For example, a major Google Analytics/Tag Manager consultancy called Lunametrics was acquired by Bounteous in 2018. The GA-related articles originally written on lunametrics.com are still ranking towards the top of search results, even though they are now under the Bounteous.com domain.
What I did notice on the Looka site was that there was no mention at all that the site has rebranded. Not even a "Logojoy is now Looka!" type banner on the top of the homepage with an explanatory blog post. A lot of SEO traffic comes through content marketing, where somebody clicks on an article link that's relevant to their query. I wonder if they removed or archived any of the blog posts or articles that were bringing in traffic.
There's a food product I buy for my kids weekly that changed their packaging about 6 months ago. It took me 6 weeks to find it after the packaging changed. I didn't look closely enough, I just thought they were out of stock. After I found it I realized that I knew this product by the package and not by the brand name.
There are a few similar products from different brands so the new packaging didn't jump out, I just ignored it as one I wasn't looking for. If they had simply included a "X is now Y" or "New Packaging" message across the top I likely would have found it sooner.
I recently noticed that instacart actually has both packages for this product in their product list, even though the old package is nowhere to be found in stores. Maybe this is accidental as the UPC may have changed, or maybe it's a brilliant solution to maintaining sales based on the old packaging.
My wife's company recently redesigned their logo and packaging and their sales slipped double digits. It's been 6 months and they haven't recovered yet. They're simultaneously trying to figure out where they went wrong in consumer testing and how they can improve from here (and it takes months for new packaging, new production, and flow through to shelf).
Reverting to the old packaging is an option but of course there was a reason they changed it to begin with so they want to take the pain now and get it right. I assume that's true for Looka too (they don't just do "logos" anymore so they don't want to go back to the name Logojoy).
It was a case of very bad customer empathy. Basically, Tropicana orange juice comes in a few different varieties that vary based on the amount of pulp. Before the rebrand fiasco, (and currently,) there are very easy to identify visual cues about the level of pulpiness.
After the rebrand, the level of pulpiness was shrunk to very small text on the edge of the label. It was very hard to find. Furthermore, the text changed from well-known names, "Grovestand," "Homestyle," to "high pulp," "medium pulp." Often, due to angles of the shelf, the tiny text was covered.
I had to stare at the shelf, every time, for about 2 minutes just to figure out if "High pulp" or "Pulpy" was really "Grovestand." Now, for me, I only drink "Grovestand," so it was worth it. Most people just got confused and bought the other brand.
I was very happy, when after a few weeks of this nonsense, they brought back the old labels.
The thing is, the newer labels were prettier and more modern. All they needed to do was keep large badging for "Grovestand," "Homestlye," ect. That's it. Instead, whoever designed the label hid critical information in tiny text in a corner.
"Logojoy is now Looka! Design a Logo, make a website, and create a Brand Identity you'll love with the power of Artificial Intelligence. 100% free to use."
You as the site owner would still need to set up the redirects and DNS changes, but the tool basically tells Google to emphasize indexing the new site over the old one.
I think logojoy was pulling in > $350,000 per month at the time.
If he’d sat on that as a single founder he’d be rolling in cash.
Imagine sitting on $350,000 a month for 3 years.... you’d never need to work again.
Instead, venture capital, offices, 40 staff, rebranding failure staff cuts, logojoy gone.
Moreover, I still can't get it how one would think that "Looka" is a better brand than "Logojoy" ️
As a single founder company, I’d think that would be mostly profit, say 90%? That leaves about $400,000 per annum to pay for an ec2 instance and salary if working from the kitch table.
Imagine having a company 90% profitable and burning it up on the dream of venture capital backed growth.
Additionally to continually stay ahead of the pack most of his revenue might have to get dumped right back into advertising.
Say it's a $5MM/annum business, after costs, paying out salaries it might be half a million in profits.
They were selling monthly packages (which made little sense for just a logo), I guess that’s why they added all the new features.
Also, no humans are involved — it’s "AI" in the sense that the logos are machine generated, but they’re also pretty bad. It‘s basically icons from the noun project combined with text in set in free fonts.
