Thursday, April 29, 2010
As I write that subject, I immediately think of what everyone usually takes that expression to mean ... and how laughably different MY thought of what "eye candy" is. LOL
I received my bulletin from Elann.com today, a company from which I haven't made a purchase, but from whom I love to shop, explore, snag free patterns, etc. Ideas galore there, as well as temptations for luscious yarns and supplies and amazing designs and patterns.
I thought I'd share the body of the newsletter with you as the pattern they're highlighting is SO gorgeous -- definitely "eye candy" to me -- and something I'd love to make and have even though I know I never will.
Click on it to make it larger -- I finally learned how to get a picture within the post rather than at the top, but I don't seem to be able to control its size. :P
Smiles to y'all!
Note: My current extra prayer/support list is:
- Donna K.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
For once, I'm actually posting in the same vein and topic as my last post! Ya just never know what I'm gonna do next, eh? All over the map, usually; so maybe this is the one time that lightening is striking in the same place? LOL
I thought I'd give a bit of an update to the last post as well as a couple comments have occurred to me since. I promise this post won't be as long as the last one, so you don't hafta go make yourself a cuppa and get your slippers to be comfortable while reading this!
I subscribe to the Etsy newsletters as probably most all Etsy sellers do. They're interesting, inspiring, helpful, cool to see the new creations ... and I just generally enjoy getting 'em 'cause I rarely make it to the front page to read all the articles and nearly NEVER go directly to the Storque or blog.
Anyhow, this week one came that was quite normal, announcing changes/improvements to Treasury creation, workings and such. However, down at the bottom of the letter was something I'd never seen before. If it's been included in the past, shame on me for not noticing; but I do get the feeling it might not've been and that this is a bit of a reaction from Etsy to retort to comments/complaints/worries/upset from sellers regarding the drop in visits and sales and the future of Etsy and what it means to us as independent businesspeople. They call it the Weather Report, and this one is regarding the month of March. Here's a link to check it out: http://www.etsy.com/storque/etsy-news/etsy-statistics-march-2010-weather-report-7792/?utm_source=bronto&utm_medium=email&utm_term=our+monthly+weather+report.&utm_content=etsy_news_042110&utm_campaign=etsy_news_042110
Another thing that I think I should clear up is that I said (I was repeating what I'd heard without full research ... shame on me!!!) that Artfire is facing bankrupsy. This is not true! Artfire is simply placing ads in non-paying sellers' shops to boost earnings for the whole of Artfire. I personally don't see much wrong with this even though it might send a buyer to another place and lose me a sale. I mean, Artfire is providing this service that costs them something to provide; and they are getting nothing in return from the non-paying sellers. I think they're totally within their rights and ethics to place ads in these shops. But that's my opinion...... Just thought I should correct my statement that they're facing bankrupsy. If they are, I don't see evidence to that effect other than comments by upset sellers.
In that vein, though, I started to think about eCrater. They offer everything there -- selling, buying, tools, support, blah, blah .... almost endless offerings and really high quality -- and they charge absolutely nothing for it. I actually didn't think much about this until the whole discontent issue fired up at Artfire; but I started browsing around eCrater looking for ads and such, wondering how in the world they are making any money. I have found NOTHING except a note from them when a link is broken saying "open a free shop at eCrater." But that's not generating income either. I find not one single thing that's creating any income for them. I'm starting to wonder if this is a wealthy person behind eCrater who's got a huge heart and love for artisans and sellers. It's amazing. I still wonder what I'm missing..... :P
Well, I'm off to do some more work on my Facebook page for The Knitwit's Hues and also get some chores done here at home. I send smiles to all of you!
Note: My current extra prayer/support list is:
- Gypsy Froggie
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Any of you with whom I keep regular (or at least as regular as *I* ever manage!) contact have probably noticed I've been even more absent than usual for the last couple weeks. In my last post (in February!!) I told you about my uncertainty with the online selling market, changes there, different venues, a drop not only in sales but in visits and browsers ... and that uncertainty continued to nag at me and prompt more investigation and research.
Rather than write it all out here once again, I'm going to cut and paste a letter I composed to send to my artisan/selling friends so they can benefit from my research and wandering as well as get in on what I feel will be a profitable venture for the not-too-distant future.
Here's my letter:
For the last couple weeks I’ve been investigating, testing, reading and chatting like crazy ... trying to find other venues like Etsy. I love Etsy, but I’ve been getting frustrated that so many of my listings aren’t showing up in Google search. It seems like random ones show while others never come up at all. Google Analytics started showing a steady decline in visits, and now sites/venues I haven’t promoted or barely touched are getting hits like crazy while Etsy has dropped to the negative side on visits. This is not to say that there are no visits, just that they’ve dropped so far that they’re way into the negative.
I wrote to Etsy about this feeds to Google issue and finally did get an answer from them this past Friday. They said they are still not finished with getting everything all set up for submitting the feeds, and that sellers’ listings are slowly being added all the time. From the sound of it, heaven knows when this will be up to speed and keep pace with the listings. I am now aware that not ONE of my listings in my second shop has been submitted to Google. :( Only some for my main shop have been ... and those seem to be mostly “older” listings.
