Narfcake


quality posts: 287 Private Messages Narfcake

Yeah, it's a topic that's been discussed time after time again, but I can't help but to feel shirt.woot's heyday is well in the past and if things remain the same, that it will continue to decline further and further ...

A quick revisit to a post on a poll from 3-1/2 months ago compares where shirt.woot's stands today on FB versus the other sites ...

Threadless - 847k (+20k)
Designed By Humans - 392k (+49k)
TeeFury - 336k (+79k)
TeeTurtle - 204k (+33k)
Snorg Tees - 119k (+2k)
Busted Tees - 95k (+1k)
shirt.woot - 24k (+4k)

Not the worst in terms of growth, but for a site that has sold millions of shirts over the years already, one would think there'd be more chatter elsewhere too - but that's not the case at all. Has any of the staff, especially the management, given a serious thought why?

The blanks alone won't resolve everything as so many got turned off by them already, though it'll be a good start; I certainly have more thoughts of my own that I'll post down the line, but I'd rather have others chime in first. What else does shirt.woot need to do to stay relevant in the ever widening crowdsourced world of online t-shirt sites?

Quality Posts


taternuggets


quality posts: 22 Private Messages taternuggets

I don't have the answers on what might bring shirt woot back.

However, I have some thoughts on bringing some enthusiasm back to the derby.

I'm not intending to offend anyone at shirt.woot but it almost feels like the staff have lost interest. Perhaps they are still short staffed as I heard they once were, I can only guess. There doesn't seem to be much communication between the staff and the artists anymore.

Things don't get done on a reliable basis anymore. Whether it be honorable mentions or even rejections. Derbies rarely have rules aside from what shirt blanks not to use. I can't really complain about all the allowances of pop culture because lately, that seems to be all that sells. I know there are way too many tardises (tardi?) these days... I guess eventually I'll have to watch that show to see what that's all about.

I know several people including myself have asked the question of why the default derby sort order is by most popular instead of by newest entry like it used to be. Seems to really put later entries at a disadvantage. To my knowledge, we never got an answer on that...

There are a lot of big name artists that have stopped participating in the derby or do so very infrequently. Perhaps woot can reach out to some of them and ask why.

Don't really know how to get the voters back, you can't really offer them prizes every week.

Lively forums would help with morale.... I know checking the forums these days and seeing nothing posted from anyone anywhere is quite an enthusiasm dasher. Maybe a little more participation from everyone including the staff could get things rolling around here again.

I suppose I'm rambling at this point... cheers.


Nothing follows.

Mavyn


quality posts: 22 Private Messages Mavyn

There are several issues for me. Some are unrelated to woot (I started buying tees as a reward when I quit smoking, no longer relevant). However, I will say that I'm less likely to buy now simply because I've had too many tees print poorly and not be replaced with a quality print. Sure, I get my money back, but that just means I'm not ticked off, it does not mean I'm happy. If I'm not happy about my past purchases, I'm less likely to buy in the future.

My speech is not parsing. I am speaking in ellipsis.

lonelypond


quality posts: 424 Private Messages lonelypond
Narfcake wrote:Yeah, it's a topic that's been discussed time after time again, but I can't help but to feel shirt.woot's heyday is well in the past and if things remain the same, that it will continue to decline further and further ...

A quick revisit to a post on a poll from 3-1/2 months ago compares where shirt.woot's stands today on FB versus the other sites ...

Threadless - 847k (+20k)
Designed By Humans - 392k (+49k)
TeeFury - 336k (+79k)
TeeTurtle - 204k (+33k)
Snorg Tees - 119k (+2k)
Busted Tees - 95k (+1k)
shirt.woot - 24k (+4k)



Usually my consulting fee is lunch ; ) I wonder how much the advertising per head cost is for each of the above. I see frequent Threadless advertising and yet for all those gains, they had fairly recent staff layoffs, I believe.

It's hard to propose strategies without knowing woot's goals for shirt.woot! -- or their budget. Frankly, it seems like a side business to the main site, although they do seem to be trying new growth/outreach strategies on Facebook.

Boosting derby numbers and forum conversations would be great, but there are not only fewer voters but fewer comments on derby entries.

Still musing on this, but thought I'd weigh in with the first thoughts that crossed my mind.

no1


quality posts: 7 Private Messages no1
Narfcake wrote:Yeah, it's a topic that's been discussed time after time again, but I can't help but to feel shirt.woot's heyday is well in the past and if things remain the same, that it will continue to decline further and further ...

A quick revisit to a post on a poll from 3-1/2 months ago compares where shirt.woot's stands today on FB versus the other sites ...

Threadless - 847k (+20k)
Designed By Humans - 392k (+49k)
TeeFury - 336k (+79k)
TeeTurtle - 204k (+33k)
Snorg Tees - 119k (+2k)
Busted Tees - 95k (+1k)
shirt.woot - 24k (+4k)

Not the worst in terms of growth, but for a site that has sold millions of shirts over the years already, one would think there'd be more chatter elsewhere too - but that's not the case at all. Has any of the staff, especially the management, given a serious thought why?