That seems like excessive funding for what this company is. A neat little tool he could have solely owned and kept majority of the profits. Really curious to why this webapp required so many employees to run. Rebrand was obviously a disaster LogoJoy was a great name that didn't require a total rebrand just for wanting to include additional assets, I'm not even sure what Looka is.
There's a lot here that doesn't make sense. Supposed 5mil entrepreneurs used it. I assume that's paying customers because why count looky-loos that don't buy a logo as a customer? $20 is the cheapest logo plan. That's $100mil. They're having trouble because? Plus I mean, their "AI" technology is supposed to eliminate the need of employees anyways... so... what's the problem?
Unless... gasp... they're full of shit and it's not AI, just a randomly generated template system with a large library of symbols that are keyworded extensively since the entire process requires you to actually pick within narrow parameters?
I feel like I'm taking crazy pills sometimes.
He was likely throwing off a ton of money at $70k/month as a sole owner, why not just hire a few people at a time?
For reference how Andy Rubin, silicon valley darling, runs his VC investments:
The "AI play" is likely a big selling point for the VCs, even if it's not impressive in practice.
But still, considering how much harder it is for Canadian companies in the right sectors (cloud, AI/ML, marketing automation) to get funding compared to US ones, it seems strange that they picked up $7 million.
Once it is established and substantial, one can always do a smooth logojoy.com -> looka.com/logojoy tansition. For example, the transition to looka.com/logojoy can only be applied when a customer is logged in.
Once they have registered customers, they can pitch them other offerings from looka.com domain like looka.com/brandjoy etc.
Such incremental approach would open a smoother path to success.
P.S. As a quick remedy, they should change looka.com/logo-maker/ to looka.com/logojoy right now. Then, they should pitch the visitors with the right message: "Make a logo with Looka" should be changed to "Make a logo with LogoJoy" or "Make a logo with Looka LogoJoy". Karma is real, once one has it they should not deny it.
Those articles were driving traffic, creating soft conversions (people who create logos but don't necessarily pay for the export version)... Then they probably had a funnel to slowly move those passive customers into active paying customers. Probably a lot of those doing one time purchases.
They also have a subscription model but I suspect their recurring revenue coming from these is poor. They were probably making their money from one-time purchases the same way an e-commerce website earns money.
Enter the rename. That by itself is not a complex issue. Domain changes happen every day and Google correctly re-indexes your content under the new domain as long as your 301 redirect is set correctly.
But when you do that AND also broaden your content to include new areas, you're at the mercy of how Google's algorithm is going to reclassify your content. Since they created a broader offering, they lost specificity and Google hates that. So all their content marketing went to hell and their main revenue funnel started declining.
If you do this to an e-commerce website you will see the same results. It's like if you are a store that sells bed sheets only and one day you decide that you also want to sell kitchen items (slightly related but not the same category). If you do that, you lose all the relevance in bed-sheets SERPs that you dominated and it's kind of hard to come back from that.
If your business depends on Google, this can happen to you even if you don't rebrand. A simple algorithm change can damage your rankings.
TL/DR: Their fundamental error was renaming AND making their offering broader(vaguer) at the same time.
Their mistake was destroying their relevance with a big bang change. If your website ranks generally well for a term like "logo creation tool" it's because you did some work to build the authority against that keyword. But if you decide tomorrow to change terminology around your business and redesign the without understanding the key content of your pages, you're going to affect relevance.
Google crawls your website today under logojoy.com and sees a lot of logo creation related keywords. Then it crawls a week later and sees a 301 redirection a shit-ton of changes and new terms, and potentially completely different markup with those changes. Of course, you're going to get a massive SEO hit. This was a poorly timed and uncoordinated strategy that resulted in this outcome.
If you change your domain name AND change the terms that you're targeting and add more vagueness to your content Google will re-index you differently. It's as simple as that.
Logojoy is a better name, likely is easier to google, definitely easier to remember and connect to their product. Also, it's hard to get traction as a startup, re-branding that early is suicide...
Salesforce for example moved beyond a pure sales CRM ages ago, and the platform supports all kinds of applications, including healthcare and university application systems. They didn't need to change their name to do that.
