Thursday, September 10, 2015

Online site builders and plans

Choosing one online site builder isn't easy. I collected information from several site builders so I can pick one, but so far I haven’t made my mind. I have a small site created on Yola many years ago. It’s kind of just a portfolio and résumé. So it works. But now I need another product. I am tight on budget or I would ask a professional to do it! Am I wrong? Can these online site builders do the trick? Probably they will. But for the moment I’m experiencing a lot of boredom every time I sit in front of computer. So I really need something that’s not expensive and that’s easy to use. Most of these site builders offer a free base with the option to upgrade to an advanced premium option so we can try it and get the feel of it. It’s good but it will take me time. Again, more time spent in front of the computer. But I can’t have it all, can I? Many site builders advertise as free. But you know the thing. Nothing is free in this world. So, where are the hidden costs? I also don’t have a credit card. I can ask a friend to do it but I rather have the possibility to use Paypal. I also have to consider fulfilling payment on a monthly or yearly basis; this will allow me to save some money. So it all starts with the question money!! And then the user friendly appeal. Currently I am not in the mood for high learning curves. So I need to pick a builder that’s straightforward in use, “Drag and Drop” technology is just what I want. Just give me widgets I can edit, move and resize! Widgets’ functionalities are amazing. If you’re old enough you’ll remember the time when there were no widgets! It’s the difference between a desert and a garden, really! I think I can put some extra effort in what concerns getting nice images so I can create a nice theme for it. But probably there will be a nice palette of colors available already and professional themes tailored to fit my needs. Usually I go for “keep it simple” rule and this time it will not be different. Another thing that’s important is to get a site where SEO configuration is easy because your site must be found on the net. If your site does not rank well in search engines you are done, your business is done. I have to edit title tags, meta tags and so in an easy way. To consolidate my online presence I also need to use social media networks so the site needs to be social media integrated. I want to be able to publish to other sites and integrate Twitter, Facebook and G+ in a comfortable way, that sort of thing. And at last I have to think about the responsiveness of my site because everyone is using smart phones and tablets. And the list continues. But these are my immediate thoughts. The print screens are very helpful also. Have you any experience with any of these site builders you want to share?

- a web hosting service
- lots of templates
-free domain

- good editor
- good price
- lots of templates

- allows you to choose a free domain, a free template and use their editor for free. 
- ease-of-use editor, drag and drop system, 
- lots of templates

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Cindy ordered a counterfeit pillow cover from Amazon Marketplace!

Please, watch Cindy Bendel's review of a counterfeit pillow cover she purchased from the Amazon Marketplace. She does a side-by-side comparison to the real thing. 

Her message is avoid counterfeits on Amazon by buying on Print On Demand Sites - Zazzle, Red Bubble, Society 6, Fine Art America. Support the original artists for these designs and receive a better quality product."

The author of this painting had no idea her work had been pulled out of a POD site. Her beautiful pillow is 50% cheaper and low quality when sold on Amazon. 

I sell my illustrations on POD and had several stolen also. Please, sign the petition:

" provides the opportunity for businesses to sell products in their marketplace. According to the "Important Information for International Sellers", a seller has to agree that the sale and delivery of the product will not violate the intellectual property rights of others (e.g. the product manufacturer). This has not stopped numerous overseas businesses from stealing artwork and designs for Print On Demand companies like Zazzle and Society 6. For example, thousands of images for pillows and phone cases have been extracted from the websites of these POD companies. They then take these images and produce products for sale at a fraction of its normal selling price. In addition they use these stolen images to market their product listings. They are doing this without permission or license of the artist as well as the POD company. And because of the poor image quality the customer receives an inferior product. It's a lose-lose situation for both artists and customers.

It's a clear violation of the terms of agreement. Many artists have complained to Amazon and have gone through their infringement reporting process. Amazon has removed some listings but refuses to take down the rest. Instead of merely having a checkbox that states they agree not to violate intellectual property rights, there has to be a more active vetting process for these sellers. Perhaps a manufacturing application similar to Etsy where a seller has to explain their process in detail and get approval before selling. This is just one idea, there may be better ones out there. But Amazon needs to step in and do something, the current process is not working!! It's too easy for stores to shut down and open another at the drop of a hat. Going after them is like playing whack-a-mole. As a customer of Amazon I'd like to think they have the customer's interest at heart as well as the artist. By removing these egregious product listings they would improve their marketplace and make it a better shopping experience. Customers want to trust the website they're buying from and be assured they're not getting poor quality knock-offs. Please do something about this Amazon!

On behalf of all artists and designers who sell online I am making this petition. As for myself, I have an autistic five year old son that requires a lot of care. Selling my art and designs online has provided a way for me to make an income and pay for my son's extensive medical care and therapy costs. Intellectual property theft of my work only jeopardizes that. What is going on at Amazon provides a vehicle to promote theft as there are few consequences for these thieves. Please join me in voicing our concerns to Amazon to institute a change. Thank you!"

Cindy Bendel

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