Sunday, February 26, 2012

Achievement Unlocked!

Hooray! I did it! I don't know how I did it, but I did it! As of February 22, my goal of having 4 sales total for February is fulfilled! Anything else for the month is just gravy on the cake. Or is that icing on the broccoli? Cheese on the mashed potatoes? Spam in your ham?

The Shop is doing pretty well. Monday listing went off without a hitch. We listed a new Cthulhu Phone Cozy in our most popular color(s): variegated greens. This one has "slitty eyes". Sorta looks like giant black flat-head screw tops. Exciting!

"Squinting into the distance..."

At some point in the middle of the week, I got a request for a Special Order for 10 Triple Town Bears. Holy Frijoles! My first bulk order. It's both exciting and horrifying. Crocheting that many bears for a big order, while also attempting to finish simultaneous crochet products for listing Monday (some bears; some cozies), is a bit nerve-wrecking. That being said, I'm pretty far along. With any luck, I'll get these bears all wrapped up in time so that they can be at their destination by March 2nd. In general, bulk orders like this require 10 days to fill. However, I am pulling "overtime" in a way to get them out the door sooner. I have my incentive --- visibility (the GOOD kind.)

I got my eyes order for the bears on Saturday. I bought them from 6060 on Etsy, a US-based Etsy store. 6060 gave me the best customer experience I've ever had online. Not only did I get upgraded shipping, but the eyes were shipped same day at noon. 6060 was also super duper awesome fixing the mess I made with the purchase --- made purchase BEFORE shipping changes were applied to the listing. Oops. Etsy seriously needs to add in the ability to pick a shipping preference, partly for people like me who get over excited and screw up, but mostly so those who offer a variety of shipping options can do so in the listing instead of in the shop policies. I will be ordering my eyes exclusively from 6060 hence forth. Now if I could just find an exclusive dealer for buttons...


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Etsy, Adblock, and My Hack

Maybe I wasn't crazy. A long while ago I tried to put the Etsy Mini widget on my LiveJournal. It didn't display or anything when I posted the code to the journal live. I thought maybe LJ was stripping out the scripts, as they are sometimes apt to do. Well, I went to put an Etsy Mini on my new blog yesterday and lo & behold, it didn't work. Something was up. The game was afoot. And, I am not crazy because I looked at it in Safari, and it worked fine. What. The. Heck.

Well, guess what. Adblock has added all of the Etsy domain to their list of "block me". Talk about irritating! I was furious when I found this out. I'm not adding an advertisement section to my blog, I'm adding a small widget that displays MY SHOP with MY WORK in it! I will not stand for this. So, what did I do? I wrote an email to Adblock asking them to consider putting Etsy on their non-intrusive ads list.

The non-intrusive ads list is this new thing Adblock is pushing. I like their reasoning. Whitelist ads or whatever for specific websites that aren't intrusive (read: NOT FLASH). I can get down with that, especially if it means they won't block MY shop widget anymore! Well, Adblock got back to me last night/this morning. Their response? We agree! But we can't just all willy-nilly whitelist Etsy. We need an agreement with Etsy to do that.

Awesome. I, along with millions of other blogging Etsy sellers, am now at the mercy of Etsy and Adblock to negotiate a treaty so we're no longer punished for sharing our own store on our blogs. There MUST be something else I could do to get around this Adblock bull. I mean, sure, I can turn off the Etsy filter on my Adblock, but what about my visitors? They won't see it! They'll just see "Shop Cozy Rhody" and a blank space. DO. NOT. WANT.

Well, I found a hacky workaround that solves my problem. For now. Hopefully, some of you Etsians out there will find yourselves on my blog reading about this workaround. I hope it will solve the issue for every Etsian. But, we'll see. At some point, people have to take the initiative themselves. Here's what I did:

  1. Open the Etsy Mini javascript. It's the web address inside the quotes after scr= in the first <script...> element. Or, you could go to one of the links below.
  2. Copy EVERYTHING you see.
  3. Paste what you copied in the Etsy Mini code inside the first set of script tags: <script ... > PASTE HERE </script>...
  4. Delete the src='...' property from the first <script...> tag: <script type='text/javascript'>
  5. Save your widget or webpage or whatever.
  6. Turn adblock back on, turn the etsy filter back on, and verify that you can see your widget.

The end result should be that you see your Etsy Mini on your blog/website/whatever with Adblock turned on without any modifications to the filters & restrictions. In the mean time, if people would PLEASE submit and email or something to Etsy to get them to work out an agreement with Adblock so Adblock will whitelist Etsy so these scripts will work as designed out-of-the-box without any hacking to be had on the end of the shop owner, that would be fabulous. Contact Etsy Here.

Lastly, I leave you with the email response I got from Adblock. With any luck, this will be resolved sometime this year and people won't need to muck about with either their javascript or Adblock preferences to get desired results.
Thanks for contacting us. I agree that blogs like yours are the exactly the kind of websites we want to support with the Acceptable Ads initiative. However, we can't just whitelist some ads without having an agreement with the network in place (see this thread: The reason for this is that if Etsy was to change its ad format, our users would be exposed to ads that aren't compliant with our criteria and blame us for that.

