I am not really certain what to make of the latest announcement from Cafepress regarding even more changes to their terms and conditions of their Seller Services. Here is what the email explicitly says:
* CafePress may help determine what products your designs will be available on in the CafePress Marketplace and may automatically add your designs to additional products for you. For example, if a customer wants your design on a sweatshirt, and you don’t offer a sweatshirt we can add your design to a sweatshirt.
* To improve the printing quality, CafePress may automatically modify your designs. For instance we may clean up JPG artifacting, adjust colors for optimal printing on different printers and products, and adjust placement on different products.
Lots of red flags are popping up in my head all day as I have been looking at it off and on thinking that if I just let it sit and then look at it again I will be less annoyed/concerned. These two items alone just bother me on so many levels however that each time I read the email I do not get any peace.
First of all, I can understand and wholly agree with Cafepress that their marketplace is their marketplace and that they can put the products someone has created and submitted to appear there up as they see fit, even choosing to not show certain ones if that is their preference. But what I certainly DO NOT agree with is Cafepress taking carte blanche liberty to put my designs on products I have expressly NOT put them on for whatever reason.
For example, many of my old designs (before the whole dark t-shirt option) are simply not suitable for display on such products and would have obscene white space showing. I honestly DO NOT care if a customer wants one of these designs on a dark t-shirt, I DO NOT WANT THEM ON DARK T-SHIRTS! The customer might be perfectly fine with the awful presentation but I, as the owner of the design, would not be and if it reflected badly on my company you can bet I would get pissed!
Also, can you imagine a shopkeeper trying to run a family friendly shop and establishing such a reputation having Cafepress begin slapping their images on thongs? Yeah, I do not think Cafepress has thought this little maneuver through very much. But hey, what else is new?
The second change is equally disturbing in that I have placed my designs as I want them on the product. If Cafepress starts moving designs around because, let’s say, someone wants an image centered on a mug opposite of the handle but I purposefully design so that it is on one of the sides what happens when someone else sees the mug, likes the mug and goes to my storefront because, I assume Cafepress will not crop out my address, copyright info, etc., and finds it a different way? Then I start getting emails asking for the product different ways and spend time hunting through my image basket to find that design and make another version? Or what? Tell them to go directly to Cafepress and I get only 10% commission?
Yeah, not liking this idea very much. Although I do think that it is smart for Cafepress to do color adjustment because this is one of my biggest gripes with their service in that images designed within gamut and that other PoD services print just fine seem to come out a little funky at CP. I have more than a few designs that I have had to adjust especially for CP and their printing style because for some odd reason a color no one else has trouble printing cannot be printed properly by CP.
Stay tunned, and keep and eye on where all this leads.
J.J. Jackson is President of Land of the Free Studios, Inc. and Cafepress “Top Shopkeeper”. He has been selling t-shirts on-line since 2004 and is the owner of the T-Shirt Entrepreneur, a site dedicated to helping people get involved in the T-shirt Economy. He is also the owner of Funny When Wet T-shirts, American Infidel Tshirts, Uber Gamer T-shirts as well as many other online t-shirt and gift stores.