Friday, August 15, 2014

Disturbingly Affectionate Email from Zibbet CEO Jonathan Peacock.

Zibbet makes me sad
Anyone else receive this disturbingly affectionate email from Zibbet CEO Jonathan Peacock?  (Posted in its entirety below).  I paid rent to this guy to host e-commerce shops and get a totally unprofessional and overly familiar email in place of the services I paid for.  Including thanking me for my LOVE and patience.   And he "loves" me back 5 times in this short email.  Eww.

Are we supposed to be so bowled over by how much he loves us that we're going to overlook the fact that his site has NEVER worked well, works even worse in his relaunch, yet he's keeping everyone's money?

This cloyingly sweet "business" message is disturbing on another level...his attempt to get business people to reveal lots of personal information on his site.  My FAMILY?  You want to know about my FAMILY?  What does that have to do with my selling a vintage teacup?  

You want to know where I live???  (Hmm....I've been threatened to be arrested for tweeting about Zibbet by someone who claimed to be in daily telephone conversations with Zibbet owners.)    

You want to know where else you can find me online?   ICK.  The Zibbet owners have already revealed that they scour the internet for "bad" posts made by its sellers as data on who to approve or not approve for access to its closed forums.  Whatever else do you want that info for?

Some have suggested that the hopelessly desperate for affection folks will fall for this "Jonny come's a-courtin" email and reveal personal information that can be sold.  With this guy, it's hard to know.  I recently learned about his Dinars for Dollars scheme, he lures people into buying premium shops on Zibbet knowing he wasn't providing the services he sold us yet refusing to refund the money, who knows?

Now I know Jonathan's "regulars" are going to claim I am misinterpreting his intent here.  But truly, WHAT IS THE INTENT?  He still misrepresents how malfuntioning Zibbet is.  The "nasty bugs" are the giant chasms of gaps in basic programming that still makes search unusable.  It's not fixed as of the date of this blog post.  That's a lie.  They DIDN'T EVEN PROGRAM for search to recognized plurals and didn't fix it til he read about it on social media!  The whole tone is a disturbing blend of a faraway lover and a teacher getting the pre-schoolers to sit up straight by saying "My how straight you all are sitting!" And to SHUT YOU UP.  And honestly, what did the half-baked relaunch do for you as a seller?  He ADMITTED the search was bad, any buyers who do wander into Zibbet can't even find YOUR ITEMS, yet you are supposed to be contented by fake lovin'?  Aren't we smarter than that?  

But bottom, line, it reeks of insincerity and fakey fake.  Jonathan Peacock, if you or your pal Andrew Gray want to show me your love, refund my money.  That's the PROFESSIONAL thing to do.  If you are finding this blog post like lots do via google, you might want to read this blog from the bottom up.  But grab a cup of tea from that vintage teacup first because it's full of info, all of which is documented.



Pleased to meet you!

We hope that you've enjoyed getting to know the new Zibbet. We're amazed at how well you've embraced such a big change. Finding your way around a totally new layout isn't easy! Thanks for all the love you've given us over social media or via email. It makes our day!! And, thanks for your patience as we've worked to fix some nasty bugs - kudos to the Zibbet team for working late nights and weekends until these were fixed. So proud of our small, but mighty team!
It's great to see your shops being updated with a big, beautiful banner (new size = 1048x200px). I love seeing each shop's individual creativity being reflected through their banners.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
My favorite page in the new Zibbet, without a doubt, is the new Meet the Seller page. I love getting to know you better by reading your stories, looking at your photos (your workspace, where you live, your family etc), and seeing where else I can find you online.
Part of Zibbet's appeal, from a shoppers perspective, is that they are supporting and buying directly from an independent seller. It makes it all the more special when they can "meet" you and even connect with you online (Facebook, Twitter etc). It's all about building a personal connection. That's why we don't allow drop shipping or outsourcing your creative process to manufacturers. It loses that personal touch, and that's just not what Zibbet's about.
If you haven't already, make sure you spend some time creating your new Meet the Seller page.
HERE'S 4 GREAT EXAMPLES TO DRAW INSPIRATION FROM
  1. Kf Gifted Hands from Gloucester, United Kingdom.
  2. ZiL Vintage from Texas, United States.
  3. The Vintage Teacup from Florida, United States.
  4. Unlimited Party Themes from California, United States.
You can create your Meet the Seller page from your shop admin panel. Go to "Shop Front" (in left navigation) and it's the second tab on this page.
P.S. Stay tuned for a big announcement coming soon!
Clue? S _ _ _ _ - _ _ _ _ _ // _ _ _ S _ _ _ S. Tweet us with a letter guess and we'll reveal the most requested letter on Monday via @Zibbet!


