Let’s Go Shopping!

For some time we’ve been toying with the idea of making EzineArticles promotional items (aka: schwag, logo loot, tchotchke, etc.) available to all of our Expert Authors.

The one challenge we faced, however, was figuring out what items people would like. Would t-shirts be all the rage? Or would mugs be on the top of our Expert Authors’ wish lists? Or perhaps mouse pads would be the item of choice. Frankly we had no way of knowing.

We’re happy to report that we’ve come up with a solution: beta testing.

In true Internet fashion, we’ve created a fully-functional beta version of our EzineArticles Online Store. Your purchases at this store over the next few weeks will help us determine which items make it into our final product offering and which ones die a horrible death.

In essence we’re asking you, our Expert Authors, to tell us what you like best.

Plus for a limited time only, all items are available at cost. We’ve included absolutely no mark-up, so what we’d pay is what you pay!

So what are you waiting for? Check out the whole line-up of EzineArticles promotional items, purchase your favorite items and show the world that YOU are a proud EzineArticles Expert Author!


Laurie Beebe writes:

I was interested in seeing what products were available and planning to purchase something since they were going to be offered “at cost”. But those prices look high! If you have to charge more than that when you put up the store it might be hard to sell based on the prices–not based on selling what people would really like.
FYI, I would use a coffee mug, travel mug, long-sleeved Tshirt; would not be interested in mouse pad or teddy bear. And won’t buy anything now at the current costs–maybe your vendor is charging too much? I’ll be checking for other’s comments.

Comment provided February 18, 2009 at 9:34 AM




I thought that the pricing (all ending in .99’s) looked like it wasn’t at cost… so I confirmed with Marc that in fact, the store is setup to include ZERO mark up for us, effectively making it at our cost.

My gut feeling is that CafePress prices stuff at the “we need to make enough money to make it worth our while” price level when dealing with one-off purchasing.

If anyone has feedback on other drop-shipping based brand building stores like this one, we’d appreciate the referral.

Comment provided February 18, 2009 at 9:51 AM


Brian writes:

Oh, yeah, Cafe Press is very expensive. Try http://www.customdropshipper.com/ . I have no experience with them, but found them suggested on a form thread from 2005, and they’re still around. Their prices look a lot more reasonable.

Comment provided February 18, 2009 at 10:56 AM




We feel your pain on the prices. As a result, this will probably not be the vendor of choice once we’re done testing the concept.

Our reasons for choosing this vendor are simple. They allow us to:
– Create and modify the online store quickly and easily… at no cost.
– Spontaneously try new products and designs.
– Require no minimum purchase from our members.
– Provide high-quality items without any upfront inventory investment.
– Gain insight without the labor overhead of fulfillment.

All of these benefits make them perfect for this kind of test. The downside is that they’re not the “low price leader”.

Once we determine what’s popular, we’ll most likely create a new store with select items at significantly lower prices. In the meantime, let us know what you WOULD buy if the prices were a little more reasonable.

And thanks for your input! =)

Comment provided February 18, 2009 at 10:58 AM


Steve writes:

Those prices are crazy! If anyone purchases a mouse mat for that amount of money then they should be sectioned. We are living in tough times if you hadn’t noticed.

Great idea to make you some cash but very very bad pricing.

Comment provided February 18, 2009 at 2:43 PM


Edward writes:

Cafepress is a great idea for a company, yet I too find their markup to be a tad on the greedy side. Other than that, great idea!

The journal should be a big hit.

Comment provided February 18, 2009 at 2:57 PM


Cherie writes:

I’m not sure if the prices are much better, but you might check out Zazzle.com. Same SaaS model and ease of placing and building items, and they do offer discounts on quantity for customers. I’ve ordered a few things from them this last year, especially custom postage stamps. So far been very pleased with the quality.

Comment provided February 18, 2009 at 3:49 PM




Thanks for the tip. Zazzle was one of the others we looked at before this test. They had some advantages and disadvantages vs. CafePress. The latter outweighed the former.

Comment provided February 18, 2009 at 4:07 PM


Adam writes:

My wife got a mug from you several Christmas’s ago, and I must say, I enjoy drinking coffee out of it frequently. I’ll check out the other swag as well…You just got to love cafepress.

Comment provided February 18, 2009 at 4:59 PM


Cathy Perkins writes:

I LOVED shopping for EzineArticles ‘stuff’. Very fun and cool products. Yep – I bought stuff and I don’t want to be ‘sectioned’. Bought it because I love EzineArticles and Chris Knight and what you do for all of us.

