Last post I told you about Cafepress’ decision to take away most of their artists’ incomes, and then writing a press release to make it seem like a good thing. As soon as this announcement was made, they created a folder on their forum where us shopkeepers could express how devastated we were. Cleverly, they put that folder is in a private section of their forum, so that the general public would not be able to view it. All other threads related to the announcements were promptly locked or moved to the private folder. Gotta make sure that they don’t tarnish their image, after all.
They’ve since locked the folder until June 1st, when the Marketplace changes take place. So now we have nowhere left to discuss this subject, and I’m sure that any attempts to do so will be promptly locked and/or deleted. This plays a large part in what inspired me to start this blog. The general public needs to know the truth about how Cafepress’ decision affects their artists.
So how will the new 10% commision REALLY effect the artists who have helped build Cafepress into what it is today? Here’s what some shokpeepers had to say:
“This is truly a horrible decision. There is no spinning this in a positive light. It will chop off 80% of my income easily.”
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“I am shocked and discouraged. 10% is ridiculous. It’s insulting. It’s like saying our designs are only 10% of the process it takes to sell an item.
Right now, I sell plenty of $30 items where I get to keep $10. With this new plan, I get $3. That’s a 70% pay cut. It baffles me.”
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“As it stands, my commission for the day is $160.
If I calculate how much I would have made under the new system, assuming an average retail price of $10 per ornament, $25 per yard sign, $5 per bumper sticker, $25 per fitted shirt and $5 per magnet (all the things I have sold today), I end up with a whopping $27 in commission.
And that’s on an unusually good day. On an average day, I make around $50-60 in commission, which would get me about $10 under the new system.”
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Ask yourself this: would YOU continue to work for a company who gave you and all of your co-workers a 70-80% pay cut?
Once upon a time, there was a wonderful internet business opportunity called Cafepress. They allowed you to design your own t-shirts and gifts and sell them on their site. They charged their own base price, and you charged however much you wanted on top of that base price to earn your profit. Customers would purchase the products and Cafepress would handle the money, the printing and the shipping, while artists were able to focus on creating the designs. They gave us our own shops with an unlimited amount of sections to store your products and a wonderful marketplace to sell your designs…heck, they even gave us a volume bonus for selling lots of products!
For many, it was a fairytale come true. While Cafepress played the role of our white knight, the damsel in distress came in many forms. Sometimes it was just an artist with a dream and no way to make it come true. Often it was a disabled person who could not work in the real world, or a senior who’s retirement wasn’t quite enough to live on. to these people, Cafepress was truly a godsend.
One day, Cafepress looked at the millions of dollars that they were making, and realized that they could be making millions more if they took it directly from the shopkeepers.
The first things to go was the volume bonus. Cafepress claimed that they would save millions that would then be used for advertising the marketplace. Therefore, even though they were taking money from us, we would reap the benefits in the long run. Many were wounded deeply with this sudden change, losing thousands of dollars a month in income that they had come to depend on.
Soon after, section limits followed. Cafepress claimed that stores that were too large were hurting their servers. Observations that other companies similar to Cafepress had figured out how to make it work were ignored, and a 500 section limit was placed on all shops who did not already have more than that. Ironically, the larger stores were not only allowed to keep their excessive sections, but were given hundreds (and sometimes thousands) more. Observations that this was contradictory to their initial reasoning were also ignored. “If you want more sections, buy another store” they announced coldy. “But we already pay $60 a year for the one we have,” we complained. “Too bad” was all they countered with.
Which brings us to the present, and most devastating blow.
ANNOUNCING MARKETPLACE CHANGES
“The CafePress Marketplace launched four years ago as a way to showcase shopkeeper designs to a broader online retail audience. Since then our catalogue has grown to over 300 million products, and each month over 11 million shoppers visit CafePress to find unique and expressive products.
Beginning June 1st: We’ll start setting prices in the Marketplace, and Shopkeepers will receive a 10% commission off the final retail prices from all Marketplace sales. This change provides our shoppers with consistent pricing that’s competitive with other online retail stores. It also allows us to better invest in a quality retail experience and continued growth.
These changes DO NOT impact the pricing, markup, or sales you are driving in your own shops. By separating our Marketplace pricing from the prices you set in your shops, we’re able to preserve shop base pricing and continue to support shopkeepers who drive their own sales.”
This announcement is spun in a positive light, yet it is full of darkness. There are so many things wrong with this new decision:
1. Most of the shopkeepers get their sales from the Marketplace, so they will be suffering from a devastating cut in income (75% – 90%!)
2. Remember all that money from the discontinued volume bonus that Cafepress is spending on promotion and advertising? That’s literally millions. In order to drive sales to their own shops, Shopkeepers would have to compete with that kind of budget. Not very likely.
3. Cafepress steals shop sales and makes them marketplace sales. Many shopkeepers have tracked their customers coming directly into their shop and buying from them, yet Cafepress will say that it was a marketplace sale.
Cafepress became successful because millions of shopkeepers have made unique designs for their products. Without them, they would be selling blank white t-shirts. Over the past year, Cafepress has been steadily and systematically taking away money from their designers and stuffing it into their own pockets. Now they have grabbed such large wadsof cash from shopkeepers’ pockets that many people can no longer live on said income. Many people will starve or lose their homes. This is the reality of the situation. Dont take my word for it, ask Cafepress shopkeepers.
Next post: Shopkeeper Testimonials