Thanks for stopping by Robbies Blog once again and today we have a fantastic interview with Richard Lau the founder of Logo.com, learn more about Richard and some of his insights into over the 25 years in the domain name industry, I recently used Logo.com to design a new logo for Robbie’s Blog and it was a fantastic product to create my new logo and the premium pack that gives you everything you need to set up your business online with Logo made for Business Card, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many more… I would highly recommend to check out Logo.com if you are considering needing a new logo design for your company/product or even to promote your domain names for sale.
Q1 – Richard, you have been in the domain name industry now for over 25 years, could you give some insight into what you have seen over this time?
It has indeed been a long time. Looking back I think the most amazing thing to me is that change is constant. You see a company in the number one spot one year and then a few years later, they have been replaced by someone else. There’s always someone out to eat your lunch so you must keep reinventing yourself and pushing forward. Also just because a company looks like they are immovable from the number one spot, don’t for a second think that they are.
Q2 – Many people might not know that you own RL.com among many other gems in your portfolio such as Logo.com which we shall talk about later, there was an incident with RL.com a few years ago, would you care to share some more insight into what happened and the outcome?
At the Traffic conference in 2004, I learned that RL.com had been hijacked. I worked with the owner to fight to get it back. The short answer is that we took years, and I spent more on legal fees than the domain was valued at to bring it to Jury Trial in San Francisco and win possession back of the domain. And I’d do it again. I’m a mad dog when it comes to principles – I guess that’s how lawyers get rich though right?
Q3 – What is the current size of your domain name portfolio?
It’s measured in the thousands but most of those are two words .com keyword domains. The single word .com gems make up a tiny fraction. And RL.com is the only two-letter .com I have left. I really like having a handful of gems – One of these gems will be sold for a life-changing amount. Ten years ago Face.com had a $1m asking price, then I raised it to a $3m asking price. At that point, I received a $1m offer, which I turned down because I see the value of this domain growing. The current asking price is $10m. The eventual buyer might be in facial recognition, dating, or a more futuristic technology (yes, beyond facial recognition), or more likely, I will use it in my own company start-up after Logo.com. I have some wild and crazy business plan ideas for it that will take a few years and a great team to get it going. Then the domain becomes a business and then exit price than would be multiples of the current asking price. Or I may end up never selling it and it passes to my kids when I die. Either way, I’m aiming for the moon on my gems. For bread and butter, I’m quite happy to keep selling my ‘cash-flow’ domains. The two-word .com domains that people buy when starting a business.
Q4 – What are your favourite domain name in your current portfolio and domain name that you sold or dropped in the past?
My favourite domain name in my current portfolio is Logo.com as it epitomizes a category-defining domain where the use is exactly what a type-in visitor is looking for. By combining a super-premium domain name, with a dedicated team of programmers, we have built an automated logo generator from scratch that is a perfect fit for the domain. It’s like the early days of Resume.com – we are excited for what we’ve done so far, and even more excited for what’s coming.
As for a domain I sold, there’s clearly one that I sold at Auction in 2008 that I really wish I had held onto. My only saving grace is that there were many other domainers who were in the auction room when it sold so I’m sure many people look at it as a domain they wish they had purchased! The domain was weed.com After auction commissions, I think I actually lost money on Weed.com. Anyone in the room back then should be kicking themselves now for not buying it as much as I’m kicking myself for selling it!
Q5 – It’s 20 Years since you overcame Colon Cancer – Congratulations! Please let our readers know more about the Ride To Conquer Cancer that you shall embark this summer?
Having colon cancer at age 30 was obviously a major life event. Being able to celebrate 20 years cancer-free is a gift and I want to recognize that by raising $20,000 for cancer research. The ride is 200km and I will be riding with my sons. With generous support from so many in the domain community, I’m well on my way to hitting the $20,000 mark. Anyone reading this interview can make a pledge at www.lau.com. 200km is a long ride for me, and it will give me time to reflect on what a blessing it has been for me to survive and be here. Not many people get a second chance at life, and I fully recognize the responsibility that entails. NamesCon was started so that we could raise money for the WaterSchool charity. This ride is to raise funds for cancer research. It’s important to use your time and effort to spread good in this world. Otherwise, what are we really here for?
