Home > smugmug > "perennial also-ran?" As if!

"perennial also-ran?" As if!

August 18, 2005

So Download Squad seems to think we’re some sort of photo-sharing loser. I’ve seen this story so many times, it’s not even funny. Let me recount a few of the Silicon Valley’s best. There are plenty more, but I’ll leave those as an exercise to the reader.

  • In 1995, Pierre Omidyar founded eBay. Prior to eBay, he worked for my partner, Chris MacAskill, at General Magic, who left to start fatbrain.com. Pierre spent years of gruelling effort getting eBay off the ground – no venture capitalists would touch it. Why? It was a flea market, a haven for junk – or so they thought. eBay was an also-ran to OnSale. OnWho?
  • Over at Stanford, Larry and Sergey founded Google. The Valley was shocked and amused that anyone wanted to enter the search engine space, let alone a tiny startup. Hadn’t Altavista and Yahoo! already fought this war? Silly PhDs, right? Who’s laughing now?
  • Every year we’ve been ‘also-ran’ to someone different. In the first year big brands, like Adobe, Canon, and Microsoft all shut their sites down. In the second, the P2P photo-sharing apps flamed out. In the third year, we were ‘also-ran’ to sites that ran out of money and got acquired. Now look who’s first out with hot new features.

    smugmug’s less than three years old, and I’m positive that our sales and profitability are ahead of both eBay’s and Google’s at the same age. We’re profitable, have no outside investment or debt, and have possibly the best customer service on the web. Best of all, we’re all having a great time building a great company.

    Gandhi maybe said it best: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Just look at eBay, Google, and smugmug.

    Categories: smugmug
    1. joe
      October 4, 2005 at 11:18 pm

      Wow. Pretty bold words there. Comparing yourself to Google and eBay is pretty ballsy. I personally think the article on Download Squad was spot-on. You need a free tier and you NEED a new design. You look like s*&% and you expect to compare yourself to Google? Please. Stop defending and start listening. You can’t polish a turd, as the old saying goes. Yeah, your service is nice. But man you guys just look sooo bad. And I think it’s funny that you laugh at Flickr because they “got acquired”. They are innovating your guys’ pants off! If getting acquired is akin to that level of true innovation and good design, then man, get acquired!

    2. May 9, 2008 at 2:32 am

      I hear you – but your logo is set in Comic Sans.

      It doesn’t matter who on your team likes Comic Sans.
      It doesn’t matter whether or not you feel it gives a friendly vibe to your site.
      It doesn’t matter because Comic Sans is not a professional font choice.

      Just skim through the Google search results for «SmugMug “Comic Sans»: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=smugmug+%22comic+sans%22&btnG=Search

      People are saying things like “… I find it hard to give money to company that uses Comic Sans in their “logo.” Surely it’s the ugliest…” and “Smug Mug certainly looks like a good service but what is with that crazy logo? A very professional setup apart from that comic sans…” and “And yes Rex, im gonna have to give SmugMug a yellow card for the unecessary use of comic sans.”

      Why? Because Comic Sans was, as the name hints, intended for comic book-style balloon text. It’s also probably the most-abused font, as it’s been used for everything from business letters to final exams, neither of which is the type of use it was designed for. There is even a campaign to ban it to avoid these abuses: http://bancomicsans.com/home.html

      Please, if you want to be taken seriously, hire a typographer or well-respected logo designer to redo you logo.

    3. May 9, 2008 at 9:11 am

      What can I say? Half a million paying customers trumps a Google Search. *shrug*

    4. Barbara
      August 3, 2009 at 3:09 am

      I use your site, but I do despise your logo.

    5. November 15, 2009 at 10:27 am

      Cool stuff. Keep up the good work. opponents can fetch soldier

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