment but it seems odd to me (not raising the price, but trying to limit the total jobs listed to 100). The stated goal seems to be to “list the top jobs in the business for the top job seekers in the business.”

I doubt that the amount of money a company is willing to spend on a job listing is actually all that related to the quality of the job. If 37signals wanted to list only the top jobs then they would have some kind of editorial filter on the jobs that they allow to be posted - currently the only filter is the amount of money the lister is willing to spend on an ad.

Of course, filtering the jobs listed would be a hassle and who has time for that? Plus it would add a lot to the expense of running the job board, which would just drive up the cost to the advertisers.

Whether or not the people visiting the 37signals Job Board are the top job seekers in the business is an entirely different issue.

Shane 09 Oct 06

Nice Spin.

I’m certain that raising your price has nothing to due with consumer surplus and competitive pricing.

What will you do when 142 jobs exist that paid $300ea? Raise it again? Probably not….

JF 09 Oct 06

What will you do when 142 jobs exist that paid $300ea? Raise it again? Probably not….

Why wouldn’t we?

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