The 39-year-old founder, president-CEO of HotJobs.com says it took lots of intuition, a bit of luck and a certain amount of risk to develop his latest online business. Mr. Johnson took a big risk two years ago when he used a large chunk of a $4 million line of credit on a 30-second TV commercial during the 1999 Super Bowl.
"People were telling us we were crazy and we were doing everything against the book. But that spot turned us into a brand overnight," he says and notes the site has been attracting about 3.5 million visitors a month since March.
HotJobs.com also set a dot-com trend to use out-of-home advertising to tout Web addresses. Of course, HotJobs had to do it big, and it was one of the first advertisers on the Nasdaq outdoor board at Times Square. It even secured a much-coveted time slot there: nine minutes before and after midnight on the eve of the millennium, giving the brand wide exposure.
With a $40 million advertising budget, more than triple what it spent in 1999, HotJobs will be expanding its "Hottest hand on the Web" ad effort, which it launched at this year's Super Bowl via McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Troy, Mich.
"Now that the [online job search] field is getting crowded, we need to do shift our focus," says Mr. Johnson. "It's always good to get a fresh approach to things," he adds. "But, it's still a long way to the Super Bowl."