Archive for the 'Cafepress' Category

Apr 25 2009

Cafepress Heads for Self Inflicted Ruins

Published by under Cafepress,POD News,T-shirt News

April 22, 2009 started out to be a normal day for many artists who sell their merchandise at Cafepress, Once the leader in Print on Demand companies. Then the Bombshell hit. Shopkeepers being forced to accept 10% over a newly bloated base sticker price for all merchandise sold in the marketplace. Either that or opt out of the marketplace and lose those sales all together. Since most shopkeepers add at least $7 to say a $20 base price shirt, they will be forced to accept a $2 profit instead.
Needless to say Cafepress is digging it’s own grave as many of what is known as the Top Shopkeepers are now taking their designs elsewhere so as not to lose what for many of them is the sole income.

As one blogger puts it:
Lavender Newswire

In short, has screwed the shopkeepers — the artists, the designers, us, me. They’ve pulled massively boneheaded crap (designed to increase their profit margin while decreasing ours)

CafePress will undercut designers who sell on the marketplace and on their own shop. says Irregular Times read the entire article with this powerful headline: CafePress Announces Big Price Hikes for Buyers, Big Commission Cuts for Sellers

In more detail and obvious upset is the blog – who touches on not only this latest faxpaux by Cafepress but the earlier stabs in the back shopkeepers have recently been forced to withstand.
The article entitled:
CafePress Virtually Lays Off Thousands of Shopkeepers reads:

What CafePress announced yesterday that is making everyone very mad is that they will fix all prices in their marketplace and give shopkeepers only 10% of the final retail price. 10% is very low, as some shopkeepers have markups of as high as 30% to 40% to make a living. If in the past a t-shirt had a base price of $15 and the shopkeeper decided to have a $5 markup the t-shirt will sell for $20 and the shopkeeper will get $5. In the new scheme CafePress will be able to determine the retail price of all products in their marketplace and give the shopkeeper only 10%. So if they decide to sell the t-shirt for $18, the shopkeeper will get only $1.80. That is a huge cut in earnings.

read more…

Yet another blogger (The Kamranistan Blog) writes:Cafepress Slashes Royalties For Contributors by 75% While Increasing Its Own Profits by 40%.

There is a new uproar at the infamous Print On Demand company known as Cafepress. It was announced yesterday that they will make some changes that will benefit the customers and make their shopping experience better. This includes cleaning up the Cafepress marketplace by sorting and throwing out redundant designs to make browsing easier. This is something that fellow shopkeepers have been asking for for so long, so that’s the great part of the changes to be made in June. But what isn’t cool, is how we shopkeepers will benefit by making a measly 10% from marketplace purchases. As of right now, the agreement is that shopkeepers set their own prices whether the products are sold from the marketplace or directly from our shops. If a t-shirt’s base price is $14.99 and we set our markup to $8 that means that the final selling price to the customer would be $22.99. Now according to the new changes coming soon, shopkeepers will only receive 10% of $14.99 if the item is sold through the marketplace. Why is that bad? Well how would you feel if you were used to having your freedom as agreed in the TOS to sell your products at a reasonable price set by you and only you….only to have the agreement change and told that you will earn a whopping $1.49 for your design. A design that many shopkeepers have spend countless hours on on many days just to make a living.

So what is the answer? What do the shopkeepers do now? In the words of yet another blogger: Zazzle ’em, Baby! words bolded by blogger Marianne Dow, a member of AVCOSA – Antiques, Vintage & Collectibles Online Sellers Assoc says:

So, what’s a seller to do? Well, you can run over to Zazzle, where they will welcome you with open arms. Zazzle will even give you a FREE SHOP.

Yes, it will be a lot of work – set up a shop, learn a new system, re-upload your images, and edit them to fit the Zazzle merchandise. Not to mention, change all the info and links on your own websites and blogs — and business cards, and… well, it’s a big ole hassle. But that is Cafepress’s fault.

At least Zazzle is there. Along with their larger selection of items to put your images on. And the freedom to sell at the price you set!

I was coming here to post the same thing!
This is absurd!!!!! So many shopkeepers ar PO’d and leaving.
I am leaving also! My work is worth a LOT more than 10%

says a post from a member of T-shirt Forums
Not to mention the huge fallout caused by Cafepress for all but removing the incentive volume bonus structure as reported in this blog: T-shirt Chat

I saw this coming a long time ago when marketplace sales were showing in my sales when I knew for a fact they were not marketplace as I see in my statcounter that they went directly to my shop because of my ads- and I worried about something fishy going on then- Oh well.. beef up your other PODs guys..

Over at Cafe Press Shopkeepers Unite the point is made quite clear:

Imagine if you have a store in a mall with two doors into your store… one from the mall and a private one for the store that only your customers know about. The stuff in your store costs one price for people that come in the private door and a different price for the people coming in from the mall – set by the mall owners. Same store, different prices. And then the mall claims that they are “not affecting” your store’s bottom line. Sure.

As I write this, the 6 million plus CP shopkeepers are mobilizing on the very CP community chat forums used to announce the policy changes, and in addition on facebook, yahoo and other blogs and boards on the web. We are alerting the national media and producing our own “counter” press releases because, quite simply, we outnumber them.

Apparently unbeknown to most shopkeepers this has been in the plans for quite sometime as I find in an old post from Direct Aug 2007:

Basically, CafePress member merchants upload their designs to CafePress. The company gives them an online store to sell from, produces the item on demand, handles payments, ships the order, and sends off a check to the merchant.

All of which brings us back to tagging. When the merchants send their designs to CafePress, they tag them with keywords that describe the categories to which they’re relevant, much the way users uploading photos or bookmarks to community sites tag their output to describe and organize it properly.

