Archive for June, 2011

Engineering Virality with Zazzle and QR Code T-Shirts

June 20, 2011

Andreas Weigend, social/mobile technology expert and friend of Zazzle, recently created an interesting experiment with the Social Data Lab and a class at Stanford University on geolocation and social media. Even though it’s summer, check out his guest blog about how his students used Zazzle shirts creatively for this project!

The Social Data Revolution: Engineering Virality
In a class on Social Data, Stanford students learned the value of geolocation, particularly its role in visualizing trends and identifying patterns. Each student was given a unique QR code linked to a website that he or she designed to promote a personal cause. The students were then asked to spread their campaign by any means necessary to get the greatest number of QR scans and “check-ins” across a diverse range of geolocations.

Zazzle Shirts as a Launch Pad
In addition to typical marketing campaigns such as posting flyers and social networking, the students also decided to take a more creative approach. They used Zazzle, an online platform for creating custom products, to design “Social Data Revolution” t-shirts. Each student’s t-shirt had the same design, but displayed their own unique QR bar code on the front and back. Armed with their Zazzle t-shirts, the students took to the streets and spread their campaigns through what turned out to be one of the most powerful marketing techniques available — natural human curiosity. All around the Stanford campus and throughout Palo Alto, students could be found donning their black SDR shirts, inevitably followed by a trail of curious onlookers wondering what these shirts meant.

Once each student received their shirt, it was up to them to design an incentive system to promote usage and engagement with the code. An offline incentive and viral campaign was the goal for the original hook; the second part of the assignment involved creating an engaging site that would promote online virality. In this two-part system the students examined the best structures to translate offline incentive systems into online participation.

Offline Incentives
For the first part of the assignment, students took a wide range of approaches. Some guerrilla tactics were utilized such as posting images of the code around campus with various strategies of engagement. Some students promoted a philanthropic cause (Charity Water) or the latest startup craze (Venmo mobile banking). Others offered food in exchange for scans (a free sandwich for one measly QR scan ain’t bad!) Still others left ambiguous puzzles or questions designed to intrigue the viewers into scanning. Flyers with QR codes were found all over campus in the engineering buildings, design school, law school, near ATMs and drinking fountains, in restaurants and cafes, posted in libraries and media rooms… bottom line is flyers were placed anywhere and everywhere that participants thought they might be able to draw an active audience.

Online strategies were even more creative with one student cashing in on his Facebook birthday wishes by replying to every individual post with a request for a QR scan. Another participant tugged on her friends’ heartstrings by sending out pictures of her newborn baby… with a QR code attached of course. More lighthearted approaches involved the promise of funny YouTube videos and a campaign devised to feed off the Stanford – Berkeley rivalry.

While designing the original incentive, students were asked to examine the limitations of their strategies and the implications in a geotagging context. For example, if the codes were posted around campus or promoted solely through Zazzle t-shirts, then that student would likely only get codes close to the Stanford area. If the code was blasted on Facebook, however, there might be a greater chance of getting scans from around the world. Another barrier the students faced is that not everyone recognizes QR codes or has an app downloaded to scan the code and check-in.
The unique QR code for each student was linked to a new application,, developed by Rio Akasaka. The application lets you track the locations where individual scans are made. The check-in platform requests Facebook data to verify unique users when gleaning data. All the scans can then be inputted into a Google map and visualized geographically.

On each QR landing page, users can leave messages, creating a space for discourse on the specific sites.

Online Engagement
Once the users reached the landing page, students were encouraged to develop engaging online material that promoted virality. For one student this meant making a donation to one of four charities, chosen based on user votes. This created an incentive for users to check-in, post a comment and send the link on to their own social networks. Another philanthropic approach was to volunteer one additional hour of community service for every ten scans. A startup company promised a $1 credit to your account for every additional friend you brought to their site. Other sites led the users to games or funny videos so there would be intrinsic motivation to share. Prizes were given to students with original content, dynamic user engagement, and high visitor count.

Bounding Forward
From grand scheme projects to small-scale needs, QR codes combined with Zazzle’s ability to put a unique design on almost anything, promises a universe of possibilities!

Foto Friday!

June 17, 2011

Check out this week’s Foto Friday Fun!

What’s Foto Friday? It’s our weekly blog post of customers enjoying their Zazzle products. Want to join in the fun and earn $5 towards your next Zazzle order? See details on how to participate in Foto Friday.

