Cafepress, for those who don’t know, is possibly the biggest, most successful POD on the web. Their success could be attributed to their business model but I like to think that it is due to the many shopkeepers who contribute not only designs but ideas. I also believe that Cafepress is well aware of this and that is one of the reasons the Cafepress Voice system was introduced. What is Cafepress Voice? Here is the blurb from the Cafepress Voice page:
CafePressVoice is a panel of Shopkeepers elected by the Community to help us evaluate new features, services, merchandise and programs. Experience has taught us that Shopkeepers are an incredible source of valuable ideas, and we know that by working together with members of CafePressVoice, we’ll be forming a powerful partnership. When you vote, you’ll be picking a representative who will bring your perspective as a Shopkeeper to discussions about important issues that affect your business.
CafePressVoice reps are elected to represent the viewpoints, interests and concerns that fellow Shopkeepers have about their businesses. CafePress and the representatives of CafePressVoice will work together to build an even stronger Community.
This system has been in place for about a year and they are now holding new elections for who should represent the Cafepress shopkeepers. I’m sure some of the existing members will be re-elected but if you think you can do a better job you should also nominate yourself. Before you do though, consider the following. Do you have enough time? Do you have knowledge or a particular skill that you can share with the community? Are you a people person? Are you patient? If you answered “Yes” to all these questions you should consider applying. Here are the qualities that Cafepress says you should have before you apply:
- Ability to be fair and impartial
- A genuine concern for the entire Community
- Knowledge of CafePress and the Community
- A good reputation with fellow Shopkeepers
- A reasonable, open approach to working with others
Needless to say if you are a new shopkeeper, just have a few basic Cafepress stores or have not participated in the Cafepress forums, you need not apply. On the other hand there is always next year.
What are the benefits of being on the Cafepress committee? I don’t really know as I am not a member but I guess there is an improved sense of involvement and a increased feeling that you are being listened to. I said “sense” and “feeling” because I believe that you don’t really need to be a Voice member to be listened to or involved. Just head over to the forums. Another benefit may be that you get information about changes and new products before the rest of the shopkeepers. Not that you can do much with this information as I am sure you have to sign non-disclosure agreements.