CafePress: E-Commerce Controversy

September 12th, 2009

Just wrote a column for AuctionBytes about sites that let photographers, artists, and other creative types sell their work online. Who knew this would turn up controversy? CafePress lets you print your art on mugs, tote bags, and other consumer goods that people can buy, either through the CafePress marketplace or through individual seller storefronts. The problem is that recently CafePress changed its pricing and commission structure so that sellers now only make a flat 10 percent commission on their work. And prices in the marketplace are lower than in the stores. So, naturally, buyers turn to the marketplace to make purchases. Sales in the seller stores have plummeted. Many artists are packing up shop and moving to Zazzle, a similar site that does not charge fees for seller stores and that lets sellers determine their own pricing and commission structure. Hopefully, after they get really popular, Zazzle won’t change their policies as well. But you never know…

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