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Author Topic: print business cards, turning out to be a good earner  (Read 49596 times)

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« Reply #175 on: January 18, 2011, 12:47 »
Well said Tim, and it's nice to see someone responding with good manners.


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« Reply #176 on: January 18, 2011, 15:03 »
Tim youre a business.  Im sure the only person youre looking after is the one Im responding to right now and the people working with you.  Of course you pay your artists on time.  Youre only paying them $5 out of the $65 you earn.

I find it difficult to accept that you justify yourself as a POD site by saying you have no interest in what other POD sites pay.  I find this statement of yours absolutely ludicrous and even insulting.  Yes, youre right, you can run your business however you choose and rip the artists off, its your right.  Its also my right and anyone else's to review your site and to call you up on it if I want to.  I find it difficult believing this statement about this being what you can afford.  Im sure with the margin youre making you can afford a tad more.  I dont quite believe that people who have joined your site, fully comprehend the magnitude of how much youre willing to rip them off.  I know you dont like that word, but its quicker than typing taking advantage of them because that is what youre doing. 

Let me put this down in a hypothetical so that people can see what exactly it is youre doing....

Lets say Bob is the manager of a construction company and he orders 500 business cards from you.  You get $65 revenue and the artist receives just $5.  Bob has 9 employees working for him and he orders business cards for them.  So now youve made another $585 and the artist made $0.  Over the next 5 years, Bob and his company places another 2 orders of 500 per person per year so youve made another $6,500 (5 years x 2 orders x 10 people x $65).  So all up youve made $7150 in revenue and the poor artist/photographer has only made $5.  If thats not ripping them off, I dont know what is!  Now lets say the same deal happened over at Zazzle and lets say the artist was paid $5 for 100 cards instead of 500.  That means the artist would have earned $2500 over the 5 years from that client  (5 years x 10 orders x 10 people x $5).  I know you dont care about comparing your company to Zazzle or anyone else but from the artists point of view, the difference between $5 and $2,500 should not be ignored!

Also you justified in your email to me that your rates are far better than microstock sites but you are wrong.  A print licence at Dreamstime ranges between $18.75 to $31.25 depending on what level your image is at.  Heres where it gets interesting:

SCENARIO ONE:  A designer buys a print licence for an image on a microstock stie and the artist gets paid from about $18 to $31.  He designs a business card using this image and sells it on a POD like Zazzle earning a fair amount over and over again to the same client.

SCENARIO TWO:  Here you are (PBC) who has effectively bought a print licence from the artist for only $5.  You can word it any which way you like but effectively, that is what you have done.  You can then sell the image over and over again to the same client and the artist receives nothing more.  Worst still, you dont even have to design the card, the artist has done it for you.  Youre pretty clever Tim, Ill give you that much!  Clever yes, fair, NO!  Far from it!

SCENARIO THREE:  The artist themselves joins a proper POD site, designs their own business card using their own image and sells the image over and over again to the same client earning a fair whack over time!

Which is the better scenario, Tim, from the artists point of view, cause I know you definitely like Scenario Two.  How can you sit there and tell me (or anyone) that your company isnt a rip off?

But youre right, Tim, its your business and you have the right to legally rip off as many artists as you like but I have the right to review and compare your greedy site and their payment structure to both microstock and PODs.  I find it absolutely appalling that you have convinced these people that youre giving them a fair deal.  Youve even tried winning them over with the extra $25 for the artwork so that a client can use it on websites or whatever, but even thats not anything better than what you get on Microstock because to do that, a client would need to purchase another web usage licence for another cost of between about $18 to $31.

As for name calling, all Ive said is that compared to other PODs you are ripping people off.  I have the right to warn the designers I deal with on daily basis about your company.  What I write on my Facebook page to my followers, who are mainly other designers is my business.  What I write on my personal FB page, where I have even more designers, is also my business.  I am also allowed to type my opinion about your site in here.  I understand you dont like people pointing out how you operate but I, as an artist, dont like seeing other artists being ripped off.  As for the ones in here that are defending you, I dont know what to say, good luck to them.  But as I said, I dealt with you briefly, worked out just how low you value the artists work and I wish to share that with people.  In your email you wrote that you werent worried because Im just a minority but am I?  If thats the case, continue not worrying.