The blanks alone won't resolve everything as so many got turned off by them already, though it'll be a good start; I certainly have more thoughts of my own that I'll post down the line, but I'd rather have others chime in first. What else does shirt.woot need to do to stay relevant in the ever widening crowdsourced world of online t-shirt sites?



1. imma not sure what fb likes really measure. is it "buzz?" is woot still going after "buzz?" is "buzz" needed?

2. woot seems to be happy with the way they do things, otherwise there'd be more evidence of them trying different approaches. shirts are quietly being bought from the reckoning and the back catalog, and woot doesn't have a recurring $1000 lump-sum payout for those. but old shirts don't generate much new discussion or "buzz," they just get sold.

3. on a more general note: i think woot has gone after the low-hanging fruit of pop-culture in order to maximize short term sales. out of a large group of people, with overlapping subsets of various target consumer groups, the subset of people who'd buy a pop culture shirt seems to be the biggest. however, that subset isn't necessarily a majority of all the people. selling the same pop culture stuff day after day may be turning off the smaller but numerous "other" customer subsets (e.g., "artsy," "non-cute animals," etc.). when all you're left with is "the people who like pop culture" there isn't much diversity with which to generate discussion and "buzz."

4. my dad used to say, if you ran a retail business (such as a store or restaurant), you'd be better off keeping it open as many hours as possible, and not just during a few busy hours. the point is not that you're going to capture a lot of sales in slack hours, it's that people can be confident there's always something available, they don't have to think about whether they'll be turned away, so the establishment stays on the top of their list of places to visit. i think it's possible that the other-design-type customers may have come to expect that they won't find what they want if they go to shirt.woot, so they don't come here at all any moar. it wouldn't be easy to reverse this trend; woot would have to go back to putting out fewer pop culture designs, sacrificing short-term sales in the hope that people would drift back and start some "buzz."

the above is just speculation, of course; i don't have any special insight into people's heads or how modern society moves.


tl;dr: i got nuttin'.

no1


quality posts: 7 Private Messages no1
taternuggets wrote:There are a lot of big name artists that have stopped participating in the derby or do so very infrequently. Perhaps woot can reach out to some of them and ask why.



i would hazard a guess of at least two factors:

1. inconsistent enforcement of rules
2. pop culture connections seem more important than pretty much anything else, including creativity.

big name artists are likely artists first. they put a lot of effort into being creative and have likely been rewarded their entire lives for demonstrating exceptional creativity even while following (most!) of the rules. the two factors listed above act to reverse their fortunes. why waste time here when they can go elsewhere and be more successful?

taternuggets wrote:Don't really know how to get the voters back, you can't really offer them prizes every week.



people vote if and when they think their vote matters. if the same type of designs win regardless of how or whether they voted, the voters lose interest. more derbies with rules that shake up the normal order of things mite eventually help voting totals. however, that mite have the short-term effect of chopping sales off at the knees. could be a tradeoff there.

no1


quality posts: 7 Private Messages no1

man, i just love the sound of my own voice. er. i mean typing. as it were.

tjost


quality posts: 25 Private Messages tjost

Well as a fairly successful artist here, who used to participate all the time and who has slackened greatly in my participation, I can relate an incident that happened just this week in the derby. I was put on a 24 hour probation for the first time I can remember since I joined Woot back in '06.

It was due to my comment that a certain artist was a thief. Another artist had pointed out evidence that this "artist" had appropiated art from a beloved movie and "remixed" it to his own gains with little change. I did not pull an Adder and go all vicious in my comments. However I called a spade a spade. I have had run ins with this artist in the past over blatant copying and had NEVER been banned for comments.

The person has since removed the art but I was so upset over the ban that I wrote to the powers that be. They have responded and I will be writing them back. This is the type of stuff in the derbies that ticks me and other artists off though. Adder used to have much more vicious comments that weren't pulled (though I know he was banned multiple times). People that steal blatantly and get away with it make me not want to participate anymore, at least not in the derbies, and I was set to have an entry in this one too. This has been a long gripe with many though.

Being overly strict on rules can drive people away but Woot has never had a solid listing of things in an easy to find place that are no no's for everyone to follow every derby. When we speak out we are told that either we don't know what we are talking about or we are just jelly because skills o__o . A happy medium needs to be struck with rules and enforcement. The fact that I was banned too without a warning from the mods and for nothing other then calling a thief out, with evidence shown, was mind blowing to me. I want to see Woot thrive again and I'm gonna think of more suggestions to give to Wootbot to make this place great again.

no1


quality posts: 7 Private Messages no1

aHA! here's a big name artist...

tjost wrote:I want to see Woot thrive again and I'm gonna think of more suggestions to give to Wootbot to make this place great again.



not something that you covered in your post above, but imma curious: what sites do a better job than woot in the subjects you discussed in your post (or other areas if you prefer)? is there another design site (shirt or not) that woot should emulate?

dreamaster


quality posts: 4 Private Messages dreamaster

1. Acknowledge they screwed up with ill fitting shirts in a mass email to ex-customers.

2. Offer all designs on shirts that fit.

3. Stop padding the forums with useless polls that make it seem that the site isn't as dead as it is.

4. Apologize.

5. Really REALLY apologize.

6. [MOD EDIT] Play nice, please.