Jonathan and the Zibbet Team
From the team at Zibbet. Lovingly crafted "Down Under" in Australia (G'day!)
Have a question or want to say hello? We'd love to hear from you.
Tweet us @zibbet or hit reply!

Monday, August 11, 2014

So why Did Zibbet REALLY Relaunch?

Zibbet error message, frequently showing, from the "stabilized" relaunched site.
According to CEO and owner Jonathan Peacock, the reason Zibbet was "rebuilding" their site was for site stability for anticipated growth.

As we all know now, 2 weeks plus after the relaunch, it's less stable than it was before.  It takes forever to load and often times out.

And a search that doesn't work at all.  And that the owners knew didn't work, but went with anyway, according to the CEO, Jonathan Peacock, knowing it didn't function even as well as the messed up one in the previous version!

The message above is seen...often and for long periods of time.  The new site was beta tested, and still launched with major problems and fewer features.  Like, it takes forever to load.  Like, people can't work in their shops.  Like, SOME shops that were premium were converted into free ones with no features, but with messages telling sellers to purchase again.  Like, timing out when searching. Like exposing personal information of sellers. Photo issues. And much more.  They've been in major fix-it mode ever since.  So why was it hurried out? 

What was accomplished for sellers and buyers?

What did it accomplish for the owners?

Why DID they rush out this debacle that was clearly not ready to launch?

Well, in the relaunch, the owners successfully hid all the information prospective sellers need to make an educated decision on whether or not to purchase a shop subscription.  Which is how the owners make money.  They don't make any money from sellers' sales, not having fees, only by enticing new sellers to purchase a premium shop subscription. Which some suggest had been generating a nice income for the owners until lots of experienced sellers bought them last fall and then expected the site to function as advertised.

Frustrated buyers and sellers have experienced major difficulties in the relaunch, but here's what the owners got to work perfectly!   Hiding information.

1.  They hid the ability to see how many shops there really are on Zibbet.  No way to compare actual shops with the giant banner claiming tens of thousands more shops.  (Last verifiable count before relaunch was under 8,000, day of relaunch, that exploded to over 43,000, according to their banner). Of course,  hiding that info means buyers can't search for their favorite sellers, either.  It's not a good number, so they don't want you to be able to find out.  Because a site with few sellers has little traffic.

2.  They hid the ability to see how individual shops were doing, sales wise.  No way NOW to gauge whether similar shops are enjoying sales or are sitting there bleakly with few.  10 sales a week or 10 in a year?  It's not a good number for the overwhelming majority of shops, so now you are not able to find out.

3.  They hid the ability to check stats via google analytics.  Now, you can only rely on THEIR stats, only.  Before the relaunch, google analytics showed that views were just chock full of bot, not actual buyers.  No GA for you!

4.  They hid the ability to see how sellers are doing via the forums.  They have been systematically trying to discredit anyone who expressed an opinion that was not absolutely hero-worshipping of the site (almost comically, you'll have to read previous posts here and elsewhere to see how they and some of their most ardent supporters pathetically attempted to besmirch the reputation of whistleblowers, one even going so far as to compare whistleblowers to work place mass murderers!)They've muted, booted, and made their forums visible only by approval of the owners (which means links to those forums in blogs like this are hidden).  Unless of course, you know how to view them from the back door!.  Owners who revealed that they search the internet looking for any negative comments by users on social media in order to know who to block. 

And when that didn't work, they simply removed the ability to even FIND their forums to ask questions! (With an incredibly buggy relaunch, nowhere to turn).   You need to know the internet address to even FIND the joint!  Fortunately, they do not control the whole internet.  The information is out there now, backed by screenshots in various blogs like this.

