Referred to as the Ubershop OR Visual Buying Guide (VBG), Spreadshirt recently launched their version of a marketplace to highlight shopowners designs. Before the VBG Spreadshirt shop owners were largely left to promote their own stores and generate traffic on their own traffic. (Though a few highly popular stores got front page exposure on Spreadshirt) The VBG contains t-shirt designs submitted by users and handpicked by Spreadshirt staff. Spreadshirt enthusiasts waited many moons for marketplace to sell their designs. Is this VBG the answer?
The VBG is a bit weak in that individual designs must be submitted individually to be considered for the VBG. Why make Shopowners go through the extra step of submitting designs that Spreadshirt already has at their fingertips. Sure seems weird to me. I understand the desire to control what may appear on your front page, but not the entire guide. Maybe because it is such a pain in the ass, Spreadshirt came out and said that if you submit 10 designs to the VBG and they get approved then you get a free product designer. The designer allows your customers to customize your designs by adding text or moving the designs around on the shirt. Normally Spreadshirt wants a steep $1000.00 to get their designer in your store. However, due to increasing demand for the designer and lots of entries into the VBG, the folks at Spreadshirt CHANGED their minds about the rule for submitting 10 designs. They stated in the Spreadshirt forums that now they will only be giving the designer to people who have submitted more than 10 designs and WHO they think should have one. Anyway, so back to the VBG. Here is a screenshot of the Visual Buying Guide.
One feature that I have mixed emotions about is the Spreadshirt design rating system. I believe that people should vote with money and purchases, not in votes. It seems silly that a large company like spreadshirt can’t come up with a algorithm to rank designs based on a combination of sales, hits, votes, age. etc. Also, if you are allowing people to vote on designs then why not let every submitted design into the VBG and let the voters choose what is good and what is bad. The voting gig is similar to topsites which are frequently spammed and inaccurate. Rating products and community interaction is great in general, but this setup is no different than a topsite from the year 2000.
We have enough t-shirt topsites out there, try to think more original Spreadshirt. The links from the ubershop don’t even go to the submitters homepage, just a page of their other designs that were submited and approved. The only 2006 type feature are the tags on the product detail page. They say the VBG is still alpha, so hopefully they will step it up a notch in the way their shopowners can submit designs and how they are rated and ranked. Are you a Spreadshirt shopowner? Tell us what you and leave a comment. Are you happy with the Spreadshirt VBG?