The WordPress Wizard

Comment provided February 18, 2009 at 5:19 PM


Pat writes:

I wanted to get my Dad a cool mousepad to go with his new laptop I bought him.

I couldn’t believe how ‘way over priced’ everything is. Maybe finding a new vendor is in order.

Comment provided February 18, 2009 at 5:24 PM


kevin writes:


If i were to buy. I’d probably be most interested in: Mouse Pad, Coffee Mugs, Journal, and Calendar.

Good luck,

Comment provided February 18, 2009 at 5:40 PM


Philip Harris writes:

Cost Prices? Not even close. A mouse pad from Staples sans the logo is 2.99. Retail.

Comment provided February 18, 2009 at 5:47 PM


Angela Booth writes:

Excellent. I just bought a large mug (always wanted an EzineArticles mug), a trucker hat (for taking my dog for a walk) and a task journal… can’t wait until they arrive. :-)

Considered the sweatshirt, but wasn’t sure on the sizing. Wish they had Australian sizes…

Great idea to have EzineArticles stuff for your fans. Kudos!


Comment provided February 18, 2009 at 5:49 PM


Karen writes:

Hi Chris,

Not sure if the beautiful coffee mug you sent me (complete with coffee, thank you!) was from Cafe Press, but if it is a cafe press mug then I am impressed with the quality, as well as the size. Only days ago I purchased personalized mouse pads from snap fish and I think the cost was like $9.99 each. Since I rarely shop at a brick and mortar store, I thought the pricing at cafe press wasn’t too bad. Maybe a tad high, but hey, I don’t have to wait in line, etc. Good luck! Karen

Comment provided February 18, 2009 at 5:51 PM


Shirley Bass writes:

I like the mouse pad, travel mug, large mug, journal, and the long sleeve T-Shirt. My debit card is itching to get that mouse pad and travel mug today!

And I love it that EzineArticles has come so far!

I’m like Cathy, the Word Press Wizard. I luv EzineArticles and Chris Knight for all they do for us.

Also, I luv EzineArticles, because they are friendly, welcoming, and have a high set of standards.

Shirley Bass

PS I like the BBQ Apron too! Hope you keep the journal in stock.

Comment provided February 18, 2009 at 6:31 PM


Garry writes:

I favor the mouse pad and the round refrigerator magnet. Good idea to offer some products.

Comment provided February 18, 2009 at 7:22 PM


Shirley Bass writes:

The shipping charges, I thought are excellent! I was impressed with the entire check out system at CafePress.

Comment provided February 18, 2009 at 7:40 PM


James Steiner writes:

WOW! While you do have a very wide variety beta test line of products; I found none of them to be an extreme “ezine patron” discounted value.

I truly appreciate your services from a user standpoint and maybe its not my place to say this but: stick with what your doing and stay out of the merchandising niche for now anyway!

It might actually be in your best interest to find items that are much more cost effective that can, for the most part, be given away from time to time to your patrons as a show of gratitude rather than marketing your products at what appears to be above retail.

Last and certainly not least please TONE DOWN the ALL WHITE world display page by mixing some items of color in as well.

God Bless & Be Well Always

Comment provided February 18, 2009 at 7:46 PM


Paul Pavao writes:

The mouse pad’s very nice, so it’s price didn’t seem too bad . . . IF it were retail. Wholesale, that’s an awful price.

The worst price was the coffee cup, I thought. I’d be surprised if you couldn’t get a good mug with logo for under $5 anywhere. I know you have lots of options here: http://www.pens.com/pens/searchresults.aspx?TopCtl:txtSearch=coffee+cup.

Those coffee cups are so much cheaper that it would be worth having to buy them in advance, store them at an outsource warehouse, and pay them for shipping for you.

I own an outsource warehouse, and we could store and ship them for about 15% of price, still keeping you way under that $11.95. (No identifying information given publicly, so this isn’t an ad.)

Comment provided February 18, 2009 at 7:51 PM


James Steiner writes:

I may have been a little bitter or harsh and should not have evaluated so negatively!

I sincerely aplogize for that and say you go for it EzineArticles market and merch away I say!

Good Luck and Prosper In All Your Endeavors!!!

Comment provided February 18, 2009 at 8:22 PM


Pearls writes:

Thanks for these great offer. I like to have one mouse pad.

Comment provided February 18, 2009 at 8:39 PM


Karen Mueller writes:

Can’t wait till my mug arrives so I can get it into a few video shots. Ezine gives away so much for free, I’m proud to buy an Ezine mug. And add a buck for yourselves next time!

Comment provided February 18, 2009 at 8:50 PM


Charlie Peterse writes:

Some of the items I would be interested in would be the bumper sticker, coffee mug and maybe the T-Shirt or Sweat Shirt. The problem is not others have mentioned – the cost!