Sexy Shoes :: 4.25×5.5 New Address Flat Note Card Invite

Join in the fun now! Learn more about submitting your photos and videos to Foto Friday!

Zazzle Featured Seller Interview with parrow1978

June 16, 2011

John, from the Zazzle store parrow1978, talks to us about his love of history and his time at Zazzle.  Check out the interview below and don’t forget to check out his store parrow1978!

What Can You Do Red Cross T-Shirt

Zazzle: First off, tell us a little bit about yourself.

John: My name is John, I’m 32, live in central Ohio, and have a passion for history and the military.

Zazzle: When and how did you first become interested in art? How long have you been making art?

John: I’ve always loved art, since I was very little. I was always the kid that could draw well and I took art classes when I was younger. I didn’t do much art for about ten years. At the time, I was trying to become a writer, and spent all my time doing that. Then when I started at Zazzle, I got back into art, and learned how to do digital art.

Zazzle: When you’re not creating art, what are your other hobbies?

John: I’m always creating art; it consumes almost all of my free time. I love to read non-fiction, mainly history and military books. I also box and lift weights.

Zazzle: Any artists you look up to when it comes to designing?

John: Most of my work for Zazzle is restoration of historic prints. This gives me a chance to study many great artists from history. I respect artists that do things that I can’t. Two of my favorite artists on Zazzle are Serge Averbukh from Military_Insignia and William A. Foley Jr. from Visionsfromafoxhole.

Zazzle: What has been your favorite design you’ve created, and why?

John: That changes all the time. I love taking something old and destroyed and making it look new. I never feel that great about my original designs – I like them, but don’t always love them. My current favorite is “General Washington Enters New York” – the original was very messed up and the restoration took several days. I’m very proud of how it turned out.

General Washington Enters New York Poster

Zazzle: What’s your favorite Zazzle product to create?

John: Posters. The images always look the best on posters.

Zazzle: What got you interested in selling your art on Zazzle?

John: I love history, I love art, and I like having money. It was a no-brainer! I looked for somewhere to combine these loves and Zazzle was the best place out there!

Zazzle: What tips can you give someone who is just starting out on Zazzle?

John: Tags and descriptions are super important. If you spend hours or days on a design, work hard on the tags and descriptions so that your design can be found.

Thanks John!

Seller Wednesday – Unusual uses for your favorite Zazzle products

June 15, 2011

I’m always inspired when I look through the marketplace and see sellers using Zazzle products in unique ways, and since it is Seller Wednesday it seemed like the perfect day to share some of these “unusual” uses.

Here are some of my favorites:

Business Cards – Gift Tags

A Gift for you Purple Daily Gift Tag Business Card311 Penguin Family Hang Tag Business CardGift Tag Business Card

Cards/Postcards – Party Table Number Cards

Starfish Table Number CardsLime Bow Wedding Table Number CardBlue and Brown Floral Table Cards

Violet Teal Love Birds Table Number PostcardBlack and White Wedding Reception Table Number PostcardElegant Vintage Paisley Wedding Table Number Postcard

Ornaments – Door Signs

Baker In Out OrnamentDanger Dirty Room Ahead Door Hanger OrnamentSnips Snails Nursery Door Hanger Ornament

Letterhead – Baked Good Wrappers

Glitz and Glam Cupcake Wrap Red and Black LetterheadTea Party Pink Cupcake Wrapper LetterheadSailor Boy Cupcake Wrappers Letterhead

If you have a unique use for a Zazzle product, let us know in the comments below!

Zazzle Predicts the Winner of Tonight’s Republican Rumble

June 13, 2011

There’s nothing this country loves more than a good ‘ol American debate (well, maybe ice cream, puppies, rainbows, and a hundred other things but debates are totally up there) and we’re sure to get that with the first Republican presidential debate tonight on CNN. Expect fireworks from the big dogs Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, and Tim Pawlenty as they try to separate themselves from the pack while lone wolf Ron Paul will try gaining momentum behind his Ron Paul Revolution. But the real question, who’s going to win the debate? If Zazzle Sellers and Zazzle customers are any indication, it looks like Ron Paul is running away with this year’s nomination. See the graph below.

Noticeable omissions from the debate? Try Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani to start. Neither has officially declared their candidacy but we thought it would be fun to see if they had a chance against the Ron Paul juggernaut. Answer? Nope.

