Allowing Hub authors to offer products through

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  1. Satori profile image76
    Satoriposted 15 years ago

    Authoring Hubs is about sharing and spreading ideas.  Most of what we do is word-based, and a capsule to show off related Zazzle stuff would be an eye-catching way to allow readers interested in those ideas to buy products which celebrate them, such as relevant designs, graphics, statements, and the like on t-shirts, coffee mugs, and so on.  Zazzle allows users to do that, and they do it well.  HubPages allows them to share articles, and they do it well.  Mashing up those two functions would work extremely well together, dove-tailing them nicely into a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.  Graphic ads showing relevant products and imagery would so nicely break up the visual tedium of some of the intense print-based Hub content, providing a bit of balance between the yin and yang of print and color.  So I'd like to submit this idea, for HubPages, its authors, and its readers.

  2. Inspirepub profile image72
    Inspirepubposted 15 years ago

    Have you tried breaking up your intense print-based content with items for sale on eBay and Amazon?

    I have found coffee cups, T-shirts, etc on both of those.

    1. Satori profile image76
      Satoriposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      Amazon and eBay modules may work for some - Zazzle would be an extension of that concept - but they each have their peculiarities.  This is why diversity is a good thing.

      eBay, for example, allows Hub authors to include items sold at auctions and from eBay sellers who manage virtual storefronts.  The downside to both of those is that on eBay, even a virtual storefront may be gone tomorrow.  This doesn't bode well for authors who attempt to pen Hubs with what HubPages' CEO describes as "evergreen content" (i.e., lasting value).  The idea is to offer Hubs that will be around - and be worthwhile - for years to come.  A Hub's author may look in on one of their Hubs only to find that their eBay capsules point to a storefront that is long-gone.  This is less than ideal.

      Amazon is a tremendously good fit for most people.  Partnering idea-sharing Hubs with the sales of books about those ideas is an obvious choice - in fact, one that works so well that it makes sense to consider the slightly less-obvious choices.  In my own personal case I cannot use Amazon, because I don't subsidize treason and torture.  Period.  And Amazon presumes to withhold income taxes from its associates if they live in the States, without being aware of different citizenship statuses that exist there, and the differences in liability for income tax.  My situation is rare, and most are quite willing to subsidize treason and torture through federal income taxes regardless of their status.  So Amazon appears to work for most.

      Certainly.  Zazzle, however, allows its users to create their own products, such as t-shirts, mugs, posters, mousepads, and the like, with their own graphics and logos, and gain commission directly from sales of the product.  This allows for unique, Hub-specific products, and provides commission as well.

      Consider for a moment the idea that authoring a Hub allows people to share ideas that are not yet in the mainstream.  Merchandise promoting those concepts does not yet exist, and readers interested in making those things a part of their life - and showing them off to a world that has not yet heard of them - would often be interested in having relevant t-shirts, bumper stickers and posters about them.

      It's a slightly more obscure pairing, as Zazzle is not quite as well-known as Amazon or eBay...  but only just.  Given the direction of both HubPages and Zazzle, I believe the two would dovetail quite well.

  3. Marisa Wright profile image89
    Marisa Wrightposted 15 years ago

    I don't like intense text-based Hubs either, but I find I can break them up nicely using attractive photos, highlighted text boxes and Amazon ads.

    1. Satori profile image76
      Satoriposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks for the advice.  While those aren't effective revenue-raising opportunities as well, it's good to be aware of what can be done.

      I've seen authors who've been penning Hubs longer than I have insert pictures at various points throughout their Hubs, on the right-hand side.  What I haven't seen yet in the Capsule options is some way to designate where and how that occurs.  How can this be done?

      1. Marisa Wright profile image89
        Marisa Wrightposted 15 years agoin reply to this

        True, photos are not revenue-raising, but they do give the Hub more eye-appeal and therefore entice visitors to stay a little longer and read on - which may increase the chances they will find one of your ads!  In particular, if you have a picture at or near the top of your Hub, it appears on the Hub description instead of your profile pic.

        You've seen the photo capsule?   As Mark said, break up your text into multiple capsules (that also gives Adsense the chance to insert more ads in between).  Insert a photo capsule and you'll find you can use the right arrow to float it to the right.