I have bought promotional products for my own business and the costs you have are higher than what I sold mine own products for and I made a 60% mark up on my products. Bags I got cost me 89p per bag with my logo. T-Shirts cost ‚1.21 with logo, mugs with ‚1.04, etc..

There are lots of stores and shops offering much better prices than these and your vendor should be willing to get you better at cost prices. If they want your business. Maybe you should order a few hundred of each item to have in stock and sell them.

At present you are being taken for the “proverbial ride” – these are non sensical prices!

Look forward to ordering when the costs become reasonable.

Comment provided February 18, 2009 at 9:11 PM


Michelle Evans writes:

I would definitely purchase a clear backpack that I could put my products in while advertising the “I love Ezine” logo:-) Just a thought. . .

Comment provided February 18, 2009 at 10:23 PM



Sorry guys these prices are far too high. Many companies are giving away mouse mats to promote their company/product .. so why would anyone pay these astronomic prices?

And what about discount for bulk buying? IF I were to want any item I would want to large numbers …. (but then wouldn’t I also want my logo on them) and would expect a bulk discount.

There is another problem for UK buyers. On top of these prices we need to add 15% VAT. then we are expected to pay in $ and their is no indication of the exchange rate you/your supplier is proposing (it could be anything) and there is also likely to be an import duty. PLUS the shipping costs look very high.

Guys I think you do a great job at EZ but this is outside your normal remit and you need to think about why you are doing it and the prices – especially for overseas clients of which you have many.

I hope this helps


Comment provided February 19, 2009 at 12:56 AM


Sara Brown writes:

Great idea. I have not bought anything (yet) but the journal, and tote bag would have my vote. I’m a keep it simple kind of person – I like things with a real use.

I would agree that prices are on the steep side but at the same time I used to be involved in the world of promotional items and it is expensive.

To your success!

Comment provided February 19, 2009 at 2:39 AM


Rona writes:

I have no direct experience of Cafepress but I know that some users think the clothes are not terribly good quality.

The stuff looks nice but expensive by most people’s standards.

I’d be rather more interested if you could find a way to promote at least some green options e.g. organic clothing, recycled and sustainable stuff.

Hope this helps some.

Comment provided February 19, 2009 at 2:50 AM


Paul White writes:

I must agree with those who have commented on the high prices. Someone mentioned Zazzle which I have heard good things about, but not used personally.

Mugs, T’s, buttons, bumper sticker and tote, would be the items I would be most interested in.

Thanks for letting us share.


Comment provided February 19, 2009 at 6:27 AM


Lisa Almeida writes:

If becoming a retail mogul was the objective, then the price thing would matter.

If I bought an EzineArticles gadget it would be for the cool factor…and we all know cool has no price limit. So I think the prices are fine – considering.

I’ve bought stuff from Cafe Press and found it to be good except for the t-shirts (they were chintzy).

So I wouldn’t buy any of the clothing duds unless you found a new vendor. FYI: I’m a sucker for a “good” heavy hoodie or zippie :)

Comment provided February 19, 2009 at 6:52 AM




We really appreciate each one of your comments and are using them to help us sort out what our next steps will be along with which items to offer.

I can assure everyone we have no intention of going into the retail merchandising business. In addition, we’ll be looking at other vendors that can offer prices that reflect the volume of business we can bring to them.

For our brand, I’d much rather have us offer fewer total items and have them be very high quality rather than offering every option and not having a good feeling about whether the quality will match the value expected.

Turns out many of our members are in the promotional items business and thank you to everyone who emailed us privately to offer assistance.

Comment provided February 19, 2009 at 7:54 AM



Sorry to say I wouldn’t use any of these products just with the Ezine logo. Although, I would like to comment on the designs. I might be tempted to purchase if the designs were a bit more “arty”, incorporating the logo but with less emphasis on it. An idea would be photos or quotes from authors. I’d love a coffee mug or T-shirt with an Oscar Wilde quote and photo, including the ezine logo. Which in a sense would promote me, if someone asks “what’s ezine?”, I can tell them and then ask them to look up one of my articles.

Paula Bidwell

Comment provided February 19, 2009 at 8:56 AM


Lee E. Shilo writes:

I really like the clock and the mouse pad as well. But aside from the steep prices, I’m a guy and most probably would not wear something that I would get beat up for. Perhaps you could man-up a few things:)

Comment provided February 19, 2009 at 10:47 AM




I’m with Chris on this – thank you all SO MUCH for the comments, criticisms and suggestions! Keep ’em coming! =)

You’ll be happy to know that we’ve already added some new products to the store based on your suggestions. We’ll keep adding, deleting and changing the store content based on your feedback, so check back to the store often.

