MicrostockGroup Sponsors

Envato Elements

Author Topic: Print-On-Demand Sites Worthwhile?  (Read 15947 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Carl

  • Carl Stewart, CS Productions
« on: March 19, 2012, 04:24 »
0
Is anyone selling anything on the print-on-demand sites?  Sites such as www.artflakes.com, www.redbubble.com, www.zazzle.com, www.deviantart.com, and others.


ruxpriencdiam

    This user is banned.
  • Location. Third stone from the sun
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2012, 06:22 »
0
Quite a few people do and some do very well with what they have.

« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2012, 10:50 »
0
It's different from stock. You quite literally have to "design" stuff.

Sure you can slap your photos on posters, mousepads etc. but for the most part the really good sellers are designs like wedding invitations, business cards etc.

I still sell most of my stock stuff but I see better returns on designed products.

Your mileage may vary, depending on your subjects.

Quite a few pro sellers do sell on Cafepress, redbubble and the likes as well. If you already have a design you might as well offer it "everywhere". Pretty much the same concept as in microstock.

Zazzle does worlds better than Cafepress. Cafepress pay you 10% if items are sold through the marketplace. Only if you sell directly through your store you can make more (pricing is up to you). Zazzle doesn't do that - prices and royalties are always the same.

As with microstock, the POD business also requires huge amounts of time and dedication if you want to see a few hundred $$$ every month.

« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2012, 10:54 »
0
If you upload photos and create 'products' (t-shirts, cards etc) you are just placing a few needles in a gigantic haystack . There seem to be 2 ways to make any money. One is to promote yourself, somehow, through other channels.  The other is to create literally thousands of 'products' with popular themes like sports teams, cute babies wearing funny hats,  or travel photos of favorite tourist destinations.

I've done neither so I've made little :-)

Zazzles prices are high and your cut is small.

« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2012, 11:09 »
0
....prices are high and your cut is small.
Huh, I think I've heard that before...  ;)

Microbius

« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2012, 13:32 »
0
I find the design tools on Zazzle very slow and frustrating. I have quite a few things up there, I'm actually a Pro Seller, but gave up on doing anything new a while ago as too time consuming. For the time taken, for me it isn't worth it.

« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2012, 13:42 »
-1
I find the design tools on Zazzle very slow and frustrating. I have quite a few things up there, I'm actually a Pro Seller, but gave up on doing anything new a while ago as too time consuming. For the time taken, for me it isn't worth it.
I'm curious to hear which other POD site has a better interface with similar customizing options.

At least Cafepress is light years behind Zazzle...

Microbius

« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2012, 13:59 »
0
I have never used any of the other sites, I started with Zazzle because it was the biggest. I just meant generally it is a pain moving text about, aligning things and so on. I guess I am comparing it to using off-line software. InDesign, Quark and the like where you can fiddle about with your designs in a much more fluid and faster way. For me it got to be a PITA.

« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2012, 14:02 »
0
I have never used any of the other sites, I started with Zazzle because it was the biggest. I just meant generally it is a pain moving text about, aligning things and so on. I guess I am comparing it to using off-line software. InDesign, Quark and the like where you can fiddle about with your designs in a much more fluid and faster way. For me it got to be a PITA.
I wish it would be faster as well but I compare it to Cafepress which doesn't even allow you to add text!!!  :o

Your design has to be ready to go for the specific product you want it printed on.

In some instances you can reduce the size of the design but you cannot even move off center.

« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2012, 16:53 »
0
I find the design tools on Zazzle very slow and frustrating. I have quite a few things up there, I'm actually a Pro Seller, but gave up on doing anything new a while ago as too time consuming. For the time taken, for me it isn't worth it.

It is a PITA setting up your products but its like Micro . . . . .  spend some time and forget about it.  I have about 1500 products (NOT very commercial products, no cats, just the photos from Micro) and it drags in about $25/month with no promotion.  

PS . . .  it seems I sell mostly Ties and Phone cases
« Last Edit: March 19, 2012, 16:57 by etienjones »

« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2012, 17:04 »
0
... generally it is a pain moving text about, aligning things and so on. I guess I am comparing it to using off-line software.... For me it got to be a PITA.

Same with me, and one reason I quit doing anything with Zazzle.   The whole process of creating and listing products is too slow and tedious, and the only way you make money is with lots of products.  Their site needs major investment and redesign. 

« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2012, 17:32 »
0
Zazzle is where I have invesdted more of my time, and I am happy with the results. Increasing sales, I've been having a very nice month so far.