Sarah Palin comes close but it looks like it’s going to be Paul vs. Obama this 2012 season. Check out the Ron Paul shirts, Sarah Palin shirts, Mitt Romney shirts, and more that have already started to fuel the debate in the Zazzle marketplace. Who do you think will win tonight’s debate? Share in the comments!

Foto Friday!

June 10, 2011

Check out this week’s Foto Friday Fun!

What’s Foto Friday? It’s our weekly blog post of customers enjoying their Zazzle products. Want to join in the fun and earn $5 towards your next Zazzle order? See details on how to participate in Foto Friday.

i mustache you a question tee shirts

Cherry Blossom Argyle mug

Funny Retro Cat Coffee Mug – Cha Cha Cat

HundredPushUps Shirt

Odin’s Horn Shirt

Join in the fun now! Learn more about submitting your photos and videos to Foto Friday!

Zazzle Featured Seller Interview with 220Clothing

June 9, 2011

Leonore, from the Zazzle stores 220Clothing and 220Luxe, talks to us about her art, her inspirations, and what brought her to Zazzle.  Check out the interview below and don’t forget to check out her stores 220Clothing and 220Luxe!

Origami Menagerie Mug

Zazzle: First off, tell us little bit about yourself.

Leonore: I’m a graphic designer and co-founder of 220 Clothing and 220 Luxe, along with my boyfriend, Brian. I’m addicted to using Zazzle as my creative outlet and enjoy every minute of it! Each day I give thanks for being able to do what I love and love what I do… and Zazzle definitely plays a big part in providing me with that opportunity.

Zazzle: When and how did you first become interested in art? How long have you been making art?

Leonore: For as long as I can remember, I had always been interested in creating, designing and making things with my hands. My mother was probably the first to inspire my creativity as I would sketch side by side with her when I was a child while she was designing women’s apparel during the infant stages of her clothing line. While most of my early (kindergarten) sketches were of dinosaurs, I’ve created a slightly more diverse portfolio since then. Outside of Zazzle I’ve been a Graphic Designer for about 7 years now and in the last year I started dabbling in handmade clutches and purses.

Zazzle: How would you describe your style?

Leonore: I’d say my style is a mix of crisp lines and graphic images juxtaposed with organic textures and a painterly style. I like the contrast and visual interest that type of juxtaposition creates.

Zazzle: Any artists you look up to when it comes to designing?

Leonore: Since I especially love the Art Nouveau style, I’d have to say Aleadro Villa, Alphonse Mucha and Henri Privat-Livemont to name a few. More recently, I’ve been inspired by the art Braulio Calaustro, my boyfriend’s father who was an amazing artist. I didn’t have the opportunity to meet him as he had passed away before I met my boyfriend, but I did have the privilege to see some of his work. His talent is undeniable and I can only hope to be half as good an artist as he was.

Zazzle: What has been your favorite design you’ve created, and why?

Leonore: It’s a bit difficult for me to pick just one because each design represents a different stage and aspect of my development as an artist. However, if I had to choose one design, I’d have to pick “Eat, Sleep, Breath MUSIC” as one of my favorites because I was experimenting with a new technique and style at the time and I had a lot of fun creating it while adding to my design arsenal.

East Sleep Breathe Music T-Shirt

Zazzle: Do you have any fun stories about being a seller on Zazzle?

Leonore: Being a Zazzle seller has been a wonderful experience and it only gets better with time. I’ve made some friends along the way and I never cease to be amazed with the reach and exposure that Zazzle has provided for my shop, without which I would not be able to make my designs available to people all around the world. I’ve had too many fun “Zazzle” moments to list here but the top 3 would have to be:

1) When I made my first sale because that’s when my little known shop became “real” to me, which also happened to be on my birthday!

2) The day I found out I was a ProSeller. I remember opening that envelope and shrieking in a fit of joy.

3) When my “I HEART Nerds” shirt was featured under Zazzle’s “Funny T-Shirts” category. I was very honored to have my design featured and I believe that exposure really propelled our sales on that design, which I am still so grateful for.

Zazzle: What’s your favorite Zazzle product to create?

Leonore: T-shirts in my 220Clothing shop and invitations in my 220Luxe shop.

Zazzle: What got you interested in selling your art on Zazzle?