7. And finally, an apology.

8. An apology might help - just sayin...

tjschaeffer


quality posts: 7 Private Messages tjschaeffer
tjost wrote:It was due to my comment that a certain artist was a thief. Another artist had pointed out evidence that this "artist" had appropiated art from a beloved movie and "remixed" it to his own gains with little change. I did not pull an Adder and go all vicious in my comments. However I called a spade a spade. I have had run ins with this artist in the past over blatant copying and had NEVER been banned for comments.



I read this and was wondering to myself "who could he be talking about?" And the more I thought about it I realized what you were talking about. Sorry to hear that they hit you with the ban hammer over that.

I think that your story speaks quite a bit to one of the problems with woot right now. At one time the community was so strong that artists who stole artwork or used photos or cheated in any way would have been branded as pariahs by the community. But now the community is small and a lot of the policing comes down to just the artists.

I'm not sure what woot can really do to fix things. I think the drop in sales is not something they themselves can entirely fix. The online t-shirt market is huge, and I've often held that there's an oversaturation. People only have so much time/money to devote towards buying t-shirts, and woot is just another player.

But it's a bit of a catch-22, because in order to sell more shirts they'd need to become more like the other sites (i.e. an over-reliance on nonsensical pop culture mashups), but they would do so at the risk of further alienating the community.

oakenspirit


quality posts: 79 Private Messages oakenspirit

I have only been participating in the derby for approaching 2 years now, so I don't consider myself a veteran at all, though I did lurk a bit and vote for some time before that- (My first woot was tgentry's Sun WuKong back in Jan '09)

I know it feels bad when rules are exploited and rad designs get ignored for various reasons- don't know what to do about this other than enforcing more, or possibly allowing a few forum vets (like Narf or no1 or lonely pond or...) to be promoted to ASSISTANT REJECTIONATORS - maybe even hold a community election for those people-

- I also did prefer the MOST RECENT ordering- I don't really try to submit much anymore if I don't get one in right as the door is opened, whereas before, I would trickle shirts in all week (I was bad about having like 4 entries per derby in my early days)- That's truthfully fine with me though, since my kids are the bulk of my off-work time, BUT-
I DO think switching this back would be a good thing to level the field-

I also REALLY LIKED when woot had the artist videos and Ocho was editor for a day- I think that sort of thing is GREAT for the artists and the community- I think artist run/chosen derbies would be a great, fun incentive to be more active- Hell, I personally liked the controversial GUEST EDITORS PICK, though I am likely compromised with that, as my first print was chosen that way and I likely would have given up some time ago if I had not printed when I did... ANYWAY- If we have occasional GUEST EDITOR run derbies, I think having them pick third would also be cool- ;)

I really love it here and truly think woot is the best place for artist to have shirts for sale- It's a wacky, fun place with boats of creativity and ANYTHING they do to keep that going is great by me-



no1


quality posts: 7 Private Messages no1
oakenspirit wrote:I know it feels bad when rules are exploited and rad designs get ignored for various reasons- don't know what to do about this other than enforcing more, or possibly allowing a few forum vets (like Narf or no1 or lonely pond or...) to be promoted to ASSISTANT REJECTIONATORS - maybe even hold a community election for those people-



ha HAAAA. thanks for including me in your list, but although i've been around a long time (relatively) imma around much less than i used to be and not really keeping up with shirt.woot enough to be relevant. anyhoo, i'd prolly be one of those guys that tjost mentioned that would be too hard over on rulez and drive peepuls away.

i can see why woot would want to retain some flexibility on rulez anyway; if they get a run of several days in a row of sub-200 selling shirts, mabe they'd want to ease up on the reject-o-hammer a bit to get some borderline but commercialer derby entries a shot at keeping the whole operation above water.

oakenspirit


quality posts: 79 Private Messages oakenspirit
no1 wrote:ha HAAAA. thanks for including me in your list, but although i've been around a long time (relatively) imma around much less than i used to be and not really keeping up with shirt.woot enough to be relevant. anyhoo, i'd prolly be one of those guys that tjost mentioned that would be too hard over on rulez and drive peepuls away.

i can see why woot would want to retain some flexibility on rulez anyway; if they get a run of several days in a row of sub-200 selling shirts, mabe they'd want to ease up on the reject-o-hammer a bit to get some borderline but commercialer derby entries a shot at keeping the whole operation above water.


I just like the idea of being rejected by potato jesus... ;)



taternuggets


quality posts: 22 Private Messages taternuggets

I'll reject everyone standing between me and the fog.


