Bookmark.com is an AI-powered website creation tool for non-technical people. David Kosmayer, CEO and Founder of Bookmark.com, shares the story behind his brand for our “Names With Stories” series of interviews.
What is the story behind Bookmark, how did you come up with the idea?
My first company was a marketing agency and affiliate program in the early 2000s. I was at the forefront of working with owners to get their business or products online and in front of the right traffic channels. This allowed me to see, first hand, how difficult it was to get even relatively simple businesses online. I couldn’t even be out with friends without someone approaching me to ask how they could get a website and online store up and running.
This is when I realized that building an online presence needed to be MUCH MORE accessible and SO MUCH easier. So I embarked on a journey to build Bookmark in 2014.
How did you settle on the brand name Bookmark? Did you consider others?
At one point in my past company, I became a domain enthusiast and purchased Bookmark.com as an investment. At first, I tried to start a bookmarking service as a side project in 2009. That project didn’t pan out as planned but decided to hold onto the domain anyway. So when I started working on a website builder in 2014, I instantly thought Bookmark.com would be perfect for the project as a brandable name that was easy to remember. Bookmark is less about a book place holder and more about making your mark in the digital world. Honestly, I did not consider any others. It was one of the best, and easiest decisions I have ever made.
Many AI-related startups get .ai domain names, you went for a premium .com, what was the reasoning behind that?
Artificial intelligence is less about robots and more about algorithms that make our lives easier through analysis and intelligent prediction. Bookmark is a website builder that uses AI to empower business owners to achieve more results with less effort when it comes to building and managing their online presence. It really is just a matter of time before every piece of software has AI algorithms to improve processes and make our lives easier. All this is to say that you don’t need to have a .ai domain as an AI company. Every business will have AI so that domain will mean less and less as we move forward.
How would you value Bookmark.com for your brand now? If someone was to buy it, what price would you put on the domain name?
Now that the domain is attached to a brand, the value is no longer able to be priced on its own. Bookmark.com is now part of something bigger and merged into our company.
Prior to Bookmark becoming a brand, the domain was valued at around $200,000 USD. If you were patient and marketed the domain properly, you could probably get much more than that.
Who is your target customer and how is your brand name helping in reaching them and communicating your values?
Our target customers are small and medium-sized businesses. Our value proposition is that we empower them to spend more time running their business, and less time running their website.
Our brand name is all about Bookmarking your place online. As we all know, it is a crowded space where you, or your business or brand, has to stand out to be noticed. One way to stand out is with a beautiful and highly converting website.
Our slogan is ‘make your mark’ with Bookmark. We help small business owners make their mark in the digital world.
With the current state of the economy, many are turning to entrepreneurship or/and away from third-party platforms (Amazon, AirBnB, etc.) when it comes to selling their goods/services. Would you consider this a good thing?
Amazon and AirBnB were created because it’s hard to get found in a busy online world to sell your goods or services. Small businesses struggle to get online, collect payments, and just be an option for consumers. The added challenges on how to get found are not easy to overcome. That’s why it’s easier to hand over a portion of your profits to companies like Amazon and AirBnB to find customers for you.
These marketplaces will always exist, but as website builders and search engines continue to evolve and improve visibility, an entrepreneur’s ability to be found online will greatly increase. They are neither a good or a bad thing. They are really just an option for entrepreneurs or a tool in the toolbox.
What do you offer for agencies and how flexible is Bookmark to their own branding in terms of customization?
A statistic I read years ago was that 93% of businesses online had someone else design their website for them. This statistic is staggeringly high considering DIY (do-it-yourself) website builders have been around for over a decade. This shows how difficult it is for business owners to take on the task of building and running their website regardless of how easy their DIY builders claim to be.
Business owners have millions of tasks to handle so this really is not surprising. And this is why we developed Bookmark’s Design Agency Program. We have a white label option in a place where agencies can use their branding on our Bookmark platform to build websites for clients. We have flexible options to help designers collect fees for their services, and we have ensured that the clients have privacy protections in place for their website to always be secure.
What steps do you take to ensure your customers can reach you easily online?
We have live chat support integrated throughout our website as well as inside the builder when our customers are logged into their accounts. We also have a forum called ‘ask an expert’ where our customers can ask questions or give feedback. We regularly communicate through this method to answer questions promptly and to gain insights on what our customers are asking us to improve or add to our product offering.
Do you have any tips for entrepreneurs on how to build a strong brand?
To build a strong brand you have to have visibility, consistency, and a highly effective value proposition. You have to solve the problem.
First off do an exercise to identify who your target audience is and then figure out what pain points you are solving for this customer. From there you will be able to create your vision statement and value proposition. Use your mission statement and vision over and over as your guiding principles.
Bookmark’s vision is to create an accessible ai-powered web services platform that supports entrepreneurs in starting, building, and growing their online presence.
And our value proposition is: Spend your time running your business, not your website.
What is the biggest thing your team is working on right now?
We’re working on so many big things from product features to marketing and design and most importantly our artificial intelligence algorithms. One of the biggest initiatives we are planning to roll out in the new year is our Artificial Intelligence Design Assistant’s (AiDA) suggestion algorithms.
This will be a recommendation engine that will automatically evolve and improve website conversion over time. Customers start by setting goals and informing us how they would like to interact with potential customers. For example, phone calls, email form submissions, or call to action button clicks can start their user’s path to conversion. Our AI technology will monitor all visitors coming to their website and then make suggestions to improve website visitor satisfaction scores and overall conversion rates.
This feature will be the first of its kind. Our autonomous websites will have AI algorithms working alongside business owners to maximize each and every visitor that comes to their website.
We hope the above information will help you in making informed decisions about your brand. How we can help you open more opportunities for your brand? Get in touch, we are always happy to chat.