•on April 2nd, 2013
JOB TITLE: Business Analyst
CITY: Maple Ridge, BC
JOB CATEGORY: Business Operations & Brand Management
Wanted: Talented and enthusiastic recent graduate with a passion for operations, analytics, and entrepreneurism.
Established in 2010 and located in the heart of Maple Ridge, Left of the Dot Media turns million dollar domain names into multi-million dollar businesses. This includes the evolving web properties of Villa.com, Christmas.com, Homeowners.com, Renters.com, Oahu.com, and many more.
Our office is waaaay out here in Maple Ridge. The way we see things… Maple Ridge is a growing, vibrant community filled with talented people who are sick and tired of wasting 500+ hours on the West Coast Express every year. As a new graduate, you may have not yet experienced the horrors of commuting. But trust us… it is not pleasant.
However, if you are the right candidate, you may never experience those 5:30 AM wakeup calls endured by your former classmates. You may never endure the perils of crawling along the Mary Hill bypass in the dead of a dark winter morning. Instead, you can actually have some work/life balance, you can learn and grow with a new company, and you can share in our success as new opportunities emerge and new projects are tackled.
If you are a recent University or College graduate presently living in (or willing to relocate to) Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Mission, Coquitlam, Surrey, Langley, etc… you owe it to yourself to explore the opportunity. Sound intriguing? Keep on reading.
- You must be a risk taker who has a passion for entrepreneurism
- You must be a self starter and able to manage yourself and your projects
- You should be up-to-date on your Internet memes (that way you know if we are laughing at you or with you)
- You should be someone who wants to build something really cool, only to emerge in a couple of years and say, “Wow! Look what we’ve built together”
- You must want to work in a startup
- You must believe in the mantra of “work hard, play hard.”
- You are not satisfied with “It’s OK I guess”, but understand that sometimes you just got to “Fish or cut bait”
- You must be able to laugh at yourself and roll with the punches
- You are likely to be a good online gamer, as you are one who has an innate ability to figure out the rules, then find creative ways to problem solve and bend them to your advantage
- You must tolerate cats (We are presently fostering 2 cats, both somewhat cranky)
- You don’t have to be good at Darts or Foosball, but you should be willing to learn
- Recent grad to 3 years of business operations, web, or marketing experience
- Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent College + Life Experience
- Good understanding of the Internet and what makes a good user experience
- We don’t need you to be a developer, just be aware of what good technology looks like
- Able to learn things quickly that you were not taught in school
- Knowledge/curiosity of web marketing, SEO, PPC, affiliate marketing, and lead generation
- Knowledge/curiosity of website analytics (Google Analytics, Woopra, or similar)
- Knowledge/curiosity of A/B or multivariate testing
- Understanding that marketing has changed from an Art to a Science.
- Knowledge/curiosity in the hospitality and tourism vertical as several of our upcoming businesses will be in this market
- Experience and patience for customer support without being overly sarcastic (a little bit is fine)
- Experience with market research and business planning
- Experience running a web-based business an asset (even if it is just as an Ebay Power Seller)
- Knowledge (and willingness) that sometimes it requires we work around the clock — not because someone is poking you with a sharp stick, but because you want to.
- Knowledge that you don’t know everything and that we don’t know everything, but if we put our heads together, we can probably figure it out at least as well as the other guys.
About the Job
So what will you actually be doing? Every day is probably going to be different. Initially, you will be contributing to the business planning, content, go-to-market strategy, and eventual brand management of one of our yet-to-be launched Internet brands. This brand is related to vacation and executive rentals and travel accommodations. We will want you to live and breathe this brand and become an expert in the space and in the analytics of the site itself.
When it is working (and generating revenue), you will know why and how much. If it is not performing, you need to know where we are bleeding and what can be done to fix it. You will operate marketing experiments to improve conversions and track and report on your successes. You will build repeatable systems so that when you become an expert in this brand, you can take your lessons learned and systems and do it again on a new business.
