Yearly Archives: 2008

Sales Cheaters’ Strategy

We’ve all been there one time or another: we check our mail, and receive some “super dooper” sales offer. We get 30% off certain products, but you have to HURRY, because the SALE ENDS SOON – usually within a week or two.

So fine, we decide the offer is good, we want the product, we respond to the offer, we make our purchase, and we’re happy. For a week. Until the NEXT sale comes along!

And this is what I call the Sales Cheaters’ Strategy or SCS. There’s nothing wrong with a sale as such – but cheating people out of the money that the first batch of suckers didn’t throw at the offer within the stated period, now that’s just plain bullshit,

Because only a few days later, the VERY SAME company writes that NOW there’s an even BETTER sale on – and this time, we can save 50% instead of 30. This wouldn’t be so bad if we could just get the extra bit of discount as a refund – but none of the companies I’ve ever dealt with (and have been cheated by) would ever dream of doing that.

Did I feel stupid when that second sale came along. I had this with Content Paradise, a company selling 3D software and content, and I also had this with Capital One in regards to some “amazing balance transfer deal”. Mind you, I had these troubles having been a very happy customer for some time. I am so sick and tired of companies wilfully employing the Sales Cheaters’ Strategy that I think we should name them all and put them to shame where they belong. Why can’t everybody lower their prices and give us “good deals all year round”, like Comet do?

Let’s put a list together and boycott those bastards in the future! Or let’s boycott sales full stop.

2008 – It’s a Wrap!

Every year, I find it helpful and exciting to look back at what has happened over the last 12 months and write it down. Here’s what 2008 has been like for me:

January 2008

We started off with our final ever trade show for Light Paintings. Although we didn’t have any new material to show, it seemed a good idea when we booked our stand in June 2007. Admittedly our heart wasn’t in it, but when Interiors Birmingham turned out to the THE WORST SHOW we’ve ever done, we knew we wouldn’t do it again. Literally no visitor traffic, which was due to the organisers having put us in the wrong hall! We found ourselves next to companies exhibiting blinds and curtain-rail-end-pieces. When we told them about this faux-pas, CMP wound’t have any of it, nor offer us a refund. Avoid CMP / United Business Media like the plague!

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February to April 2008

I welcomed both Thomson Reuters as a new clients for my portfolio of Broadcast Work, as well as Al Jazeera English. In fact, the year started off well for broadcast work. I also became seriously interested in 3D Rendering and Animation, and buried my head deep in DAZ Studio, Carrara and Poser.

May 2008

Jeremy Bronnit’s Loft London is growing bigger and better, and I’m pleased to be working with him in this new venture. My job is to duplicate old 1″ tapes to Digi Beta, and revisit the eighties on Channel 4. Since I wasn’t in the country then, so watching countless hours of Countdown is a nice way to catch up. Nice! I also made the company and its managers look great with pictures for their website – check it out here.

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June 2008

Julia and I are having a well deserved holiday in South Beach Miami for a couple of weeks. We invested into a new 18-200mm lens for one of the cameras, bought a second flash gun (a Canon EX 580 EX-II), and got a super tiny Casio Elixim pocket camera. We tried it all out at Starbuck’s at the top of Collins Avenue, while watching the busy film makers on the set of  Burn Notice (not sure if that’s reached the UK yet). What a great time we had!

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On our last day, only hours before our plane was to take us back to London, we decided to start working on a project that I thought of many years ago, when I fist visited Miami: take pictures of all the Art Deco Beach Huts. This is work in progess, and we’ll definitely go back soon to collect some more. So far we’ve covered South Pointe all the way up to 13th Street.

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July 2008

The Book of Clouds is very well received by friends and colleagues, so Loft London decide to buy the first ever Limited Edition on Acrylic Diasec for their new floor. It’s a huge piece, 1000x1600mm, and it looks lovely! This is it:

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August 2008

A new backlit installation of the ever so popular Light Painting STRIPES is installed at the new offices of Metage Capital on Berwick Street in London. Thanks to Michelle Frawley from Inspire Design to to put our picture forward, and to Maryam Valentin at Metage for choosing it!

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September 2008

The month goes by with intense training at www.lynda.com, for software suites like Carrara, Poser and some in-depth Photoshop techniques (you can never know enough). I find it invigorating to broaden my horizon of knowledge. I also sold some expired medium format film for over £30 on eBay. WOW!

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October 2008

Due to the success of The Book of Clouds and my passion for the project, I conceive a separate channel for moving time lapse clouds, hence www.cloud-tv.com is born. I found a great service called www.mogulus.com, which allows for streaming video footage, 24/7 – 7 days a week. To my surprise, the brain behing Mogulus is Max Hoat, who used to work at TWI/IMG, just like I do very regularly. Although we have never met, I feel Mogulus is the perfect choice for this marriage bewteen my broadcast skills and art. Cloud-TV “Piece of Sky” is scheduled for a DVD release later this year, so in my spare time I’m devoting my Premiere Editing Skills to it.