Even prior to the response I received from Etsy, the traffic drop off and not finding my listings on search got me looking for other venues. I do have shops on eCrater, but that venue is not specific to handmade and vintage, and I want to continue selling in venue(s) limited to those categories.
One friend moved to Artfire, and I followed her and opened an account there to experiment. On listing just two things, though, I was unhappy with the inability for buyers to enlarge the pictures. This is a huge impairment for my listings since I can’t get up really close (like with jewelry or something small) and still show the items properly.
I did make some friends at Artfire, though, and one mentioned Bonanzle and Zibbet to me. I’d heard of neither and so, of course, checked them out. Bonanzle is a terrific alternative to Ebay or even eCrater ... offering great tools for shop (booth) set up, listings, etc. I may sell there when I’ve things that are not handmade or vintage, but I didn’t get the “family” feel there as I’ve had at Etsy and wanted to find elsewhere.
When I checked out Zibbet, I fell in love almost at first sight. It’s very much like Etsy, but you can open a shop there for free and see how things work without making any commitment. While setting up, I had a question and couldn’t find a forum, so I wrote “admin” ... whoever that might be I hadn’t a clue except for that I’d read a little bit about one of the fellows founding the site. To my huge surprise, I had a personal answer from him in less than two days’ time ... and being that he’s in Australia, this was really just the next day that he answered me. Remarkable! He welcomed me, answered my question in detail ... and then told me about the Ning community where the Zibbet sellers chat, have forums, network, bounce ideas around, etc.
I’m telling you, it’s really remarkable. Everyone there is supporting everyone else, knowing that it will take the effort of all to succeed and gain recognition of the Zibbet name in the buying market. The three fellows who are building Zibbet are conversing with us almost constantly in the forums, and they’re listening to everything we suggest. Even more remarkable, they are trying their damndest to tailor things to how we request. !!!
This past week there was a big blowout on Etsy. I never hang out in the Forums there (plus was busy and spending most my ‘puter time at Zibbet or Ning), so I didn’t realize it was happening. There were rumblings coming through the cosmos, though, and echoing into the Zibbet community since almost everyone at Zibbet has a shop at Etsy too. Apparently push came to shove with the sellers questioning Admin, and Admin wasn’t owning full responsibility and was making people angrier with double speak. There was a big exodus there for two days ... even though most cannot afford to pull out no matter how frustrating it might be or how slow sales might have become.
Also unknown to me, there was a big shakeup at Artfire too. Apparently the Admin there placed ads on non-paying sellers’ pages that are/were distracting buyers if not sending them elsewhere, and Admin supposedly was telling the offended sellers that this would stop if they opened a paying account. There were other things that happened with, supposedly, the founder blowing his top ... and repercussions of that resounded into Etsy and Zibbet too. Apparently most the sellers at Artfire are non-paying, so AF is facing bankruptsy.
Zibbet experienced such an influx of new members from Etsy (and Artfire too, I think) that the site crashed Wednesday night (I think it was). The fellows are working non-stop trying to install a new, big server to accomodate this growth; and they had one helluva time as there is so much info that the system kept timing out and forcing them to start over again. They finally got everything back up running Sunday night -- Monday morning for most of us here in the States.
At any rate, I’m urging you as a friend and fellow artisan to come over to Zibbet and give it a try. You can join and set up a shop for free, and there is no commitment on your part. I urge you too, to visit (if not join) the Ning network (http://zibbet.ning.com/) to see how great everyone there is.
I will send you an invite from the Zibbet site, and that is because if you decide to join as a paying member in the future, I will get credit for having referred you. I wouldn’t ask you, though, unless I felt this is a really worthwhile site and venture. Zibbet is very new and is still (for the most part) unknown to buyers ... and we need to get the name echoing all over so that people recognize it the way they do Etsy and now Artfire. Listings are not yet being fed to Google product search, though Google is picking up on the indexes (i.e., traffic on the site). This makes listings gradually available on “regular” Google search ... but not on Product search. So at present, about 5% of the traffic comes from Google search. We obviously need to increase this; and the fellows have Google feeds high on the list to do, plus we sellers are working at ideas to get the name out so that it’s more and more recognized. The more sellers who come to the sight and list items (with free or paid accounts, it doesn’t matter), the more the Zibbet name will appear in Google, and that’s a snowball effect.
I really feel this site will become as popular as Etsy is, and I’m much more confident and impressed with the founders than I am with the Admin at Etsy who always remain rather aloof and rarely answer questions directly. These fellows are totally committed, and you can read their comments and discussions with us at http://zibbet.ning.com This particular thread was written by one of the three and will give you an idea why I am so impressed and like these fellows and Zibbet so much:
Please come to Zibbet and set up a shop for yourself for free. I did, and it wasn’t long before I knew I wanted to dig my heels in and make it my primary home. I’m not saying I won’t continue to sell in other venues, but I do intend to make Zibbet my main focus. I really think you’ll be equally impressed, so I urge you as a friend to give it a try.
I’ll send the invite via the Zibbet site separately.
Smiles to you,
PS - Contrary to what I’d thought, there is not a letter to send from Zibbet to you. You just need to follow this link to Zibbet when you join, and then it will be saved in my record that I referred you. Here’s the link:
Note: My current extra prayer/support list is:
- Gypsy Froggie