So what works perfectly in the relaunch is hiding information that would help a prospective buyer of a premium shop membership make an educated decision.

So why was this half-baked relaunch rushed out? 

For a more stable site?
For sellers, with fewer features than before and a search algorithm that doesn't even recognize plurals?
For buyers, who can't even find their favorite shops anymore?

Or for the owners, who make their money SOLELY on premium shop subscriptions?  The relaunched site works perfectly in controlling the information prospective premium paying shop sellers have access to.  Makes you wonder.  Well, no surprise for most.

So again, I want my money back.  Every cent.

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Botched Zibbet Relaunch

UPDATE!  The botched relaunch of the Zibbet e-commerce site is sadly a perfect example of the careless management of a site that takes money from customers and then fails to deliver.  It is indefensible.  They launched a PR blitz to a site that loaded so slowly it often timed out.  Shop features were missing that were paid for, and customers were told to pay again to enable them.  Search didn't recognize plurals.  Full legal names were exposed.  As were emails, just ripe for the picking of spammers, photos and banners a mess.  Error messages and surprise downtimes.  Just to name a PORTION of the bugs.

To make matters worse, some of the intentional changes seem designed to confuse, at best, or mislead.  Days before the relaunch, there were under 8,000 shops (many abandoned or "name holders").  At relaunch, prospective sellers are urged to join 43,000 plus "creatives".  Now, elsewhere on the internet, the owners had claimed there were 10,000 shops, so their math has always been questionable.  But 43,000?  Requests for how they came up with this number were ignored.  Zibbet did respond via a tweet.  Here it is: 43,944 sellers have joined Zibbet over the years. Amazing! Look out for that number to keep growing faster & faster!" What's amazing is that they actually publish this number. There were less than 8,000 sellers last week, meaning that over 35,000 sellers have come and gone! 8,000 sellers, many empty, many place holders, many with banners directing to their Etsy shop. PS, Zibbet, glad you are enjoying my blog.

The shops no longer show how many items they sold, making it impossible for a prospective investor in the site to make an educated decision about whether it works for sellers or not.  And they can't access the off-site forums unless they sign up and are approved, and they won't see a balanced discussion if they do.  The owners have muted "negative" shopkeepers, and coached a handful of users in a private forum, to bully any "negative" posters (trolls, as the owner Andrew Gray characterized them), and manipulate by posting la-las and games to bury meaty business posts.

And that handful of users, instead of demanding excellence in a site they invest time and money in, conspire to keep it performing poorly.  By trying to beat down, silence, threaten and bully those who do demand the site perform.  By questioning their sanity, their business sense, their ethics.  And accepting anything dished out.

Because apparently pretending a site is excellent is preferable to demanding that it rise to the opportunity it had and perform excellently.  Tweeting and pinning and buying each others' items in a pathetic attempt to bring in traffic that they should demand the owners bring in just by providing a credible, working site.  Why?

Instead of asking themselves why there is such outrage over the site's management, they defend it.  (Does it really help a site for owners to publicly lie and trash sellers they banned from their forums?) Instead of demanding the owners step up and perform basic public relations fence mending, they try amateurish bullying behavior to try and cowl furious customers who want their money back.  Even this disastrous relaunch keeps them on message.

Why?  Some have suggested it is a C3 church thing, some have suggested there is a financial incentive, some have suggested it's the charismatic owners taking advantage of lonely people.

I don't have any evidence of any of it.  I did learn recently that the one who sent me emails threatening not only to sue me but to have me arrested (and I suppose, extradited to Florida for tweeting) bragged that she was in daily telephone conversations with one of the owners.

But I have no proof of that, not being in on those conversations.

What I do know is this:  Zibbet has failed to become a credible alternative and the relaunch just confirms that they either aren't up to the task or never had any intention to.  And so it fails at the most glorious opportunity they will ever have.

But more and more are suggesting that it doesn't matter to the owners how subpar the site is as long as there's another "mark" to buy a membership, since that's how they make THEIR money. 