Further details about the brand and the opportunity will be provided during the interview process.
Compensation & Next Steps
- While your salary will be competitive and based on your experience, we believe that as we build this out together, we can all share in the upside and increase compensation as revenues increase for the brands you manage. When we succeed we all win is our compensation philosophy, so let’s win big.
- If you are on EI and FutureWorks eligible, then this may be a perfect fit. Same goes for being pre-screened for BC’s GetYouthWorking Program
- If you are interested in charting out into the unknown, then please send us a recent resume (online link is fine) along with your salary expectations to email@example.com. No phone calls or unexpected visits please.
- Thanks in advance for considering us, and while we thank all those who apply, only those who are being considered may be contacted. Because we are small, we apologize in advance that we can’t respond to everyone.
Left of the Dot is a small, but growing company. Fit and a willingness to learn is more important than experience.
Learn more about us at www.LeftOfTheDot.com [Editor’s note: … our website is out of date. Maybe you can help us fix that too?).
•on August 16th, 2012
So we think this opportunity is a little different so bare with me while I build up to it and skip a lot of the hyperbole about us being “an exciting Internet startup, with excellent potential, blah, blah, blah.”
Hands up if you’ve ever heard of Cameron Herold of 1-800-GOT-JUNK and BackPacket COO fame? Cameron has mastered the art of pitching companies to getting a massive amount of coverage when he does. His disciples have followed his principles and have achieved great media success. Cameron’s PR Strategy can be distilled as:
- Know your angle.
- Know your target.
- Pick up the phone.
(A good summary of his approach can be found here: http://bit.ly/oekU5y)
Anyhow, to make what could be a very long story
, short … We need someone to come up with angles, research targets, and pick up the phone as we launch one of the top internet brands in the world. And that last statement is not hyperbole.
So what is that brand, and who are we? Let me answer that second question first and build up to the great reveal, that “MOVE THAT BUS!” moment if you will.
We are a Maple Ridge, BC-based startup that builds real web businesses on million dollar domain names. These web brands include: Villa.com, HomeDecor.com, Massage.com, and countless others. You can read a bit about us on our website at www.LeftOfTheDot.com.
We are very much a startup. We launched over 2 years ago, but moved into some nice digs here in Maple Ridge. For those reading this from downtown Vancouver… Yes, an internet startup from Maple Ridge! We have 7 in our offices here and another 10 or so overseas. We have darts, a foosball table, beer o’clock every Friday afternoon (and some other days too, like today… hey it was 33 degrees out there!). We have an office dog on most days.
And yes, we work really hard because we believe in what we are doing, and if we don’t, somebody else will come and steal our lunch. Everyone also recognizes that we are a startup, meaning that we are frugal while bootstrapping and filled with all kinds of uncertainty.
But the opportunity, oh the opportunity…. (If you’ve read this far, then you must be somewhat intrigued, so indulge me a little bit further while I describe you or what we envision you to be).
> You must be a risk taker who has a passion for entrepreneurism
> You must love to talk to strangers. The media and bloggers won’t bite and you will have to want to pitch them on the phone.
> You must want to work in Maple Ridge and won’t bitch and moan about the commute if you are coming from downtown (read: a great opportunity for someone out this way)
> You must be a self starter and able to manage yourself and your projects
> You could be fresh out of school, or been around the block a few times. . . either way, you are enthusiastic and driven to make things work
> You must be willing to multi-task, while still getting your projects done. We have lots of shiny objects and while we may be distracted and pulling you in different directions continually, you can still focus. And remember, it is ever so important that you… SQUIRREL!!
> You should be someone who gets carried away simply by building something really cool, only to emerge in a couple of years and say, “Wow! Look what we’ve built together”
> You must want to work in a startup
> You must believe in the mantra of “work hard, play hard.”
> You should like to write, blog, tweet, and poke [do they still do that?]
> You must be eager to get started in PR and media relations. Ideally, you want to use us as a springboard for bigger and brighter things in a few years, and then realize that we’ve grown together and we are now that bigger and brighter thing you imagined when you applied.