I'm going to rename FormAPI  to DocSpring.com . I'm also launching a new website, and you can see a preview on my staging servers . The main reason for the rebrand is that FormAPI wasn't a very good name. The service is an API for filling out PDF forms, but FormAPI doesn't communicate that clearly. People would often spell it incorrectly, and I got tired of explaining it to people.
I also wanted to move to a decent .com domain. "FormAPI.io" feels like a small side project, and my theory is that "DocSpring.com" will feel a bit more trustworthy. (I'm still a solo founder with a small company, but I recently raised a small round from Earnest Capital , and I'm still around after 2 years !)
I think I'll be launching the new site tomorrow, so wish me luck! And please let me know if you have any feedback about the new site (or in general.)
Is it for me to fill out forms on random sites, in which case how is it an API? Or is it for the people with the forms to make it quicker to fill them out (which makes sense, but doesn't match the one line of blurb on the site)?
If it's for form filling, why is the word "doc" in the name, which I'd assume meant document rather than relating to form data or personal data.
Looking on the staging page it makes more sense, it seems to be for the companies who have the forms rather than the people who have to fill them in.
But does it take a pdf and generate an electronic form from it, or take filled-in forms and pull the data out of them?
Or is it for companies who have data to use to fill in forms from that data?
Just quite confused, tho maybe I wouldn't be if I was a company with forms.. or data..?
I like the new site, here’s my feedback:
1. I’d not set the main headline in all caps
2. The “Upload Template -> Set up fields“ thing on the old site is really good at explaining the the tool does - if I were you I’d put that on the new site too, and de-emphasize the screenshot.
3. The logo in the top left corner is slightly blurry, I’d use an SVG instead of a PNG.
Apart from those tiny notes the new site is a big improvement!
It sounds like the CEO in question had taken SEO advice, which is reassuring. And the 20-30% drop and 6 (to 12) month recovery period is typical.
However, the people involved in the project likely vastly underestimated the value of having a 'partial match domain name' e.g. the very fact that it had the keyword "logo" in its domain name likely helped it rank for lots of commercially valuable logo-related keywords and phrases.
Rebranding is overrated.
For some reason it's only the muscle car brands that get any respect from their manufacturers in the US; you won't see the Mustang, Charger, Challenger, or Corvette being renamed any time soon.
And my parents happened to buy a new car during the interval in which the Taurus appeared to have no future.
2. They should never had combined a brand change with a big change in what they offer as a business. Now they don't even really know what is broken.
3. All this was likely compounded by a technical assumption that was incorrect, e.g. some content likely disappeared or backlinks were broken.
Regardless of what he was pitched from an SEO standpoint, mashing together all that risk into one giant clusterfuck shows amateurish leadership.
Big wake up call for sure.
It's clear that "Looka" is less clear about what it is than "LogoJoy".
I also think it may say something about startup branding in general. Brands based upon actual words may do better than trying to make people understand what "Looka" is.
Certainly some SSO woes would have been much less painful than an SEO apocalypse.
This guy is the CEO. What is he talking about with all this “they said” stuff? He’s the one responsible for this rebranding decision. But he is acting like it was forced on him, or like it is the fault of some advisor.
As the CEO you have to take responsibility. The problem isn’t that “they said” to rebrand. The problem is that you decided to rebrand. Be honest with yourself so that hopefully you don’t make a decision this bad again.
That one is pretty mind-blowing. I'm not sure where he got this number from, but assuming it's accurate and that Fiverr accounts for roughly half of it, that would make it a sizeable chunk of their total GMV:
"Our GMV for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017 was $293.5 million and $213.0 million, respectively."
Canadian design startup gains lost traffic and then some after story is picked by a lot of websites.
Brilliant! Money (and or time) well spent to pitch this story.
Also, I just noticed Logojoy is left alone, but my spell check auto corrects Looka to Looks lol. Oy.
Loved Logojoy and Whitfield when they launched. Should probably take more responsibility than a `they` though.
Kinda funny that they failed at their own rebranding.
Maybe they should have used some of the VC money to buy a real good name? So many people underestimate the power of a great domain name, and it's a huge mistake.