Selling online is a great option for working from home and is something that I have been doing since 1999. I recently have tried the site Zibbet, An Australian company owned and operated by Jonathan Peacock, CEO and Founder and Andrew Gray, Director and Co-founder. The site has been live since February 5, 2009.
I will begin talking about my journey in several parts. Please bear with me because this is a long story. I originally joined in June of 2012 with a free basic store that allowed 50 items and no frills. The site, in my opinion looked a little outdated and there were very few sellers there. But I went ahead and listed my items and waited. I received no sales. I let my listings expire and forgot about the venue.
Then with the September 2013 news of Etsy redefining handmade I decided to go back to Zibbet along with at least a thousand or more other Etsy sellers. With the momentum of new sellers the spirits of all were high and hopeful. This was fueled also by the promised rebuild of the site, which was said to be due early 2014 and would give the somewhat outdated website a new facelift and would become a powerful competitor to the site Etsy who had control of the handmade, vintage and supply market. Zibbet quickly put out a campaign to "Pledge Handmade" and to never have a reseller reside on the site. This was sweet music to many sellers ears.
I like many other transplants jumped at the chance to sign up for premium accounts. Premium accounts come with many perks like unlimited listings, coupon and sale mode and the ability to put widgets in your shop. Our options were $9.95 per month or $79.00 per year locked in for life and all levels included no listing fees and no final value fees. More sweet music since on other sites those fees can add up pretty quickly. I decided that I needed to buy two yearly accounts. One for my bridal and one for my jewelry. And so I set up my two shops and went to join the community for some tips, promoting and a little camaraderie.
At first the Zibbet "Community" forums seemed very welcoming. If you were to look back at the threads back then, you would find nothing but happy and enthusiastic people who thought it was really cool that the company founders, Jonathan and Andrew, would pop into the forums and give a short "glad you are here", a "thank you", a pat on the back, and a nod every once in a while. After all, who had ever heard of CEO's of an internet company participating in there own community forum?
Maybe a month later going into November, it seemed there were slowly forming cracks in the foundation of the "Community". A little disturbance here and there. Some personality clashes. An increasing amount of "If you don't like it here, then leave" comments. And a growing contempt from Zibbet old timers for the new Etsy transplants. They didn't like them talking about the other venue in their forums. Seemed like it was getting harder to have a conversation about anything that may have differing points of view.
For me, I continued promoting my shops in a way that I had never promoted anything before. It became an increasingly full time job just promoting. The results though were not what you would expect. I wasn't finding my shop on Google and I wasn't making sales even though it looked like I had fantastic visitor stats.
By the middle to end of November things were heating up in the forum. From my eyes at the time, there seemed to be some removal and muting going on of a very few people. The "White Rabbit" came briefly in to play and wreak havoc. Then was promptly removed by one of the site owners (Which by the way are the forum moderators at Zibbet).
I was chugging a long trying to get sales and not doing to well at it. Meanwhile, my Etsy shop had lower views but more sales even without promoting it. Everyone one kept saying if you weren't making sales at Zibbet then you just had to promote harder. And so I did, I tweeted, and tweeted, and tweeted more. I used Google plus and promoted others on the site. I pinned on Pinterest everyone's items. I made a special Zibbet Wedding board and Zibbet Picks board. I pinned onto group boards. I Facebooked. Had 50% off sales. Free shipping. I tried just about everything with few results and very little sales.
Then came the big scandal that rocked the Zibbet world. Andrew Gray and the C3 Church.
To be continued in my next post.....