Many of you will be aware of the recent process that we went through to get a new official SitePoint t-shirt designed. If not, you can read about it here.
The project was great fun and lots of you participated, which was awesome. As a result we have a couple of pretty cool shirts, but no one is buying them and I’m pretty bummed about it. I’m curious about where we went wrong.
What? In pointing out that the site is so horrendously coded with a piss poor broken layout it destroys any affiliated websites reputation? Admittedly it should go in Hawk’s OTHER thread asking about the bad impression some people have of SP’s business practices – but certainly that’s a contributing factor to the attitude of “They’re just a business now”. (One that I oddly don’t share)
Same goes for Flippa with it’s absurdly undersized fixed metric SERIF fonts, goofy banner chewing up 480px before the content for no good reason, use of CSS3 properties that do NOT make it any easier to read, fixed width layout that’s not even 1024 friendly, and abuse of semantic tags with nonsensical heading orders making it next to useless on anything but that perfect 96dpi firefox it was designed on/for!
BUT all those sins are easily forgiven by the people who use those sites since they at least have content people want. (which I don’t understand with Flippa, but hey - I think EVERYTHING is a scam)
It just hurts the reputation of a web development site to be affiliated with those types of miserable dated failures of design and development… This is part of why I’m willing to bet what some people in this thread keep talking about it as a “quick buck” company – since sleazing out two cookie-cutter sites like that isn’t going to blow up the skirts of anyone who knows a damn about web development.
The partners lack polish, and it drags down the rep of the original site in many people’s minds even if they are now their own separate entities. NOT that SP’s main page is any winner, but it’s head and shoulders above the spinoffs.
SAD part is if they were serious about those as just moneymakers they would probably actually fix all that – since with both sites clocking in at over 300k with only a quarter of that as images just to deliver 1k and 3.2k of plaintext respectively they are likely paying more for hosting than is necessary. (the same could be said of vBulletin these days – though praise <snip /> be they’ve not upgraded to 4 yet!)
If people don’t know you have shirts for sale because you have no link to them, you won’t sell very many. The only place I was able to find a link was in this thread, which linked to another thread that had the URL for ordering the shirts. A link should be displayed prominently on your main page and there should be a link from your Products section. Even at the too-high cost of $30.99, you’d have sold more than seven shirts because these types of shirts are all about belonging to a community.
It doesn’t actually matter if people you pass on the street know what it’s about or not. How many people get the “There are 10 kinds of people in the world; those who know binary and those who don’t” t-shirts? It doesn’t matter because it’s not about the “uninitiated” knowing what it means, it’s about wearing an aspect of your personality on a t-shirt. The fact that most other people would look at it and have no idea what it means is part of the draw of the shirt.
What’s the deal with men having color options but not women? If I want a different color, I’ll have to order a men’s shirt - and that’s totally uncool.
I have actually come to terms with the fact that I was putting my focus in the wrong place. The t-shirt project was a successful community project in that it engendered participation throughout the process. We had people enter the design competition, we had people vote in the poll and we had feedback about the results. The actual sale of the shirts isn’t that important and I had lost sight of that fact.
I have learned a lot from this and I appreciate you all taking the time to give me your feedback.
I don’t really feel like advertising my profession. I could care less if someone was a doctor, layer, teacher, etc. I’m sure they feel the same way about knowing whether I’m a developer or not. Its kinda lame in my opinion, a jobs a job. You should have went for something more decorative and less of a profession advertisement in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud to be a developer and in the industry I just don’t need to be advertising it to the whole world. Something less literal would be more to my liking.