> A degree in journalism, communications, English, Art History, History of the Roman Empire, Geography, Psychology, … Ok, basically you need to have some initials behind your name or equivalent experience. We need you smart. Street smarts is a form of smart
> An understanding of social media
> Creative in concepts and ideas. You are a risk taker.
> Very strong English skills (while you are pitching via the phone, you would hate to land a spot on Ellen DeGeneres only to lose it because you can’t string a sentence together when you send a follow-up email).
> Pre-existing media contacts
> Knowledge/curiosity of Web businesses, Domain Names, and Internet Marketing
> Knowledge (and willingness) that sometimes it requires we work around the clock — not because someone is poking you with a sharp stick, but because you want to.
> Knowledge that you don’t know everything and that we don’t know everything, but if we put our heads together, we can probably figure it out.
About the Job
So I guess this finally where we tell you about our latest project. Consider it a reward for reading this far down the page.
Within the next week or two we will be launching an early version of Christmas.com. This is one of the top, un-built assets on the web. And we are building it as we speak (well the developers are over there doing the coding, I’m sitting here writing a mini novella called, “How to Hire an Eager PR Star in 2 Weeks or Less”, to be self published.)
In a way, we are kind of still in stealth about Christmas.com, but by putting this job posting out there, that kind of bursts that bubble. My hope is that by stringing this out, only those who really want to launch a career in PR and Media Relations will have read this posting to the bottom.
What you will do over the next 4 months includes:
> Pitch, Pitch, and Pitch Christmas.com… We are live for this holiday and we need the coverage
> Manage the social media for that brand. We will have some pretty cool social media things that we will be doing with the site, so we need to have you as our genuine voice on that site (and yes, you have to be genuine)
> Grab some low hanging fruit and manage the other social media for our other brands. We will have 16 brands live by the end of this year, and each has unique stories and brands that need telling.
> Oh … and you can also do corporate communications for us too at a company level while we try to secure our next round of financing.
> After Christmas, you can sleep, and get ready for 2013 while shouting from the rooftops about our other cool properties.
Compensation Next Steps
With my mini novella now complete, here is what you need to do if you’ve read this far and you want to learn more about us and the job at hand.
> Send us a cover letter and provide a resume (or link to an online resume) that tells us why you are right for this position.
> While your salary will be competitive and based on your experience, we believe that as we build this out together, we can all share in the upside and increase compensation as revenues increase. However, to make sure that we don’t waste each other’s time, please include your salary expectations and available start date (which is hopefully soon).
> Oh and regarding salary, if you are on EI and FutureWorks eligible, then this may be a good fit. We also can’t ask or discriminate based on age, but there is a great program called Get Youth Working that we have used in the past to help offset our costs. We are a startup after all.
Send your resume to: careers [at] leftofthedot.com
Thanks in advance for considering us, and while we thank all those who apply, only those who are being considered may be contacted.
Industry News, Ramblings
•on June 12th, 2012
In just a few hours from now, the international unveiling of the of applied-for domains under ICANN’s New Generic Top Level Domains will be upon us. With coverage and anticipation brewing amongst a lot of the major media, I can’t help but wondering if it is going to be kind of like Ty Pennington yelling “Move that Bus” in the Domaining world’s equivalent of Extreme Home Makeover.
Will people squeal in delight? Or will will they simply say… “Oh crap, now how am I supposed to cut the lawn of that size?” No one really knows the reaction. Probably the only thing certain with this whole process is that there is no certainty about what this will all mean. Of course, there are some visionaries within the domain space (see: Frank Schilling) who are betting big that this day is a turning point in the web and domain names in general.
So where does Left of the Dot stand on all of this? Simply put, we are excited about what this means for ourselves, our properties, and our clients.