Q6 – Logo.com, I recently used your companies services for my new logo on Robbies Blog, The platform was so simple and easy to use and I would highly recommend it to anyone but could you let our readers know more about Logo.com and how it has grown?
Thank you for using Logo.com’s logo maker to create your new logo for your blog – your new logo design looks fantastic! It’s truly humbling to see the adoption of our logo designs in the wild. Being from the domain industry, it’s super cool to be able to provide new logos to domain investors as we know their needs and pain points. We have owned the Logo.com domain for a number of years and even launched a logo creation tool on it a few years ago. But we found that the third-party software was cumbersome and didn’t do what we (as users) wanted it to do. Since then, we’ve spent thousands of hours creating from scratch a tool that balances simplicity with power. You see, the pain-point in logo design is the back and forth that eats up a minimum of a few days, up to 2 or 3 weeks, while you trade emails and designs with a human. We aim to reduce that down to ten minutes. It’s an aggressive goal, but we think we have done it. By preprogramming algorithms, we take a bare minimum of input and are able to present users with dozens of designs. You don’t need to learn a new tool like Photoshop or go to design school. We don’t dump you into editing software where you need to flounder around. We present professional designs that you can use right away or tweak the font, colour and icons. By constraining what is presented to professional designs, the user is able to quickly have a workable logo design that they can put to use immediately. We want to help people focus on their business and take the hassle out of getting a new idea off the ground. Our packages include the files you need to be able to get your new website branded and up and running. And being that we come from the domain business, we include a free domain with most of our packages, and we’ve got website builder tools coming soon too. The user-feedback has been incredible. Extremely happy users. We’ve generated over 10 million logo designs!
Q7 – You also own Resume.com, our readers would love to know more about this platform too, do you expect to see more people use your platform when we come out of COVID-19 as many are going to be left out of work? Are there peaks at certain times of the year etc?
Actually, we sold Resume.com to Indeed.com a couple of years ago. It was a really great business to build and we helped millions of people build their resumes online, and Indeed will be able to take it to the next level. The platform is completely free to use, so it is an amazing resource to help people as we come out of Covid-19.
Q8 – You Co-Founded NamesCon which was acquired by WorldHostingDays in 2016, Do you have any plans of ever getting back into the market again with another Domain Only Conference?
NamesCon being run by GoDaddy is a real feather in the cap for me. To be able to see Resume being run by a leader in the job industry, and NamesCon being run by a leader in the domain industry reflects well on my track record, and hopefully bodes well for my current and future businesses. I don’t have any plans on getting back into the market with another Domain Only Conference. However, I love the feeling of bringing a community of like-minded people together, so I won’t swear off being involved in another conference business. I do own BlockCon.com ;^)
Q9 – What do you see as the biggest challenge to Domain Name Investors in 2020
As the economy takes a breather, the challenge for domain investors is two-fold. Firstly, to decide which domains to hold on to for the long-term as large price tag premium domains will likely be less in demand for a year or two. Secondly, decide on which ‘cash-flow’ domains to focus on as people grow their side-hustles into businesses and aren’t afraid to spend $500 to $5k on domain names. We’ve seen an uptick in these sales recently so I think this price category is going to be strong in 2020.
Q10 – Where do you see yourself in another 10 years from now?
Well, I just turned 50 last month so in 10 years, I’ll be hitting my 60th year. I see myself still working away, likely taking a domain out of my portfolio and working on it as a business. Pretty similar to what I’m doing right now! My work is becoming more and more location independent, so I might try incorporating more travel into my lifestyle 10 years from now. Not so many trips (as I do now) but rather spending 3 months at a time in another country to get a real feel for the local culture. Working on NamesCon, Resume and now Logo.com has given me the opportunity to work with people from around the globe. I’d like to go and spend time around the globe, not as a tourist but as a fellow resident.
Great questions! Loved being part of this interview. Thx Robbie!