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How Internet Cartoonist Rick London Made It To The Top

Jan 16, 2008
The way that Rick London crafted and organized Londons Times Cartoons and it's peripheral shops was a brilliant move in my mind, as a marketing major. Though Rick was not formally educated at the time of launching the venture, he had an instinctive sixth sense of knowing what was missing in the cartoon world.

Rick had a good bit of experience in corporate America before starting. He was keenly aware that most professions had trade magazines and this was virtually an untapped market. Most were low budgeted and could not afford an inhouse cartoonist, and were willing to pay a small amount for a monthly or quarterly cartoon. Rick provided it. He made a hundred calls a day to publishers. Out of that hundred, he would generally sell one or two cartoons. He was building a portfolio and enough money to keep the lights on.

Rick was a master of barter. Where he learned it, I will never know. Since a lot of his clients had little or no budget, Rick bartered with them. I cannot think of a product he did not have. All he did was pick up the phone and if they said no, regarding paying for a cartoon, Rick would give them the cartoon at full value for half a barter back. Rick was "out nothing"; the cartoon would have sat on the Internet and still did. The publisher or webmaster simply got nonexclusive rights to it, and Rick got real retail goods, food, vitamins, and even a wardrobe. He almost made a deal for a car once. Though he had no formal education, his marketing skills were magic.

It was a cold winter in 1997. Rick was living and working from an abandoned Mississippi warehouse. He was not eating well but had made some good trades with fishing tackle companies to put his fishing-related cartoons on their sites. He took the tackle and lures (sometimes live bait he dug up from the woods) and would fish after working in the late afternoon, sometimes into the night until he had enough fish to make a meal. This man knew how to survive. It was like living and working on Walden Pond.

He no longer has to beg for barters though he occasionally does them just for fun, especially with other businesses just getting started and needing help. He has not forgotten his roots. But more often he is approached by newspapers and magazines, and even college textbook authors to buy his cartoons outright. This has been happening for several years now.

The Internet was changing rapidly in the late 1990's but not fast enough. There were some search engines and banner ads and that was about it. It was still not the easiest place for a cartoonist to make a name for himself. Rick consistently tried to become syndicated into newspapers but he felt certain it would not happen. His cartoons were not suited for them. He said one day the Internet will be the place. I did not believe him at the time but he proved me wrong. He could never do in newspapers what he has done on the Internet. His contribution has been monumental and many have found work (from manufacturers to dropshippers to artists) because of his marketing ideas, and continue to.

I am hard-pressed to find someone who is so committed to a project. A day does not go by that he does not do some article marketing, blogging, revamping his ppc campaign, and even finds time to write new cartoons. At age fifty-three, his mind is sharper than a teenager, and that is not an embellishment. It is almost a phenomena.

Though he is from Mississippi originally (where I met him), he is not from that part of Mississippi that is known to produce such genius; the delta which brought us William Faulkner, Elvis, Grisham, Willie Morris, Morgan Freeman, B.B. King, Eudora Welty, and others. Though Ms. is not known for its education, it is usually last of the fifty states, it still produces some genius. I brushed shoulders with one.

I don't see Rick anymore as we have both moved on and are on other sides of the country. He was like a dad to me. He was trustworthy and kind. And he was very very smart. I still stay in touch via email and he always answers as soon as he can. I order products from his stores which have hundreds of thousands of cartoon collectibles, funny tshirts, things for the office, and all kinds of gifts. I love that man and the work that he has done. And the fact that he started it all with just a thought, virtually not a penny to his name. An amazing story, it truly is.
About the Author
Rick London has the largest offbeat cartoon site on the Internet and several estores Rick London's Marketing Secret: From Nothing To Internet's Top Cartoonist And E-Tailer , and
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