I was going to write one post here to do my bit and leave it at that but everyone jumped down my throat.  As for manners, I dont believe you acted any more courteously than I did when you accused Microstock companies of ripping people off when youre much worse.  Besides, manners dont mean too much when youre taking advantage of people here.  I just didnt believe people here understood exactly what you were doing even after reading your teams.  Thats why I came and posted here.  Again, I am disgusted with you and your company just like the thousands were disgusted with iStock.

As for you saying that I said your terms are hidden, I was referring to your Artist Agreement  Yes, that is hidden because no one can access it unless they sign up first.  Your terms on this thread, which I read, were misleading.  I did not read anywhere here that the $5 payment was a one-off payment and that the client can purchase multiple times for multiple people in their company.  Your legal terms being hidden is also kind of shifty, I believe anyway.

You said Personally, I find it ridiculous to entertain the thought of charging someone $20+ for 100 business cards. THAT's A RIPOFF to the customer. 

So its okay for you to accuse Microstock of ripping off the artist (when youre far worse than them) and its okay to acuse other PODs of Ripping off the client?  Actually I think Zazzles cards are fairly priced and the quality of the cards in terms of design are much better than yours overall.  Your design platform is very limited and your cards end up looking a little on cheap side anyway.

There were no accusations.  I didnt make up your payment terms.  I laid them out and compared them to other companies such as yours on a forum that was set up to do just that.  I dont believe your company is fair.  Ive made other designers aware of your payment terms and they dont agree to them being fair either.  Personally I find it absolutely disgusting that you can live with yourself.   I also find it ridiculous when your company is compared to PODs that you say but were different  Thats right, you are, you pay peanuts and the others are fairer.  Thats the point.  End of!

« Reply #177 on: January 18, 2011, 16:09 »
Tim, while this pseudonymous person is obviously overreacting and communicating in a very nasty tone (really the best way to make sure no one takes your side!)  I would like to examine a few of the facts that were brought up from a non-emotional perspective.  I would like to say I chose to upload some designs for the sole reason that Tim actually comes to the forums and interacts, he is very polite and genuinely seems motivated to be successful. That can not be said for some other business owners in this field.  I think that any business owner who takes the time to come to respond to forums should get a few extra points. And Tim gets a few extra points for dealing with the nasty tone in such a professional way. 

I have to say though I was completely unaware that we only got paid $5 on our first sale (not blaming anyone that is my fault, I know I should have read the fine print closer).  Can you address this business decision however Tim and is this something you are willing to bend on in the future?  As pointed out it is only 8% of the sale, we really need to be paid per sale not per client tomake this worth our time.  I knew all along that it was $5 but I really didn't realize if the same client spends thousands we still only get the original $5. Hmm, I really want this company to succeed and I am even okay with the extremely low 8% commission if some sales do start to happen. But all emotions aside I can't understand why we are not getting compensated for having work that is so good it makes clients want to come back a second/third time, sites like dreamstime raise your commission if your get recurring customers to the same image in order to encourage you to produce similar work, it seems we are penalized for having good work.  It's only $5 (8%) why not just keep your contributers happy and pay for every sale, they will be more inclined to refer the site to other stock photography friends, and you will avoid the inevitable negative publicity that rants like pseudonymous' has caused.  I understand if you feel that the current business model would not be sustainable if you had to pay contributers for every sale they make, but seriously do consider it for the future as I am certain this issue is going to keep coming back to haunt you, at least now that it has been clarified publicly in this forum....regardless of the inappropriate way it was brought to our attention. 

Like I said I only have 30 something templates up with no sales, as I try to decide if it is worth my time to continue to upload templates. These are the issues myself and others will be considering. I understand the competition in the business card world is fierce when you have so many sites giving away 500 free business cards left and right.

I wish your business much success in 2011 and look forward to watching it grow.


« Reply #178 on: January 18, 2011, 16:22 »
Hello Lightscribe,

Thank you for addressing this in a positive manner. I appreciate it immensely.

The payment structure is something that has been under scrutiny and up for discussion for several months. In my last note here, I alluded to several changes that are getting ready to be implemented. We'll have new information out for everyone very shortly. I hope that you'll be pleased with the outcome.

I apologize - I do not know who you are simply by your screen name. Would it be possible for you to let me know who you are? I would appreciate the opportunity to look over your portfolio and see there are some additional keywording options and other optimization that can possibly done in order to get some sales occurring for you.


