MENTAL NOTE #107-B: A FEW THINGS FOR CREATIVES TO THINK ABOUT BEFORE VENTURING INTO BUSINESS WITH ONLINE ARTS BUSINESSES — DO YOUR RESEARCH AND CONSIDER YOUR RISKS!
As I mentioned in MENTAL NOTE #107-A, I have had a very bad experience with one (presently one that I am aware of) online Print-on-Demand company.
A Print-on-Demand (POD) business is essentially a printing company who partners with photographers, artists, and graphic designers, using these creatives’ art creations (Intellectual Property), as the design/artwork to print various types of products, such as framed prints, canvas prints, postcards, t-shirts, bags, etc.
Of course, creatives must agree to Terms of Service before becoming a member of these POD businesses. Typically, the Creative supplies the intellectual property, TRUSTING that the POD business will NOT cheat, misuse, or steal the intellectual property: That is one of the main risks the Creative takes when becoming a “Partner” / Member, of these POD businesses. The other major risk for the Creative, is the risk of NOT getting paid for the use of their intellectual property. THEREFORE, the Creative MUST DECIDE if they can risk having their intellectual property misused or stollen; and the other main risk is, can the Creative risk being possibly cheated out of commissions / royalties by the POD, for the use of their intellectual property.
In my case …
In May of this year, my intellectual property was used by a POD online business that I am a member of, BUT SO FAR, I have NOT been compensated for the use of my intellectual property. I was not paid my expected commissions when they were due! The POD business has specific payment terms that they have the responsibility to follow, but in my case, those terms were not followed by the POD business.
I will not name names, even though I have been taken advantage of in this case. I am still in the process of attempting to get my payment from the POD company: I am very persistent, and I have hope still of the POD company abiding by their own terms of service — the chances may be small, but still, I haven’t given up!
Therefore, in my opinion, there are two Major Risks of dealing with POD businesses online:
- Trusting someone you don’t even really know, who is probably from another country, to use your intellectual property ethically.
- Trusting the POD business to follow-thru and abide by their own Terms of Service, and Terms of Payment to the Creative.
IF, for some reason, your Intellectual Property is used to make and sell products with, and you DO NOT receive your rightfully earned commissions / royalties, then you have been cheated.
A worse case is if the POD business uses your intellectual property to make and sell products, and then, the POD business DOES NOT report that you have earned commissions: In my book, if this fail-to-report artist earnings has happened, that is theft.
In the past, it is very possible that I have had my work used without my knowledge. I know that on several occassions, people have used my photographs illegally, without my knowledge, and without compensation, for online advertising. It is quite the shock to see your artwork used without your permission, and other people are earning money from the use of your artwork, but you did not.
Before you ever decide to let any online POD business (any online business) use your intellectual property, you MUST research the company(ies)!
All you need to do in Google, is put the search term, “Complaints against XYZ company”, or, “Is XYZ company a scam?”, or any similar search terms to research an online business, to see if there are major complaints with a business. You really need to do this before agreeing to be a member of an online business.
You can also go to artist forums, and there, ask other Artists/Creatives, if they have any experience using various POD online businesses. This may be your most valuable research — ask people who have firsthand experience with these companies.
Pay Special Attention to these items:
- How secure is the website?
- Reputation of the business (Do Your Research!)
- Any major complaints from members or customers of the business?
- Quality of the Products (HIGH, or Average, or Crappy)?
- Quality of the Packaging and Shipping of Products? (Find out from your Research!)
- Location of the physical business? (Do you want to deal with businesses located in the EU, for example, or located in some country full of problems?)
- Number of Visits to the website each month (Traffic Matters!)
- How long they have been in business?
- Reasonable Terms of Service?
- Reasonable Compensation to Creatives?
- Reasonable Payment Terms to Creatives?
- Any Commission Payment Complaints with the business?
- Reasonable and Safe Storage of your art files?
- Various Membership Levels? Do you get any really special features, or search placement, if you are a paid member?
- Do creatives actually make sales on a regular or semi-regular basis?
- Does the business favour certain artists but ignore the majority? (It happens!)
