Thursday, November 13, 2008

Endicia, OwnTheHour, Art Fire

I have lots of little things on my mind today. Rather than making three or four mini posts, I'm just going to throw it all out there.

First, Endicia. Endicia is a tool for printing postage online and I have to say, I love it! After a year of waiting in post office lines every time I have an international sale (up to five times a week), I am now free! It took me a long time to accept the limitations of the USPS website. I just couldn't come to terms with the fact they they would not allow me to print first class international postage. It seems like price gauging to only offer the more expensive alternatives. I made phone calls. I was denied, transferred and disconnected. Then I got smart. If they won't do it, who will? That's when I searched the old forum threads at Etsy and got turned onto Endicia. Now I'm not comparing it to any of the other online postage places because I really haven't shopped around. There may be other companies that are just as good. What I will say is that I'm still in my 30 day free trial, but I'm very happy and I don't think I'll feel the need to look elsewhere. The process is quick and painless and you print one label that includes shipping and customs. It's great. And there is one nice service the USPS offers, Free Carrier Pick-up. You can set it up online and the next day, your carrier will pick up your package from your mailbox or front door. Very nice! So now with Endicia and Carrier Pick-up, I am free from post office lines. If there are any details I left out or questions, please comment and I'll clarify.

OwnTheHour is another new discovery. One of those Twitter tips I was talking about earlier today. So what is OwnTheHour? Their literature describes it best so I'll quote, "OwnTheHour.com is a great resource for highlighting and finding some of Etsy's top items! Etsy sellers can advertise their product on our exclusive 12 item front page for just $1 per hour. They select the hours, and we do the rest! Etsy buyers, or those looking for great unique gifts, handmade crafts, and amazing pieces of art can stop buy each hour to see items that an Etsy seller has highlighted." They go on to say, "Our goal is to create a resource for Etsyians to promote their items whenever they choose. We use the money we make to pay for advertising to attract more traffic. We make every effort to attract sellers and buyers to OwnTheHour. By recycling the money that Etsyians put into the site to bring people to the site, we hope to create a nice flow of traffic for everyone involved." So where do they advertise? This is what they say, "A lot of people are confused about how others will find, and see, their items on OwnTheHour. Don't worry! OwnTheHour purchases advertising on Facebook, Twitter, and through Google and other direct advertising partners that directly targets DIY and Craft related websites. We also rely on word-of-mouth from all of YOU who are purchasing spots on OwnTheHour. The more you tell others about the site, the more visibility your items get."

OwnTheHour is new enough that it's hard to say how effective it is. As an experiment (you know I like my experiments), I bought an hour. Yesterday at 4:00 EST one of my scarflets
appeared on OwnTheHour. It didn't sell, but 80 people came to check it out. That's 80 people who could be discovering my store and could potentially become buyers. Was it worth the $1 I spent? Could be!

Last topic for today: Art Fire. I've been hanging out at Twitter more often lately, and one of the users I've been following is Art Fire. For all I knew, this was another artisan, and I wasn't paying close attention to the tweets coming from Art Fire until today. Today they got my attention by tweeting "Etsy sucks. Know why? Visit our comparison chart..." So I clicked on the link. Then it finally registered that they were another venue for buying and selling handmade.

I'm a peace lover at heart so I don't really like the tactic of attacking the competition. Even though I can't deny they got my attention, it's an ugly form of campaigning.

Bested by curiosity, I've been checking them out. I love the arts and crafts movement and I think there is room for more than one outlet. I went ahead and registered to get a better idea of how they work figuring the most I have to lose is $7 . Right now I don't know what I think. I'll continue to investigate in spite of first impressions. I enjoy exploration into the unknown. Am I leaving Etsy? NOOOO! I love Etsy! I think I'll always be an Etsian!
I just want to figure out what Art Fire is all about. I'll keep you posted.

6 comments:

Corn Bread said...

keep me posted. I paint too!
i have a ebay store Urban Picasso art.
I'm always looking for more outlits to sell and post my Paintings so i will look into Etsy.

cheers Urban Picasso Art
http://stores.ebay.com/urban-picasso-art

Alan said...

WHO searched the forums at Etsy to come up with Endicia?!

Jenn said...

OK, husband, you found Endicia, but I did search the forums. Men!

Jenn said...

Hey corn bread, you're gonna love Etsy!

Tony - EVP Marketing said...

Hey there. Just thought I'd let you know that it wasn't anyone at artfire.com that sent that tweet. We like to poke fun and make comparisons, but none of us are into name calling.

Wherever you are selling, I hope that you are making sales. Because that is what we want for all artisans be the etsians or artfire artisans.

Cheers!

Jenn said...

I'm glad to hear that Tony, and I'm sorry if I was mistaken. It was the Artfire logo avatar, maybe it's not one of your people.

It didn't stop me from opening up shop. :D I like what I'm seeing at Artfire. I wish Artfire all the best and it's kind of fun knowing you're just down the road in Tucson!

Thanks for your comment!