Idea

Tom avatar image
Tom Posted ·

Originality/uniqueness rating to determine ranking and discourage copycats

When the MBA team reviews new submissions, they could rate the uniqueness of the designs e.g. using a scale like 1 (many similar designs exist already), 2 (some similar designs exist), 3 (very unique). The higher the rating, the higher the initial ranking of a new submission. This would have the following advantages:

  • MBA would end up with a more interesting store.
  • Sellers would get rewarded for originality.
  • Buyers wouldn't get inundated with lots of almost identical "papa bear" tees.
  • Copycats would get discouraged.
merch by amazoncopyright
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Tom avatar image
Tom Posted ·

It'd be interested in opinions and comments - especially from people who are concerned about copyright infringement. Thank you.

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T-Shirt Design Fan avatar image
T-Shirt Design Fan Posted ·

If there would be a way to employ this idea without it being so manual and time intensive. I could see that being a reason they never do this. It would be nice if they could somehow automate a scanning system to warn that there is already a similar design up (P4P) when uploading and you have to confirm that you have rights to the design. The problem is some thieves steal designs before the creators get to the put them on Merch. So that idea isn't foolproof unfortunately.

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James avatar image
James Posted ·

never gonna happen

1 comment
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That's a bit pessimistic. I'm sure Amazon is always considering ways to make their store better and more attractive for buyers. This clearly is one way, and it seems to me that it's not that hard to implement. After all, it appears that reviewing is done manually. So it'd just be a matter of clicking 1, 2 or 3 for any new submission - based on the reviewer's experience.

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Digiholic avatar image
Digiholic Posted ·

I think it's a great idea, although a long shot! But I can't LIKE IT because I have no more votes left!

Would love to see copycats discouraged!!

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Tom avatar image
Tom Posted ·

There are so many complaints about copycat issues, I'm surprised this idea does not get more support. Please vote, folks (if you still have votes left)!

1 comment
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Many of us WOULD vote on a lot of things but ran out of votes a year ago.

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newuser-85b6aeac-5db4-44ad-acae-4965f24a5ccc avatar image
newuser-85b6aeac-5db4-44ad-acae-4965f24a5ccc Posted ·

Problem is in my opinion with the selection criteria of sellers. People aren't vetted properly and accepted into the program which leads to lower quality designs and copycats. Websites like creative market, design by humans, elements, istock etc review people's portfolios before accepting them into their platform. This keeps the quality of designs higher than other sites. When you look at other businesses like Sunfrog or Teespring, signing up and uploading is relatively easy and these are the sites where the quality of designs is low and copy cat behaviour is rampant... If Amazon went from their current application process to changing their application form to include mandatory fields for a website/portfolio with 10-20 designs and social media accounts, instead of leaving those fields optional, it would dissuade a lot more people from signing up and clogging up the application process, and it will also prioritise top talent getting into the program instead of mediocre individuals who are trying to get in to make a quick buck.

4 comments
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I think few people voted this up because they doubt it's feasible. This idea of reviewing every single design would require lots of manpower. They can't even keep up with the copyright complaints. How are they going to review every design?

Agree with NewUser-85b above. With a program like this that has such a great demand and earning potential, which leads to abuse/theft, they have to do something about the application process or at least have better practices in place to deal with copycats.

It's amazing to me that dealing with theft doesn't seem to be a top priority. It's been a year and a half now and reports of theft and copyright go unanswered for weeks if at all. No excuse for not having something in place by now -- and they continue to accept more people.

They need to hire a full staff of people to effectively deal with theft, watermarks, etc.

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Watermarks actually reduce sales. This has been A/B tested within the POD industry, so I doubt Amazon will implement it. As for theft, it's just easier to remove copyright infringers from the platform and then make the acceptance process of new sellers much more stringent. This is coming from someone who has not been accepted into the merch program, and I can confidently say that if the approval process was merit based, I'd have no worries about my application being approved... In the current climate many people who have no design skills end up getting approved and then become so desperate that they start stealing other people's content to generate sales. Even if a more stringent application process is designed be geared towards artists and content creators, non designers would be able to participate, although they would need to fork out some money to commision 10-20 designs that need to be checked for account approval.. this way only the most motivated and determined people will get in the program... weeding out the get rich schemers... A more stringent application process might be hard to execute but it's much simpler than policing all content creators who will have 100s if not thousands of designs published.

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I think this is a great alternative. However, as pointed out below, nothing would prevent applicants to outsource their portfolio (even if MBA were to require them to confirm its their own original work) and, once approved, revert to copycat tactics.

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Yes, but the bottleneck in the application process should reduce low quality sellers from getting in. From there is should be much easier to police copyright issues. It takes significant capital to acquire a decent portfolio to present to get approval in other invite only platforms. i'd say around 300 dollars or more. For creative market, they only approve a handful of people each day and in the application process they require a portfolio, social media handles and other online shops where your work has been sold before they accept you.. the result is quite evident... most of the work submitted is top quality

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Carrie H. avatar image
Carrie H. Posted ·

Uniqueness and originality is subjective. This would be a horrible thing to implement. Not to mention, originality and uniqueness aren't what necessarily sell. Sales should determine visibility....which it does.

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Why? Are you one of those sellers who ride on other designers' coat tails? Horrible is a bit a strong word. Of course Amazon wants to sell - which is my point: A more interesting store with less junk is a win win for everyone, MBA, its sellers and customers. Anyway, if your strategy is to copy or slightly modify best sellers, you'll probably find that, in the long run, your sales will not be sustainable.

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