Last week Donuts Inc. announced that they were applying for 307 new gTLDs, publishing in a media release:
“Finding a usable Internet address is a real problem. There are more than 125 million total names in the top five TLDs, with three fourths of them in .COM alone,” said Donuts CEO Paul Stahura. “The Internet was opened for worldwide use almost 20 years ago, and we’ve had only 22 generic names made available since then. We’re overdue for expansion.”
Stahura’s rationale for pursuing $50M + worth of gTLDs is the same as we stated in our AllICanAffordIsThisShittyDomain.com message from late last year. There is an ever-increasing appetite for online identities and there is not enough virtual real estate to go around.
The Left of the Dot approach has been to build virtual high-rises on these virtual properties (we’re focussing on the waterfront lots at the moment). Or another way to put it, our virtual properties are being converted from 3 bedroom bungalows on large tracts of farm land into strata developments. Meanwhile, the new gTLDs are terraforming new planets and building new waterfronts.
We believe that these new gTLDs are solving the same problem of giving consumers a choice and an alternative. We also believe that with the amount of money being put into these new extensions, the general public will start seeing alternative domain constructs in their daily lives. And once they start accepting alternate domain extensions, it can only mean good things for our sub-domain model.
In our AllICanAfford… video we asked those watching whether they wanted to turn the clock back 15 years when the first domain names were first being conceived … “IMPOSSIBLE!” we claimed. Who knows, maybe in another 15 years, we will be kicking ourselves once more wishing we could turn back the clock again to right now. Only time will tell
We saw this quick rambling by Shane Cultra of DomainShane that we wanted to share. Shane is an offline businessman first and foremost, but owns a good collection of domains mostly in areas that he knows well (i.e., plant and garden-related). He asserts…
“When you own a category killer domain, a person that enters that site is making an assumption that the owner must be one of the leaders in that category. They haven’t a clue that many of the owners are clueless about their products or the industry in general. In my opinion, new customers won’t feel as comfortable going to Jones’ Mattress Factory as they would Mattress.com. Jones’ may have been around for 80 years and Mattress.com only 3 years (made up numbers) but Mattress.com gets a big head start. This doesn’t mean that Jones can’t become the largest seller on the net, but the road will be longer and actually could be more expensive than the mattress.com road with the advertising budget needed. The Internet is still young but major keyword domains feel older, more experienced. People feel like they’ve been to the site even though it was most likely some other generic type site. That familiarity helps them sell…”
Will the name make you an overnight success? Hardly. If you fail to deliver on customer expectations within the business itself (e.g., if Importers.com could not gain the trust of its users through its actions), then the name doesn’t matter.
The impact that “Trust” has with customers, and the ability for a domain to influence this trust, is directly attributable to the brand positioning that we’ve established for Importers.com. This category killer and brand is all about “Trusted Global Trade.” We’ve been working since the brand’s launch to reflect this intrinsic trust of the domain name, back out in any of our marketing messages.
Launching and running a business is hard. There are bumps, twists, headaches all along the route. One second things are going well, then the next you are scrambling to reconfigure a merchant account so as to not miss out on any online orders. But when things are running properly and all things are equal: in our opinion (and Shane’s too) the ability for your customers to trust you over your competitor does give you an unfair advantage.
Part of what we do at Left of the Dot is allow small businesses as represented by the category killer domain name is to leverage this trust bestowed on the domain as sub-domains. In a way, having a marketing name is kind of like a celebrity endorsement from someone you trust. Everyone trusts Tom Hanks, so if you have your product next to Tom, some of that trust rubs off on your products too.
What do you think … do category killer domain names give you an unfair advantage?
•on March 5th, 2012
I was reading this article over at Owen Frager’s blog over the weekend, exploring the power of conversion words when combined with core concepts (e.g., VisitStockholm.com) … which is an interesting read for anyone who is interested in its own right … but a paragraph contained within the article really caught my eye:
…”Don’t forget the sub-domain factor,” counsels Turkel. “I know of dozens of large cities ramping up their budgets to reach the Dual Income No Kids (DINKs) recession-immune audiences.” This might help move domain negotiations that previously lacked justification or sense of urgency to buy. Sub-domains extend the reach of the domain by enabling you to present different faces to different demographic groups…
The Turkel being quoted is Bruce Turkel of TURKEL, an agency focussed on travel and tourism marketing, branding and advertising.
