Reintroducing myself after many years...
Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2019 9:46:18 PM
I used to have a zazzle store between 2007 - 2009, and I became very disillusioned and upset with many of the decisions Zazzle was making around 2009 and ultimately quit even though I was making a couple hundred dollars a month on average. I came back because I now have an Etsy store where I sell my handmade drawstring bags and will be using the two stores to drive traffic to each other ;)
Shameless Plug time!

I had Zazzle delete my old account because it was a huge mess with all sorts of nonsense I couldn't get rid of and so I'm starting completely fresh from scratch. Those of you who have been here a while, can you tell me some things that have changed? What do I need to know to get back into it? How is the community now? How have things changed around here? Is it still a helpful, fun place to make stuff?

Thanks! Smile Smile
Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2019 2:24:50 AM
I have only been here since 2015 but even in those 4 years things have changed. Here is a list of some things that have changed that you should know about if you haven't seen it already. There's more and others will chime in.

-The design tool is completely different. I actually find it better now- more flexible. The text you add is within a box that you can constrain in different ways so it adapts to what a customer types in when you make it template. There is brick, half drop and mirror tiling as well as grid. There is an object flipping functionality so that you can duplicate your design object and flip it horizontally or vertically which can create a nice framing effect. You can import svg files and change their color in the design tool. Beware that the clipart icons are just for customers and if you use them, no Sell button will appear.

-Collections are new. You can put items together in a collection using either the heart icon on the product page or the dropdown menu in the back end. Collections are a good way to group things that people might buy together such as matching invitations, paper plates, balloons and favor bags for a party. Collections can be used for promotion or if you have at least 7 products they will show at the bottom of the product page.

-There are two new departments; Babies and Weddings. These are broken into sub-departments that have overlap with other places in Zazzle. For instance, if you make a lamp it will ask you if you want it to go into the general lamp department or into the nursery décor department. In this way, the lamps that go in a kid's bedroom and the ones designed for a dorm don't sit side-by-side in Zazzle so customers can be more targeted. There are a number of products (including pretty much anything made of paper) that could theoretically go in a variety of departments depending on what use you designed it for. For these products, Zazzle will present a list of potential departments when you post for sale and you must pick one.

-Products will be hidden if they haven't ever sold and also haven't been viewed for 15 months (2 years if a recently introduced product). In the back end of your store is a way to view the products that have been hidden so you can delete them or view them yourself (which counts) and change their data (like tags) to make them more find-able. This view sort also flags products that have been discontinued or that you have set to direct only.

-Both you and customers can transfer a design to a new product. Customers see a scroll bar with suggested transfers on the product page. You can do it from the back end. The royalty you have set for the original product will be what gets applied to the destination product. The sell button is disabled for anyone but you so that this isn't a way to steal your designs. It's a way for customers to use your designs in ways you hadn't thought of (yesterday somebody transferred a pocket folder design of mine to a clipboard and bought them both). It also lets you rescue designs from discontinued products.


-There are roughly 10 billion new products since you were last here. And some of your faves will have been discontinued.


Welcome back. I have covered about 10% of what is different. There is a lot. I find it a fun place to design.

Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2019 6:23:00 AM
Welcome back,
I have only been here a little over 4 years also and am racking my brain trying to think of other changes that Susannah hasn't already covered but I am suffering from brain fog at the moment...

If you have any questions just ask. There are still many people who are helpful and ready to answer them.

Best wishes!
Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2019 7:41:48 AM
We have storefronts now that arrived after you left. There are hoops they want you to jump through to 'complete' both your member profile and each store's profile, but they aren't an absolute requirement.

We also have something called zRank, which is supposed to tell you how well each store is doing. We don't know whether it was ever fully implemented, and Zazzle isn't saying (so far.) My recommendation is to ignore it.

We have a "Technical Issues" forum now for reporting 'bugs'. Do read the sticky thread about posting there, before you do. It's not like the rest of the forum. Generally speaking, they may be a little tighter now about moving threads to the correct forum, if you post in the wrong one.

