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Need a little help on a process I'm mulling over

Aleksandra Czajka Freelance Senior Software Engineer, Developer, Web Developer, Programmer - Full Stack

September 10th, 2013

Hey pals!

I need a little suggestion help on how to track a certain thing that has happened.... 

I have a site called Video Interview Practice. Link below. It's a site for job seekers to practice interview questions on camera, record video and get professional feedback on it. It's all free until you get to the coach review/consultation. I'm trying to work it out with the coaches so that they can provide a free first consultation to our job seekers. Here comes my need for help from you guys. I want VIP to be compensated for when the job seeker becomes a client of the coach that gives the free consultation. The free consultation is beneficial to the coach as it serves as a potential client call. We're basically bringing potential clients right on the phone with the coach with the added benefit that the coach has already seen a practice video and knows a bunch about the candidate. So, this is super beneficial to coaches. 

Ok, SO! The question is, do we charge the coaches per potential lead they get (per candidate they get on the phone?) Or, do we charge when the potential candidate becomes a client?... which is virtually impossible to track once the coach is on the phone with the potential client. 

Or, do we get rid of the idea of charging the coach for this all together and say that, since they are willing to give a free consultation without the guarantee of the person becoming a client, it's a risk they're taking to get a client, and the benefit to VIP is the free consultation that our candidates get?

Please feel free to suggest absolutely anything you might think of. You never know what might lead to a great final idea!

I thank you all my good friends in advance!

Eric Rogness Technical Product Manager

September 10th, 2013

There's a company here in Toronto that has a non-competing product in the same space. Kira Talent replaces the typical phone candidate screening with a cloud-based video interview, recording the candidate's responses to be reviewed at the recruiter's convenience. They've got good traction and funding, and have a deep understanding of the market and the video interview. Would you like me to connect you with Emilie, the founder? You can email me at

Jonathan Saft

September 10th, 2013

I would charge per lead. If you think about it, it's exactly the same as Google charging per click. The user searching for something on Google is predisposed to buy, the seller then must frame their advertisement in the most appealing way possible to entice the click, then it is on the seller to offer a good enough product (or presentation of the product) to close the sale. You are simply Google offering a marketplace for likely buyers. What happens after the click, or in your case, the phone call, is up to the seller, in your case the coaches. Hope that helps!

Dave Angelow Board Member at HAND Austin

September 10th, 2013


Sounds like a great idea and beneficial service for so many people; congrats on the launch.

A few ideas on monetization - Price and pitch the idea to coaches as paid practice development and charge a bi-annual fee for them to participate.  You deliver the candidates to them, they have to close and convert (or not) and you're paid for the service of delivering the opportunity to their door.  You'd likley need to assure the coaches a number of deals to help value the service (in their minds)

Another approach would be to have the job-seeker to provide input and feedback about their experience/next steps.  The idea would require more thought to fully implement but something akin to having the job seekers rating the coaches based on their experience and outcomes.  The feedback would credentalize the coaches, the good ones would get more requests and benefit.  Direct monetization isnt as clear yet has a lot of levers that could be used to base value/pricing

Hope this helps

Dhruv Vasishtha Product Management at Medidata Solutions

September 10th, 2013


Agree with a lot of what has been said before. You have two customers and need to determine who is driving the network and what value they are generating for the network. Then decide what price points you can subsequently charge them and keep them involved.

I would make it a subscription model for the business coaches since each client for them leads to a long term gain. It isn't a one-off transaction that forces them to sign up a large volume of people to make the economics work, even one - two clients could make $50 or $100 a year (from my surface understanding of business coaching). And for exactly that reason I think you can expect large leakage. What's to stop a coach from using your service only when they convert a new lead and finish with the previous one. This isn't Craigslist where the end of a transaction on your site is the end of the transaction in the real world as well.

With regards to the consumer, I would allow them a certain number of free consultations but eventually start charging them for the consultations or also have them subscribe to get all free consultations. Again this depends on the value they may get from a consultation. If it is basic informational exchange then there is not much value there but if specific critiques are being provided, a user would be willing to pay a small amount to receive that initial consultation.


Tim Kilroy Analytics - LTV - Boosting Profits - Digital Marketing

September 10th, 2013

This is a difficult problem. There are two ways that I see that this works for you:

1. Charge the coach for a package of leads - say they buy 10 leads. That gives you cash - and then let the transaction happen without you. Classic CPL model.
2. Don't charge for the leads, but charge for the transaction - CPA model. The CPA model is more lucrative, certainly, but there is no way to track. But you can do a Rover-esque model where you make it easy and simple for people to transact via your platform - but they can always skirt around you. Some coaches are going to do that - no doubt - but make it parts of the T&Cs for the coaches that you will kick them off the service forever if they do that. The coach that grabs a client without paying you is penny wise and pound foolish. For the potential client, you can follow up in e-mail and ask if they retained the coach. If yes, then you charge coach for conversion. The client will have no interest in skirting your service, so they will likely be honest.