Obviously price is an issue. We hear you. We knew that going into this test. The final “store” will not suffer from these prices and will offer benefits such as bulk pricing and other discounts.

For what it’s worth, I’m truly enjoying the interactive process of building our store together.

Comment provided February 19, 2009 at 11:06 AM




Thanks for the laugh! =D

We’ll see what we can do for you. Keep your eye on the store for “safer” products…

Comment provided February 19, 2009 at 11:09 AM


Tony writes:

I like the baseball hat & the mugs. Also the dog Tshirt is good as well as the human ones. Having said that, the prices would have to be lower.

Comment provided February 19, 2009 at 11:18 AM


Karen S Mueller writes:

Loving this thread. Wish it was me, Marc – I want a project like yours. Good luck with your branding. I also would love to see more creatives, colors etc.

Have fun and keep up the good work!

Comment provided February 19, 2009 at 11:44 AM


Cornelia Ramsay writes:

Thanks for the offer. I liked the Raglan Hoodie and the Wall Clock. The prices are high though.

Comment provided February 19, 2009 at 5:55 PM


Frank Kalinski writes:

Hi All!

Very pricey; Only one American Made item for the dog? What about lead/toxic content of items from unknown origins? Many fundraiser products are over priced because they are “for a good cause”.

And where is the stuff for us guys anyway? (But I will take the dog!)


Comment provided February 19, 2009 at 7:04 PM




All good questions to ask when we pick our final vendor. Thanks for the food for thought.

BTW, expect more “manly” products to be added to the store today.

Comment provided February 20, 2009 at 8:35 AM


Shirley Bass writes:

Frank has a point there.

I ordered the mouse pad and travel mug, two days ago. I was told it would be shipped between the dates of 02/27 to 03/03.

But, I’ve received notice of it’s shipment this morning! I have to say, I’m excited to have an EzineArticles mouse pad and travel mug added to the complimentary gift of a large mug, EzineArticles sent me sometime ago.

Chris, have you thought about adding your signature to some of these items? A personal touch would be nice.

EzineArticles and Chris Knight goes hand in hand!

Shirley Bass

Comment provided February 20, 2009 at 9:23 AM


Sammy Jankis writes:

Ooooh I’ve been looiking for some green cashmere sweaters, hope his system helps! Vert cool

Comment provided February 20, 2009 at 1:24 PM


Karen S Mueller writes:

I got my MUG already! … looking where to post a pic to show you all ;-)


Comment provided February 20, 2009 at 2:19 PM


Karen S Mueller writes:

Ah, I put the MUG shot on my bio! Love it…


Comment provided February 20, 2009 at 2:32 PM


Shirley Bass writes:

Too cool Karen! Loved the mugshot.

Shirley Bass

Comment provided February 20, 2009 at 3:18 PM


Jennifer Larson writes:

If this is supposed to be a thank you to your writers, I’d say pads of paper and pencils and pens are the way to go. I don’t know about anybody else, but I’m old school; I always start off whatever I am writing with good old-fashioned paper and pen. It will be interesting to see what wins out.

Comment provided February 20, 2009 at 4:16 PM


Buggerman writes:

Instead of playing games with low level branding, why don’t you guys take your marketing to the next level? Sponsor a NASCAR team! Godaddy does it and makes bank off it. They have Dale Earnhardt Jr. as their driver. If you put EzineArticles on a stock car team you would have some of the best branding and marketing money can buy.

Comment provided February 21, 2009 at 12:13 AM


Geoff writes:

For someone living outside of the US we`ve also got to add what can work out at sizeable shipping costs to any orders. The `economy` prices for shipping aren`t too bad, but anything above that adds quite a bit to the price of the deal.

Comment provided February 21, 2009 at 10:23 AM


Felecia writes:

Chris and Crew,

Great job! Affordable. Catchy… Fancy bumper stickers and coffee containers. Those boxers belong on me ;-) Waiting on my check so keep the site up and the price for us Eziners at cost for a minute. I can’t wait to show people in my part of the world that I’m associated with EzineArticles.

To your success!!!

Comment provided February 23, 2009 at 8:47 PM


Shirley Bass writes:

I just received my Mouse Pad and Ceramic Travel Mug and I LUV them!

Great products! My husband was eyeballing the travel mug. I think I’m going to have to order him one.

Thanks EzineArticles…Luv you more everyday!

Shirley Bass

Comment provided February 27, 2009 at 3:16 PM


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