Zazzle was selling stuff through Amazon for a while, but they've since confirmed that they aren't doing that anymore. Look for the box in your settings about opting in/out to selling on third party sites. It's an all or nothing - you can't pick which sites.

There are a few products that are limited to a 5% royalty - the Zazzle 'Heart' products.

One of the big product losses was stamps.

We have Zippo lighters now, but the designs require approval.

We have espadrilles now; but you have to be pre-approved to design them. (You can apply to become approved, as I understand it.)

That's all that comes to mind for now.
Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2019 7:43:08 AM
One more thing - there was a big breakout of the paper products into new categories, not all that long ago. Not sure the dust has quite settled from that yet. I generally don't make paper products, so I can't really tell you more than that.
Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2019 7:50:04 AM
About the stats in the back end - at present they only update about every 4th day.

There's a limit of 100,000 products per designer (that's for the total from all of your stores, not per store.) If you go over that, they start hiding some of your products.

ETA: Quick Create has changed, but I can't find the thread with the details about it. I think you have to design your own templates now? Don't know, I haven't used it since before the change.

Zazzle is emphasizing "quality over quantity" now. They don't want the same title/description/tags slapped on hundreds of products (bad for search engine optimization.

They've been tweaking their search functions. Results can't be viewed beyond 17 pages (using the default view for the number of products shown.) There are blue buttons for refining one's search, that come from the tags of the products chosen for display by Zazzle's search algorithms.
Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2019 8:00:29 AM
You'll also want to read this thread about a recent update to text boxes (settings that let you control whether text flows upward, downward, or in both directions from the original text box (keeping all the text centered), once the length of the box is exceeded:

https://forum.zazzle.com/news/changes_to_text_box_handles?m=1650768#1650768
Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2019 8:03:40 AM
Not having been a member back when you were here, I don't know if they had "color grouping," but if not, it's a lovely addition. Run a search in the forums to find out more about it.
Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2019 8:04:35 AM
Thanks guys! All very good info to keep in mind! Love Idea This will be an interesting relearning experience for sure. Does anyone know what happened to the bulk uploader? It looks like they got rid of it is that correct?
Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2019 8:11:19 AM
canvasandchroma wrote:
Thanks guys! All very good info to keep in mind! Love Idea This will be an interesting relearning experience for sure. Does anyone know what happened to the bulk uploader? It looks like they got rid of it is that correct?

Alas, it's gone. Crying
Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2019 8:12:50 AM
More product info: Zazzle reduced its apparel offerings in the fourth quarter of last year (the items show as being sold out.) Something about too much choice discouraging shoppers was the reason. At the time, the possibility was left open for some of those offerings to come back, but we've had nothing further from Zazzle about whether or not that they will. It's been long enough that I'm operating on the assumption they won't be back.
Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2019 8:48:42 AM
Well I can't say I'm surprised the Bulk Uploader is gone. That was so abused it really became unbearable. People would take garbage copyrighted material like say, the Nike logo, and slap it on 500 products drowning out the actual artists with horrible spammy items. Whole shops of this kind of "spam" was one reason I quit. At the same time, Zazzle began promoting Licensed merchandise like Disney apparel in a HUGE way, right on the front page, which doubled the drowning out of us small artists. That was when I gave up. It looks like they have fixed these issues for the most part. So I'm willing to give it another go.
Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2019 8:57:41 AM
canvasandchroma wrote:
Well I can't say I'm surprised the Bulk Uploader is gone. That was so abused it really became unbearable. People would take garbage copyrighted material like say, the Nike logo, and slap it on 500 products drowning out the actual artists with horrible spammy items. Whole shops of this kind of "spam" was one reason I quit. At the same time, Zazzle began promoting Licensed merchandise like Disney apparel in a HUGE way, right on the front page, which doubled the drowning out of us small artists. That was when I gave up. It looks like they have fixed these issues for the most part. So I'm willing to give it another go.