Nothing follows.

cdrewlow


quality posts: 9 Private Messages cdrewlow

Maybe Woot was listening and decided derby prizes are the way to go?

brtw


quality posts: 0 Private Messages brtw

When they switched shirts to save cost and I got my first anvil tee and it sucked, that was when they lost me. It was poorly communicated, simple as that.

Then the website redesign that hid the original purpose of woot!, the snippy bits of writing. What did they put in place of those write-ups? More sales. Sorry woot, that's not why I'm here, I don't really care about your other sales, I only cared about shirts.

I still stop in from time to time to see just how much shirt.woot is suffering, just so I can feel good about my choice to leave.

I am brtw

bluchez


quality posts: 2 Private Messages bluchez

I think the cause of the overall decline all boils down to me not entering the derby as much.

mrwednesday


quality posts: 12 Private Messages mrwednesday
no1 wrote:3. on a more general note: i think woot has gone after the low-hanging fruit of pop-culture in order to maximize short term sales. out of a large group of people, with overlapping subsets of various target consumer groups, the subset of people who'd buy a pop culture shirt seems to be the biggest. however, that subset isn't necessarily a majority of all the people. selling the same pop culture stuff day after day may be turning off the smaller but numerous "other" customer subsets (e.g., "artsy," "non-cute animals," etc.). when all you're left with is "the people who like pop culture" there isn't much diversity with which to generate discussion and "buzz."



no1 is pretty much spot on because the community was crumbling long before Anvil hit. The Anvil cash grab certainly did not help, but they could have survived it intact if they had done the little things to preserve it.

I have no idea what their sales look like (for all I know they might be selling more shirts than ever), but no one cares about them. Long ago they decided that they didn't actually care about preserving diversity, and the enforcement of the rules reflected that. Artists and voters who didn't want to make or vote for the same old rehashed crap left. It's a positive feedback cycle and now they couldn't sell a non-cutesy/pop-culture shirt if they wanted to.

Pretty much every shirt shop uses pop culture to drive sales (though it's worth noting that the quality ones like Threadless and DBH are actually licensing merchandise instead of always just using it). The distinction is that they make the effort to cultivate and serve the other parts of the community. Woot was never interested in doing that and this is the result.

lonelypond


quality posts: 424 Private Messages lonelypond
oakenspirit wrote:...

I know it feels bad when rules are exploited and rad designs get ignored for various reasons- don't know what to do about this other than enforcing more, or possibly allowing a few forum vets (like Narf or no1 or lonely pond or...) to be promoted to ASSISTANT REJECTIONATORS - maybe even hold a community election for those people-
...

I also REALLY LIKED when woot had the artist videos and Ocho was editor for a day- I think that sort of thing is GREAT for the artists and the community- I think artist run/chosen derbies would be a great, fun incentive to be more active- Hell, I personally liked the controversial GUEST EDITORS PICK, though I am likely compromised with that, as my first print was chosen that way and I likely would have given up some time ago if I had not printed when I did... ANYWAY- If we have occasional GUEST EDITOR run derbies, I think having them pick third would also be cool- ;)

I really love it here and truly think woot is the best place for artist to have shirts for sale- It's a wacky, fun place with boats of creativity and ANYTHING they do to keep that going is great by me-



Oh lord, I guess being name dropped for a boatload of responsibility, controversy and future popularity rates a thank you ; )

Oakenspirit is right on track with what I was thinking about today. More focus on the present and what's going right, not so much a return to what was.

There's new artists in the derby, today's daily design is amazing, derby stalwarts are getting dailies, some of the new products are cool. For example, I bought more journals in April than t-shirts. I grabbed a trial one in the last shirtwoot off to see what they were like, it turned out to be great to carry around with me and so I actually paid full price for a couple. I look forward to seeing a design I like on a baseball shirt. Recent derbies haven't thrilled me, but I figure everything goes through cycles. And we still have polls, the occasional conversations in the forums and etc.

And there can always be more awful puns, whether on shirts or right here.

bluchez wrote:I think the cause of the overall decline all boils down to me not entering the derby as much.



Well, fix that ; )

gsedlak


quality posts: 0 Private Messages gsedlak

100% the quality of the shirts used. I check out the forum once every 1-2 months now to see if Woot has moved back to AA. I do not look at any designs or the derby to not get my hopes up and this will not change until AA comes back.

Its been so long, I couldn't even remember my password for woot to post this response. I think it has been over 3-4 months since i even cared enough to post/contribute something to this community...

I also agree with Dreammaster, if you do ever change back to AA shirts, PLEASE send out an email stating this change has been made. i will immediately start visiting the site daily and voting in the derby!

Narfcake


quality posts: 287 Private Messages Narfcake
taternuggets wrote:I don't have the answers on what might bring shirt woot back.

However, I have some thoughts on bringing some enthusiasm back to the derby. ...