The biggest issue is them taking 30% tax from all my sales, even those outside USA (which is perhaps 50% of my sales). I haven't convinced them they are wrong and I plan to have IRS reply positively to me, so I can hopefully make them see the light.

« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2012, 17:59 »
0
There is one way to get around the tedium of dealing with their design software. If you use their templates, and create everything to the size they request you should be able to do 90% of the design, including the text outside of their software. This leaves keywording and SEO stuff, which is a royal pain in the butt, when you really just want to assign the same set of information to a dozen or more things using the same image or design.

« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2012, 18:18 »
0
I think Zazzle got going because CafePress was so bad, and was cutting commissions.  Now Zazzle needs competition.  Desperately.

I tried to figure out 'templates' but it was far from obvious.  I don't want to just  automatically slap photos on things without controlling the placement, sizing and cropping of the images.  That might be ok for the funny cat stuff, but not for my photos.  And mass keywording, without any batch tools - fuggedaboudit.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2012, 18:22 by stockastic »

suwanneeredhead

  • O.I.D. Sufferer (Obsessive Illustration Disorder)
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2012, 18:23 »
0
I make a lot more on Zazzle than I do on all of my microstocks combined, except Shutterstock. Ranking: Zazzle, Shutterstock, All Other Microstocks and PODs. Forget CafePress, their interface is so clunky and the last time I was there, you had to resize artwork for each different product... Losers!

Zazzle and Shutterstock are my bread-n-butter. 

Stacey

« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2012, 23:32 »
0
There is one way to get around the tedium of dealing with their design software. If you use their templates, and create everything to the size they request you should be able to do 90% of the design, including the text outside of their software. This leaves keywording and SEO stuff, which is a royal pain in the butt, when you really just want to assign the same set of information to a dozen or more things using the same image or design.

Using Zazzle design software to add text has the advantage that it makes the text customizable, which a lot of buyers probably prefer.

« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2012, 10:31 »
0
I make a lot more on FAA than I do on Zazzle... I think it's better suited to actually simply printing photos on demand, since Zazzle has so many other types of products.  Most of my photos are simply better suited to printing and putting on a wall than being featured on any other sort of product, and they seem to see more movement over on FAA

RacePhoto

« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2012, 11:44 »
0
Interesting. The couple of people I know who make money (and that's not me) have worked up collections and are pulling in around $50 a month on Zazzle. Myself I started using the templates that Zazzle provides, fill them in, delete the items I don't need or that the alignment is right. Makes it a little easier, but what everyone else says is true, It's somewhat torturous and time consuming.

Lack of interest: (and I agree)

I find the design tools on Zazzle very slow and frustrating.  For the time taken, for me it isn't worth it.


If you upload photos and create 'products' (t-shirts, cards etc) you are just placing a few needles in a gigantic haystack .

Zazzles prices are high and your cut is small.


Winners: lots of hours, paid off?

It is a PITA setting up your products but its like Micro . . . . .  spend some time and forget about it.  I have about 1500 products (NOT very commercial products, no cats, just the photos from Micro) and it drags in about $25/month with no promotion.  



suwanneeredhead you are one of the exceptions, whatever you are doing, nice going!

Here's Mine for last week.


jpeg image hosting

I only have cards and postcards, did a couple of Ts which are pretty stupid. Judging from the above I need only 1450 more items and I could be making $25 a month?  ::)

I just thought that cards and postcards would work better for the images I was uploading. Maybe for Christmas, and the Fall holidays. I suppose 100 designs would be a fail trial if I'm going for greeting cards. That was the intention.

« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2012, 13:08 »
0
There are pro sellers that sell the same item several times a day.

An iPhone case can get you between $6 to $10 a pop - you do the math.

So technically you can make pretty good money with very few items.

The keys is to promote your stuff. Promotion is more important than the quality of your design.

I've seen plenty of "LCV" stuff in some pro sellers portfolio but their products are ranking extremely well which is a result of (amongst other factors) sales.

« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2012, 13:34 »
0
Well then... hey everyone, visit my site and buy something!!  http://www.zazzle.com/mattt513

but seriously though, I'm confident in the quality of my photos, but I just don't think that many people come to zazzle to buy photos.  They want THINGS.. mugs, plates, totes, phone cases... and for that, designs work better than photos.  In fact, even for posters, they want a design element to it, not JUST a photo.

Since I'm a photographer, not a designer, this is why I do better at FAA I think.  The only reason I have stuff on zazzle is for when I'm too brain-dead to take, edit, or keyword photos, and I just use files I've already keyworded and edited to make products there.

