Just a couple of thoughts about what I think should be next for redbubble.
I love redbubble. I go here more than I go to my own blog and site now. However, I think that if this site wants to be more than just a site with a bunch of people selling art and very few people buying it some features need to be added.
1. Separation of public and private views. We need a ‘backstage only’ type of pass that allows the people who are actually artists to post their inside, should be viewed by members only, stuff for other artists to see it without also airing this dirty laundry to everyone visiting the site. I mean things like discussions about how redbubble should work, like this post, or arguments about whether an image is offensive or not, etc. We should be able to toggle a specific thing that we have posted to be ‘backstage only’ or something.
Some of the magic of the site (for potential buyers) can be lost when they see what is going on behind the scenes. I think that the random shopper who comes to the site might be a little confused or unsure whether this site is open to the public if they were to see some of the things that are posted in journal entries and in the forums.
2. We also need better filters for content, and / or better enforcement of filters for content. redbubble is not a site I would tell me 8 year old nephew to visit. It is not a site I would tell my mother to visit or any other family. I could just imagine the conversation at the dinner table this Christmas about how I directed little Jimmy to go to a site that is ‘porn’.
Whatever you personally think about nudity and violence and other edgy artwork the fact is that people should be able to not see it if they don’t want to. It is a shame that some people would immediately leave the site after seeing the home page some days. That means we just lost a potential buyer.
And, if you say you don’t care about that you probably would be better off on flickr or myspace or some other place where all anyone cares about is expressing themselves. This site gets right to the point. Here is a picture. You want to buy it? Click “Buy this”.
It doesn’t matter what you think about what is acceptable personally, shoppers should be able to see what they want to see without having to wade through a bunch of other stuff.
The default “This content is not safe for workplace viewing.” is not good enough because people don’t use it and it isn’t enforced. We need better filters for content. A couple more checkboxes for nudity or even an age rating system would be enough. We also need some enforcement of it, even if it is member policed.
I think some people reading this might say that I am talking about censorship. Post whatever you want, but I should be able to have my grandma come to the site, look around and buy a few things from different people without worrying about giving her a massive coronary because some artist doesn’t think a picture of a woman ironing a man’s bare butt is too risky for workplace viewing.
I travel quite extensively and can say without a doubt that the majority of the world’s population does find a bare nipple not safe for workplace viewing. In fact, in some companies (and countries) a person perusing this site could be fired if what they were viewing was noticed by someone else, and they might just be looking at the homepage!
These are just my thoughts. I don’t mean to offend anyone and apologize in advance to those I have.
Right now this site feeds off of its members and if that is how it wants to stay then nothing needs to be done but we are limiting ourselves to a very select and small group of buyers by doing so.