- Yes, they are still short staffed.
- Yes, things aren't getting done on a regular basis. I feel we should see at least three solid rounds with the rejectionator - Friday afternoon, Monday morning, and Wednesday morning. A two week interval for honorable mentions isn't too far out of line IMHO, though. On a side note, the Monday night/Tuesday morning opening post to the weekly reckonings is irrelevant in its stock verbage now, as is the Thursday noon derby contenders post; Wootbot hasn't posted the Tuesday noon startup/Friday recap/Monday closings in eons, nor are the 2nd and 3rd place selected by editors these days as now pointed out in another thread.
- We don't have answers from the staff to a lot of questions, really.
- Polling some artists for some insight may be helpful, but there's potential to be skewed too.
- Full on prizes for voting, no, that didn't quite yield a return last time, though we'll see what happens with the next derby this time around.
- Forum participation is the best indicator of the state of shirt.woot, and this has to come as a result of whatever other changes occur.

Mavyn wrote:There are several issues for me. Some are unrelated to woot (I started buying tees as a reward when I quit smoking, no longer relevant). However, I will say that I'm less likely to buy now simply because I've had too many tees print poorly and not be replaced with a quality print. Sure, I get my money back, but that just means I'm not ticked off, it does not mean I'm happy. If I'm not happy about my past purchases, I'm less likely to buy in the future.


I put emphasis on what I feel is the greatest issue right now - the QC. If the shirt a customer receives isn't up to par, they will not be happy regardless of the price or even the blanks the design is printed on (though given the number of my thrift store finds, I think that's as much of a cause for dislike). Slight color variations or registration issues, folks might not know better or care enough to complain. When it's so far off to the point when the designs becomes muddy, or worse, cannot even be distinguished, they will become non-customers.

lonelypond wrote:Usually my consulting fee is lunch ; ) I wonder how much the advertising per head cost is for each of the above. ...


I see regularly see ads for Threadless, DBH, and TeeTurtle on my end. Yes, shirt.woot has been a side business since its inception, but for years, it's been a good money maker for them too. The thing with FB and other social media platforms is that others are doing the advertising for them, for free, hence there's value in the number of likes. At a more local level and on more than one occasion, an artist's FB fanbase has helped propel their design to print that IMHO, would not have otherwise.

Going further down the thread, I'm more inclined to say that Woot is NOT happy with their current position, hence the "throw something out there and see what sticks". Shirts that sell 1k nowadays have as much or longer longevity in the reckoning as shirts that used to sell 2.5k. The new products, all the additional side sales, the mid-day switch overs, the mid-morning price-drops, etc. ... these are tactics that weren't needed in the past when the sales were much higher because there was a much larger user/buying base.

The talk here last year regarding votes/sales still has relevance: The Correlation of Anemic Vote Totals, Decreased Sales, Rules, and Artist Flight

On the topic of pop culture - there's definitely been more allowance (and reliance) in the derbies over the past several months, but there have been multiple wins with designs that didn't rely on them at all too, so I'm not ready to proclaim "WootFury" here yet, even though it's leaned towards that direction for a while. Have the editors been directed to mimic the pop-culture-centric sites, I don't know, and I'm not straight up against it, but my preference still leans towards originality.

mrwednesday wrote:... It's a positive feedback cycle and now they couldn't sell a non-cutesy/pop-culture shirt if they wanted to.

Pretty much every shirt shop uses pop culture to drive sales (though it's worth noting that the quality ones like Threadless and DBH are actually licensing merchandise instead of always just using it). The distinction is that they make the effort to cultivate and serve the other parts of the community. Woot was never interested in doing that and this is the result.


Two first place derby winners - original vs. cute + Doctor Who. Visit Outside vs. Green Eggs and Who. 2358 vs 1378 on their debut day. There is zero guarantee here that one category will sell well and not the other.

As for the blanks, there isn't much that could have been done to mitigate the sales impact. Of the Anvils I have, my copy of Nocturnowl has been worn the most; from a similar timeframe, with similar number of wearings, and with the same wash care and always line dried, it's over an inch shorter than Mine!. Nevermind the neckline, there isn't much that can be done to really mitigate the shirt's inherent issues without switching to a different brand.

On a side note, I noticed that the previous two shirts from Loot Crate were printed on Tultex 0202 blanks, so does that mean another change is pending? It's possible, though they don't offer all 16 of the colors used here.

no1


quality posts: 7 Private Messages no1
Narfcake wrote:Going further down the thread, I'm more inclined to say that Woot is NOT happy with their current position, hence the "throw something out there and see what sticks". Shirts that sell 1k nowadays have as much or longer longevity in the reckoning as shirts that used to sell 2.5k. The new products, all the additional side sales, the mid-day switch overs, the mid-morning price-drops, etc. ... these are tactics that weren't needed in the past when the sales were much higher because there was a much larger user/buying base.



idk ... if they were really unhappy i'd hope they'd be more systematic about it. the weirder tactics are almost more a sideshow than a sign of ongoing effort.

new products and side sales are consistent with the woot plus sales on the rest of woot: adding on new product lines in an attempt to monetize all the (former) eyeball traffic. i do agree that the mid-day switchovers and price drops smell of cigarettes and desperation.

potato jeebus has spoken.

no1


quality posts: 7 Private Messages no1
taternuggets wrote:I'll reject everyone standing between me and the fog.



if it was me i'd also reject everyone in the fog besides me as well. but mabe imma just greedy.

ochopika


quality posts: 26 Private Messages ochopika

Staff

Narfcake wrote:Yeah, it's a topic that's been discussed time after time again, but I can't help but to feel shirt.woot's heyday is well in the past and if things remain the same, that it will continue to decline further and further ...

