I apologize if this topic has already been discussed and I missed it, but now that Woot offers print-on-demand shirts from its archive at $18 each, why wouldn’t it be a win-win situation to allow customers to order shirts that didn’t print in a derby? I understand that there are some potential gotchas there, but solutions seem straightfoward:
If an artist submits the design elsewhere after the 60-day waiting period, there could be an intellectual property ownership conflict. Solution: Allow artists to opt-in or opt-out of placing their stuff into the archive, and those who opt-in agree not to submit or print the design elsewhere.
Since most losing designs won’t sell as well as winning designs, Woot would have to spend time cutting a bunch of tiny checks for shirts that sold only a few units. Solution: Accrue royalties (if that’s the right term) each time a design sells, but don’t pay them out until a certain threshold ($100?) is reached. That becomes one of the rules to which artists agree when they opt-in. Many other sites that allow people to submit and sell designs work that way.
If a shirt was rejected from a derby for copyright or other issues, Woot couldn’t safely print it on demand either. Solution: Rejected designs aren’t eligible for inclusion in the archive.
People who preferred a losing design may choose to spend the extra $6 and order it instead of a winning design, thus taking revenue away from the winning design. Solution: Place a delay of a month or so on putting losing designs into the archive. That way, those designs aren’t in direct competition with winning designs of the same derby. As for competing with winners of a different derby, the archive as it exists today already does that, but buying a newly printed design for $12 is more appealing to most people than buying an old design for $18.
I’ve seen special Woot shirt sales in which a few losing designs were chosen to be made available to order, but there are plenty of other designs that I - and presumably thousands of other Woot customers - thought were excellent and would love to order, and cannot. It seems to me that once a shirt goes to print-on-demand status, it doesn’t matter whether it originally printed many copies or zero; the cost to print on demand should be about the same either way. If that’s the case, the $18 price will make Woot an equal profit whether the design is a previous derby winner or an as-yet-unprinted shirt, and it would increase Woot’s (and shirt designers’) overall revenues and profits while also giving customers more options. Again, that sounds like a win-win to me.
If print-on-demand requires significant one-time prep work that is normally done when the shirt prints after winning a derby, which would make it less cost effective to print a shirt that may only ever sell a few copies, then perhaps a vote threshold could be implemented. In general, more votes in the derby should mean a more popular shirt in the archive. For example, the rule could be that a shirt would only be placed into the archive if it was in the top one-third of all entries with respect to votes, or if it got at least half as many votes as the average of the winning three shirts, or some other criteria or combination of criteria.
Any thoughts, Woot staff or artist community? If this has been discussed in any detail already, feel free to tell me to shut up and refer me to the thread that explains why it’s impractical.
Thank you for your time.