« Reply #179 on: January 18, 2011, 17:12 »
Wow, what a turmoil!   :D

I understand pseudonymous arguments, and there are some fair points. I am at a few POD sites, but for business cards only two - Zazzle and ABC (does Cafepress offer BCs, now? I gave up on them long ago).

Indeed, Zazzle's returns has been very encouraging. Because BCs are one of my most successful products there, I'm motivated to produce more. I've read about ABC long ago here at MSG and signed up with them, without actually uploading anything. When I decided BCs would be a goal for me, I thought a good idea to join ABC, so I would have another outlet for them. That was in November, I think, and I can only thank Tim for the patience while I was struggling with the CMYK issue in my first uploads. Communication has been so far excellent. The two sales I've had in such a short time were also encouraging.

I did know from the start that I was going to make just US$5 per order, but I did not know until recently (before this current discussion, though) that further orders by the same client would not get me anything (my fault not checking all the details - I really don't have the patience to read everything!). I hope these future plans Tim is talking about will address this issue.

Trying to look from a buyer's perspective, considering one that is not a computer expert, ABC (actually its client sites) seems easier to enter the card details and customize font size (what is probably the one thing that requires more customization) and type.  I use template fields in Zazzle, and I think they work fine, but it is a bit more difficult to change font size/type or add and delete text - again, considering the more basic user. The site approach is also different, dedicated to BCs, while Zazzle is a huge department store. It seems ABC gives a closer attention to clients, while in Zazzle everything is automated. Take the custom requests, for instance (Tim, could we get a higher commission when the request is fulfilled, please? ;D)  I like this approach and it certainly captivates many clients, so personally I believe ABC can write its name in this niche market.  Also, with a minimum order is 500 cards, it is not totally competing with Zazzle (most of my sales there were just 100 cards, apart from a very nice 5,000 one!).

So, I can and I do get more at Zazzle, and I continue to upload to it, and I plan to continue to invest on ABC as well. Probably I would not be at ABC if it was the only BC site. But since I am already creating BCs for Zazzle, it is not very time-consuming to create them for ABC as well. Maybe in the future, if ABC fails to fulfil my expectations, I will give up on it. By now I can swallow the US$5. Not bad, and as donding said, I also have many images that would not get to the picky micros, but are absolutely ok in the small sizes required by BCs (and other POD items), and hopefully they will sell in any of the two.


« Reply #180 on: January 18, 2011, 17:21 »
As I mentioned in one of my previous posts here earlier, we've been working to address some of the legitimate concerns. This has been something our team has discussed and been working to establish for awhile. But, in light of certain happenings recently here on MSG and other locations on the Internet, we felt it would be prudent to go ahead and announce this new change.

Below is a copy of emails (copied with permission) between Brian (our programmer) and Keith (our CEO):


"Have you been following the debate in the Microstock Group's forum about how we pay as a POD? I am amused by it because when we started there was no POD section even in their forum and I had never heard of one. I had not heard of Zazzle until after we created our community and pay structure. We created how artists would get paid all on our own with no standards to go by and felt we were being extremely fair at the time.

In any event, I could care little about this gal and there will always be someone out there like this no matter what we do. The reason for my email is that I would like to consider paying the artists for each new sale from the same customer and posting our agreement where it can be read before signing up. We will most likely never be like any other POD or Stock Photography company because we are a professional business card management company; we simply have a different business model. I am sure in some occasions we will pay more and in others we will pay less but I feel this group has some valid viewpoints in regards to repeat orders and the artist contract.

We will have to adapt as this industry grows and I feel we should always be listening to how we can be better and as fair as possible. The good news is next week we will be offering the ability to order 250 cards at a time and the artists will still get $5 for each sale. In addition to that good news, how long would it take in programming to be able to pay the artists $5 each time a customer returns and reorders business cards. Can we also pay the artist their $20 licensing commission if we switch a customer into a manage contract at"


Brian's response:


"Yes, that is just a setting we can set in and is already in use for our store owners at Which is fortunate, that was a lot of work to get it working correctly for the Easy Card Designer stores. Why dont the artists create a turnkey store with Easy Card Designer and make $10 to $15 a sale? They could sell their templates as well as each others templates and everyone would make more money. Yes that second avenue regarding the $20 license payment would have to be a manual process for the near future but should not be an issue. Let me know."


So, there you have it. This should increase payouts for everyone involved with our community. I will be modifying our terms and agreements shortly.

