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NEW - Earnings Modifications Effective 7/01/13 (Read 38278 times)
Jane_144775
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Re: NEW - Earnings Modifications Effective 7/01/13
Reply #15 - Jul 1st, 2013, 5:42pm
 
Quote from Cori_146275 on Jul 1st, 2013, 4:50pm:
As I have my artwork on many sites my income comes from many sources.  I work the sites that bring me more sales than others.  There is the old saying "don't put all your eggs in one basket".  

I will live with the price cut but what I really have a problem with and Mindy they are related is that if we are to increase our sales and help both your business and our business grow, we need to put up more inventory.  Taking 7 weeks to review cards is way to long.  I just had 8 cards approved today that were put in May 9th.  That is not a good sign for keeping your artists or encouraging new artists to join.  

When you take away something, in this case cut our commissions you need to give something back in return.  That would be faster turn around in approval.

Mindy you commented in a post, "THESE CHANGES FOLLOW A BASIC PRINCIPLE - WORKER HARDER (& SMARTER), EARN MORE."   We can work harder by getting more inventory out for the public to see but if it is not approved faster it defeats part of the purpose to work harder.

 
Very well said Cori!  
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Nancy_142840
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Re: NEW - Earnings Modifications Effective 7/01/13
Reply #16 - Jul 1st, 2013, 7:45pm
 
I agree, the turn around time HAS to be faster than 8 or more weeks...
We are promoting , creating, uploading,  etc. We need our inventory
to grow in order to have more business and if we have to wait so long
to get our new cards in , thats very discouraging!      undecided
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Mindy
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Re: NEW - Earnings Modifications Effective 7/01/13
Reply #17 - Jul 1st, 2013, 7:58pm
 
Overall the message we’ll share is this is a necessary change, one to stay competitive in the industry and keep up our continued growth.  With the continued investments GCU is making in driving traffic and growing sales every artist will benefit more and more each year.  This growth will continually help artists close the gap to reach the quarterly thresholds.  
 
To answer your questions and concerns in other forum threads we provide a summary here:  
 
1.  Announcement Email:  this was sent to ALL artists, no one was excluded nor specifically targeted.  It is likely there were some deliverability issues (bounce backs) or you may have unsubscribed from GCU emails (via our unsubscribe link).
 
2.  Our intent is not to weed out artists and only keep the top artists.  There is still a valid opportunity here for lower selling artists.  And with GCU continued growth year after year, the gap you’ll need to close to reach the quarterly threshold should get smaller.
 
3.  Meeting the Thresholds:  
    a. Effective with earnings beginning 7/01/13 and forward.  The books are closed on 2Q13 earnings which will be paid at the prior rates – we are NOT adjusting prior earnings.
    b. The thresholds were not set by arbitrary means, they are attainable even for part-time, hobby artists  
    c. This is a quarter by quarter measurement, measured and paid at the end of each quarter  
    d. Sales from the private gallery will be included in your earnings as usual and will be taken into consideration when meeting the thresholds
    e. If you do not reach the quarterly threshold AND have not met your minimum payout amount (typical is $25) you do NOT lose your earnings.  They will continue to be held until you do reach your minimum payout amount.
    f. 4Q Threshold Challenges – We realize this will raise more challenges for artist that do not create holiday cards.  We are aware of that and respect your choices and viewpoints.  It does not however change the fact that GCU’s investments to boost sales during this competitive season is much larger than during other quarters.
 
4.      Self-Promotion Guidance:
    a. GCU has provided many tips and suggestions on how artists can market their stores – Many of these resources are shared generously by other GCU artists who share what they have learned to be successful, primarily on the GCU Community BLOG which will continue.  If you are not already subscribed to this BLOG this would be your best first step to making a positive change:  http://gcucommunity.com/
   b. GCU will continue to support artist self-promotion with easy to use and more effective tools.
 
5. Increased price for single card transactions, $3.50.  Although shoppers are price sensitive there are a few factors here that make the single card price increase attractive:
    a. The majority of GCU cards, especially customizable cards, cannot be found in stores, let alone for 99 cents
    b. Customizable and niche cards justify a premium which most shoppers are willing to pay to find the “perfect card”
    c. There is a value to be appreciated for the convenience of cards ordered, addressed, personalize, mailed all online
    d. According to the Greeting Card Association the average card price ranges between $2 - $4
    e. With price sensitivity, shoppers also like bargains.  If 2 – 5 cards are purchased the price per card drops to $3.00 so there’s an incentive to buy more than 1 card.
    f. If buying behavior indicates that this does not perform the way we predict we will make necessary adjustments
 
6. We are continually making changes / improvements to the card review process to shorten the turnaround time.  This will continue.  Our goal however is 4 weeks.
 
