April 18, 2019

Feedback on reffo.us

Hi guys,

I recently launched reffo.us on Product Hunt and didn't get as much feedback as I wanted.

So I am turning to you guys for critical feedback. Anything is valid, from domain name choice (I am considering changing to offerkarma.com which I own), to features, to website copy, to business model... anything.

My goal is to help candidates and job seekers to get the best out of their job offers by building a community that will give valuable feedback on the compensation breakdown of these offers.

I also incorporated a referral product but this would not be my main focus.

I believe more transparency in offers can lead to more leverage for employees and maybe even help solving the different wage gaps that exist in the world at the offer stage.

Let me know what you guys think.

Thanks a lot!

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    Hi there, thanks for posting! I always love talking to people who are receptive to feedback :)

    For your domain name, I think it is somewhat important to own the dot com version of your domain, because not owning that domain signals weakness. See http://www.paulgraham.com/name.html. It'd also be great if your domain gave users a bit more of an idea about what the service you offer is. offerkarma.com is not bad in that sense.

    I'm more interested in talking about the business idea though, because I think that's a more important topic. I think the idea seems really intriguing! I think it's a problem that a lot of people have - "How the hell do I negotiate? What does this job offer mean?" I remember talking to a hiring manager once at a former job, and he said that something like 75-80% of people just accept the first offer they're given right away, without any sort of second thought or attempt to negotiate. (Makes me cringe!)

    One potential worry I see is that the people who need your service the most are the type who are not going to find it. People who are clueless about negotiation probably aren't googling around looking for advice. Because if they were, they'd read a few Negotiation 101 articles and not be clueless anymore. So I suspect that most of your users are going to be the type to negotiate. But those types of people may be less likely to want feedback. They're more likely to feel like they know what they're doing. Still, all of that said, I'm sure that there are more than enough people who a) are interested enough to google, and b) humble enough to seek advice.

    Another potential worry is that people may be able to get what your service provides for free, by asking friends, or by posting on Reddit or something. Still though, I feel like there is space for what you're providing. If you are the goto place for feedback, I think people will be willing to pay some money to get it.

    Anyways, yeah, I like this idea a lot. I've got some questions.

    How to you acquire customers? I'd think that organic search would be important? Are you able to find leads? Finding leads seems hard - how do you find people who are applying to jobs and who just received offers? You could advertise on job listing sites actually. Maybe something like Hired.

    Another question: how do you ensure quality? Is there any sort of vetting of the feedback-givers?

    1. 1

      Thank you so much Adam for this awesome review.

      Not owning the .com is one of the reason I wanted to switch (although I do own reffohq.com but it is not exactly the same). I think I will soon rebrand to offerkarma.com as it sounds better and might be easier to remember.

      The fact that 80% of people accepting the first offer they are given is exactly what motivates me from building this and getting it into everybody's hands. And you are right that these people might not even know where to look like to get help around pushing for a better offer. Hopefully the anonymous part of the app can remove the "humble" issue for asking feedback.

      I feel like the consumer side of my app would be free forever as there is already a good incentive on both side to post an offer - the candidates wants to get feedback - the reviewers wants to stay up to date with the market especially from within the same company, in order to know if they are not suffering from salary compression (namely they joined 3 years ago and their salary did not increase as fast as new candidates getting in the company with higher salary, it is important for them to know). I also want to introduce a scoring system in order for the tool to add direct value to a job hunter by providing two scores as soon as they post the offer. The first one "fairness score" answer the question: Is this offer fair for this given company/role/yoe. The second one "competitiveness score" is this offer competitive across all the companies for my role/yoe.

      I also feel like I have potential monetization on the enterprise side - either providing a nice tool for a company to privately share an offer with candidates and adding some cool graph (especially for private startup) that allow to see projected stock option grant value at different valuation of the company and how the total compensation might increase down the line. Also helping company getting into the right salary band and getting into the Xth percentile of best paying companies.

      On the referral side, many have tried, I was thinking about making the candidate requsting a referral paying a small fee only when they get the recruiter email.

      Regarding the acquisition... to be honest this is my first personal project that I really want to launch to market but not sure how to go about. I'm already burning ~$150 on servers/db (I know I could have started with no backend solution :/) And so I am hesitant to start doing ad (also I am probably not good at making ads).

      To ensure quality I was thinking about adding different level of offer visibility. public: anybody can comment and vote - company: only the verified employees from the company from the offer can comment and vote.

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        Making it free for candidates seems to me like it'd be leaving a lot of money on the table. For example, suppose that your platform helps a candidate move from $75k/year to $80k/year. That would be worth a lot to a candidate, even if it isn't certain that they'd get the salary increase.

        However, it might be worth leaving it free for a while. You have a two-sided platform here, and the way that works is that the platform becomes more and more valuable the more and more people use it. Take eBay as an example. If you're a seller and there are no buyers, eBay won't be useful to you. But the more and more buyers are out there, the more the platform is useful. So it may be worth keeping it free to build up the value of the platform so that you can capitalize on it later.

        The job score sounds like a great idea, but how would you calculate it? I feel like you'd need good data, but good data is hard to come by. Anything user submitted will be unrepresentative and biased.

        The monetization idea for enterprises sounds like an awesome idea! But it seems pretty distinct from the job offer feedback platform part.

        Yeah, customer acquisition is always tricky. I'm not experienced either. My impression from the blogosphere is that you have to do it "by hand" early on. Check out https://stripe.com/en-US/atlas/guides/starting-sales.