November 2008

Although having heard big things about it, I’ve not tired www.wordpress.com myself. Big deal, I think at first, it’s just another blogging system. But when I install it to turn Cloud-TV into an easy-to-update website, I’m in love with the project. The ease of use, the non-profit workflow behind it, and the huge amounts of free themes and plug-ins make it my web design tool of choice for many more projects to come. Others often underestimate the importance of a great web designer, as my Miami web design buddy has said before. On a sadder note, Soundart announce they’ve ceased trading.

December 2008

Although the month isn’t over, I’ve already got www.oliverspanuth.com to show for it. Bringing my passion for 3D Logo and Webdesign together, WordPress is installed on Oliver’s server, and after only two afternoons of brainstorming between London and Bremen, his website and his legacy see the light of day. Oliver and I have known each other for over 20 years (see a Supersampler picture of him below), and I’m delighted to be his creative partner to bring him and his drum sound to the web. I’ve also conceived his Myspace Profile, essential for everyone these days. And on top of all that, the Cloud-TV DVD is still in production.

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2008 has been an exciting ride, and I’m looking forward to 2009 for more fun and games!

Something Fishy about eBay

When I started selling my pictures through eBay about 2 years ago, I was amazed at the amount of traffic it generated. I made sales into countries I had never even heard of, and inquiries for other projects started rolling in. In a nutshell, it was the best marketing tool we had for our work!

tn-ebayBut since the introduction of a new pricing scheme in September 2008, things have taken a dramatic downturn for my products, which have been faily popular until then. I thought I’d share my experiences with you.

First of, a basic eBay Shop used to cost only £6. Having an eBay Shop is the only way to direct a customer to all eBay listings you’ve got going at any one time. That’s gone up to £14.99 – not that it makes sense, becasue the benefits haven’t changed a bit. The other two tears have also been increased in price, with the most expensive/front page exposure anchor shop now being a whopping £350 a month.

Listing prices have also changed: eBay claims they now offer a lower insertion fee per product to encourage sellers to list more for less money, cutting the up-front cost from 30-40p in my case to about 20p. On the other hand, they have now increased the so called final value fee, which is applicable if an item sells. So instead of 5%, it’s gone up to 10-15%%, depending on the listing category.

FIBRE SPACE - one of last year's most popular images with over 200 hits per listing, generates less than 20 this year
FIBRE SPACE - one of last year's most popular images with over 200 hits per listing, generates less than 20 this year

The final change that’s been introduced right in time for the Christmas sales period this year is eBay’s Search Feature. Traditionally, auctions and 3-10 day listings were promoted much better than the cheaper 30-day listing alternatively, which used to be available only to shop owners. You’d only see those latter listings at the bottom of the search page, if at all. The change made it possible for 30 day listings to appear in search results, but that’s not the whole story: if you’ve been voted to have bad customer service, or too high a price tag on your postage fees, your listings are now penalised to appear at the lower end of the search results (say page 35 instead of 1).

Although my account is in good standing, my feedback is healthy and I’m listing around 100 items at a time, since this new change my traffic has dropped dramatically. Previously, even on unsold products, about 40-50 people looked at each listing – now that’s gone down to 5-10. Needless to say, sales are down a lot, but somehow my monthly outgoing haven’t changed.

I’m afraid to say that although eBay has been good to me in the past, it’s no longer working to get my work out into the open. Other factors might be responsible for the reduction in sales on eBay for me. Possibilities are: 

  • the overall econimic situation
  • or maybe that I’ve reduced our exposure at exhibitions
  • or the fact that there havent’ been many new recent additions to my portfolio of posters
  • or that due to cheaper listings, there are more of them, meaning more competition and less fo the pie to go round

Whatever the reason, as a result, I will have to drastically reduce my listings on eBay from January as it’s no longer worth my while.

I’d be interested to hear about other eBay sellers’ experiences, and of course from eBay to evaluate how things are working out for them. Visit my eBay shop one last time before I’ll put it on ice: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Jay-Versluis-Fine-Art (now defunct so don’t try).

New Logo for www.oliverspanuth.com

I’ve created a new Logo for Oliver Spanuth’s Website today.

We’re currently busy putting the site up, and what was needed to stand out from the crowd was a good corporate identity. Oliver is a drummer, so we’re also putting a Myspace site together for him.

The Logo is made up of glass letters, so I’ve used Carrara for modelling and rendering. Transparent objects like these are a very complex process, but thanks to Carrara’s excellent Caustics Funtion and intuitive lighting system, it came out really well.

I’ll let you know when the website is officially open, but in the meantime, head over to www.oliverspanuth.com and see what we’re doing.

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New Blog Layout

I’ve decided to switch the layout for our News Blog from Blogger to WordPress.

The reason for this is enhanced functionality and more flexibility, plus it gives me a space to keep you posted about all the various things I’m involved with on the web. I might keep the News Blog up for more major news, and this one will be a day-to-day blog like many others.