        Darkside has a very good Hub about Capsules.

        1. Satori profile image76
          Satoriposted 15 years agoin reply to this

          Absolutely dead-on.  We want our writing to be comfortable for our readers, and to respect the fact that ours probably isn't the first article they've sat through and read today.  It's great to learn about options our forefathers didn't have when they wrote - I wonder how many hits Emily Dickinson would have gotten, for example, and how many more if she'd thrown in some pictures to spruce up her work?

          Aha!  The right-arrow button is what does that!  Thanks for providing that.  I'm sure it will be of great use to many people.

          Darkside certainly makes great use of Capsules; I'll have to check it out.  Thanks again.  smile

  4. darkside profile image69
    darksideposted 15 years ago

    Zazzle would have a whole range of products not available at Amazon and Ebay.

    Provided there was some kind of affiliate program so HubPages and its authors could make something out of the deal it would be a good way to promote a range of unique and original products.

    1. Satori profile image76
      Satoriposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      While Zazzle already offers its designers direct commission on the products they design, I don't think they offer affiliate referrals - that is, royalties on sales of other people's designs.  Then again, HubPages currently offers text links and pictures, but no Zazzle capsule.  A partnership between them might allow that, or it might not.  This means that Hub authors wanting to use a Zazzle capsule to promote relevant products would either share products created by other Zazzle designers without receiving revenue, or create their own Zazzle merchandise to promote.  Since all this really involves is uploading an image and text, dragging it around until it looks good, and clicking on a few menu options, the time investment is low and the residual income occurs when people read your Hubs in the months and years to come.

  5. Mark Knowles profile image58
    Mark Knowlesposted 15 years ago

    You need to break the text up into smaller capsules as well. The photo/amazon/ebay capsules can be added at the breaks then.

    1. Satori profile image76
      Satoriposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      Terrific, Mark.  Thanks for sharing the information.  I can certainly put it to good use creating better-quality Hubs, and so can other Hub authors who read that here.

  6. waynet profile image66
    waynetposted 15 years ago

    Cafepress is also a zazzle alternative and they have an affiliate program through Commission Junction, so they would be more of a fit for us if they were to include CP as an affiliate in the future, although Squidoo has cafepress incorporated into it's module inclusion, hub pages may consider it in the future...maybe!???

    1. Satori profile image76
      Satoriposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      For the record, Commission Junction affiliates would cause the same tax problem as Amazon does for HubPages users who are in my situation.  This would be something to take into consideration in implementing the concept.

  7. relache profile image72
    relacheposted 15 years ago

    If Zazzle doesn't have an affiliate program, there's no point in suggestion HubPages build a capsule for it.  There'd be no revenue stream for the site if they did and I'm pretty sure that's why they've made the retail choices they've made so far.

    1. darkside profile image69
      darksideposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      Yep, no affiliate program = no incentive for HubPages to invest the time to make it work in a hub.

      1. Satori profile image76
        Satoriposted 15 years agoin reply to this

        Good point.

        If Zazzle and HubPages established a partnership, with HubPages creating a Capsule for Zazzle here, they could naturally implement a system to convey the data to Zazzle through links, keeping score effectively through data sent through the URL or through cookies.  If nothing else, Zazzle would be able to see that HubPages referred the clickthrough - this is common.  A lot of technical approaches are available here, just like with AdSense.

        HubPages is trying to grow, and like most startups it's a little underpowered.  They're also so new that they haven't had an opportunity to consider all the options out there, and among them what would work best with their model.  This is why it's so important for users on internet systems to offer ideas and suggestions when they seem sound and effective; like distributed computing or parallel processing, the whole system fares much better when individual minds contribute what they've got.  I'd hate to see one person try to design a microchip all by themselves, and the same applies to any complex system - particularly one in a complex environment.  Honoring the status quo for a new system is obviously inappropriate, since their strategies haven't become streamlined as they would if they'd been around for centuries - they're not "tried and true", so they're necessarily experimenting.  So I'm generally cautious about the idea that most startups "have already thought of it", or that they "know what's best", and share the ideas when I get them.