A quick revisit to a post on a poll from 3-1/2 months ago compares where shirt.woot's stands today on FB versus the other sites ...

Threadless - 847k (+20k)
Designed By Humans - 392k (+49k)
TeeFury - 336k (+79k)
TeeTurtle - 204k (+33k)
Snorg Tees - 119k (+2k)
Busted Tees - 95k (+1k)
shirt.woot - 24k (+4k)

Not the worst in terms of growth, but for a site that has sold millions of shirts over the years already, one would think there'd be more chatter elsewhere too - but that's not the case at all. Has any of the staff, especially the management, given a serious thought why?

The blanks alone won't resolve everything as so many got turned off by them already, though it'll be a good start; I certainly have more thoughts of my own that I'll post down the line, but I'd rather have others chime in first. What else does shirt.woot need to do to stay relevant in the ever widening crowdsourced world of online t-shirt sites?



I know that woot just started focusing on FB and social media, so those numbers may not be the best indicator of popularity right now. Those other sites have worked longer on social media so they've got a head-start on all that.

As far as the derby, I agree that it's discouraging when photos and ripped artwork go un-rejected. I've mentioned it before a couple of times in relevant situations so I'm not sure what else one can do. That being said, I do know the shirt.woot guys really care about artists and what they want for the site. Maybe the lack of communication on here is simply due to being busy and understaffed. More volunteer mods and staff would definitely help in that case, but I dunno. Just sayin' what I think.

Narfcake


quality posts: 287 Private Messages Narfcake
no1 wrote:if it was me i'd also reject everyone in the fog besides me as well. but mabe imma just greedy.


I could see myself rejecting everything except catshirts, though some non-catshirts may pass for a nominal fee ... and this has absolutely nothing to do with me wearing a catshirt today either. Nope ... none whatsoever! =^.^=

ochopika wrote:I know that woot just started focusing on FB and social media, so those numbers may not be the best indicator of popularity right now. Those other sites have worked longer on social media so they've got a head-start on all that.


One of those started 2 years after shirt.woot did and since my initial post, is up another 3k ...

Mavyn


quality posts: 22 Private Messages Mavyn

Possibly unrelated, but last night I saw Cthulu Hears a Who last night in a WXL...and the 'shoulder flaps' were really obnoxious. I never bought women's sizes, but wow, if I had, that change alone would have made me stop.

My speech is not parsing. I am speaking in ellipsis.

mrwednesday


quality posts: 12 Private Messages mrwednesday
Narfcake wrote:Two first place derby winners - original vs. cute + Doctor Who. Visit Outside vs. Green Eggs and Who. 2358 vs 1378 on their debut day. There is zero guarantee here that one category will sell well and not the other.



Beyond the "my anecdote is better than real data" problems, Visit Outside is a pop-culture/internet meme shirt. It's not the least bit original in its concept (I'm not talking about the design). You can have your straw man back.

Like I said, it's not about votes or sales it's about what you can expect to buy. I went back through the shirts to the first of April and counted 20 out of 31 (excluding the random day and the extra artist feature shirts) that make direct use of someone else's characters/IP/creations. Of the remaining 11 only 3 stood out as not using a cutesy art style typical of woot and/or a pop-culture meme.

The sad fact is that much like ript and teefury you don't have to check daily to know what you're getting and that's why people who aren't interested in that don't.

smurfage


quality posts: 3 Private Messages smurfage

Honestly I think all the problems we're seeing here are symptoms of a higher problem. All these decisions and inner workings start at the top. It appears upper management went from having a personality and emotional relationship with it's company and customers, to a more typical business attitude, more relevant to Amazon or any big business. They did what any standard boss would do- cut costs. They obviously felt too much manpower was in place, and the product didn't need to be so "lavish"... obviously someone who doesn't wear tees regularly. To them, a shirt is a shirt. To us? Not so much. They just assume people will be driven off by a higher price tag, so they downsize all they can to keep it stable while pulling in more profit to expand their brand. They don't realize this isn't our Walmart or something, we don't just need to "run out and grab a shirt quick". If we're here, we generally have a strong desire for it, with cash in hand. Nowadays, it's hard to distinguish the difference between the two places. (The blue and white appearance of both doesn't help psyche matters either, sheesh)

Since the higher ups make all the decisions, swap them out, and everything could start to fall back into place. Hypothetically, find an owner/manager who himself was a fan of Woot in the early days. (Easier said than done) He/she will make the decisions turning this place back into a fun hangout with a great product. Not even that, just someone with a personable conscious, who can actively listen to people, take interest in the company, and not just glance at the next quarterly report before heading off to a business meeting.