Gradually it dawned on the CafePress operators that they could use those tags to build more relevance into the product ads that the company ran on its network of Web site affiliates. Most of these are blogs, which tend to match the merchandise offered by CafePress in the strength and contrariety of their opinions.

“The tagging infrastructure is the foundation of how we allow people to search our marketplace,” says Maheesh Jain, CafePress co-founder and vice president of business development. “With the rise of contextual advertising and of blogging in general, tagging is becoming a big element in how people are identifying the content of their posts. So it just made sense for us to connect blogs and Web publishers to the content on our site through tagging.”

I will end with my very favorite blog on the topic – TSHIRT ENTREPRENEUR ONLINE

What Is Next For Cafepress?
Posted by: jjackson72

I’ve been chatting with some fellow disgruntled Cafepress shopkeepers about what the next shoe to drop over at that site will be.We’ve already had premium shops limited in size, price increases on basic items (strange because other companies are not following suit), and now the retooling of the volume bonus among other things that hurt shopkeepers while bolstering their bottom line.

Again, I don’t disparage Cafepress for wanting to make more money. What I disparage them for is doing it on the backs of those of us that make them successful and giving no significant notice of these changes for the most part. Call us “employees”, call us “business partners”, call us “independent contractors”, I don’t care which. The fact is that whatever you call us, we are Cafepress.

Make sure you go to the blog and read the entire article it is very well written and quite satirical albeit possibly more truism than not.
Read the article here:What’s Next for Cafepress
Well done jjackson72 !

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Dec 12 2008

Cafepress Letter to Santa

Published by under Cafepress,Political

Christmas is right around the corner and what do we see in Santa’s Bag? OBAMA OBAMA OBAMA, that’s OK  because he is a Helluva Christmas Gift for the country we call America. In the Cafepress Blog a clever post by buzzcowboy:

But Santa, truly, you’re still important to all of us. No, really! We’re still thinking about you, and kids are still lining up to take pictures with you… OK, maybe not as many as want to line up to get their pictures taken with Obama, and maybe the teenage girls would rather sit on Edward Cullen’s lap than yours, but come on. It’s just a phase. They’ll all grow out of it and you’ll still be their favorite, really.

I’ll be honest, Santa: I do feel a little guilty for talking about Obama so much and mostly ignoring you up to this point. But you have to understand that this election was kind of a biggie for everyone. And I talk about the voice of the people as told by our merchandise – and so it wasn’t me ignoring you, really. I’m just the messenger, so please consider that salient point when deciding whether my name goes down on the “naughty” or “nice” side of your all-important ledger.

And hey – there’s more Santa T-shirts than there are Twilight T-shirts, so see? You’re the rosy-cheeked fat man that makes a positive and lasting impression, and ever so much more affable than that pale, gaunt Emo-chic vampire boy. Sure, Obama T-shirts outnumber yours, but it was his season. The election season, you know. And this election season was really long, and yours really only starts in earnest after Thanksgiving. (After Halloween is merely your primaries, and it’s hard to compete with Pilgrims and turkey while children are crashing from a sustained sugar high and are in dire need of some protein.) Yes, I know he’s kinda horning in on your month and your schtick, but the Inauguration is just a month away and by next Christmas you’ll be on top again. Really.

Oh come on, Santa. Don’t give me that look. Just because Edward Cullen makes moody faces and sends the girls swooning doesn’t mean that it suits someone who’s made a name for himself as “merry” and “jolly.” You don’t hear anyone out there singing heartfelt songs about Moody Young Edward Cullen, do you? No, of course not. But you still have children going door-to-door invoking your name, and that means that you’re not long forgotten.

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Aug 30 2008

McCain is Smarter than We Thought

Published by under Cafepress,Political

Time for a Real Change

Sex sells and so goes John McCain’s choice for running mate Sarah Palin for VP in the 2008 presidential race- Election 2008 will not be the same!

Say you’ll be voting for Republicans John McCain & Sarah Palin this 2008 election. McCain & Palin will bring actions, not just words.

McCain-Palin Women’s Dark T-Shirt

McCain-Palin Women's Dark T-Shirt.  Sizes: S,M,L,XL,2XL. Colors: Black,Red,Caribbean Blue,Violet

see more like this

From the shop McCain-Palin 2008. My VP is HOTTER than yours:

It’s time for John McCain to take a V.P. I recommend Sarah Palin, the young, attractive, conservative governor of the great state of Alaska. McCain-Palin’08!
Sizes: S,M,L,XL,2XL.

Colors: Black,Red,Caribbean Blue,Violet Visit the Artists Store Powered by cpHighlight

And Finally Our Favorite- VPILF’08

Yes Folks,  Sex does sell and this little hottie is sure to win McCain the Presidential Office.

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Jul 30 2008

On the Heels of the Big BlowUp at Cafepress Comes New Products to keep Shopkeepers Busy (and Happy?)

Published by under Cafepress,POD News


so now the Cafepress Shopkeepers are FUMED with the New Volume Bonus change taking away much of the extra money that is Well Deserved right at the Holiday season. As like clockwork (NO pun intended) Cafepress announces new products to “Sooth” the tempers at Cafepress and seemingly to also keep them BUSY with excitement so they are not so apt to run to Zazzle and Printfection to make their products before the Holiday Season to get more ‘moola’ in their paychecks.