What he is alluding to of course is using sub-domains to segment your audience into silos, providing each with content and an experience relevant to the whole. If you have Oahu.com, you could just as easily have HeliTours.Oahu.com or KidFriendly.Oahu.com. While each of these could support the overall brand experience of the main domain and borrow the trust associated with the primary brand, they could stand alone and speak to the target audience.
It is no wonder then that the major search engines still treat sub-domains as separate websites… because they are. However, an effective sub-domain strategy can allow large brand holders to sculpt the end user’s experience so that they see content that is relevant to them. The domain “Helitours.Oahu.com” can deliver on the brand promise that the name implies: visitors (and search engines) would expect that this sub-domain is, well, about Helitours in Oahu.
Our approach at Left of the Dot is to allow the brand holder to create these sub-domains easily, allowing either the natural community to build out sub-domains to their “best fit and use”, or the brand holder to build their own network underneath.
•on November 17th, 2011
Someone asked me about the stats quoted in our “Look Left: AllICanAffordIsThisShittyDomain” video (click here to watch). The stats used were:
Stat #1 – “6.7 Million Small Businesses Started Last Year”
The question was phrased in the manner that this number is much higher than the oft quoted SBA number of 627,200 new employer firms, as reported by DomainSherpa here (and others).
Our stats were from the Kauffman Foundation and the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity (2010). “In 2010, 565,000 new businesses were started per month by new and repeat entrepreneurs, the same rate as in 2009. The 340 out of 100,000 adults who started businesses each month during 2010 represents a 4 percent increase over 2008.”
There is a lot of great information in that data set, including:
Entrepreneurship rates by race show that Latinos experienced the largest entrepreneurial activity increase between 2009 and 2010. The Latino business-creation rate rose from 0.46 percent in 2009 to 0.56 percent in 2010, the highest rate over the 15 years of Index data. The Asian entrepreneurial activity rate increased from 0.31 percent in 2009 to 0.37 percent in 2010, also the highest rate in the past decade and a half. Both African-Americans and non-Latino whites, on the other hand, experienced declines in entrepreneurial activity rates.
Entrepreneurship growth was highest among 35- to 44-year-olds, rising from 0.35 in 2008 to 0.40 in 2009. The oldest age group in the study (55-64 years) also experienced a large increase in business-creation rates from 2008 to 2009, contributing to a two-year upward trend to 0.40.
Stat #2 – “215 Million Website Addresses are Registered Around the World Right Now”
This stat came from the Verisign Domain Name Industry Report from August 2011.
The second quarter of 2011 closed with a base of more than 215 million domain name registrations across all Top Level Domains (TLDs), an increase of 5.2 million domain names, or 2.5 percent over the first quarter. registrations have grown by more than 16.9 million, or 8.6 percent, since the second quarter of 2010.
As with the Kauffman dataset, the Verisign report is full of interesting facts. The one that jumped to me is that one third of all .com or .net domains presently resolve as either a parked page, a 1-page under construction site, or don’t resolve at all. It is no wonder then that small businesses can’t find a domain name around which to build their business.
- Verisign Domain Name Report (Aug 2011)
Normally we don’t like to talk about our projects and sites until they launch, but I had to direct you to our upcoming launch of Themes.com to call attention to the great work done by our lead designer on the “Coming Soon/Splash Page”.
Check it out here before it is gone and is replaced by the “real” site.
Themes.com will be a new marketplace, according to our branding documents “For Designers, By Designers”… so maybe he was just super-excited to play in his playground.
This splash page highlights our manifesto that we created, describing the vision we have for the domain.
When we start on any new Domain Name, we spend the first while truly understanding the space. After all, we are not building mini-sites or mass developed parked pages. Every name we tackle can become a category-defining brand and business unto itself.