Would enjoy hearing feedback from you. At this point, I'm pretty "worded out" :)

Adios for now ~
« Last Edit: January 18, 2011, 18:09 by TimMc »


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« Reply #181 on: January 18, 2011, 18:55 »
Youre welcome everyone! 

Not a bad outcome so far from the rantings of just one gal.  Let me just add this though.  Dont blame me for going to my FB page and in here to lay down the facts because I was quite willing to talk this issue over with Tim on email but it was clear that he wanted no part of the discussion when he wrote this...

I'm not going to banter back and forth about the greatness of Zazzle or anyone else's programs. Our program is what it is - people are free to move about where ever they wish. We have an established program, we have designers, illustrators, artists, and photographers (many of whom also choose NOT to be on microstock sites), and in 4 years of building our community, we have never been called cheap by anyone. So, yes I do take issue with that accusation.

And then who dismissed my next email with Take care Marina.

Thats hardly an indication that the company has been in discussion over some time to change their payment structure to make it fairer. I also find it a little difficult to believe that they never heard of Zazzle when it was created.  Come on! Lol.  I could never trust anyone that has treated an artist and their work with such little respect but if they turn things around, hey, thats one for the little people and again, you are welcome everyone!!

Seems my work is done here  ;D

« Reply #182 on: January 18, 2011, 19:00 »

I'm tired, can I have a summary?  ;D We're going to get U$5 for every order now? 

I went to to see what this was about, it's actually like a mirror of your own selling site, right? And people get a commission with sales originating from it?


« Reply #183 on: January 18, 2011, 19:06 »
I was hesitant to post this here Marina, SunnyMars, Pseduonymous, and whoever you'll be next when you've inflamed enough people to change your name again - I knew you'd try to spin this in your own toxic way.

I have to say, you're an amazing piece of work. Have you ever considered taking a position on a politician's campaign team? You're an excellent spinster.

That all being said...TAKE CARE MARINA.


  • Think before you speak
« Reply #184 on: January 18, 2011, 19:21 »
Thanks Tim....that's great news. Really do appreciate it. You always have come on here to address any problems we have and I do appreciate it. Thanks again.. ;D


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« Reply #185 on: January 18, 2011, 20:29 »
I was hesitant to post this here Marina, SunnyMars, Pseduonymous, and whoever you'll be next when you've inflamed enough people to change your name again - I knew you'd try to spin this in your own toxic way.

I have to say, you're an amazing piece of work. Have you ever considered taking a position on a politician's campaign team? You're an excellent spinster.

That all being said...TAKE CARE MARINA.

Tim, what exactly are you trying to say here?  Hesitant to post what?  That my real first name is Marina and that I 'trade' under sunnymars?  My first post when I created this name, I signed off as "sunnymars".  It's no secret who I am.  I also posted a link to my zazzle store sunnymars and my facebook page, sunnymars designs a few pages up so what exactly is your point?  I would tread carefully if I were you, Tim, because you disclosed my first name in here without my permission.  You have no right to disclose any personal details of mine that I've left on your site.  Are you threatening to do this?  What exactly are you saying here Tim?

I'm a management accountant, not a politician.  There was no spinning of anything, I laid down facts.  I bought attention to your legal agreement to this thread because it's hidden and someone else may sign up reading your 'informal' agreement on here which is misleading, only to be disappointed later when they find out the real deal and spend time loading templates.  I think it's clear who's the "spinster" here and it's clear who's here trying to squeeze every penny they can from their supplier.  I'd like to think of myself more like Robin Hood who gives a little back :)

And gill, I didn't ask if you're ruralfrance from Zazzle because of the blogs.  I asked because I found it incredibly ironic that you sit there spending hours upon hours reporting zazzle members who have infringled copy right laws which I respected you for.  I was surprised that you value other people's intellectual property so highly yet you just throw your own away and justify it, which in effect, devalues everyone elses in the long term.  I had no intention of removing you from my blogs when I asked the question but your responses to me here after you kiss my backside on forums whenever I'm seeking products to promote is kind of offputting.  As for friendships, I've had quite a few people thanking me for bringing this to their attention and I've had quite a few opinions about you people too which I won't share here.  I didn't come here looking for friends, I came here to do the right thing, and I have.  You may not care about being ripped off and I don't about you if you don't care about yourself, but I care about the ones that do and I care about industry standards.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2011, 20:32 by pseudonymous »

« Reply #186 on: January 18, 2011, 20:53 »
I'm going to roll my eyes here and say ENOUGH. Sunnymars, you have made your position ABUNDANTLY clear. Thank you for sharing. What we do with it is our business. That doesn't make us stupid or ignorant.