RacePhoto

« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2012, 13:48 »
0
Well then... hey everyone, visit my site and buy something!!  http://www.zazzle.com/mattt513

but seriously though, I'm confident in the quality of my photos, but I just don't think that many people come to zazzle to buy photos.  They want THINGS.. mugs, plates, totes, phone cases... and for that, designs work better than photos.  In fact, even for posters, they want a design element to it, not JUST a photo.

Since I'm a photographer, not a designer, this is why I do better at FAA I think.  The only reason I have stuff on zazzle is for when I'm too brain-dead to take, edit, or keyword photos, and I just use files I've already keyworded and edited to make products there.


I upload ideas and rejections. Hmm, wonder why they don't sell.  :D

Some good educational materials in this thread for products on Zazzle. I didn't even know you could sell posters and prints, I thought it was all "stuff and things". But now I see, I wasn't really missing anything with posters? Or are there some people who actually sell prints? $21 for a poster, quick look, I'd have to really want that for my wall, wouldn't I.

I have a free FAA account, uploaded scenic and waterfalls and basically what I think would be best there - Wall Art. Haven't reached the 25 limit yet and when I do, I'll start trading in newer shots and removing old ones. Same as other places. Panoramas and wide shots, don't display very attractively. I may have to grab some centers of those and see how they do, but I like making the wide shots and for the two that I printed for myself, they hang nice. (of course I'm terribly biased!)

Example: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/colored-cavern-panorama-pete-klinger.html


image hosting

Wouldn't be the same as landscape 8x10 would it? Underground cave panorama, with artistic lighting.

RacePhoto

« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2012, 14:12 »
0
Hey Look, did you know there's a whole forum section for this?

http://www.microstockgroup.com/product-resale-forum/

Well now there are two survey questions. Please join in the survey. Thanks.

« Reply #22 on: March 20, 2012, 14:22 »
0
Right Racephoto, that image wouldn't look so great on a stamp.

For me the bottom line is that it is boring to create new products, and as always, the more the better. That's why I only add products a few times a year.

This is my solution for templates. When I have a series of images that have the same categories and keywords, I create all the products using one image.  With the next image I open an existing product, click on Customize,  change image, tweek text if needed,  change Category (or sub Category), and its done.  All keywords, price, etc, etc, are already done. This system saves time.

« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2012, 15:26 »
0
moved the thread to the print on demand forum

« Reply #24 on: March 20, 2012, 16:37 »
0
I think it's interesting that among the microstockers here, the talk isn't about Zazzle's high prices and low commissions.  Instead there's a rough consensus that the real barrier is their lousy web site.  The obvious message to Zazzle is that if they invested in seriously improving the web site they'd get increased participation by better photographers.   Not holding my breath.

Carl

  • Carl Stewart, CS Productions
« Reply #25 on: March 21, 2012, 05:26 »
0
I'll offer my assessment of the situation and ask whether or not anyone agrees.  It seems to me that the POD sites offer a service and some products to be comined with our "products" (photos or illustrations).  It is then our responsibility to generate sales by our own marketing and promotions because simply putting our products on the POD sites is likely to do nothing at all.  It's not a situation wherein we can upload our material to the sites and then watch the sales roll in, as most of us have discovered.  So I suppose the question then becomes one of how best to market these products and generate sales, which means more time away from photography (or creating vectors if you're an illustrator) to devote to sales & marketing.  I'm not sure I wanna go there.  Any thoughts?

« Reply #26 on: March 21, 2012, 06:00 »
+1
I do Zazzle stuff on the side when I feel like taking a break from working and editing photos. For me it is a creative break to think what kind of products I can create from my images. And since there is no approval process on most POD sites, you can burn free and just make what you like or feel inspired to. It is part fun, part work, and it adds some extra income, not a whole lot, but helps to diversify income sources. I don't get into the promotional side very much, except for a few links on my photo blog, web site or twitter.
My store is here http://www.zazzle.com/asiastockimages

« Reply #27 on: March 21, 2012, 07:11 »
0
I'll offer my assessment of the situation and ask whether or not anyone agrees.  It seems to me that the POD sites offer a service and some products to be comined with our "products" (photos or illustrations).  It is then our responsibility to generate sales by our own marketing and promotions because simply putting our products on the POD sites is likely to do nothing at all.  It's not a situation wherein we can upload our material to the sites and then watch the sales roll in, as most of us have discovered.  So I suppose the question then becomes one of how best to market these products and generate sales, which means more time away from photography (or creating vectors if you're an illustrator) to devote to sales & marketing.  I'm not sure I wanna go there.  Any thoughts?


