CafePress Shopkeepers up in arms!
CafePress Shopkeepers received a very unpleasant email from one of the founders on Thursday. Since then the forums have been in an uproar. I tell you this, because people reading this blog who are most likely thinking about starting an online shop, need to know the kinds of things that can happen when your shop depends on someone like a CafePress as opposed to being totally in control.
CafePress started an affiliate program a year and a half ago. In Thursday’s email we were told that program was going to dissolve and a third party, Commission Junction, would be taking over. As shopkeepers read the news we had to wonder how CafePress could so blatantly ignore the hundreds of hours we have spent searching for products and stores to affiliate, creating ads, sections in our stores, whole websites of affiliate stores and thousands of links both to our stores and to the stores we affiliate. People have spent money advertising and for special tools of course too.
Setting all of this up over the past year, we would joke we were working for about 10 cents an hour. We could joke, because we were full of hope it would pay off in the future.
Just look back over this blog how many products I have in the past 300 plus posts. Those all have a link, which after the new program takes over April 10th, will become links just sending traffic to competitors instead of affiliate links to people’s stores I admire, where I would get an affiliate commission if the customer bought something. Do I take all theses out? Two thirds of my blog posts? How about the 6 sections in my shop that are strictly affiliates?
If you could read some of the forum posts about how overwhelmed and angry shopkeepers are feeling right now you would probably say, “Why don’t they just close up shop and do a shop that is totally theirs or go to a competitor?" I think that will happen in many many cases.
But, first the shopkeepers have to grieve. As one put it, it’s like having a family member that you loved hit you and say, “I never loved you.”