They are working on the promoting bit, I will give them that. But the front page still caters to a narrow audience so far. However I see signs of a little more diversity being showcased such as that designer spotlight promtion they did this week. That has great potential if they will keep it open to more diversity.
Posted: Saturday, August 24, 2019 5:49:27 AM
Shelli Fitzpatrick wrote:
canvasandchroma wrote:
Well I can't say I'm surprised the Bulk Uploader is gone. That was so abused it really became unbearable. People would take garbage copyrighted material like say, the Nike logo, and slap it on 500 products drowning out the actual artists with horrible spammy items. Whole shops of this kind of "spam" was one reason I quit. At the same time, Zazzle began promoting Licensed merchandise like Disney apparel in a HUGE way, right on the front page, which doubled the drowning out of us small artists. That was when I gave up. It looks like they have fixed these issues for the most part. So I'm willing to give it another go.


They are working on the promoting bit, I will give them that. But the front page still caters to a narrow audience so far. However I see signs of a little more diversity being showcased such as that designer spotlight promtion they did this week. That has great potential if they will keep it open to more diversity.


Just as it was easier to make a name for yourself 10 years ago on etsy, so it is with Zazzle. You have to spend more like a full-time job on designing and self-promotion in order to make decent dough here. It's tougher to get picked up by affiliates now as well because they want the people Zazzle will promote, and Zazzle promotes the name brands and whatever "trendy" design style with markups at less than 15%. If your store isn't a niche of some kind, you're gonna have to work even harder to get noticed.
Posted: Saturday, August 24, 2019 6:13:27 AM
canvasandchroma wrote:
Well I can't say I'm surprised the Bulk Uploader is gone. That was so abused it really became unbearable. People would take garbage copyrighted material like say, the Nike logo, and slap it on 500 products drowning out the actual artists with horrible spammy items. Whole shops of this kind of "spam" was one reason I quit. At the same time, Zazzle began promoting Licensed merchandise like Disney apparel in a HUGE way, right on the front page, which doubled the drowning out of us small artists. That was when I gave up. It looks like they have fixed these issues for the most part. So I'm willing to give it another go.


The bulk uploader had nothing to do with creating products. It was for uploading images. You’re probably thinking of Quick Create which still exists, except that you have to make your own templates to use it. Still not a good idea to use it, because Google considers many products with the same metadata as spam.


Posted: Saturday, August 24, 2019 6:51:39 AM
chefcateringbizcards wrote:
Shelli Fitzpatrick wrote:
canvasandchroma wrote:
Well I can't say I'm surprised the Bulk Uploader is gone. That was so abused it really became unbearable. People would take garbage copyrighted material like say, the Nike logo, and slap it on 500 products drowning out the actual artists with horrible spammy items. Whole shops of this kind of "spam" was one reason I quit. At the same time, Zazzle began promoting Licensed merchandise like Disney apparel in a HUGE way, right on the front page, which doubled the drowning out of us small artists. That was when I gave up. It looks like they have fixed these issues for the most part. So I'm willing to give it another go.


They are working on the promoting bit, I will give them that. But the front page still caters to a narrow audience so far. However I see signs of a little more diversity being showcased such as that designer spotlight promtion they did this week. That has great potential if they will keep it open to more diversity.


Just as it was easier to make a name for yourself 10 years ago on etsy, so it is with Zazzle. You have to spend more like a full-time job on designing and self-promotion in order to make decent dough here. It's tougher to get picked up by affiliates now as well because they want the people Zazzle will promote, and Zazzle promotes the name brands and whatever "trendy" design style with markups at less than 15%. If your store isn't a niche of some kind, you're gonna have to work even harder to get noticed.


With more than 2/3 of my sales being 3rd party I would like to think that some affiliates have picked up on mine in the 4 years I've been here but I do realize that many of those 3rd party sales could actually be Zazzle promotions. Either way though somebody is promoting me and I am glad to have the help!
Posted: Saturday, August 24, 2019 7:41:13 AM
Well it's nice to know the community here still seems pretty awesome! Grin I can't say the same for the Etsy community lmao.... They "try" to be helpful anyway Laughing
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