As you may or may not know, I have some problems with how Cafepress has been behaving recently, and have decided that unless something changes with their policies, I will stop using their services. As I closed my stores this afternoon, with each store I closed they offered me a comments box to explain why I was closing my stores. I gave the following comments, one sentence at a time (cumulatively):
I hate your new Membership Agreement. You already get the entire base price! A base price which is so high most of my readers can’t afford even to pay the base prices! What in the world do you need 5% of my commissions for? I was only charging $1 per item (less for some) because anything higher would prevent 100% of sales, and you need that extra nickel, why? I didn’t need the trademark/copyright ownership section re-explained, I’m smart enough to have understood it the first time. What upset me was that because your too-high base prices influenced me to have low commissions, you also sent me an email to let me know that for only earning $24.63 in commission in 6 months you were going to give me $0 commission instead, effectively stealing my money. Worse is that for anyone who wants to stay with Cafepress and not have their money stolen, they have to raise their commissions just to keep their heads above water. Which I guess is why you started taking part of the commissions. Because you knew the other policy would drive them up. Or maybe it was a long-term plot against your users! Maybe you knew put the $25 minimum commissions in place six months ago, knowing about the new change! Forcing users to increase their commissions just days before revealing that you would be taking a percentage of them! What a genius plan! It’s like extortion! Except the people you’re extorting money from are the people who generate your revenue stream! It’s like you don’t understand the role people like me play in your company’s ability to survive. In order for your company to survive, I have to continue using you, and my readers have to be able to afford to purchase my products from you. The more ways you find to raise prices of the end user and steal money from the content creators, the less business you will do in the end. I have been using Cafepress since it was in beta, and I would prefer to see it succeed than fail, would rather see people happy with you than angry. In case you forgot, the benefit of a service like what you offer really only benefits the little guys who wouldn’t normally have the guaranteed high volume sales that make doing it all yourself more profitable. By effectively saying you don’t want the ‘little guys’ involved (mostly with the $25 minimums/fees), you are alienating the people most effectively helped by the avilability of your service. I understand that there are tax-related reasons for this, but you need to keep in mind your actual business model whenever making business decisions, so you don’t cut your own legs out from under yourself. I will keep an eye on your POD service for books, but I have a feeling your base prices will make the books unbuyable. I have also tried to get involved with your appearance at the San Diego Comic-Con, as my site and readership are based more than 50% around online comics, and I will be attending the Con this year as a Professional. I hope that our relationship can be repaired someday, as I firmly believe in the service you originally set out to provide.
You can access the remaining store at http://www.cafepress.com/me_main/. If Modern Evil doesn’t raise the money it needs in the next month, it will go down. Please help. Buy merchandise, buy art, or just send me money. Thank you.