I guess we should be excited to see these new products, BUT I see MORE Work as the current templates will not work on the new clocks offered by Cafepress-

they will need new designs and if you do not already have oval stickers in your shops, the travel mug

New Cafepress Travel Mug

New Cafepress Travel Mug

will also have to be redesigned, as the print area on the new travel mug is that of the oval sticker. THIS should keep the shopkeepers BUSY enough not to run to Zazzle, Spreadshirt or Printfection, Right?

Cafepresss Modern Wall Clock

Cafepresss Modern Wall Clock

Cafepress announces the addition of the Modern NEW Wall clock With a hefty  base price of $32.99

And the New Cafepress Large Wall Clock base price is $29.99

Cafepress Large Wall Clock

Cafepress Large Wall Clock

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Jul 30 2008

Cafepress forum posts censored- Topic: New VB Announcment

Published by under Cafepress,POD News

As Outraged Shopkeepers were in the middle of a HOT forum topic, The recent Volume Bonus (VB) restrictions for Cafepress, The forum went down and was unavailable to all. “The Official “Volume Bonus Program Change” Thread” Was buzzing with 65 pages of posts. When the forum thread came back on, it was minus 10 pages of posts. Hmmmmm Somebody obviously said something that hit home.

One post reveals the crux of the matter well:

And no matter what, it’s a hit for Christmas. An astronomical hit. And CP astronomically increases it’s own income for Christmas at the SK’s expense. That’s what’s so cold about all this.

And My Favorite:

CP is no longer just a fulfillment provider, CP is THE competitor. 500 section limited shops hitting saturation levels with SEO and keywords: search engine rankings of shops with 500 section limits flattening out the rankings; opening new shops just feeds the MP with designs and SEO to CP’s favor and sells more shop contracts but gets you nowhere as you are playing in a limited ballpark: meanwhile CP puts a shine on the MP: takes VB from SK’ers: CP attacks SEO with a vengeance even for misspellings to draw more traffic to MP: CP investing in advertising to the MP …. need I go on????

Thinking it over, I guess some of you are right. They are NOT our customers, at least NOT anymore!

Oddly enough, the chat scheduled for that night and summing up the entire thread is this post:

The way the chat was handled was very disrespectful on the SK’s. OK, if you wish to believe the chat room went down, OK, things happen and servers go down. That was what 5 days ago? This is one of the biggest changes to affect SK’s that has been rolled out so far and the decision makers are still not in contact with SK’s or even scheduled? chat should have been set-up on Friday or an impromptu on any of the other dozens of chat servers or even IRC (gee, a free chat server?!?!?)

The chat room was down Thursday — no conspiracies there.

We received feedback from SKs that they prefer the “plan b” chat format… and since all the questions that came in were answered by Fred we felt another chat was not needed. If you have any additional questions that were not answered in chat, please let me know. We are definitely open to the idea for another chat…

Call me pessimistic maybe but this is probably the most controversial change CP has made in over a year and it just ends with the comment that “We are definitely open to the idea for another chat…”?

What a JOKE!

Please read this Open Letter to Cafepress very well thought out and Extremely well written by a fellow blogger and shopkeeper –

I give this advice because I care about Cafepress and because they have been good to me. This advice is as follows … consider it sort of an open letter to Cafepress.


You have begun doing some things that are upsetting a lot of people that helped make you what you are today and getting in the way of them continuing to help you grow. Previously you limited premium shop sizes to 500 sections, increased base prices on some items and now are rearranging the way commissions are being pay with one obvious goal – to increase revenues on the backs of those that are your lifeblood.

Read the entire letter at TSHIRT ENTREPRENEUR ONLINE

Another of our favorite POD Blogs also has a good  conversation going on- Visit POD for YOU!

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Jul 24 2008

Eloquent Rant from Cafepress Shopkeepr on the Cafepress Volume Bonus Changes

Published by under Cafepress,POD News

Some people just have a way with words-

and after spending the better part of the day reading the posts by  fellow shopkeepers on the Marketplace vs Shop sales for Volume Bonus at Cafepress, This shopkeeper says it best!

Originally posted by AngCP:
Now a question I’m seeing you guys ask – Why only 8 days? This was a difficult decision. We thought it was a better option to give a shorter, quicker notice knowing there will be a transition plan for SKs most impacted. We felt it may be more painful for SKs to have weeks to speculate about how they might be negatively impacted, than to see the actual impact in a shorter time period. And, although we try to aim for a 30 day notice for changes that require SKs to take action such as updating, in this case no immediate action is required. [Yes – you might argue that you could have changed your shop strategy or do more… rest assured we plan to help SKs learn more about marketing shops so you can change your shop strategy.]

No sale.

Angela, I have the deepest respect for you, and you have been a wonderful liaison — but I’m not buying the corporate line. I know you are compelled to say it, but you need to know how it sounds. In a word: snow job.

I’ve been an I.T. professional (with extensive hands-on experience in marketing analysis) since the 1980s — longer, I would guess, than half the CP staff has been alive — and I’ve been an Internet professional since before this thing called the World Wide Web was made available to the general public. I know whence I speak — and I am telling you this eight-day notice is completely unprofessional, and the reason given for it specious at best. Try implementing a major shift that will impact the majority of CP employees negatively, give them just eight days to prepare for it, and you’ll be lucky if they don’t storm the building with torches and pitchforks.

Implementing a decision that fundamentally changes the way a company does business takes time and planning. CP had God-knows-how-long to draft, plan, and implement this move as it would best benefit CP — yet does not have the same respect for us SK’s (for all practical purposes, contract employees) responsible for the very existence of CP.

When chided (usually by apple-polishing SK’s) for “complaining” and “whining,” all we ever hear is how CP is a business, and to succeed in partnership with CP, we SK’s must be businesspeople — and you won’t get any argument from me about that.

