Zazzle's Watermarking Policy - Update and Additional Information
Posted: Friday, August 1, 2014 10:18:46 AM
Hello Zazzlers,

Thank you once again for all of your feedback and continuing conversation on the Zazzle watermark! We have been discussing this topic even more, and wanted to share more information with you so that you can make an informed decision about this store setting.

We offer this setting if, as a Zazzle designer, digital security is a primary concern for you. However, there are several major downsides to using this feature that are likely to impact customers and thus sales of your product. We want to make sure that you have all of the necessary information before you make your decision. You can always edit this setting to turn on or turn off the watermark feature at any time.

See below for a Q&A for a little more insight into our thinking regarding Zazzle watermarks, as well as more information on what updates have been made regarding this feature.

What is your policy on image protection and watermarking?

We’re still working on gathering all of the valuable information and data we can related to watermarking so we can continue to make improvements, but we are committed both to the protection of our designers’ property and to providing a quality shopping experience for our customers.

Here’s where you can find more information on our policies for image protection and copyright:

- Our watermark policy, which can be found on your Store Settings page along with the watermark setting (see below)
- Our User Agreement, including our Intellectual Property Policy where you can find information on reporting unauthorized use of your images:
- Our Acceptable Content Guidelines:

Here’s where you can take a look at your store settings for watermarking:

· Log in to your account
· Navigate to your Store tab
· If you have one store, select “Edit Settings”. If you have more than one store, hit “Manage” for the store in question, and then select “Edit Settings”
· Scroll down to watermark setting, including more information on the setting and a link to our watermark policy

What updates have been made to the watermark setting?

Working with our design community on this topic has been a great collaboration experience for us, and we’re excited to move forward with even more discussion and improvements. With that in mind, while implementing this new setting we were able to see more clearly how it works on our site and on various mobile devices to gather even more feedback from our designers.

Based on our own testing and observations as well as feedback from our designers and customers, we are making a few small updates to this setting. Now, if enabled, the watermark setting watermark will only apply to those images that could possibly be downloaded at a high resolution (over 701px), and there will be only one “on/off switch” setting for these large views. (E.g. It will be visible when you use the “zoom" function) The watermark image itself has also been modified to be less intrusive on designs.

What will happen to my products and images if I enable the watermark?

If you choose check the box to enable this setting, a patterned Zazzle watermark of the Zazzle logo will appear over the entirety of the zoomed and expanded views of both your product and design for each product in your store. This view will apply to both you as the designer accessing all of your store’s products in your account, and for customers for any public products in our marketplace.

Here’s an example of what this watermarking would look like, in comparison with an unwatermarked version.


No watermark:

What does Zazzle recommend regarding these settings?

If digital security is a major concern for you as a designer, you are welcome to enable this setting. However, our recommendation is to leave this option unchecked. We believe that watermarked products will generate fewer sales than non-watermarked products, and many of our designers agree.

Here are a few of our thoughts on how the small amount of digital security a watermark might provide weighs against providing a great visual experience for our customers:

- Customers may be discouraged from buying, as it can appear that the watermark is an intentional addition to the design that will be included in their finished product. Simple or minimalistic designs with large areas of color may be particularly susceptible to this misconception.
- Some customers may believe the watermark to be a site bug, fault, or glitch on Zazzle’s end and again be discouraged from their purchase due to perceived lack of credibility of the site.
- Some customers may expect the Zazzle watermark to be a part of the design they purchase, and return the product when they receive it for not aligning with their expectations, again meaning a loss of earnings for our designers.

We’re still gathering data and feedback on our watermark and our customers’ and designers’ experiences with it. Overall, we’re focused on providing the best possible experience for beautifully visualized products, better sales, and happy customers! We want your products and designs to really shine.

Why should a Zazzle designer leave this setting unchecked?

We’ve found from industry research as well as our own research that larger, richer, more attractive images positively impact product sales!

- In recent years, customer screen sizes have increased in both physical size and resolution. Product and design images that look just as beautiful on these screens as they do in real life entice customers to purchase a product that already shows high quality.
- This trend doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Screens are only going to increase in size and especially resolution, and we’re keen to make sure we’re ready to stay current with these trends.
- Mobile matters! Smartphones and tablets have raced quickly into resolutions higher even than many commercial HD television sets. If our product imagery doesn’t match the high resolution of a smartphone screen, it looks fuzzy and “bad” or “low quality” in the minds of customers.
- Along with these changes in technology, customer expectations are changing as well. Their taste for larger and higher resolution imagery is rising and becoming the norm.
- Customers find product detail persuasive when deciding to purchase. Larger images and the ability to “zoom” help add lots of compelling detail, and showcase the hard work and effort our designers put into each design.

We’ve spent a lot of time and effort weighing the merits of a feature like watermarking, and unfortunately the two solutions of brand- and customer-friendly displays and unsightly but marginally protected watermarked images are directly in conflict. This is why we leave the decision ultimately up to you as the designer.

The main point we would like our designers to consider when making this decision is balance. By balance, we mean this: we believe the upside of good “offense” related to your products and your brand - a quality design display, promotion, improved search algorithms, all of the factors that provide a great customer experience and thus generate more sales - should matter far more than the defensive side of a watermark that may be only a deterrent.

Unfortunately, the online world we live, design, and sell in makes it impossible to have total digital security. However, we also believe this online world--and our marketplace within it--can more than make up for it by taking advantage of that openness to generate sales for our designers from happy customers.

How will enabling the watermark affect my products?

There are several major downsides to using the watermark feature on your Zazzle products:

- Zazzle will not be able to show your image in product feeds (for example, those used in product ads on major search engines like Google)
Quote: Google Shopping doesn't allow product listings with images containing promotional messages, including watermarks or promotional text. Image links pointing to logos or other generic images are also not allowed.

- Zazzle will not be able to use your product as a featured product on any of our landing pages or promoted pages such as

- Zazzle’s merchandising team will not be able to use your product in any promotional material such as emails or special promotions on the site

We hope that this has given you a clearer idea of our stance regarding our watermark and digital security so that you can make an informed decision regarding your own store settings. Thanks again for continuing this discussion, and for being a designer with Zazzle!

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