If you want the whitelisting to happen, you could contact Etsy about this issue. If they enter an agreement with us not to change the ad format in a way that would not comply with our criteria, we can make a proposal in the community to add them to the exceptions list.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


February is shaping up to be a fairly decent month. I'm hoping I'll get at least one more sale this month. Ideally, I'd get, like, 15 sales --- because that's how many items are in my shop at the moment. But I'll take 4. That's one a week. Not too shabby... though horribly awful from a business perspective. There is no sustaining on 4 sales a month, like, at all. Doesn't even come close to covering my costs. (I should mention that I currently have 3 sales, so the goal is 1 more for February. YOU can make it happen.)

I've decided to make a semi-decent effort at keeping the store stocked and have declared Monday as listing day. If I'm going to list anything for the week, it'll be on Monday. And only on Monday. With a bit more work on my part, I'll be listing things on Monday morning. Tomorrow, it's gonna have to be Monday afternoon since I still need to take photos of everything. It's dark outside now so I can't exactly take winning shots of product before listing... At least, not photos that I like. The colors come out all wrong when I photograph in faux sun.

I did release a new product in the last week or so: Triple Town Bears. The really exciting part about this new product is that I have approval from Spry Fox, creators of Triple Town, to sell my bears. I think that is the single most awesome part. Even if I only sell one bear, ever, I am completely satisfied with the outcome of these bears. Happy day.

I continue to try and figure out this networking business. I have an Etsy through which I want to sell things, preferably EVERYTHING I list. So, I go through the logical next step of someone who is completely inexperienced at Internet business: set up a Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ page/feed/whatever for people to follow store happenings and to encourage sharing of my business with others. Yay! Except, how do I get people to click the Like/Follow button? And I'm talking about people who honestly want to follow my store happenings. If anyone has the answer to that question, do let me know.

The other thing I need to figure out is how to get on the front page of Etsy. There's an Etsy store that claims they know the secret of being on the front page of Etsy every day and that they have a formula that works every time all the time to guarantee being on the front page. Treasuries seem to be this huge "thing" on Esty now. Get in a treasury list and you're sure to increase your store traffic. Well, yes. If that treasury ends up on the front page of Etsy. Only treasuries appear on the front page of Etsy. Treasuries and recently listed items. But if you listed your item more than 30 seconds ago, it's no longer recent. I'm thinking I should probably find other venues through which to gain visibility. I'm trying out this ShutUpAndTakeMyMoney reddit at the moment. I'm permitted one link a month for personal gain --- ie, my shop. So far, I get about 200 to 600 visits from Reddit if I post a link to my shop on ShutUpAndTakeMyMoney over the course of 2 to 3 days. I'll take that. Maybe someone will pick up my link and blog about it to their 1 MILLION followers. Maybe.

My LiveJournal account is expiring as of Feb 22, 2012. This is a disappointment, but also sort of a good change. I've not been terribly happy with LiveJournal as of late. The nail in the coffin was the "renew your account" payment. They really really REALLY want me to do an automatic annual payment. Last time I renewed, I declined for auto pay. Well, guess what. They enrolled me in auto pay anyway and about a month ago I got a notice that they were going to charge my account renewal to some card or whatever that they had on file. HA. Fat chance. That card had been terminated eons ago. But that's not the point. The point is that I said NO AUTO PAY, and they did it anyway. Bad move, LJ. Bad move.

Blogger wasn't exactly my first choice for a new venue. I looked at DreamWidth first. Alas, same problem exists there that I had with LiveJournal: I want 50 user pics. LiveJournal wants you to pay $10 + whatever the paid account fee is. Dreamwidth wants $35, total, to get more than 5 user pics (paid account.) Maybe its best I went with something that didn't have user pics. For the uninformed, user pics are little images that appear with each blog entry. LJ & DW also have "mood" options for each post. You know, both have on order of several hundred moods to choose from. I can't say that I've used more than 5 or 6 of them. And the reality is that they're terribly unnecessary.

All those "other features", like video and photo uploads from your computer, I've already moved to services like Flickr, Photobucket, and Picasa. LJ offered too little space up front when I was using it --- about 20 MB. And their interface for photos is the worst interface in the universe. It crashed, all the time. It's difficult to navigate and understand. And I hated it. I have no idea what DW offers, but it's probably best I don't step in that.

Over the next couple of days, between new listings and madness, I'm going to migrate all of my pattern posts to Blogger, probably with backdating if I can do that. I'll maintain my LJ account, free version, until I decide yea or nay to keeping every blog post I've ever written since I started blogging in college. Most all of them are hidden from public & friend view now, partly because I've grown out of that, but mostly because Mom and Dad are on the Internet now, and seriously, I don't want them reading my old blog posts. Sorry, Mom & Dad. It is what it is. You'd probably feel the same way if you're parents gained access to your "blog", aka "diary". When I was young & stupid, I was not so awares of the publicness of the Internets. We are more cautious now. No. There are no drug & sex escapades in my old blog entries. Just a lot of... old me. What does one do with nearly 10 years of personal logs? What does one do with 10 years of paper journals? Is it really worth holding on to, even in digital form? Meh.