Again a business is only as good as its product, so in my opinion, if they were to change back to AA and revert the scene to the old ways, even without advertising it much, you'll see people trickling back in just as they trickled out. Word of mouth would be a big deal!

What brought me here was the unique creative originality shirts combined with being AA. Yes, I Googled AA shirts and found this place. That was half my selling point.

One last point... change your dang site. It reeks of business and product promotion. There's no quirks, fun, atmosphere. Just promotions and sales everywhere. The old site had personality. This one looks like any old cookie cutter of a sales depot, trying to shove all the offerings in your face like a used car salesman. Even down to the monkey saying "fill that thing up" to your empty cart. It says "here, let's flood you with ads like its Times Square or something, and buy buy buyyyy!" I'm a web designer and if I had the intent of keeping a strong community atmosphere, this is the opposite of how'd I do it.

Get more mods for the derby stuff. Hire a few guys for quality control. More mod volunteers even. Pull yourselves together, or get your cat to do it.

Pyce. *Drops the mic and walks away*

ochopika


quality posts: 26 Private Messages ochopika

Staff

Narfcake wrote:One of those started 2 years after shirt.woot did and since my initial post, is up another 3k ...



I seeeee. Still, it seems that woot wasn't really focusing on FB much until now. Also, you should totes be a rejectionator. =^_^=

*edited 'cuz I think I was derailing the topic a bit*

dreamaster


quality posts: 4 Private Messages dreamaster
dreamaster wrote:
6. [MOD EDIT] Play nice, please.



To "play nice" there should be an even playing field instead of "oh dear lord jeebus, He hurt sheeple that work here /stamp /sTamp /stamp"

Here's what you don't understand. Your business needs my money. My money will not come near you while the Status is Quo.

You win on editing and moderating.

You lose on "NO CASH FOR YOU!"

Cogitate on that that Mini Mod.

thumperchick


quality posts: 239 Private Messages thumperchick
no1 wrote:potato jeebus has spoken.



This is perfection and needs to be your signature.

prtyyoshi


quality posts: 0 Private Messages prtyyoshi
Mavyn wrote:I never bought women's sizes, but wow, if I had, that change alone would have made me stop.



It did. This is probably the main reason that totally annihilated my participation with Woot. I no longer have a size here, so why am I going to participate (i.e. vote in derbies) when I can't buy any of the product? Not to mention the inferior quality material and the "tough luck" attitude.

I think it might be futile effort, but I think an apology is in order. I mean a serious, apologetic, heartfelt email sent out to *everybody* on their listserv about prior to the anvil switch to now. I'm sure there's things that went down that I have no idea about, but I think an apology would be a good place to start.

j5


quality posts: 63 Private Messages j5

Where is the distinction?
What makes Shirt.Woot different from the (checks dayoftheshirt) 40 some-odd other T sites out there?
The market is saturated.
The customer base is diluted.
Personally, I'm surprised the artist commission is still as high as it is. Must be some cost justification for it, or it would have been adjusted by now.

My lawn, git offit.

move along

no1


quality posts: 7 Private Messages no1
j5 wrote:Where is the distinction?
What makes Shirt.Woot different from the (checks dayoftheshirt) 40 some-odd other T sites out there?
The market is saturated.
The customer base is diluted.
Personally, I'm surprised the artist commission is still as high as it is. Must be some cost justification for it, or it would have been adjusted by now.

My lawn, git offit.



the glory days: low commissions, aa shirts, unique designs.

https://web.archive.org/web/20070805211646/http://shirt.woot.com/WhatIsWoot.aspx

What is Shirt.Woot.Com?
America’s most sensational fashion sensation! Oh, wait, we were thinking of those rubber wiffle-slippers everybody wears now. Shirt.Woot, on the other hand, is a web site that applies the Woot model to selling t-shirts: a new one every weekday at midnight Central time, sold cheap. The difference is, these aren’t somebody else’s leftovers. Woot tees feature exclusive, original designs that you can’t get anywhere else (hence the terms “exclusive” and “original”).

Who’s making these t-shirts?
Woot Tees are 100% cotton blank shirts made by American Apparel in Los Angeles, California. The designs are printed at Woot’s own printing facility in our Carrollton, Texas headquarters. Although the people who make them do sweat occasionally, Woot Tees are produced in sweatshop-free conditions. And they’re made in the USA, from the first stitch to the last drop of ink.

Let's get to the important part: does the winner get paid?
Of course. What kind of deadbeats do you think we are? The designer of the entry that we sell will receive $200, plus $2 for every shirt sold after the first day.



Narfcake


quality posts: 287 Private Messages Narfcake
smurfage wrote:Honestly I think all the problems we're seeing here are symptoms of a higher problem. All these decisions and inner workings start at the top. ...