Were I you, I would head towards the CPA model, and accept that there is going to be some leakage. 

Darian Springer Software Engineer and Social Entrepreneur

September 10th, 2013

I've worked with a health insurance(ish) based startup in the past, and they paid a pretty steep chunk of change to gain access to leads, most of which led nowhere. They were willing to pay because the pay-off of one gained customer far outweighed what they lost per fruitless lead. Your situation is such that you have two clients, there is no reason you should charge one and not the other. I don't know the space, but the firm should have an idea of their customer acquisition costs. As a part of testing your platform you should ask some firms (and perhaps independents) their costs, and how much they would pay for the value you are adding to their life (you are essentially doing a fair amount of work for them, as you are the intermediary that turns a cold call warm), and I think you should highlight the fact that you will be adding value to their time by doing this. If they seem interested, then you know you have a winner, and you can freely charge them something(a value you've decided on after seeing the average of all these companies) that undercuts their current costs in other similar forms of outreach. Hope this helps

Paul Travis Multifaceted Online Executor: Product Marketing to Program Mgmt. to Business Development

September 10th, 2013

Aleksandra, I think your platform is quite cool.
Brian, she's got her own video system built in.
Good feedback from all.

My hit: The easy thing to do would be CPL; the bigger opportunity is in CPA.  

Why?  Everyone on the web wants stuff for free -- which is what you're providing, until they decide to do business.  Like Tim Kilroy says, there will be some leakage (not unlike the absolute "given" that there will be returns if you sell product).  But don't worry about that, maximize the site's value and implicit tracking and you'll have plenty of business.

Jeb PhD Decision & Data Scientist / Experimental Psychologist / Business Intelligence

September 10th, 2013

Hey Aleksandra, sounds like a really interesting project you're working on. In terms of billing, my two cents would be to start small and optimize over time. If you look at the evolution of the online dating industry, it started out that only men pay, then went to everybody pays to initiate a conversation, then pay to respond to messages, and now pay to be able to even see what mysterious stranger sent you a message -- each change to the billing model has grown the business substantially. This just to say, your billing model doesn't have to be perfect from the start if your value proposition itself is great. Since everything looks like a predictive model to me, I'd take a look at creating a scoring algorithm on your job seekers that predicts likelihood to buy coaching services, and let coaches bid on securitized/bundled blocks of users, so you can guarantee a ballpark conversion rate while helping you mostly avoid selling leads of indeterminate value. Alternatively, if you need to keep the coach quality up, you might instead/also consider a small (monthly?) access fee for coaches; even if it's five bucks it'll help you market the idea that your coaches are professionals and not poachers. In any case, sounds fun and I wish you luck! -Jeb

Rob G

September 10th, 2013


Great idea. i've not taken time to visit your site (didn't find a link in your post by the way), but you might get some valuable ideas by taking a look at how some of the other on-line, 2-sided service markets are monetizing. Odesk, 99designs, elance,, etc. They all match service providers with seekers of services. off the top of my head i would see a combination of Terms of use (that legally commit users/providers to not skirt the system), and tools that provide incentives for both parties to work through you and not around you.  For example,  99Designs and Guru provide clear ratings and transaction data on each service provider (how many transactions, $$ amount, how long they have been a member, skill sets, markets, etc.).  Service providers can also rate their experiences with buyers, although your service may not lend itself to repeat buyers all that much.  They also provide payment escrow services, dispute resolution and an electronic contract that both parties (buyer and seller) each opt into such that both parties know up front the terms for their future interaction and which helps protect both parties.  For example, as a buyer, one of my concerns might be "is this service provider qualified - am i going to get value for my money - especially if i have to pay something up front"?   "Do i pay up front or after services are delivered or some combo"?.   As a service provider a concern might be "will i get paid?".  The escrow service and contract provide clear guidelines that help both parties answer these questions and the dispute resolution service helps catch the oddball stuff.  The bottom line is that both parties get a comfort level knowing the ground rules up front and that you have their backs should something go sideways. Both 99designs and provide some services for free and charge transaction fees as well a premium fees for premium services (escrow services for example). good luck. 

Brian Hult New Product Development Chemist, Entrepreneur & Board Member

September 10th, 2013

I would use something like Gotomeetings' product Gototraining This is a great way to monetize your video conferencing sessions. To keep track of clients you might want to invest in a type of CRM that keeps track of your interactions and contact info. Cheers, Brian