7.  It was mentioned that the GCU community of artists is not a friendly atmosphere.  GCU has one of the most friendly community atmospheres.  I’m am always amazed and delighted by how helpful, supportive and sharing artists are with one another when in reality you are competitors.
 
Randy is absolutely correct.  GCU was built upon and grows upon our invaluable community of artists.  For them we are ever grateful, appreciative and respectful.  However it is important to not overlook or minimize the contributions of the earliest artists of our community, most of which are our top performers today, who started with a single card like everyone else.  These early adopters became the foundation for our growth from day 1 back in 2006.  They forged the way for policies, practices and were inspiration for the vast number of our unique categories that we all reap the benefits of today.  They weathered the early storms and learned the ropes the hard way, before there were any ropes!  It is easy to ridicule them as seemingly untouchable but it is those very artists that you should be thankful for and deserve your respect.  
 
Your feelings of anger, frustration and doubt are understandable.  There is nothing more that can be said to ease these emotions other than the fact that we have belabored over this decision for months and it is rooted in true business need vs greed.   You’ll have to put trust in the fact that we’ve employed sound business know-how - book smarts, street smarts and start up business experience.
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Sherry_205423
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Re: NEW - Earnings Modifications Effective 7/01/13
Reply #18 - Jul 1st, 2013, 8:22pm
 
Hi Mindy - I understand the new terms and will strive to achieve the thresholds GCU has set. My one problem is the same basic thing that Nancy said.  
 
My daughter just joined GCU. At the rate it's taking for card to be approved, 2/3 of the 1st quarter will be over before she begins to have any cards in her store. That's very defeating for a newbie. Is there anything that can be done to help newbies get cards in their stores quicker?  
 
Seeing the $150 threshold will definitely play a part in whether newbies stay or go. At least if they knew they could get cards in their stores quicker than 7-8 weeks it might encourage them to at least try to make the threshold.  
 
Just a thought. Maybe there's some way GCU can help them.
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Mindy
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Re: NEW - Earnings Modifications Effective 7/01/13
Reply #19 - Jul 1st, 2013, 8:28pm
 
Quote from Mindy on Jul 1st, 2013, 12:36pm:
Quote from Penny_134243 on Jul 1st, 2013, 11:28am:
Hi, Mindy,

Thank you for posting this.  I have a question concerning the artist discount promo code, please:

When we use the promo code to buy our own cards, we currently receive a commission of 15%.  In the light of this new commission structure (reduced by 50%) does this mean that we will now only receive 7.5% -- which would increase the cost of buying our own cards -- or could there be an adjustment made in the pricing of our own cards and/or the commission to keep the price for artists at the same rate?

I realize that I'm talking about a few cents per card.

(As a note for artists who are not familiar with the promo code, please look at your "manage store" page and you'll see the info on the right-hand side.  We should not post the dollar amounts or actual code here in the forum.)

Thanks!

And for anyone thinking about closing your store, why not keep it open and see what happens?  You have nothing to lose by staying, and possibly a lot to gain.

Penny Smiley


Hi Penny,
Good question.  We are working on the details of this but yes, we will be making an adjustment to the artist discount so artists not meeting the threshold will still be able to buy their cards for a similar price as before ie: $1.60.  Stay tuned for an update on this thread for details.  Thank you for bringing it up.

 
Per your request we have just updated the site to adjust the artist discount code.    
 
The new artist discount will set the card price to $1.70 (lower than the prior $1.89)
For artist not meeting the quarterly threshold these cards will effectively cost artists $1.60
For artists meeting the quarterly threshold these cards will effectively cost $1.50  
... compared to the prior effective cost of $1.61
 
The old promotion code will reflect these new changes however by the end of this week we will update the artists' admin page (sidebar) with a new code.  Either will work.
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Ed_138263
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Re: NEW - Earnings Modifications Effective 7/01/13
Reply #20 - Jul 1st, 2013, 9:09pm
 
Oh boy, I really have to think about this one. The user agreement that we all agreed to when we signed up goes out the window again. I really hate the words, "We reserve the right to............"  
I am really glad that I did not put all my eggs in this basket. You want us to work harder or we won't get paid as much as we have been getting paid? Is that the message here? I worked a little over time when you guys were trying to get the kiosk thing going. Did that pan out? I will wait until my next payment. If I do not meet the "Required" minimum. I'm out of here.
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Cori_146275
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Re: NEW - Earnings Modifications Effective 7/01/13
Reply #21 - Jul 1st, 2013, 10:04pm
 
Mindy,
 
You still have not addressed the issue that goes hand and hand with the cut, the time it takes to get cards approved.  
 