No argugments from me about this. The changes we're seeing aren't by the staff we regularly see here; the change of blanks were NOT because of the shirt.woot editors, and I won't be surprised if even the higher quantity of pop-culture-influenced daily design choices weren't their primary picks if left to their own choosing.

mrwednesday wrote:Beyond the "my anecdote is better than real data" problems, Visit Outside is a pop-culture/internet meme shirt. It's not the least bit original in its concept (I'm not talking about the design). You can have your straw man back. ...


Ah, okay. Point taken, I stand corrected, and too much wishful thinking on me.

The sad fact is that much like ript and teefury you don't have to check daily to know what you're getting and that's why people who aren't interested in that don't.


I think you hit the nail on the head with this one ... and on the corollary, if folks find another site in which they like more, they'd be over there more often. As j5 posted, with 40+ daily shirt sites, the customer base has indeed been diluted.

j5 wrote:... Personally, I'm surprised the artist commission is still as high as it is. Must be some cost justification for it, or it would have been adjusted by now. ...


Exclusive printing rights = it cost real money; most of the other sites only have the designs on a temporary basis.

Over the past couple years ...
- It hasn't helped that they've excluded the more petite here with the current shirt's sizing.
- It hasn't helped that it's been site overload, with too many choices in multiple places, making for a messy shopping experience.
- It definitely hasn't helped that the QC department can be all but non-existent with Q, forcing the customer with extra trouble to contact CS, which didn't always delivered on the S part ... which FWIW, I have to go through that yet again for the 3 replacements I recently received as promised by CS; shirt.woot's QC gets a C (still has print issues, just less of it), a D (way off on the colors), and a F (completely the wrong shirt).

To the head honchos and the number crunchers, the quantifiable aspect may just be the fabric, the ink, and the labor. To the customers, these shirts can mean a whole lot more to their lives ...

smurfage


quality posts: 3 Private Messages smurfage
Narfcake wrote:
To the head honchos and the number crunchers, the quantifiable aspect may just be the fabric, the ink, and the labor. To the customers, these shirts can mean a whole lot more to their lives ...



smurfage wrote: To them, a shirt is a shirt. To us? Not so much.



Ezzactly.

They want to produce run-of-the-mill, because they fully believe the sales are driven 100% by the design. Management probably fails to realize this isn't the case.

BootsBoots


quality posts: 37 Private Messages BootsBoots
mrwednesday wrote:Beyond the "my anecdote is better than real data" problems, Visit Outside is a pop-culture/internet meme shirt. It's not the least bit original in its concept (I'm not talking about the design). You can have your straw man back.



The reference to a meme was completely unintentional. I wondered how it was possible that it sold so well, though, so that totally makes sense (dammit! but yay to stumbling into popularity, I guess!). What's the reference? I googled, but I couldn't find it, although, I saw the link posted on reddit in a subreddit for a game. Maybe that's it?

I feel like I should address the "what does shirt woot need topic" now, but I'm not sure I have anything new to add. I guess I can say that I don't really like the designs that are being printed as much as I used to. I don't think they're bad or anything, they're just not so much my personal taste. That doesn't really make a difference to me as a consumer since the Anvil sizing doesn't work for me or my kid anyway, but as an artist, I suppose it makes me a little less excited about entering the derby. When I enter the derby, I try to think of ideas that I like that Wooters will like too, but lately there doesn't seem to be as much crossover between the two (or maybe I'm just burnt out and can't think of as many ideas).

I also miss the drama that there used to be here. I'm not sure where it went. Maybe the comments are too heavily moderated now? Maybe everyone's all mellow from the marijuana legalization? Maybe it was all just Adder? I don't know, but I liked the drama.

P.S. I'm still very much pro-woot, even if I don't like some of the changes. I still love looking at what people submit to the derby when I check it, and it's great seeing how some artists really start developing their style and skills here. So, I'm not raising my pitchfork or anything yet.


taternuggets


quality posts: 22 Private Messages taternuggets
BootsBoots wrote:I also miss the drama that there used to be here. I'm not sure where it went. Maybe the comments are too heavily moderated now? Maybe everyone's all mellow from the marijuana legalization? Maybe it was all just Adder? I don't know, but I liked the drama.



People just rarely comment anymore... it's hard to get any drama rolling when nobody comments on the shirts. A lot of the drama left when Ramyb did... he was kind of the one you love to hate. At least for me... I used to give him grief all the time and now I can admit that I miss him...lol. But then again, I miss King Joffrey also.

I agree with you that the lack of community participation has really dampened things around here.


Nothing follows.

marceepauff


quality posts: 14 Private Messages marceepauff

FWIW, I got here because of the community. I stayed because of the community. I don't know what it was like "before" because I've only been paying attention to shirt.woot for the last year or so, but it's not *that* bad now. Would I like more community participation? Sure! Am I disappointed in some of the derby trends? YES! But overall, it's still a tight knit community of a lot of awesome people. There are still amazing artists participating. There's always gonna be something to complain about, and trust me, I LOOOOOVE to complain...but it doesn't seem to me like TPTB plan on going back to AA shirts; I'm under the impression that they're working on their CS issues, but hey - also out of our control. So let's control what we can control. Let's participate!