I just started on Zazzle in Mid-January.  What I found was there are folks who will promote your stuff for you because they get the referral fee.  Some people make money there JUST on referrals and don't sell any products.  So they are always looking for new stores, etc.    There is a forum section where you can add your store info and referrers can pick it up and start marketing you.   You can also add your products to peoples squidoo lenses and stuff, also consolidated in that one forum section.  I have made (3) sales so far (all through referrals) that have netted me $23.32 so far, which ain't too bad.   (iPhone covers, stamps and stickers are what I have sold so far)

It IS a lot of work though.  It took forever to get my quick templates built up, to figure out the create method, and even to find all the various products that are hidden about the website.  Getting your workflow set up is painful, and I will admit I haven't been adding stuff there recently because of that.   I get the impression that it takes time for your products to build their position in the Zazzle Marketplace (rather like Best Match), but that once you have established yourself with some critical mass of products that the momentum picks up. 

My store is http://www.zazzle.com/the_edge_of_light  if you are curious. 

« Reply #28 on: March 21, 2012, 08:55 »
0
I made a few  sales without promoting my stuff in any way - buyers found them by keyword search.  So it's possible, and might amount to something if you have images of popular subjects.

Another warning: some time ago I complained on the Zazzle forum about a recent change Zazzle had made.  I was immediately locked out of the forum and all my posts were deleted.  Zazzle is a nasty place, basically an automated money machine.  There is little if any support for contributors and they obviously want their forum to be a "happy place" much like IS.

cascoly

  • Photography, travel & online games at cascoly.com

« Reply #29 on: March 21, 2012, 16:37 »
0
i looked at zazzle, but it seemed like too much work for the possible payoffs - i cancelled finearts when the renewal came up; similar slim results at greeting card universe

i still have a redbubble acct that brings in a coupla $ a month, but havent added to it in well over a year - RB has a lot of activity but it's more a social site with everyone trying to sell their portfolios, but doesnt seem there are many actual buyers there

« Reply #30 on: March 21, 2012, 17:25 »
0
i looked at zazzle, but it seemed like too much work for the possible payoffs - i cancelled finearts when the renewal came up; similar slim results at greeting card universe

i still have a redbubble acct that brings in a coupla $ a month, but havent added to it in well over a year - RB has a lot of activity but it's more a social site with everyone trying to sell their portfolios, but doesnt seem there are many actual buyers there

Yup.

What I want is a POD site where I sell images on things like coffee cups and T-shirts, with a design/listing process that is quick and straightforward, and with reasonable prices for the goods.   I don't even want to be bothered with keywording,  I'd promote it myself.   I haven't found such a site.

« Reply #31 on: March 25, 2012, 18:44 »
0
I just started on Zazzle 3 or 4 days ago and have already had 2 of my products selected as 'Today's Best', which has brought in a decent number of views but still no sales. I've got about 130 designs (mostly illustrations) that I've been working through putting on products. So far I only have about 250 products, mostly just iPhone and iPod cases. I think I can get up to 3,000 products or so using the 130 designs I already have made. I don't like their quick create feature and I don't intend on putting my designs on every product they offer, just the products I think fit my designs. Cherry picking the products will certainly be more time consuming, but hopefully worth it in the long run as my store won't be filled with crap.

My store: http://www.zazzle.com/abstractzz

I haven't got around to creating a nice store design yet, obviously.

« Reply #32 on: March 25, 2012, 21:32 »
0
Illustrations do well in Zazzle.

helix7

« Reply #33 on: March 28, 2012, 16:31 »
0

I'm disappointed with the product quality at Zazzle. I used my earnings to buy a t-shirt and an iPhone case. The t-shirt was a white design on a black shirt. The white printing came out sort of faded looking, and you could see the entire imprint area of the front of the shirt, like the fabric was somehow affected by the imprinting, even beyond the actual printed graphic.

The iPhone case was a symmetric design and supposed to be centered on the case, and it was printed very off-center. It was also cropped very differently than it appeared in the preview. I had them redo it, and the replacement case was warped and couldn't hold the phone. This time around, they're only offering a refund.

