Moving Right Along

Fey, top model for Crowe Shea FashionsHere I go again (on my own). Picking up and moving again. Sort of.

I’ve tried to keep an open mind about Zibbet. I really would like to see it, and the sellers that use it, succeed. And a venue surely would do a better job of drawing traffic than a standalone, right? So I’ve sat here, spinning my wheels, playing with my SupaDupa shop, and waiting for Zibbet to get their butt in gear and produce this rebuild that’s suppose to save the site.

On the 30th of April Zibbet announced they were accepting applications for beta testers. I immediately signed up, wanting to make sure the new Zibbet would do what I, and most other serious sellers, needed it to do. Since the beta wasn’t speculated to be available until the end of May, early June, I figured it would be awhile before I heard back and started spending what little free time I had in the Zibbet forums.

Then last Tuesday Jonathan (one of the CEOs) made a post that made it perfectly clear that most of the stuff we were requesting wasn’t going to happen.

1. The rebuild has primarily been focused on rebuilding the technology of the website from the ground up. With the rebuild comes new features, such as Guest Checkout, frictionless communication, a much better browsing experience a beautiful interface that will keep them engaged. This will increase sales, especially over time. We expect the rebuild to attract a lot more paying sellers to Zibbet. As we grow our seller base, we can afford to increase our resources and do all kinds of wonderful marketing and brand building. Marketplaces have a beautiful network effect, where more sellers begets more buyers and more buyers begets more sellers. This will just keep growing and growing. The rebuild is going to be the growth catalyst for this.

2. We have plans to submit a feed to The Find, however Google Product Search still needs to be validated as a worthwhile source of traffic (that converts into sales). Of course, submission to the normal Google search engine (and other search engines) will happen. We have also improved your on-page SEO for your items, which we expect to increase your search engine rankings over time.

3. The rebuild is a big change. Those that are on the free account should expect some changes. We are certainly not “getting rid of free accounts” (as I saw someone mention), however we want to change the mindset of a free seller on Zibbet. Currently, people try the free account for a period of time and plan to upgrade when they see sales. The fact is, the vast majority of free sellers don’t put any time into their Zibbet shop. They let it sit there, and expect sales. Low and behold the sales don’t come, sellers blame Zibbet, tell everyone that there’s no sales on Zibbet and go elsewhere with a bad perception of Zibbet in mind. Of course, you may be in the minority of free sellers that actually puts effort into their shop – your participation in the community is a reflection of that. However, this is an extremely low percentage when you look at the sitewide trends. It’s important for Zibbet management to look at the site holistically when making big decisions like this. If we only listen to the feedback of the community (remember, a very small percentage of our sellers) then we aren’t doing the right thing by Zibbet as whole.

 In answer to your question…the reason we’re not revealing the tiers until launch is because we want people to see the rebuild for themselves first before making any decisions. We’re quite certain that sellers will be willing to pay a very small fee to better their shop and support the growth of Zibbet. Those that aren’t willing to pay a small fee are generally the sellers that would eventually leave, even if no changes to the free plan were made. If giving up 1 cup of coffee per month isn’t worth it for your online business, then there is not much we can do to help you be successful. It doesn’t matter how many features we add or how many sites we submit your items to, you still need to put the effort into your own business if you want to see if succeed.

To which I responded:

  1. Pretty can only do so much. And it can’t do anything at all if no one comes to see it.
  2. Of the venues I’ve used that both submitted to Google Shopping Product Search and offered the ability to track traffic, I’ve found a good portion of my traffic came from Google Shopping. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has experienced this. Since the purpose of Google Shopping it to aid, you know, shoppers, you might want to do some more research, there.
  3. While yes, there are a good percentage of free shops that have been abandoned, there are also a good percentage who, like myself, don’t feel we are getting are money’s worth with a Premium shop and have downgraded to Basic, awaiting the rebuild, and hoping that you would be releasing a better Premium. It appears you are not. Oh well. You might want to put a few more restrictions on what we can do with Basic shops because after the rebuild I’m thinking turning mine into an ad for my standalone. I have busted my behind reading up, and working, on SEO AND promoting my shop across 4 social networks at optimal times, and I haven’t seen crap for my efforts, here. So the problem isn’t me. Nor is it the fault of all the others who have been working hard and seeing little to nothing in return.

If you want me, and the others who are in the same boat, to stick around and upgrade back up to Premium you’re going to have to impress the pants off us. And right now the only thing going through my head is “No means no.”

I’m kicking myself for not catching the phrase, If we only listen to the feedback of the community (remember, a very small percentage of our sellers) then we aren’t doing the right thing by Zibbet as whole.” Hello! You asked for questions and feedback in your community forum. I saw no such requests elsewhere on the site or in the newsletters. Therefore you have nothing but what we’re telling you to work with. But suddenly we’re now only providing a small percentage of the feedback? Sounds like someone’s hearing what they don’t want to hear and making excuses.

That night I received an email explaining that my application for beta testing was declined. Knowing that several others from the forums had applied I checked around to see if anyone else had received a response.

Nothing. Needless to say it’s hard not to take it personally.

I was hoping to gather more intel about the differences between Zibbet and SupaDupa, to make a better informed decision, but it seems Jonathan had made that decision for me. As of now croweshea.bishiharem.com will redirect to my SD shop.

I’m going to put my money where my mouth is, moving my focus to my SupaDupa shop and using my Zibbet storefront as free advertising. At least until Andrew & Jonathan decide to pull the plug on it. Given how many sellers they’re going to lose over this, I’m sure they will.

A & J if you’re reading this, let me give you some advice: There are a lot of people in this world who are willing to put up with a ton of crap. I know, I’m one of them. When you’ve managed to cheese us off to this point, you’re pretty much screwed.