The disconnect comes when CP refuses to treat us as fellow businesspeople.

If CP treated any other business entity — its vendors, its suppliers, its landlord, PG&E, AT&T — in the same manner as it treats SK’s, CP would be laughed out of business — just before the offices went dark, the phones went dead, and the “final notice” envelopes started pouring in.

We may be seen as an expendable commodity, but we are the backbone of CP — just as vital as every paid CP employee. You can fire employees and dump suppliers and vendors who object to the way you do business, and replace them again and again — but eventually, nobody’s going to want to work for, or do business with, the company that refuses to deal equitably and professionally with the companies and individuals responsible for getting the bills paid.

Let’s get down to brass tacks about this eight-day time frame.

Have you ever been laid off, Angela? Or found yourself rewriting your resume because the company you worked for suddenly shut its doors?

Lay-offs and shutdowns, at least here in Silicon Valley, come with no notice. Do you know why? Because the company doesn’t want anyone “to have weeks to speculate about how they might be negatively impacted.” It’s quick, and painless — for the company — and devastating for the employee who was called to the all-hands meeting at 10:00 a.m., and by noon is in the parking lot with nothing to show for all the overtime, all the late nights, and all the loyalty, but a cardboard box of cubicle mementos.

If CP had given us a reasonable amount of time to prepare for this (and three months would be reasonable; any less, and you know those SK’s just starting out in the wonderful world of SEO will not be able to get up to speed from scratch in any less time than that), then CP would have projected measurable losses for this doubly-lucrative election + holiday season. It is now to CP’s benefit to make as many sales through the MP as possible, and every day the SK’s would have had to divert sales away from the MP and through our own direct links would have put a ‘dink’ in the plan to save money on VBs.

The upshot: You don’t want us to be able to measure the actual impact over a longer time period, and certainly not during the biggest quarter of the year — especially a year with an unusually high-profile election at stake.

I don’t even understand the sentence, “We thought it was a better option to give a shorter, quicker notice knowing there will be a transition plan for SKs most impacted” — but it sounds like you’re confirming exactly what I wrote in the paragraph above.

You can tell me I’m wrong on this, Angela, but not without an alternate explanation that does not include such a condescending, unprofessional “un-reason” as “We wanted to spare you any pain.”

I’ll handle my own pain, thanks. Just deal fairly with me. As it stands right now, CP is not dealing fairly with any of us. Give us the same consideration and professional courtesy as you expect us to give CP. You are not doing that. Are you really surprised, then, at how angry we are?

Come on, Angela. I’ve met you. I’ve talked with you. You are wicked smart, and damned smarter than this.

But if you’ve really been overcome by the Kool-Aid that’s been forced down your throat, then you give up a third of your paycheck for the good of the company, starting this week, with no finite end in sight, no matter how much the big boys tell you it’s all gonna be OK, and then tell me how good you feel about it. (And let me know what your landlord or mortgage company has to say when you try to meet your payment with “I promise, I’m going to give you double — maybe even triple! — next month, because I have this great plan…!”)

As as far as a “plan to help SKs learn more about marketing shops so you can change your shop strategy”: That’s the message we’ve been getting ever since the implementation: Just trust Daddy to take care of you. But Daddy never does — Daddy just leaves us on our own while he goes off on yet another great adventure, never taking into account that 1) the kids gotta eat, and 2) we ain’t kids.

Stop treating us like children, and you’ll get a lot more adult cooperation out of us.

Again, Angela, you have been a great liaison — but this corporate line is as see-through as a chiffon teddy.

If only CP’s plans for the future were as transparent, we might get somewhere — together. I have no doubt the vast majority of SK’s want to work with CP on issues that will affect the bottom line, both yours and ours. But CP does not want to work with us. CP treats SK’s at best like an annoyance, and at worst like adversaries.

Somebody’s got to re-think this hit-and-run policymaking that has become the norm at CP. And that somebody is not any of the SK’s.

We are not an afterthought. We are the lifeblood of the business. To forget that — and to be lulled into a false of security that no one will ever present any real competition to CP — is to doom CP to a long trail of dot-com corpses. (Ever hear of a company called Excite@Home? It was da shizzle bam bizzle in 1999 — and is as relevant as the phrase da shizzle bam bizzle is today.)

CP has done all the hard work. CP was the pioneer. CP set the successful POD business model, and has shown the world how it’s done — and how it’s not done. Smart, hungry businesspeople learn from others’ mistakes — and successes — and start competing from there.

As someone up-thread said, I’m sure the competition is indeed very happy today. I can imagine the conversations: “Did you hear what CP did today? Make a note — we’re never gonna pull that on our SK’s!”

Keep pulling this “Father Knows Best” shtick while we’re still trying to recover our losses from the last cavalier decision (can you say “Commission Junction”?) that didn’t take our bottom line into consideration, wait for somebody with enough venture capital and a business plan based on what CP has done right and wrong, and CP is going to hemorrhage SK’s.

You know, CompuServe used to be the king of online services, and Mosaic was the de facto Web browser. And then somebody found a better way to connect online, and somebody else built a better browser.

Success means never taking your eye off your rear-view mirror. Don’t get too complacent, CP.

– – –

Read the Lavender Newswire for more controversial topics

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Jul 24 2008

Cafepress punishes Shopkeepers While forcing Marketplace Sales

Published by under Cafepress,POD News

Just when we were thinking how wonderful Cafepress was being that they fought the GOP battle for the skopkeepers they lowered the boom on them! In time for the Huge election sales and Holiday sales, shopkeepers are given less than 8 days notice that their volume bonus awards for making sales will decrease – for some as much as 85%, making paychecks dive. Happy Holidays Shopkeepers!

