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What’s in a job board name?

job board nameNaming a job board is something everyone thinks they can do – but few do well. Sorry, folks, it’s true. A good job board name is hard to find (and a good URL is even harder).

Well, you may ask, why? Let me suggest that these names come in 3 basic flavors, each presenting its own particular set of benefits and problems.

  1. Abstract: Monster and Dice are good examples. The names don’t have anything to do with jobs or careers. Massive amounts of marketing, longevity, and luck turned these names into employment brands. It’s not a coincidence that these site are two of the oldest job boards in the business, by the way. Being first has its advantages. Another advantage is that you’ll stand out from all of the ‘pragmatic’ sites (see #2). The disadvantage for a newcomer? You have to spend lots of time and money to ‘teach’ job seekers what your weird name means (I’m betting Eggsprout will face this at some point, for example).
  2. Pragmatic: Think of pretty much any job site you know: InsuranceJobs, JobsinSolarPower, MilitaryHire, etc. Put the words ‘career’, ‘jobs’, or ‘hire’ in the name. Job seekers understand you, Google likes you, and you’re in business. Of course, you’re one of thousands of sites with those words in their title – AND you may have trouble obtaining the URL you want. But there’s a reason why so many sites have gone this way.
  3. Middle of the road: Think of AfterCollege. It’s a name that says ’employment’ without beating you over the head. You can split the difference between abstract and pragmatic – and sometimes you might get a winner. In my opinion, these are the toughest names to develop.

What are your thoughts? What makes a good name good – and why?

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. One thing to keep in mind is that what you start out doing isn’t always what you evolve into doing so a name tightly centered on making one impression can be a two edged sword. Example:

    When I created TechTrak ( a dozen or so years ago as the name for my telephone names sourcing business I was sourcing alot of technical titles, especially in Silicon Valley. Well, we all know the history (so far) of Silicon Valley and the name has gone against me as that sector waned (as all sectors do). The UPSIDE is, though, that sectors wax as well.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked “Do you do anything besides tech?” and, more importantly the many times I haven’t been asked that question – I shudder to think the many times I haven’t had the opportunity to dispel that notion.

    So keep that in mind. All things change. If I had to do it over, at this point in time, I’d pick a name that is closely aligned to my own name – being that many of us (these days) are creating brands around ourselves that center around our work. I’m sure though, even that will come with its own pickles, eventually.

    “Too old too soon, too smart too late.” ~ Dutch proverb

    Maureen Sharib
    Telephone Names Sourcer
    513 899 9628

  2. We’ve gone the #2 root with MINNESOTAJOBS.COM and Google loves us. Branding has been a pain. Our competitors with similar names say they are us when potential clients call. They’re definitely good names to have for our market, but if we were starting over, we’d think of something more like #1 above.

    We also have Anyone want to buy it? 😉

    Sam Morse
    Client Services Manager

  3. I think what we’re trying to do it somewhere between #1 and #3.

    Our site’s name, funnelthru, is based on all the garbage postings (as well as competition) that comes with the entry level job market. Removing clutter and bringing back some authenticity is our goal – as well as finding people jobs. 🙂

  4. I guess we’re the “middle of the road” option. When Bill Berg, the founder of Cool Works, was trying to come up with the name back in 1995, he deliberated about whether or not cool would still be cool in the years to come. Personally, I think he chose well because anytime I speak with someone about the summer jobs / seasonal jobs on our site, people always say “How cool!” There you go.

  5. Great post Jeff. When we first came up with “Eggsprout” we had this exact debate. Do we go with something super pragmatic or leave it pretty abstract to allow for flexibility and unique branding? We chose the the latter because we felt we wanted to create an environment to house people of potential (egg) and growth (sprout).

    I’m sure we’ll run into the problem of having to educate and brand with time and money exactly like what you’ve said. At least “Eggsprout” gave us the opportunity to make a cool logo haha.

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