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So just what is Redbubble?

ROAD TESTING RB’S NEW HOMEPAGE DESIGN and CONTENT

As a first time visitor, this is what (at a glance – all I am willing to give for most new sites) the home page most prominently and immediately tells me today:

1. “Buy Shiny Independent Designs on Super-Great Products”
2. “The Redbubble Animal Adoption Center” – with a cutesy set of animal drawings

Looking for additional clues to gain an understanding of what the site is about I find:

  • A second small window mentioning something about a featured artist with a small thumbnail image.
  • And beside that, another saying something about “Let the games begin! A gallery of sporting images” (Timely at least!)

I then see a subheading saying ‘Found by RB’ with a pile of images of disparate content.

Finally, still seeking deeper insights I see that there is a ‘Shop’ with various sub-categories of products mentioned. And a subheading saying ‘Join RB’. Then if I linger long enough to find and open the ‘About Redbubble’ link I get to some harder information.

INTRIGUED BY THIS APPROACH, I WELCOME YOUR ‘MEMBER’ FEEDBACK:

1. SO WHAT HAS THE HOMEPAGE TOLD ‘ME’ (OR YOU) ABOUT RB REALLY?
2. DOES IS SAY WHAT YOU THINK IT SHOULD BE SAYING?
3. DOES IT EXPRESS YOUR EXPERIENCE OF BEING ONE OF ITS ARTISTS?
4. DOES IT CONVEY WHAT YOU STILL OR ONCE FOUND MOST EXCITING?
6. HOW WELL IS IT SERVING ANY PURPOSE YOU THINK IT SHOULD PURSUE?

Comments

  • Larry Butterworth
    Larry Butterworthover 2 years ago

    very good Bruce

  • Hope I get some takers Larry … and thanks.

    – Bruce Dickson

  • Larry, think Marjolein’s recent comments below may be close to he real truth about it all … very tragic is so.

    – Bruce Dickson

  • twistwashere
    twistwashereover 2 years ago

    an interesting way to formulate things Bruce , so , I went looking for another site , a few days ago , I would be interested to see , if you have applied this thoughtprocess to other venues, and one thing, as I was doin this , that when I tapped in lots of different key words , lookin for something better , for my needs , RB was no where to be seen , I was told about RB by a young artist , I

  • Very interesting insight you provide there at the end of your valued comments – are the members themselves and their motivated (formerly motivated?) personal recommendations and word of mouth efforts really the main force behind RB’s growth and ‘success’ … particularly if normal methods of discovery are failing? If so, then it underlines dramatically the need for RB to take its members’ feedback and normally very constructive suggestions far more seriously!

    – Bruce Dickson

  • twistwashere
    twistwashereover 2 years ago

    everyone , has their own agenda , which , gives light , to the question … . what is RB’s agenda , and I wonder if it is workin for them .

  • Good question, but they are never very highly transparent about where things are at are they? Part of the problem in a way.

    – Bruce Dickson

  • Bluesrose
    Bluesroseover 2 years ago

    Excellent! I can’t think of any way to better describe the mess that RB has created. Thank you for expressing my thoughts exactly!

  • It is very sad really Maris and shows a total lack of imagination and creativity on their part as well. Even if you are trying to boost the site’s appeal, impact and sales there are many ways to do it far better! There are also many great designers on this site, why not recruit them to help with options to choose from? I saw one great design a while back from a member that would have kept everyone happy. But the problem could well be as serious as Marjolein analyses below with photographers and writers basically no longer really welcome because their sales impact is possibly too low! Much as a like a good non-photographic design, it is still the photography that keeps me here! Both to contribute and to enjoy in the works of others.

    – Bruce Dickson

  • Marjolein Katsma
    Marjolein Katsmaover 2 years ago

    Guess what: when the new ‘design’ was launched I could not even find a ’home page* – at least nothing that actually looked like it could be a homepage.

    And yesterday, for the first tie, I discovered the big fat “The Redbubble Animal Adoption Center” on my ‘activity feed’ page. Sorry, but that’s the page I work from – I do not accept my work data being pushed below the fold… so I adapted my user stylesheet to promptly hide that whole box. Grrr.

    What has the home page told me? Simple (and I’ve stated it before): photographers are not really considered any more, only tolerated. Writers, less than that, as anything that is not for sale can even be found any more.

    Which is why I no longer offer any new work for sale here, and concentrate my efforts on other sites, and ‘migrating’ sales to those. Not in one fell swoop, but gradually. But surely.

    RedBubble is no longer a place that welcomes photographers.

  • Think your observations about who Redbubble now welcomes and no longer welcomes are very acute Marjolein. Don’t blame you for taking matters into your own hands at all.

    – Bruce Dickson

  • Bluesrose
    Bluesroseover 2 years ago

    “…photographers and writers basically no longer really welcome because their sales impact is possibly too low!…”

    Yes.. and why is it low? Because they don’t give any room (chance) and attention to them (to photographers & writers). I don’t get their point.

    Yes.. and why is it low? Because they don’t give any room (chance) and attention to them (to photographers & writers). I don’t get their point.I personally haven’t sold anything for a long time.

