Saturday, July 16, 2011

Forever Free Basic Shop on Zibbet

Zibbet Newsletter

16th July, 2011

Artfire is Removing Their Free, Basic Accounts From Their Site - What Does Zibbet Think About That?

Firstly, I want to make it abundantly clear that I am not here to throw stones at Artfire. The purpose of this email is NOT to tell you that Artfire is doing the wrong thing - they are doing what they feel is necessary based on their unique situation.  The purpose of this email is to inform you about our reasons for keeping Basic accounts here at Zibbet.

In this email we'll cover a few things (it will be a long email - read when you have time!):
1. The details
2. Why Zibbet won't be getting rid of its free, Basic accounts
3. Are Basic Artfire sellers welcome on Zibbet?

For those that have never heard of Artfire or don't have a clue what we're talking about...

Artfire is another handmade venue, similar to Zibbet. They had a free, Basic account and an upgraded, paid account - again, similar to Zibbet. Yesterday they announced officially that their Basic Accounts would be shut down on August 15.

How many sellers will this effect?

Over 42,500 active Basic sellers will lose their shop (about 75% of their total sellers), at which point around 350,000 items will be unlisted from the site (about 25% of their total items).

Why have they made this decision?

You can read the full, official announcement here.
Zibbet and Artfire are two different venues, with two different leaders, with two different strategies for moving forward.  At Zibbet, we're a metrics driven business, which means that we track LOTS of different things - the numbers don't lie and we base our decisions on those metrics.  I want to share some of what we know with you, to help explain why having free, Basic accounts at Zibbet works well...for us.

SEO benefits
Firstly, I've harped on and on about this - the more active items we have on Zibbet, the more buyers we will have. Basic sellers list items, and those items help to bring in more buyer traffic - for everyone!  Basic sellers only account for 15% of the total sales on Artfire. They also only account for 25% of the active items - Do you think that would have something to do with their low sales percentage? You bet it does.  Less items, less traffic, less sales. Period.

On Zibbet, our Premium sellers make up 24% of our active sellers and account for around 70% of the sales. Our Premium sellers do get more site exposure, have better tools and features to help them sell more and have unlimited, non-expiring, listings. There's no doubt that Premium is the way to go on Zibbet.

We know that Basics will upgrade to Premium when they see the value to do so (and we certainly hope they do), but even if they don't that's ok - because...

We make money off Basics too!
We have a couple of exciting partnerships launching in the future which will allow us to make a small cut off each sale that is transacted on Zibbet (Basic and Premium). This DOES NOT come out of your pocket - you are not charged a cent, nor will you even notice a difference to your service. These partnerships will be announced when we are ready to roll them out.  Basic sellers make sales too, therefore they will make us money. Just another reason why Basic sellers add value and are here to stay at Zibbet.

Basic sellers need time to upgrade
Our metrics tell us that Basic sellers need time to decide whether to upgrade or not and we're willing to give them the time that they need. Some sellers will never ever upgrade, and that is something that we're aware of and are fine with. Hosting costs are so low these days that these sellers are literally no burden on us financially.

Check out this graph which shows historically how long it takes for our Basic sellers to upgrade to Premium. Most upgrade within the first couple of weeks (as you can see below), but there are still sellers upgrading every day in the 365 day period shown. This means that the Basic account is serving its purpose as a 'taste-tester' that compels sellers to upgrade over time - which puts money in our pockets to keep making Zibbet better and better...

The graph below is a little more crazy and complex, but I'll try to explain. We track your activity (sales, upgrades, downgrades, etc) based on the month and year you signed up to become a member of Zibbet. We call this your 'cohort', which is the group we associate you with for the life of your account. This allows us to find 'trends', which is why I say that we're a data driven company - the numbers don't lie, and they help us to base all our major decisions on.  This graph shows the percentage of seller registrations that go Premium. And as you can see, over time a greater and increasing percentage of sellers will upgrade to Premium over time. The higher lines, representing a greater percentage of sellers that have gone Premium, belong to earlier cohorts. You can see that from the February, 2010 cohort, 20.85% of the seller registrations we received that month have upgraded to Premium.  Therefore, we can again conclude that over extended periods of time, more and more sellers will see the benefits of being Premium, and upgrade.

Yes!  We welcome them with open arms, all 42,500 of them can make their home at Zibbet and they can bring all 350,000 items with them (and hopefully list 50 items each to make over 2 million items!).  This would bring huge SEO benefits to Zibbet and will increase the sales of all our sellers.  If you love Zibbet and you love sales, you should be telling Basic Artfire sellers to join us.

To help make spreading the word even easier, I've created a special coupon code that will give them a free 45 day trial of our Premium Account (monthly or yearly). The code is: WELCOME

This offer is valid until August 15.  Or, they can just sign up for a free, Basic account and upgrade when they are good and ready (or not).

We also have an Artfire Importer, so setup will be quick and painless!  They can import all their items in with a few clicks of the mouse!

If you have bothered to read this far, thank you!  I hope that what I have said makes sense and you can clearly see why Basic accounts are valuable to us at Zibbet and our reasons for keeping them around - for good!  If you're from Artfire and you're reading this, we welcome you to give Zibbet a try. You'll love what we're doing here and the community is super friendly!

Have a great day and please feel free to post this entire email where you feel is necessary to inform all handmade sellers.


Jonathan Peacock

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