Cafepress continues to promote to the shopkeepers to bring in traffic and the affiliate program stresses the use of banner ads driving the customer base to the marketplace.

In addition, recent changes to the marketplace have added huge “Add to Cart” buttons under each item listed when the customer clicks on a particular design when it used to be links to the shop that carried the design. Why you may ask? All in preparation for the latest development in “How to Screw the Cafepress Shopkeeper” by limiting the volume bonus money to ONLY sales that were added to the cart within the shop. I ask you.. With the use of these new “Add to Cart” buttons – where else do you figure the sale with originate but the marketplace? Do you Honestly think the customer will see the very tiny link under the design that says: From Whatevershop ? I think not.

You may wonder how this is affecting the shopkeeper ? Take a Close look! See the Cafepress Announcement here

At first glance this doesn’t look at all too bad UNTIL you take into consideration that the sales reports are so far skewed toward MP sales and not showing the TRUE Shop Sales- then it begins to make sense that all the complaining to the CP officials about the sales reports being off for the last year or so, have not been fixed. NOW you can see how this will benefit Cafepress and Screw the Shopkeeper.

When is this change effective?

This change will be effective August 1, 2008. Starting August 1, sales will be calculated with the new Shop Performance Bonus program, with the change reflected on the October’s commission check.

What is Cafepress Saying about this?

The Sales Source has been redefined so credit for a sale is given at the point an item is added to the cart. How is that different from before?

Before, credit for a sale was given at the point of entry, or where they first arrived at CafePress during a visit – from the Marketplace, Affiliate, or shop.

I am worried this change will affect my CafePress income. What is CafePress doing to help Shopkeepers most affected?

We understand this change will take some time to adjust and want to do what we can to minimize the impact. While Shopkeepers are learning how they can drive traffic to their shop, we will be offering a transition plan through the end of the year to ensure the small percentage of Shopkeepers who could be significantly impacted to offset a portion of the lost income.

Our analysis shows this does not apply to most Shopkeepers – those that will need assistance via the “transition plan” will be notified with each affected commission check, starting with the October 1, 2008 check (for the August pay period).

(Keep in mind NO ONE has mentioned what this supposed “transition plan” is)

For anyone wanting answers directly form Cafepress.. (I Highly doubt you will really get them though) Cafepress is hosting a chat on this very topic tonight.

“We will be hosting a Community Chat to address any questions you may have. Please join us Thursday, July 24 at 4:00 pm PT in the chat room.”

Hey Zazzle- Prepare for a huge influx of new galleries opening up!

UPDATE on CP Volume Bonus Chat:

Chat Room Unavailable

Hi Everyone,

If you are currently trying to log into the CafePress Chat Room and cannot, we are aware of the issue.  We are currently contacting our vendor for more information/ assistance.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

Now why doesn’t this surprise me?

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Jul 21 2008

The Elephant Lives! RNC Backs Down on Cease and Desist order to Cafepress

Published by under Cafepress

RNC Crumbles under pressure and agrees to allow Cafepress shopkeepers to use the GOP acronym and elephant logo on T-shirts, stickers and other merchandise. Sort of. The exception being any designs that are only the acronym “GOP” or stylized Elephant which the RNC is demanding Cafepress shop owners secure a license from the committee. Levy, who says this agreement is the result of recent RNC and CP negotiations, expected the licenses would be free.

According to the blog, Wired, “The agreement, (.pdf) for example, would not require a license to sell a shirt with a design portraying a GOP-trademarked elephant trailed by two smaller elephants and the words, “I’m raising my children right.” Before the deal, the committee maintained such a depiction was a trademark violation.

According to a letter from Paul Alan Levy, Public Citizen Litigation Group, “Cafepress is prepared to send notices to those users …whose designs consist solely of your trademarked elephant design or the letters GOP, either with nothing else in the design or with nothing in the design besides non-expressive borders (such as a dark circle).” He continues the letter with,”We make this proposal even though we do not agree you have the right to demand licensing for these purposes, just as you do not agree that Cafepress can escape liability without licensing…”

What is Cafepress saying about the recall of this C&D?

According to the CPBlog:

We figured that there’s got to be something in our Constitution that would guarantee our shopkeepers the right to speak openly about political issues…

The RNC wanted us to remove designs that were both supportive of Republicans and critical of Republicans.

After this story hit the press, the RNC agreed to retract its threats of trademark litigation on the following terms:

  • CafePress will not remove any of the content the RNC complained about.
  • CafePress will send a notice to the shopkeepers whose content was listed in the RNC’s original complaint and whose designs consist solely of the precise trademarked elephant (displayed at right), the acronym GOP, or the trademarked elephant or acronym GOP with a border.
  • The notice will inform these shopkeepers about the RNC’s licensing procedure, and those particular shopkeepers will be required to use the RNC’s licensing process within a reasonable period of time.
  • CafePress will monitor our shopkeepers’ progress through the RNC’s licensing system, and CafePress reserves all of its rights in the event that our shopkeepers have problems obtaining licenses to use the RNC’s trademarks.

While we feel that the RNC’s registered trademarks are a vital part of the political discourse in this country, this compromise seemed reasonable. The vast majority of our shopkeepers’ designs are super expressive and consist of much more than just the trademarked elephant or the acronym GOP.

We certainly believe that the RNC’s registered trademarks “assume a role outside the bounds of trademark law” because they are a vital part of this country’s political discourse.

Thanks to all of our wonderfully creative and expressive shopkeepers, the bloggers, and tweet-happy elephant fans.