  • Bluesrose
    Bluesroseover 2 years ago

    sorry for repeating myself :)

  • No worries Maris. The point probably needs to be made twice for emphasis in any case!

    – Bruce Dickson

  • Darren Stones
    Darren Stonesover 2 years ago

    What is Redbubble?

    I have no idea anymore.

  • That’s exactly how I feel too Darren. Thanks for the visit.

    – Bruce Dickson

  • Celia Strainge
    Celia Straingeover 2 years ago

    It’s such a shame! The site was fantastic when I joined. Amazing photography by wonderful folk. who encouraged each other and there wasn’t a snapshot in sight. It has since become just another an online storage site and t-shirt shop. It’s purely about money and selling Iphone cases, and no-longer feels like a gallery or a site that showcases new artists which is what made it special in the first place. It’s soul has somehow been lost and is just an overly ‘glossy’ corporate money making scheme.

  • Well put Celia, that is the real risk and consequence arising. I still find good non snapshot images exist aplenty, but the community spirit does seem to have waned, if not a consequence of people reevaluating how they use their available time these days. Can only have sympathy for the attempts at generating sales if Redbubble’s very viability has been at stake. But even then I think they could answer this challenge in far more imaginative and effective ways. Including talking more openly to members about what they are dealing with in such regards and recruiting their goodwill to help them find solutions, while still achieving all our shared artistic and social hopes for the success of the site!

    – Bruce Dickson

  • Peter Stratton
    Peter Strattonover 2 years ago

    I am frustrated with all the continuing changes. I am annoyed with the constant need to assimilate and adjust to them. I have therefore decided to approach what I feel, and IMO, is a far more serious situation. I am a retired photographer and custom art framer, so I will share what I feel you need to know, and you decide the value of my words, all with good intentions.

    What is desperately needed is a full custom art framing business with a wide selection of both metal and wood frames and matting to accommodate the irregular dimensions of digital art. The current offering of standard sized borax frames is the biggest downfall. The purpose of framing, aside from
    protecting the art, is to complement the art, NOT over power it with a dominant bulky frame of unflattering bold neutrality. T-Shirts, stickers and gift cards seem to generate the highest sales, but when it comes to framing, RB is losing sales big time!

    My guess is that RB has bought large volumes of ready made frames that are not suited for the kind of product members make, and they are likely finding themselves being dragged under by their wasted overhead and now cannot pull themselves out of the hole they have dug for themselves. Thus the frantic attempt to shake things up, to stimulate sales, by drawing more attention from it’s members, while the primary problem is not with what its members offer, but with a ‘sales package’ that was doomed to fail from the start as is the price structuring and sales philosophy in general.

    Personally, I joined RB for the social aspects. One look at the framing and price structure told me right off that I would never sell anything here nor would my profit make it worthwhile. However, I do like the contacts and friends I have made and I wouldn’t want to lose them. With the disruptive, pointless and frequent changes, it is taking the fun out of it all. Structural simplification, not quick-fix patch-up efforts are needed. When RB offers custom framing and I could make a descent profit, I would be more inclined to offer my art for sale. I might even buy some myself with the money earned if it were held on account for purchases! What ever happened to the K.I.S.S. Theory?

    The basic theme, (whatever that was), is now fragmented and clumsy. It will take courage to liquidate the junk frames, recover whatever overhead possible, revamp sales objectives and baby-step the way back into the market. There are some very good business models out there and plenty of people with custom art framing experience!

    Simply attending to the desires of members and requesting them to make greater effort to communicate among themselves or their non-member friends would perhaps stimulate additional discourse, but it is pointless unless you have a desirable product that generates sales!

    Please remember that members want social interaction and it is important to protect that environment as they are your image suppliers. It is RB’s task to find the formula that works to achieve this symbiotic objective.

    Above all, keep in mind that this is a ‘want’ business, not a ‘need’ business. Times are difficult but those who are able will pay good money for excellent products!

  • Thanks for your comments Peter. I had read them also on the re-branding report pages too. Like you I agree that the sense of community and member interaction is a great and powerful feature of the site. Also agree that in commercial terms people do have to be encouraged to want, and don’t feel a need automatically. Many of my major concerns about the current direction of redbubble revolve around my feeling that they are either lacking in sufficient branding and marketing experience or are making some bad decisions in these regards (influenced by god knows who). A problem compounded by not sufficiently listening to ‘the wisdom of the group’. There are way too may anecdotal reports from people in the rebranding comments thread and elsewhere around the site suggesting that their decisions are having very bad consequences, including those citing Google analytics reports showing dramatic drops after the changes were introduced. But also the numbers leaving, or thinking of it, etc, etc. This sort of a wave can easily turn into an avalanche as negative perceptions (and branding at its core is about perceptions) can quickly spread these days via very immediate sources like the internet. Something an experienced and knowledgeable marketer would truly understand and take urgent steps to address! Those with concerns are not naysayers, instead from what i have read they are genuinely concerned and caring over redbubble’s seeming decline and want to support its return to a better state.

    – Bruce Dickson