        1. relache profile image72
          relacheposted 15 years agoin reply to this

          You seem to be missing the point somewhat.  HubPages doesn't want to run affiliate programs, just make available ones that already exist.  If Zazzle creates and implements an affiliate program first, then maybe, HubPages might make a capsule.

          So, I suggest you go bug Zazzle first....

          1. Satori profile image76
            Satoriposted 15 years agoin reply to this

            Nope, I understand it completely.

            Implementing a partnership between Zazzle and HubPages could be easily done, and would require integration between Zazzle's system and HubPages.  HubPages wouldn't be "running an affiliate network", or anything of the sort.  It would require some coding on Zazzle's part to arrange the transfer of data, and it would involve HubPages passing the data through with their Zazzle Capsule.

            I treat the assumption that HubPages will only do things that it has already done with caution because it appears to have no basis, and it's a position you've responded with twice now.  Finding fault with an idea due to baseless assertions is counterproductive, as is responding to them.

            I take it from your tone that you aren't on the forums because you're an employee of HubPages.  Perhaps e-mailing them about it directly would be a more constructive approach to the idea at this point.  I shared it on the forum first to get user feedback about it, and to see if there was any valid reason it wouldn't be feasible or desirable.  Unfounded assumptions aside it looks fine so far, so I might as well share it with staff directly, and let them make their own choices about it.

    2. WannaB Writer profile image89
      WannaB Writerposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Zazzle does have an affiliate program. I'm a Zazzle store owner and an affiliate. I would very much like to promote my Zazzle products in Hubs as I do on Squidoo lenses, but haven't figured out a way to do this yet. But I do see others doing it.

  8. Marisa Wright profile image89
    Marisa Wrightposted 15 years ago how would HubPages benefit financially from allowing Zazzle capsules?

    1. Satori profile image76
      Satoriposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      HubPages Zazzle Capsules would provide links to Zazzle products, and additionally pass along information to Zazzle that demonstrated that the user has come from HubPages.  Zazzle's system would keep track of this, and give HubPages itself a percentage of the commission, taken either from Zazzle's profit (since HubPages is raising revenue for Zazzle en masse at this point by generating sales in large quantity for Zazzle), or from the profit percentage of HubPages authors (who are using HubPages as a means to promote sales of their designs through Zazzle, and cannot control HubPages or Zazzle's choices as to revenue model).  The practical benefit for HubPages users would be the generation of cumulative sales resulting from their various Hubs, in the months and years to come - much as Amazon, AdSense, and eBay presence on Hubs currently provides.  HubPages itself would receive large payments directly from Zazzle for all of the sales generated.

  9. Marisa Wright profile image89
    Marisa Wrightposted 15 years ago

    Have you any indication that Zazzle would be interested in this arrangement? 
    I agree, this is something you should be discussing with the HP team and their counterparts at Zazzle, although if you're not associated with them, I wonder why you would seek to broker such a deal.

    1. Satori profile image76
      Satoriposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      No, I haven't spoken with Zazzle about it, and probably won't.  That's HubPages' prerogative.

      I'm not associated with them, I just pass on good ideas for the success of others when they occur to me.  As an author on HubPages, I necessarily have incentive to improve the systems I use.  If a good opportunity for me occurred to someone who knew me, I would hope that they passed it on to me regardless of any immediate incentive to do so.  That's the kind of company I keep.

      I have just e-mailed HubPages staff about this, and referred them to this forum.  I really hope it works out; it would be to everyones' benefit if it did.  Consider me a sort of Cupid who operates on the basis of enlightened self-interest.

  10. Dorsi profile image89
    Dorsiposted 15 years ago

    I'm going to have to check this Zazzle site out- sounds intriguing, and I'm always interested in new ideas.
    Thanks for the brainstorming.

  11. Dorsi profile image89
    Dorsiposted 15 years ago

    I just looked at Zazzle. Oh boy, I'm an artist too and that site is incredible!
    An affiliation would be great.

    1. Satori profile image76
      Satoriposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      I think so, and I think a lot of artists and people with graphic design talent would find it worthwhile.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

  12. kia31 profile image65
    kia31posted 15 years ago

    Cool site it would be great to offer their products. Thumbs Up!


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