Also, a HUGE thank you to Paul Alan Levy, I am sure we would not have had such a quick and successful outcome without his superb representation and advocacy and the support of Public Citizen”

As a shopkeeper and affiliate myself, I would like to also extend my thanks to Cafepress for sticking to this and not letting the shopkeepers down! Thank YOU Cafepress!

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Jul 21 2008

T-Zone Favorite Anti-GOP Gear from Cafepress

Published by under Cafepress,POD News

What does GOP mean? Grievous Oppressors of the PeopleT-Zone is on the hunt for Anti-GOP gear!

GOP elephant ButtEspecially if this is in rebuttal to the recent call for C&D from the RNC- We are showing the GOP just how clever Cafepress Shopkeepers can be!

The artists at Cafepress are getting very creative in the way they are having their voice heard on the issue at hand – from having a new GOP Elephant Logo showing the rear of the elephant with the ‘O’ in GOP strategically placed under the animal’s tail, while another shopkeeper replaces the republican acronym GOP (Grand Old Party) with the New (Grievous Oppressor of the People). One shop has created a new Men’s Room sign for their Anti-political t-shirts showing “MEN” on


we're Fucked

one side and a “glory hole” on the other with “GOP” beneath it. We also liked this cap showing the ’08 political theory that ‘Either way- We’re F*cked”. The controversy centered on the RNC (Republican National Committee) attempt to throw a cease and desist order on Cafepress shops using the Republican elephant and/or the acronym GOP on their t-shirts, caps and stickers spawned one shop to create a new Republican elephant crossed arms and angry painted red white and blue with the sentiment ” No Elephant Shirts Allowed- RIP GOP”. Big GOPper A parody on the Big Bopper title using the Big GOPper, “We didn’t like your Freakin’ logo anyway” shows the old elephant obviously blown up to smithereens.


The GOP Meltdown shop portrays the end of the use of the GOP acronym and use of the Republican elephant- “so we melted it down” claims the shop with this unique melted GOP logo and elephant. GOP Meltdown Anti GOP gearThis is one of our favorites as it shows the GOP melted in the puddle of the melted elephant and the word Meltdown under it. Clever. We thought the Meltdown thong would be cool to show for obvious reasons 😉 but you can get all of these designs on t-shirts, cups and mugs, stickers, buttons, hoodies, clocks, throw pillows, aprons, and even kids and dog tees. If you have a cool Anti GOP shop or design, reply to this post and let us know- we are continuing our search for cool ANTI GOP gear from Cafepress.

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Jul 20 2008

Cafepress Shopkeepers Fight Back on the GOP C&D

Published by under Cafepress,POD News

Americans Still have our FREEDOM of Speech or DO WE?

Shopkeepers at Cafepress are Spitting mad about the latest political move from the RNC attempting to quash the use of the red white and blue republican elephant AND the Use of GOP (Grand OFreedom of Speech is STILL the American Way! Or IS IT?ld Party) which BTW was given to the party BY the people to begin with! A can of worms has been opened, and I think the RNC will be sorry they opened it- shopkeepers are NOT to be taken lightly when it comes to their designs and ideas! Don’t Mess with the CP Shopkeeper!

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Jul 18 2008

Buzzing on the Elephant RNC To Sue CafePress

Published by under Cafepress,POD News

GOP Threatens Frivolous Lawsuits To Censor Criticisms YouTube Video- A MUST SEE!

NO Elephant Shirts Allowed!

Republican National Committee, which has threatened to sue

because its users are selling t-shirts, stickers and other items bearing designs that refer to Republicans and Republican candidates using the initials “GOP” or using various portrayals of elephants. Like the GOP already doesn’t have enough to worry about- They’re taking their toys and won’t let anyone play- What about freedom of Speech?

Read MORE: TechDirt News Daily

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Jul 17 2008

GOP Threatening Cafepress Lawsuit against using the Red White and Blue Pachyderm

Published by under Cafepress

Everyone is Sue Happy this year including the GOP

According to Common Dreams NewsCenter “CafePress made several attempts to reach out to the RNC’s counsel to raise some of these issues and to determine whether the RNC has any legitimate concerns that can be accommodated while respecting the free speech rights of CafePress users. Time after time, the RNC refused to talk and its only response to CafePress’ efforts was to reiterate its demands and threaten treble damages. It appeared that this dispute was headed for the courts.”

Can the RNC forbid the use of an elephant or “GOP” to identify Republicans?

According to Consumer Law and Policy Blog

“Although these references have been in popular use since the 1870’s, and owe more to Thomas Nast than to the Republicans themselves, back in the 1997 and 1995, respectively, the RNC trademarked the initials “GOP” and a stylized elephant showing three stars across its body. Relying on these trademarks, the RNC has been trying to suppress the use of the initials or an elephant to refer to Republicans generally, such as in the images that appear above and on the left.”

Furthermore: According to Ben Smith’s Politco

“Don’t mess with their elephant.

Or at least, don’t infringe on what the Republican National Committee refers to as the “Official Elephant Logo (Federal Trademark Registration 1908397).” The phrase appears in a letter demanding that a Web-based T-shirt company “cease and desist” from putting a version of the iconic Republican symbol on shirts and other merchandise.

The demands from the RNC to the California-based put the committee at the intersection of political speech and trademark law, legal experts said. The company is refusing to comply with the letter, despite a second letter from the committee referring to “further action” and possible damages.

“If you want to say ‘GOP’ and design an elephant that’s similar, want to design an elephant that’s not precisely the same as ours, that’s fine,” RNC chief counsel Sean Cairncross told Politico. “Our elephant is specific. It’s stylized, it’s blue and red, it has three stars across its back that are tilted. They’re using that precise elephant.”

