Monday, December 01, 2008

Cafepress vs Printfection vs Zazzle Part 2

OK, for those of you who are in POD, or are considering getting started in POD, this is another in a series of random observations regarding the online POD opportunities.

November is over. We find out today that we are in an official recession, and have been for a whole year now. Duh. I certainly didn't need a committee to tell me that. However, November's sales were somehow promising, if only temporarily. Here's how it racks up.

On Cafepress, I made sales of items in the following designs:
Psalm 139:14
Don't Make Me Break Out in Tourette's
John 3:16 Czech
Guitar Boy
Unsocialized Homeschool Children on Board
I Love My Norwegian Elkhound
I Love My Flock
We are Unsocialized
Obsessive Cockatiel Disorder
Obsessive Catfish Disorder
I Love My Toy Manchester Terrier
I Love My Nubian Goats
Tasmanian Devil in Tutu
John 3:16 Hungarian
I Love My Alpine Goats
Obsessive Chihuahua Disorder

OK, that's not great, but considerably better than any month in recent memory.

On Zazzle, I made sales of items in the following designs:
None. No sales.

And on Printfection?
Zero. Nada. Zip.

Interesting. I checked what was going on between the three websites over on Google Trends. Here is the result.

The blue line represents search volume for Cafepress, and the yellow line represents Zazzle. Printfection's numbers are so small, they don't even make it to the chart.

Of course, you could make the case that since I have more designs on Cafepress, that accounts for much of the discrepancy. However, I don't have that many more designs on Cafepress, and Zazzle and Printfection offer a number of items not available on Cafepress.

All of this suggests that, although galleries are free on Zazzle and Printfection, you may get exactly what you pay for. We'll see how December stacks up.

See Cafepress vs Printfection vs Zazzle
See Cafepress vs Printfection vs Zazzle Part 3


DEB said...

Interesting...Thanks for sharing your observations. I set up a booth on Bonanzle which is free, but I haven't sold anything there either.

Both of my sons have Tourette's. I'll have to figure out a way to ask them if they'd wear one of your tee shirts or not!

Linkin Mall said...

Recently CafePress began competing with the artists for whom it acts as printer and shipper.

CafePress rents web shops to its artists. The artist creates a website page and manually loads the desired blank products. The artist imports his image onto each product, arranges the products on the page, describes the products, titles the products and tags the images.

Initially, the artist would set a markup and received the markup for each product sold.

However, recently CafePress began competing with its artists, using the artists' own images. CafePress created a marketplace where a customer can search a keyword. That search brings up artist products. When the customer buys from the marketplace CafePress pays the artist 10% of the price CafePress set. Both the customer and the artist lose money. If the artist's shop sells a t-shirt for $21, the artist makes $3.01. If the marketplace sells the same shirt for $25, the artist gets $2.50. The customer pays $4 more, and the artist gets $0.51 less.

CafePress tells artists to "promote your own shop," but CafePress buys Google adwords using the very image tags the artist provided.

CafePress justifies this bait and switch of service terms by telling artists they can opt out if they don't like the new terms; however, many have spent as much as 7 or 8 years creating as much as 88000 images.

In spite of their sweat-equity, many shopkeepers (content providers) are building shops at other print-on-demand companies and then closing their CafePress shops due to the broken faith and trust, the financial hardship CafePress has delivered into so many lives, and the huge amount of time and dedicated effort all lost in the momentum of their own businesses. Would you keep your AMOCO station franchise if AMOCO built a company store across the street from you?