Here are the two relevant posts on the Imagekind Blog:
- Special Announcement: CaféPress Acquires Imagekind.com - this includes the basic FAQs
- Imagekind joins Cafepress
This is what is says on the brand new CafePress blog.
The key points are:
CafePress has acquired Imagekind, in the non-hostile and entirely excited way that companies combine when there’s a natural synergy that’s to the benefit of everyone involved – most especially the customers.Imagekind is a lot like CafePress – on-demand printing, individual artists selling their designs online, a vibrant community, the democratization of commerce. But Imagekind specializes in fine art printing and framing, allowing consumers the ability to order and make museum-quality giclee prints
CafePress Blog - Buying into the art market… welcome, Imagekind
- no change is envisaged in the immediate future while the two companies learn more about one another
- CafePress think Imagekind has built a very good product - and that there is potential synergy to be tapped into. This is mergers and aquisitions business code for "there will be changes in the future".
- In a 'fear of a recession' oriented economy, linking up with a really dominant force in the marketplace is probably a very good thing for all Imagekind members (compared to some of the alternatives)
- Potentially it's a very big bonus for all CafePress members if Imagekind is to deliver a 'fine art' oriented quality print facility for CafePress
- Potentially it's a bonus for all Imagekind members if our work now becomes visible to CafePress members/audience who want to purchase the sort of work we produce. (Emphasis on the word 'if' - see the comment at the end for the reason why)
- This is a fairly big change in orientation as to the market place. I personally don't think that the people who shell out large sums for quality fine art prints are the same as those who buy fridge magnets and T shirts for the dog - and vice versa.
- The interesting question is how the 80:20 rules works at Imagekind. Is the bulk of the Imagekind turnover coming from a few people with high value items or lots of people selling low value items?
- I wonder whether this means vendor shops for Imagekind products via CafePress infrastructure?
- CafePress already has an arrangement to market its products via Squidoo. My guess is that Imagekind prints will be available via Squidoo before the end of the year. My bet is it'll happen in less than 90 days.
- The existing artwork by 50,000 Imagekind members - which is difficult enough to find as it is - could get totally swamped, if not obliterated, by all the new artwork coming in from upto 6.5 million CafePress people.
- Vendors with images on Imagekind are likely in future be able to offer fridge magnets, coffee cups and sweatshirts for their images - if that's what appeals to you. My guess is that those selling fine art prints at higher price levels will disappear from the site.
This change does NOT address the issue of Imagekind's failure to clearly separate out artwork which is originally hand-made from technological art produced via a camera or digital wizardry - which is one of the aspects of Imagekind which I've become very much less than happy about. This indicates both a failure to understand the nature of the customer and a tendency to favour photographs and digital art and/or a lack of capacity to develop the database and website design which support the operation
In my opinion, the only way to keep everybody happy is to radically improve the current search facility available on Imagekind - which has always been its major weakness, even with the latest improvements.
There again, who am I kidding? Look at the numbers - this is a takeover not a merger and the priority in all of this will be to keep CafePress members happy.
In conclusion, I'm largely neutral on this at the moment - but I'll be watching with some interest to see how it plays out in the next few months. I predict major changes will be sorted in time for marketing products in the lead-up to Christmas.