Print-on-demand t-shirt seller CafePress has announced a contest for designing a t-shirt in which it will reward 5 winners with a Flip Mino. Everybody else who enters has to agree to sell their t-shirt via the Marketplace, on which designers make less than $3 a shirt; outside the Marketplace designers could make $8 or more. You can see why it’s in CafePress’ interest to hold this contest and integrate designers into their lower-profit Marketplace system.
From the standpoint of CafePress’ own pursuit of profit, it has to try something: my reading of the statistics shows a decline of 15% in the rate of addition of new designs to the CafePress Marketplace today compared to four months ago. Given CafePress’ track record, you’d expect the contest to contain intimations of privacy waivers and declarations of the right to suspend or alter the contest whenever CafePress wants. It’s typical corporate behavior, and CafePress is a typical corporation.
What I find amusing and noteworthy about this contest is CafePress’ declaration that it will block the contest participation of any person or t-shirt design that it finds to be “annoying.”
Gosh. I guess a “Fuck CafePress” shirt is out of the question.