In your last email you state, " You’ll have to put trust in the fact that we’ve employed sound business know-how - book smarts, street smarts and start up business experience."
 
I come from a background of business as well as art.  Good business smarts and experience is to get the product out there as fast as possible for both the customer and in this case the artist.  With the commission cuts a good way to keep your artists happy is to have the approval time short.  I think you will find more artists accepting the pay cut and producing more work if they know that their cards are approved in a timely manner.
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Tom_133317
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Re: NEW - Earnings Modifications Effective 7/01/13
Reply #22 - Jul 2nd, 2013, 3:28am
 
It does look like card prices have increased across the board, not just the single card pricing as stated in the announcement.  
 
http://www.greetingcarduniverse.com/help/card_shopper_help.asp#pricing
 
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Donna_137698
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Re: NEW - Earnings Modifications Effective 7/01/13
Reply #23 - Jul 2nd, 2013, 5:42am
 
Quote from Cori_146275 on Jul 1st, 2013, 10:04pm:
Mindy,

You still have not addressed the issue that goes hand and hand with the cut, the time it takes to get cards approved.  

In your last email you state, " You’ll have to put trust in the fact that we’ve employed sound business know-how - book smarts, street smarts and start up business experience."

I come from a background of business as well as art.  Good business smarts and experience is to get the product out there as fast as possible for both the customer and in this case the artist.  With the commission cuts a good way to keep your artists happy is to have the approval time short.  I think you will find more artists accepting the pay cut and producing more work if they know that their cards are approved in a timely manner.

 
Precisely.  And as I now said in a very lengthy reply on the thread I started, if we knew about this coming down the pike a while back, WE artists could have ramped up efforts to be prepared for the changes effective with Q3.  Now, even if I dump 200 new cards into the system TODAY, none will get looked at until at least 2 months from now effectively defeating any attempt by me to meet the new thresholds and as I now understand it takes at least a year for search engines to pick up new creations.  So, I am very curious as to how GCU responds to getting our products quickly so we at least have a better chance of meeting this new threshold.
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Donna_137698
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Re: NEW - Earnings Modifications Effective 7/01/13
Reply #24 - Jul 2nd, 2013, 6:47am
 
And Mindy, for the record, I take offense to the comment of us being angry with the top sellers.  I think many of us are indeed VERY GRATEFUL for their encouragement, their offers of advice, the GCU Community Blog, the websites they direct us to, the links to clip art and resources and copyright information, etc etc.  Even the time they take to post individual responses when people have questions or to the point of having a separate very usable forum The Critique Clinic. But lets face facts here too - they have weathered the storms, they have made their presence known, they HAVE reached to top levels with a lot of hard work and what not, but on the other hand, this change really does not affect them at all if they are already easily reaching these set thresholds at this point in time.  The transition will not be as hurtful as it will be for those of us struggling at this point.  And let me make this clear - I AM NOT asking for pity or anyone to hold my hand and lead me exactly to the point of being a top seller.  I am a hard worker, but it does take some respect for what I do too as I learn, fret, scream, shout and grow.  I'd like to think I have since first starting here in 2009.  What hurts is that GCU has given none of the rest of us any inkling that this change was coming nor any time with which to try to transition into it.  Here it is - lump it or leave it.  That's the tone I think many of us are getting.  Although I respect the fact that GCU is trying to survive like any other company, so are we artists fueling this business.  I came here and eagerly responded to the community feeling - I'm not feeling the love with this new change - even though very necessary - I take this negatively because you (collective you, not you directly, Mindy) didn't bother to let us know things were going on.  I honestly believe many of us would have felt better if you (again general "you") included us that things were going on - I know for myself, I might not have liked it, but I might have been more eager to find ways to ease into the transition and not having to wait until the last minute to ask myself "now what do I do".  I am hurt and saddened that GCU didn't really consider the "community" factor that has indeed kept me here and most likely MIGHT keep me here just because of that feeling of community - I AM grateful to the people who certainly don't have to do what they have to help us along.  They certainly could leave us all hoofing it for ourselves but they don't because of that community factor.  Perhaps GCU management could consider this for the future - keep us in the loop - let us know what's going on.  I can cite one company I worked for where we had periodic meetings - ALL of us, communicating what was going on and how each of us could do our part to make things happen.  People liked being able to have that link to all factors of the company so we could all do our little bit to see the company try to thrive - even when things became precarious.  It is that factor that is indeed a prime consideration I do keep in mind at this very moment as I look to see how this will help me make a decision.  Sure, I have the right to leave here - but maybe I won't find another venue that does keep community first and foremost.
 