I almost feel a little embarrassed to be selling my work on these products. They're pretty crappy.

cascoly

  • Photography, travel & online games at cascoly.com

« Reply #34 on: March 28, 2012, 17:26 »
+2
i decided the only way zazzle would work for me is if i could find someone to design products using my images, otherwise it's way too time consuming.  other sites like redbubble, fineart, etc let you upload ! image, then just click the products you want to support, you dont need to individualy design each product

« Reply #35 on: March 28, 2012, 18:24 »
0
Redbubble is much simpler than Zazzle.  Unfortunately they don't offer many POD products - mainly just prints, cars, t-shirts and (of course) iPad covers.  I'd like to do coffee cups, but Rebubble doesn't have them, and Zazzle's are too expensive.

« Reply #36 on: May 22, 2012, 16:41 »
0
I now have a few images on fineartamerica.

For ex, here's one I entered in FAA contest. It needs only 248 more votes to be eligible to be considered by jury for TV commercial use ;)

[dead link deleted]

Until reading RacePhoto's post, however, I forgot they have a 25 image limit for free membership. I'll focus mainly on angels & see what happens - FAA has only a 10,000+ of those heavenly creatures so far ;)

RacePhoto -  lovely panoramic cavern!

smiles - ann

[edited 6/30 to delete dead link, since no longer on FAA]

[....] I have a free FAA account, uploaded scenic and waterfalls and basically what I think would be best there - Wall Art. Haven't reached the 25 limit yet and when I do, I'll start trading in newer shots and removing old ones. Same as other places. Panoramas and wide shots, don't display very attractively. I may have to grab some centers of those and see how they do, but I like making the wide shots and for the two that I printed for myself, they hang nice. (of course I'm terribly biased!)

Example: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/colored-cavern-panorama-pete-klinger.html
[....]  
« Last Edit: June 30, 2012, 19:42 by ann »

Carl

  • Carl Stewart, CS Productions
« Reply #37 on: May 22, 2012, 17:31 »
0
I got the same shoddy workmanship from Cafe Press, after which I closed my account.  Looks like I'll have to do the same with Zazzle unless it's an isolated incident.

« Reply #38 on: May 22, 2012, 17:52 »
0
I'm a huge fan of Zazzle's mugs.  Excellent quality!

« Reply #39 on: January 30, 2013, 05:03 »
0
Hi all, I'm planning to put my designs up on these POD sites and have been doing some research on them. I think cafepress and zazzle have a higher base price on their products but i love the range of products they provide!

Microbius

« Reply #40 on: January 30, 2013, 05:07 »
0
i decided the only way zazzle would work for me is if i could find someone to design products using my images, otherwise it's way too time consuming.  other sites like redbubble, fineart, etc let you upload ! image, then just click the products you want to support, you dont need to individualy design each product
Did you find someone to do this for you, I have thought about doing a deal with someone to create using my stuff and doing a split but not sure how it would work.

« Reply #41 on: January 30, 2013, 10:33 »
0
i decided the only way zazzle would work for me is if i could find someone to design products using my images, otherwise it's way too time consuming.  other sites like redbubble, fineart, etc let you upload ! image, then just click the products you want to support, you dont need to individualy design each product
Did you find someone to do this for you, I have thought about doing a deal with someone to create using my stuff and doing a split but not sure how it would work.

Agreed.  I've tried several times to get moving on Zazzle but it's just too slow and tedious.  And, their prices are too high.  That company desperately needs some serious competition.


« Reply #42 on: March 22, 2013, 08:35 »
0
Hi all!

I am on Zazzle for 6 months now. I must say it is a huge amount of work cause I do doodles and then need to convert them to vector which means my output is not that much as compared to photo taking. But as I continue to build up my portfolio, learn how to do key words correctly and promote my stuff, I do see an increase in the sales. For the first four months, I am making so many mistakes.   

This month has been my best so far, making about $50 with special thanks to a customer that bought 100 magnets.

It may be tedious but it is the only one that I found results so far so I am sticking with it. Hopefully, I can do better in months to come.

If you are interested, my store is newbielink:http://www.zazzle.com/rustydoodle. [nonactive]

Cheers,
Rusty

Microstock InsiderEnvato Elements

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
0 Replies
1644 Views
Last post November 12, 2011, 09:45
by KuriousKat
45 Replies
9387 Views
Last post August 01, 2015, 12:29
by stockastic
0 Replies
626 Views
Last post March 21, 2017, 09:04
by Dakota
5 Replies
2488 Views
Last post May 05, 2017, 12:33
by stockastic
1 Replies
1023 Views
Last post November 24, 2017, 12:08
by Mir

Sponsors

Microstock Poll Results

Sponsors

Envato Elements