- Is it easy to delete your account and remove your intellectual property from their website servers?
- And, this list could go on…
Consider the answers you discovered to these questions, and ask yourself, “Can I deal with these considerations?” “Is there an opportunity for me to make money by joining this online business?” “Do the potential benefits outweigh the possible risks?”
My battle continues with this one POD company: I did my research on them, and the answers I got were good! I had good luck with using this business in the past! However, things can change: The CONVID1984 Scam has destroyed 30% (probably more) of the small, mom & pop businesses (or so I read recently in a news report)!(1)
That on its own, is criminal of the Globalist Mutants to purposefully put small businesses out of business (using a pandemic scam as an excuse to SHUTDOWN small businesses); meanwhile, the big-box stores remain open AND EARN BILLIONS and BILLIONS in additional sales(2), even though they are packed with dirty-dirty disease-ridden people (because now people are all spreaders of Convid V i r u s, right!) Remember, however, if you visit small businesses you are doomed! In contrast, if you go to the big-box super stores, you are totally safe—globalist-owned mega-stores are 100% immune from CONVID1984 INFLUENZA, THAT’S SCIENCE! Honest!
PERHAPS, the POD online business I am having problems with right now, may be suffering from totalitarian measures aimed at destroying small businesses? I would not know if that is true or not. Nevertheless, even if that were the case, it would NOT excuse some of the issues I am having with this company and how I have been unfairly treated. THEY MUST STILL FOLLOW THEIR AGREEMENTS AND TERMS OF SERVICE!
That’s about all I want to say on this issue: I hope my suggestions and warnings are beneficial for you.
1 “More than half of small businesses in both states were forced to shut their doors in the spring at the height of the pandemic, with both hitting highs in mid-April — 52.5 percent of New York businesses and 53.9 percent in the Garden States, the stats show. It’s devastating how many restaurants have shuttered and jobs have been lost,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of NYC Hospitality Alliances, which represents bars, restaurants, and clubs in the Big Apple. “And with the infection rate rising and the looming threat of indoor dining closing again, many more will close unless the government provides adequate support to these small businesses,” Rigie said. Meanwhile, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Sunday that a new lockdown is “on the table” again, which could spell more bad news for business owners. And New Jersey isn’t the only state suffering — the national average is 29.8 percent, The Hill reported.”https://nypost.com/2020/11/29/nearly-one-third-of-ny-nj-small-businesses-closed-in-2020-report/
2 A tale of two pandemics: Big-box stores rake in record profits while small businesses fold
As consumers shift to bulk-buying and one-stop shopping, the pandemic is driving a wedge between the haves and have-nots across the retail industry. Aug. 21, 2020, 2:24 AM +08 / Updated Aug. 21, 2020, 6:19 AM By Leticia Miranda. “While Wall Street rewards big-box stores for their monster sales volumes during the pandemic — propelling retail stocks such as Target to a record high this week — thousands of the country’s small businesses are still hanging on by a thread. The widening gap between retail giants and smaller, locally run stores is underscoring the pandemic’s effect of driving a wedge between the haves and have-nots across the industry, as consumers shift to bulk-buying and one-stop shops. “We’re sharing second quarter results that are, by virtually any measure, exceptional,” Target CEO Brian Cornell told investors on Wednesday. “The incredible resilience of our team, the way they’ve risen first to the pandemic, then to social trauma touched off in May here in Minneapolis is unlike anything I’ve seen or am likely to see again in my career.” Target’s online sales soared by 24 percent during the quarter ending Aug. 1, compared to the same time last year. The company also grabbed $5 billion in additional market share in the first half of the year, Cornell said. Walmart saw a 97 percent increase in online sales during the quarter compared to the same time last year, and online sales at Lowe’s jumped by 153 percent. Home Depot reported a 23 percent surge in sales, fueled by people looking to improve their space while stuck at home. With coronavirus cases continuing to rise in parts of the country, people aren’t venturing out to shop as much as they did before, causing a blow to mall retailers and small businesses that were not categorized as essential services during the first days of the virus.”