EDIT:  And that community factor was something I was incredibly proud of.  Yes, I've made the C.A. comments because that's just how this feels.  I want to believe this company can be different - keep "community" alive from top levels down.  I think you'd see a great deal more in the positive even through hard times.  I might be old school but it certainly worked even through the worst of times.  The health and viability of the company doesn't need to be a secret.  Stuff is not working to keep it on top or change needs to be made - tell us!  Maybe WE could help - even if just a little bit.
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Brian_139531
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Re: NEW - Earnings Modifications Effective 7/01/13
Reply #25 - Jul 2nd, 2013, 7:14am
 
Quote from Donna_137698 on Jul 2nd, 2013, 6:47am:

What hurts is that GCU has given none of the rest of us any inkling that this change was coming nor any time with which to try to transition into it.  Here it is - lump it or leave it.

Exactly- I did not get an email and only knew about this when another designer mentioned it elsewhere. Even those who did get an email indicated it came in Sunday- effectively zero notice - which is why I've deleted all my images and emptied my shops.  
 
It appears this forum ID is not tied to the shops but if GCU wants to delete it fine; my blood pressure will be better served by my moving on.
 
"Thanks for the memories"
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Valerie_148812
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Re: NEW - Earnings Modifications Effective 7/01/13
Reply #26 - Jul 2nd, 2013, 9:52am
 
Out of curiosity, is it possible for the commission to go back up in the future?
 
Also, just a suggestion, is it possible to keep the commission rate that artist are use to and maybe apply the new commission rate to anyone who signs up after July 1?
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Shaun_131054
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Re: NEW - Earnings Modifications Effective 7/01/13
Reply #27 - Jul 2nd, 2013, 12:20pm
 
Quote from Tom_133317 on Jul 2nd, 2013, 3:28am:
It does look like card prices have increased across the board, not just the single card pricing as stated in the announcement.  

http://www.greetingcarduniverse.com/help/card_shopper_help.asp#pricing


 
Hi Tom, it's actually just the price of one card that has changed.  Everything else remains as it has been since January of 2011.  You can still view the old pricing structure here in the wiki:
http://www.gcuwiki.com/earnings.html
 
Shaun
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Tom_133317
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Re: NEW - Earnings Modifications Effective 7/01/13
Reply #28 - Jul 2nd, 2013, 1:07pm
 
Quote from Shaun_131054 on Jul 2nd, 2013, 12:20pm:
Quote from Tom_133317 on Jul 2nd, 2013, 3:28am:
It does look like card prices have increased across the board, not just the single card pricing as stated in the announcement.  

http://www.greetingcarduniverse.com/help/card_shopper_help.asp#pricing



Hi Tom, it's actually just the price of one card that has changed.  Everything else remains as it has been since January of 2011.  You can still view the old pricing structure here in the wiki:
http://www.gcuwiki.com/earnings.html

Shaun

 
 
Looks like the 2-4 card level is now $3 each.  Yes?
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Jay_134502
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Re: NEW - Earnings Modifications Effective 7/01/13
Reply #29 - Jul 2nd, 2013, 2:08pm
 
Quote from Shaun_131054 on Jul 2nd, 2013, 12:20pm:
Quote from Tom_133317 on Jul 2nd, 2013, 3:28am:
It does look like card prices have increased across the board, not just the single card pricing as stated in the announcement.  

http://www.greetingcarduniverse.com/help/card_shopper_help.asp#pricing



Hi Tom, it's actually just the price of one card that has changed.  Everything else remains as it has been since January of 2011.  You can still view the old pricing structure here in the wiki:
http://www.gcuwiki.com/earnings.html

Shaun

 
If this is the case, why does the GCU home page still have $3 on it?  This is misleading to consumers.
Jay and Susan
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