More on marketplace optimization
Posted: Tuesday, April 19, 2016 10:50:40 AM
Hi Designers,

Happy fiscal year 2017! We hope everyone is looking ahead to a great year.

If you caught our latest Zazzle Chat, you know that we’re definitely looking ahead to bigger and better things, including more incremental improvements to the site to stay on the cutting edge of the ecommerce world.

As part of these improvements as well as our focus on quality, we wanted to share our definition of a successful product on Zazzle that is included in our marketplace of millions of custom products. Based on our definition of successful public products in our marketplace, a public product will fulfill one or more of the following criteria:

• Has been sold at least once
• Has been published, edited or viewed within the last 15 months
• Is a product type which was added to the Zazzle site within the past 2 years

Should a product not meet one of these criteria for success on Zazzle, we’ll be giving you feedback on that product by marking it as “Hidden” so that you can review any such product.

Here’s how you’ll be able to review your own products for success on Zazzle:
Navigate to your Products tab in your store and filter by “Hidden” in the Visibility drop-down menu
Look carefully at each Hidden product to determine where it can be improved
• Review title, tag and description for where SEO improvements can be made to help customers find the product
• Consider whether the product has been promoted sufficiently via social media or your own website, etc.
• Consider whether the design/product itself is up to the standard of quality for your entire store, or if it should be deleted

We’re confident this update will continue to help make the marketplace easy to use for our customers, and show off high quality designs. Here’s why:
• The timeframe for public products to gain traction has been increased from 6 months to 15 months to allow for early creation of time-sensitive designs
• As before, this timeframe will “reset” when a product is viewed or updated
• Newly added product types will be public in the marketplace 2 years from launch in the public marketplace – even more time to be purchased, viewed or updated
• You can easily filter your products by “Hidden” to get immediate feedback on those products which aren’t performing well so you can optimize your stores

We’ll be updating the site over the next several days, so you may see some products that are no longer publicly visible in your stores that are not marked as Hidden right away. This is normal as we work to implement this update, and it may take a few days for any such products to fully transition to the proper status.

Thanks for your patience during this update, and thank you as always for helping to make Zazzle the world’s custom marketplace!

Thanks as always for helping to make Zazzle the world’s custom marketplace!

Zazzle Team
Posted: Wednesday, April 20, 2016 5:58:55 PM
Hi Everyone,

Thank you all for your feedback! We definitely want to make sure we are clear and answering all your questions, so we hope this Q&A will shed some light for you. We will continue to add to this when we have more answers to any of your future questions.

Q: Does my product need to meet all criteria to remain in the marketplace?

No. A product must meet at least 1 of the 3 criteria to remain in the marketplace. As long as it meets at least one, it will not be hidden.

Q: If a product is “old” but has sold, will it be hidden?

No. If a product has sold at least once since being published, it will not be hidden.

Q: Does this only apply to Designers with more than 100,000 products?

This optimization does apply to everyone, even if they have less than 100,000 products. If a product is hidden, the product should be reviewed to determine what can be improved – e.g. is the product optimized for SEO, has the product ever been properly promoted, is the design up to the same quality as other products in the marketplace?

Q: Will products that have been hidden by Zazzle be marked to differentiate them from any I have hidden myself?

Currently, there is no way to distinguish between what Zazzle has hidden versus what you have hidden. However, you can infer by looking at when that product was last viewed or if it has ever sold to determine the likelihood that it’s been hidden by Zazzle.

Q: How will I be able to view any hidden products?

If you are on your products page, you will be able to sort by “Hidden” using a new Visibility pulldown menu. It may take a few days after we begin the update for you to see this new option.

Q: Will this new 15 month rule replace the former 180-day rule for marketplace visibility?

Yes! The 15-month rule does supersede the 180-day rule now. That gives your products a lot more time to find customers!

Q: Does this APO update replace zRank?

No. APO is separate from zRank and will not be replacing it, but they are related! Optimizing your individual products will in turn help you optimize your store, but it’s only one part of your store’s overall success.

Q: Why isn’t Zazzle marking these products as Direct-only instead of Hidden?

The decision to hide products which haven't been sold or viewed based on the criteria we noted was made for SEO benefits for the site overall. Direct-only links to such products would actually have a negative impact with regard to SEO.

Q: Why is ‘Hidden’ better than ‘Direct Only’ for SEO?

If a product does not meet our criteria, it will be hidden in order to prevent search engines from crawling the content (both on Zazzle and from external sites) for SEO purposes. Once a product is hidden, any existing outside links to it will lead to a custom error page that shows the product is no longer available, and displays links to your store profile and similar products. This will ensure that we handle the product consistently onsite and offsite, still lead any potential customers to your store, and let Google know that the product is no longer there.

Q: How does Direct-Only affect SEO?

Generally speaking, too many pages on a site, especially pages with low quality content, negatively affects SEO. We believe that the new marketplace optimization solution of hiding unsold products that haven’t been viewed is a fair solution that will help improve our SEO and in turn improve the performance for everyone’s business on Zazzle. We would love to be able to keep everyone’s designs in the marketplace forever --we know you’ve worked hard on them! Unfortunately that would be more harmful to entire design community and the health of Zazzle as a whole.

We realize that there may be some products that are hidden that may have good quality content, but unfortunately there’s no easy way to systematically handle this. With our marketplace optimization, we will never delete your products, but we hope you use this as a tool to review the products that aren’t performing and consider deleting them or optimizing the content before you move them back to public.

Q: What happens when someone clicks on an external link but the product is hidden? How will affiliates/associates be impacted by this change?

If a product is moved to hidden through our optimization the link will still lead the user to a page on Zazzle where the user will still be able to see a link to your store and other suggested products so that they can buy something else from the site. Any affiliate/associate link that’s clicked on that leads to a sale, regardless if it’s the exact product from that link will still earn a referral.

Q: What if a designer has OVER 100k products, all of which meet at least 1 of the 3 criteria?

This situation has not changed – we will start hiding the unsold least popular products regardless of the date it was edited/published until the limit has been reached.

Q: If I unhide a product, when can I expect it to show up back into the marketplace and store?

Unhiding a product takes a least 24 hours to show up back into the marketplace and store

Q: Is this 100K per store or per account?

The 100K product cap is per account/tax ID. If you have more than 1 account associated with a tax ID then the 100k products will apply to all your accounts collectively. If you have products that are being moved to hidden and they are less than 15 months, please check that your overall account has over 100K products. If they do, we will start hiding the unsold least popular products regardless of the date it was edited/published until the limit has been reached.

Q: What qualifies as a "change/edit" to a product?

Anything changed within the edit product details will qualify as a "change/edit" and will reset the clock to that product. This includes titles, changing styles, adding categories, tags, visibility, royalty. What does not qualify is "set a store cateogry" and "add to Featured products" under the actions drop-down

Q: If a product is hidden and I make an edit to it, will it automatically unhide?

Unfortunately no, you must make an edit/change to it and also change the visibility back to public for it to be unhidden. If you reach over the 100K product cap (say 150K) and we hide 50K, you are automatically left with the limit of 100K products. If you decide that 30K of those products should be deleted and are left with 70K, Zazzle will not automatically unhide 30K products for you so that you are at 100K. Once we hide something, the only way for it to be unhidden is if the designer manually does it.

Q: How do I unhide my products?

Click on the “actions” dropdown underneath a product to open the edit product selections. Then click on “additional information” and select “public” under product visibility.

Thanks again!

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