Well this will be interesting to say the least as many of the money making shops at Cafepress are political shops- This will certainly put a crunch in their style- And quite probably remove them from the GOP voting choice.

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Jul 14 2008

Save Money at Cafepress! Jr Jersey T-shirt Liquidation Sale!

Published by under Cafepress,T-shirt News

Cafepress is having a HUGE website wide Liquidation sale on the Jr Jersey T-shirts, Starting today Monday July 14, 2008 until supplies last! They are clearing out the existing brand of Jr Jersey Tees to bring in a line of Jr Jersey T-shirts from American Apparel. HURRY and Buy NOW!

! Jr. Jersey Liquidation Sale !

$4 off ALL Jr. Jersey T-Shirts

# Coupon code: 4JRJERSEY

# Sale starts: Monday, July 14, 2008

# Expiration: While supplies last*

Take advantage of this as a Great Back to School Sale:

We are featuring some of our favorite and most successful and popular Cafepress shops right here to get you started :

Go forth and shop till you drop! And Save HUGE Money doing it!

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Jul 09 2008

CafePress wins bid war for Imagekind

Published by under Cafepress,Imagekind,POD News

ImageKind Store Front

Quite possibly the biggest move of the year for Cafepress– According to sources; Imagekind, an online art and poster site that also offers customized framing services, has agreed to be sold to CafePress for $15 million to $20 million in cash and stock. Zazzle, a CafePress competitor backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, also was aggressively bidding for Imagekind. According to sources, Imagekind decided to sell because both CafePress and Zazzle were moving into the online framing business.

In an interview Tuesday, Imagekind Chief Executive Kevin Saliba said the company decided to sell now because CafePress is the leader in print-on-demand services, best known for its customized T-shirts. Imagekind employs 26 people in Seattle and Portland, with plans to add a few new employees in the coming months. Saliba declined to say whether the company was profitable, but he said the business has grown in revenue, traffic and artists every month since it was founded in 2006. He declined to offer revenue or traffic figures.

This brings up many questions ..

Will Cafepress continue to run Imagekind as a sperate entity or will it be absorbed into the Cafepress maze of product activity?

What about the current Imagekind gallery owners? Will they now need to purchase a Cafepress shop and what happens to their branding of someone at Cafepress already has their shopname ?

The MOST prominent question among the Imagekind gallery owners is What happens to the IK Share a Sale affiliates? Will they be forced to use Cafepress Commission Junction affiliate network? This poses a huge problem for many IK Gallery owners and is one of the main reasons some of the most successful left Cafepress over a year ago when Cafepress changed their affiliate program to CJ.
One concerned Cafepress shopkeeper states:

“… I think mixing the two product lines together in one website – t-shirts and “real” fine art prints (vs what they sell as fine art prints
right now) – would be a huge mistake. The shopper base is looking for very
different things on each website. IK and CP were not “competitors” … CP’s
current framed fine art prints do not compare in any way shape or form with
what is offered at IK and the difference between the greeting cards …
well … I have one each of the IK greeting cards and the paper is very
suitable for framing as fine art … exquisite quality …. they are not
standard printed greeting cards.”

Expect more surprises.

Read more on this controversial issue of the Imagekind take over by Cafepress: ; ; ;SeattleTimes ;POD for You ;WebproNews ;Imagekind Blog ;Cafepress News ;Cafepress Press Release ;T-shirt Talk

Man and Goat PaintingImagekind is a fine print, fine artwork gallery opportunity whereas Cafepress is driven by specific current events and topic designs:
Example of fine artwork by an Imagekind artist: Man and a Goat by Sylvia Kula

Artwork is presented using frame and mat and can be purchased by customer with a large variety of mats and frames, making a painting either a very expensive wall presentation or an inexpensive fine print artwork display with the decision made by the buying customer.

Breast Cancer Awareness T-shirt Cafepress offers shopkeepers a medium for sending specific messages concerning hot topics such as Breast Cancer Awareness or Political Views on affordable merchandise:

Another statement by a seasoned concerned Shopkeeper, Affiliate, Gallery Owner:

Quote:”I never considered IK direct competition to CP. As I wrote in the CP
forums this morning, the only thing they *really* have in common is
that they’re both classified as Print on Demand. CP’s posters were
never a serious competitor to IK’s $500+ framed fine art prints. It
was the difference between buying framed art at an upscale gallery and
buying framed art at Walmart or Target. The prints and frames at
Walmart are nice, but they’re not gallery-material. CP could make a
run at keeping the brand and keeping the product lines and everything,
and that would be great… but my purely speculative opinion right now
is that they’re unlikely to do it.”

This is certainly a Very Hot topic and it will be interesting to say the least on how it all evolves, Expect the Unexpected.

Time to check out the new Loxly Gallery Deborah Carney’s Loxly Gallery for fine prints and gallery submissions by artists with quality artwork. Read more about Loxly Gallery at ABestWeb Forum

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Jun 28 2008

Cafepress Announces Product Price Increase- First in 9 Years, Almost

Published by under Cafepress,POD News

Cafepress announced to shopkeepers that prices on  select items will be raised on July28,2008. Most impact will be on stickers, buttons and magnets-One must wonder… is this because of the Election year making these particular products so popular in shops that are now using this medium for selling popular Political Designs?

Only two  t-shirts are hit with this price increase, the most popular selling tees- The white t-shirt and women’s t-shirt prices increased by 7%.

Shopkeepers need to do nothing if they choose to keep their mark up the same, the base prices changes  within the system.