Leonore: For a quite some time I was trying to find a way to make use of some t-shirt designs that I had created, but never got around to printing because of the minimum quantity required in screen printing and the burden of storing inventory. These thoughts flooded my mind at a time when my boyfriend and I were living 3,000 miles apart and we were trying to find a way to earn some supplemental income to save up so one of us could make the cross-country move and finally share the same time-zone. After about an hour of brainstorming and researching, we came across Zazzle and then the lightbulb switched on. Zazzle provided this wonderful opportunity for me to make my designs available to the vast market of Zazzle users without having to deal with production and shipping and the other aspects that would take up time that I could use to create new designs.

Long story short: My boyfriend and I now live in the same time zone after 4 years of flying back and forth to see each other and I can say that Zazzle had a little something to do with that.

Zazzle: What tips can you give someone who is just starting out on Zazzle?

Leonore: Be patient, be kind, stay positive and have integrity.

It was months before I made my first sale (probably because I had only one design available in my store at the time and I had not yet taken “Zazzling” seriously), but then I saw that someone from across the world bought a product with my design on it and this really opened up my eyes to the potential of my little shop and the opportunity that Zazzle was providing me with. That’s when I started to ramp things up. I added more designs and started to get some TBAs, within about a month or two my store was featured on the homepage and later that year I got the letter in the mail saying that I became a ProSeller.

My point is… if you believe in your designs, stick with it! It takes some time but it will be well worth the wait. As you begin to build your Zazzle shop, take time to explore all the tools that Zazzle provides and be sure to peruse the wealth of knowledge that is available to you in the forums. There are plenty of awesome sellers on there that share a lot of useful information.

Thanks Leonore!

Seller Wednesday – National Best Friend Day

June 8, 2011

June 8th is National Best Friend Day!  There are some pretty iconic characters in pop culture, and they all have their trustworthy BFF – SpongeBob and Patrick, Shaggy and Scooby, Mickey and Pluto, R2-D2 and C-3PO.  Though the best combinations (in my opinion), are food related – Milk and Cookies, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Chocolate and Anything… So today, be sure to show your BFF that your friendship is just as iconic as Harry and Ron (and Hermione), or Pizza and Beer! :)

Here are some of our favorite Best Friend products!

Bikini Bottom Boys Bad to the Bone Posterc3po and R2D2 best friend tshirtScooby and Shaggy Mystery Inc Sticker

Mickey and Pluto MugHarry, Ron and Hermione PostcardFlintstone iPad Case

BFF MousepadFriendship PostcardCoolest Best Friend T-shirt

Be sure to share your favorite BFF products in the comments below!

Anthony Weiner’s “Weinergate” Heating up the Zazzle Marketplace

June 7, 2011

Anthony Weiner’s twitter trip-up has generated media coverage, calls for his resignation, and great political humor gifts on Zazzle. We love politics at Zazzle because of the creative ways people choose to share their political opinion through products. Zazzle’s instant-marketplace empowers hundreds of thousands of independent artists/sellers/commentators to share their passions first hand and shows the world how popular opinion is impacted by the news. Unfortunately for Congressman Weiner, “Weinergate” is just the latest example of the power of the Zazzle platform. Witness the political creativity of Zazzle Sellers on some of the great Anthony Weiner t-shirts and Weinergate t-shirts below.

Winning the Fight Against AIDS with the Zazzle Platform

June 6, 2011

The discovery of the AIDS virus marked its 30 anniversary last week, a solemn reminder of the devastation the disease has caused across the planet these last three decades. This anniversary also marked the 30 year battle that many scientists and doctors are fighting to develop new treatments and possible cures. This war is a testament to the global human spirit as organizations innovate and build programs that teach prevention, provide health care, and fund vital research around the world.

Face AIDS is a perfect example of a movement that has embraced innovative technology to mobilize and inspire students to fight AIDS in Africa. By creating a Zazzle store, Face AIDS is able to spread their message (Face AIDS t-shirts or Face AIDS postage work well for that) and gather donations for the fight against the disease with no upfront cost to the organization. As a member of the Zazzle Giving program they’ve found a new way to engage a global audience and garner support without distracting from their core mission.

Organizations will continue to collaborate in the fight against AIDS and innovation/technology will be pivotal in sharing information and gathering support. Of course this is an uphill battle, but I believe it is something we can win. Let’s work together to make sure the next 30 years of the AIDS story is marked by good news, developments of treatments and a cure, and a triumph of the human spirit!


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