Tim, thank you as well for coming to the forum and sharing your information.

We will each come to our own decision on whether to upload or not. All of us conduct our business the way we see fit and the way it gels with our lifestyle and whatnot. If I want to accept $5, I will. It is not your place, sunnymars, to call me or anyone else here idiots or whatever term you used. You have shared what you believed was hidden information. Great. As for myself, I find some of the POD sites a PITA for me. I want to upload and be done. That's what fits my life. Maybe that constitutes a low IQ in your eyes, but whatever.

Good luck to you

« Reply #187 on: January 18, 2011, 20:55 »
As an outsider looking in, what a kerfuffle!

TBH both parties make reasoned arguments, and (by the standards of internet flame wars) it's not too horrific.

The bottom line is the original point raised was valid but the main concern has been addressed by the company (bravo).

The bottom line is artists can vote with their feet and choose to contribute or not. Having considered the pro's and con's I have applied as a contributor, the clincher for me was the announcement re the change in commission structure and repeat business.

Having said all that, given my noobness in the online media world I doubt I'll get in  ;)

« Reply #188 on: January 18, 2011, 20:57 »
Tim thank for taking the time to update us here and being available to answer questions.

Sunnymars btw your first name is listed on your own zazzle site under comments from July of last year, so it's apparently not "secret".

« Last Edit: January 18, 2011, 21:05 by lbarn »

« Reply #189 on: January 18, 2011, 22:21 »
Seems my work is done here  Grin

I like Tim and his business model and have had a number of sales there with a prompt payout.  I enjoy making templates as a bit of a change of pace from traditional microstock imagery.  Keep up the good work Tim!

« Reply #190 on: January 19, 2011, 15:10 »
Thanks for the update, Tim!   ;D

« Reply #191 on: January 19, 2011, 18:09 »
WOW that was fun to read! I wish IStock would listen to contributers like Tim and his crew.


  • My Bologna has a first name...
« Reply #192 on: January 20, 2011, 13:21 »
Lifes a Beach. I will have to check out the easycarddesigner thing later. Too much on my plate right now. I will say I like how ABC is running for me. So, just like the decision I made with Istock..  I didn't like the changes and decisions I left. I am staying with ABC for as long as I like how they are running.

« Reply #193 on: January 20, 2011, 15:22 »
I'm giving them it a try, it is quite fun trying to "use" you're images, 19 templates and counting.

Incidentally the contributor's agreement doesn't refelct the above announcement, I'm sure it will once the webpage is updated.


  • Think before you speak
« Reply #194 on: January 20, 2011, 18:00 »
I'm giving them it a try, it is quite fun trying to "use" you're images, 19 templates and counting.

Incidentally the contributor's agreement doesn't refelct the above announcement, I'm sure it will once the webpage is updated.

Tim's been working on it.


« Reply #195 on: January 24, 2011, 12:19 »
Update regarding our new payment policy for our Content Providers (Featured Artist Community)
We are working diligently on the details of our new pay structure for the members of our Featured Artist Community. This is a complicated and unique situation unlike other companies due to the fact CCA does not have just one website. We also license our software to several other large organizations such as Postal Annex who in turn is allowed to license your images using our system for their customers' business cards. It is imperative that we take into consideration and include all of these relationships in our attempts to improve our payment agreement with our community of Content Providers.

We stick by our belief and statements that we can improve the fairness and modify our payment terms for our family of talented artists, increasing their earnings. Please be patient with us as we work out all of the details that will make this beneficial for everyone involved. Multiplying our online business card software stores that sell your images is the most effective way we can make all of our artists more money through sheer sales volume. Currently, we are also only promoting your images in the United States. As we move into other countries with various relationships, your sales will multiply dramatically. We are balancing all of these factors in order to be fair to our Content Providers while not limiting any of our opportunities for overall growth in sales. We look forward to having this new payment structure in place for you very shortly. Thank you for your patience while we sort out all of the details. Our plan is to have a new payment agreement in place for our Content Providers by February 1, 2011.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2011, 12:21 by TimMc »


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