Here is a rundown of the  percentage for the price increases:

White T-Shirt –  (+7%)
Women’s T-Shirt –  (+7%)

Dog T-Shirt –  (+21%)

• Mini Button –  (+50%)
• 2.25? Button –  (+99%)
• 3.5? Button –  (+50%)
Black Cap – (+7%)
Cap –  (+15%)
Rectangle Magnets:
• Single Rectangle Magnet –  (+40%)
• 10 pack –  (+81%)
• 100 pack –  (+64%)
2.25? Magnet –  (+70%)

• Bumper Sticker –  (+16%)
• Oval Sticker –  (+20%)
• Rectangle Sticker –  (+20%)
Journal –  (+26%)
Single Greeting Card – (+20%)

According to the Official Cafepress Announcement;


Why are the base prices increasing for these products?

There are several reasons why a product made the list.

  1. Margin: With the exception of a few products last year, we have not had a price increase on merchandise in over 9 years; we have however seen the cost of goods and labor increase. Raising our prices in these instances is a necessary cost for us to do business.
  2. Consistent Pricing: Pricing for some products are not align with others. Eg. 10-pack Rectangle Magnet is currently $10.99 while the 10-pack 3.5” Button is $19.99 (while both single packs are the same price).
  3. Upgrade: Some products will be upgraded with higher quality. Eg. Journals will have additional paper options (lined, etc.)

Will there be any more price increase for 2008?

Possibly, there are several additional product upgrades that we’re planning to launch this year. Because they are still in progress we do not have specific dates. We will be sure to provide advance notice so that Shopkeepers are prepared.

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May 22 2008

Cafepress adds Pink to Maternity T-shirts- Sexist Choice?

Published by under Cafepress,T-shirt News

Pink Maternity Tee from Cafepress

Pink is the New Color

Cafepress adds Pink to the maternity tees that have only been available in white and black, One must wonder.. Why haven;t they added blue as well? Sexist Maternity T-shirts? Maternity Tees from Cafepress can be printed on the front and back (for an additional 3bucks).

BellyArt Maternity tee

What is nice though ; front printing also has two choices, chest and belly: These fashionable maternity shirts are the newer body hugging style that shows off that proud to be pregnant tee. Now if Cafepress will just get on the ball and add blue to the mom’s to be bringing boys into the world, hint hint. Read the Official Cafepress Announcement

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May 15 2008

Cafepress New InfiniStitch™ Templates

Published by under Cafepress,POD News

New Instructions for the New InfiniStitch™ Products are now available at Cafepress.

Colors: Mid-tones make it happen
Images with a variety of mid-tone colors reproduce the best.

Try to avoid large areas of solid black and white, or of any single color, as they can muddy the effect of the final product.

Beautiful Backgrounds
The main element of your design might normally sit well against a solid background, but as a part of an InfiniStitich™ Embroidery item, a more varied background will create visual interest and prevent large solid blocks of color.

Great Gradients
Gradients are ok to include in your image, and reproduce well with InfiniStitch™ Embroidery. It is in the nature of this printing process that gradients can appear banded.

Say it with Bold
Bold text will stand out better than thin and tiny text, which may become lost and unreadable.

Full Bleed for Full Effect
For the best results keep your images full bleed. If your design is against a white background, consider adding a background color all the way to the edge of the allowed image area.

View FULL instructions

On a Darker note: There is some conversation going on among the Shopkeepers- that some of the templates for these new products revolve around the number of the Beast 666

The New Ceramic Pet Bowls are 6.66″ x 2″ and the new InfiniStitch Embroidery templates are 3.33″ which is 666pixels. One Sk’er stated:

I worked at a Walmart for 4 years …
I had some VERY interesting responses to a sales total of $6.66…
They varied between… “uh… just add a pack of chewing gum…” to
“Cancel the sale, this is a sign.. I’m going home and going to bed for
the day!” to “Walmart IS evil!!! ACK! YOU’RE the ANTI-CHRIST!!!”
And those were from simple random chance totals…
CP actually CHOSE 666 for their template size. 🙂

Fishing Cap using InfinistitchMilitary Cap using Infinistich

Actual examples of Infinistitch™ Embroidery Caps:

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May 15 2008

Cafepress Launches NEW Ceramic Pet Bowls in Two Sizes!

Published by under Cafepress,POD News

Announcing Stellar New Pet Bowls!

We’re excited about this new merchandise; it’s been on our (and your) list for a few years now – Pet Bowls! With our large catalogue of pet related content, and many pet loving Shopkeepers and customers, Pet Bowls are just the natural fit in our product line up.

Here are the details:

Small Pet Bowl

Cafepress small pet bowl example

  • Base Price $16.99
  • Measures 3″ (h) x 7.25″(diameter)Image Size: 6.66″ x 2″
  • Stoneware

Large Pet Bowl

Large Pet Bowl example from Cafepress

  • Base Price $19.99
  • Measures 2.5″ (h) x 6″ (diameter)Image Size: 5.42″ x 1.625″
  • Stoneware

A Few Tips

  • The image for the Pet Bowl is the same aspect ratio as the Bumper Sticker. Take an existing Bumper Sticker image and modify for your Pet Bowl. Product templates can also be found here.
  • Use the Bulk Add tool to add the Pet Bowls to all your sections.
  • Create a special “Pets” section in your shop with Pet Bowls and Dog T-shirts. Don’t forget to include “Pets” in your shop navigation.
  • Call out this new item to your customers – spotlight it prominently in your storefront!

We’re looking forward to see the creative, unique Pet Bowl designs you come up with; add Pet Bowls to your shop today!

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