All of us would have benefited from real competition to Etsy, and it will never happen.  Because instead of demanding excellence from its owners, that very vocal and active group made excuses for them, like a doting mom and a spoiled child.  (Oh, officer, my baby would NEVER go over the speed limit!) And the sad thing is, everyone who sells handmade, vintage and supplies is let down.  Because of an inexplicable conspiracy to try to convince people that less is more.  That a few successful sellers is proof that the site works.  That subpar is really acceptable.  The botched relaunch is merely a nail on the coffin.  Either by plan or sheer ignorance, the owners have failed us all.  And we have that group of support-at-any-cost folks to thank for that.

Because instead of joining those demanding excellence from a site that had the opportunity to be just that, they chose to make excuses for it.  And that I will never understand.

Friday, July 25, 2014

What's the truth about Zibbet? I want a refund!

Happy I didn't waste money or time on Zibbet!
If you're thinking about investing your time or money in Zibbet, then I would invite you to read this blog from the bottom up.  Then, google for other blogs where real owners describe their experiences.

I personally want my money back.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Or, Don't Read the Zibbet Forums, Owners Jonathan Peacock and Pastor Andrew Gray Close the Doors

Zibbet makes me sad
In my last post (again, I thought my last one on this subject) I invited anyone thinking of selling handmade or vintage or supplies at Zibbet to read their forums, in addition to googling and reading about the experience of others who have given it a try.

But last night, the Zibbet forums doors were closed by the owners, Jonathan Peacock and Andrew Gray.  Apparently, some observations about how the owners of Zibbet made their money from unsuspecting newbies were not appreciated.  So instead of answering the questions and comments, Peacock and Gray just put a padlock on the door. 

And they won't open it for anyone whom they have suspended.  Which is anyone who's questioned how the money we gave them is being spent, why the services we paid for weren't provided, and why the traffic and sales are just SO BAD.  Or anyone they just don't like, apparently, even people who have never posted in their forums!

So if you wanted to check out the Zibbet forums, you are out of luck unless you're willing to sign up to read them.  But really, why bother?  Does a "say only nicey-nice things about this site you invested in, or else you aren't allowed to READ, much less POST" forum really provide any data for you to use?  Uh, no.  And what's particularly sad is that there isn't much nicey-nice to read either.  Hours and hours pass with nary a peep except for self promotions ("I need to pay my bills, buy from me") and ("Show me your pink items and I'll show you mine"), which somehow passes as professional marketing in Zibbet land now.  Unless someone asks a real question, then a flurry of comments before the post is closed by the owners and the questioner quickly muted and denied access to even read.  No real discussion allowed!!!

So, no worries! I take back my earlier advice to visit them.  Don't even bother with the Zibbet forums, they are officially useless.  There's plenty of info, real analysis, real facts, including screen shots, all over the internet.  Again, I'd invite you to read this blog from the bottom up.  Do a search in the Etsy forums, where the Zibbet BoyZ can't zip up lips they don't like.  Take a peek at Twitter.  There's lots of info out there on Zibbet, you don't have to have a secret password and pledge of undying love and loyalty to find it!  And then decide if your time and money are worth it.  Robin

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Giving Up on Zibbet was Hard to Do

Zibbet makes me sad.
It's been two months since I last blogged about Zibbet and I really thought I'd be "over it" by now.  But I'm not.  Yes, I'm selling a bit of vintage on Etsy (and a lot of pet and house portraits).  More vintage selling on ebay.  LOTS more. 

But I wanted to sell on Zibbet.  I invested in the promise...and promises...of Zibbet, and watching it slide back into oblivion makes me angry.  So unnecessary.  Like witnessing a teenager who self destructs - so needless, so sad, pathetic and wasteful.  Every site stat is going backwards.

The owners seem to think that if they finally do relaunch the site, it will solve all their problems.  Their self-inflicted problems.  They had some of the best, brightest and energetic sellers buy into Zibbet last fall and they alienated almost every one of them. 

By doing nothing to promote sales.  Nothing to promote Vintage.  And the strangest public relations from any owners of a business most of us have ever seen.

The owners, Jonathan Peacock and Andrew Gray oddly thought that by revamping their forums to be "positive" and muting people would draw savvy sellers.  Today I looked at it, zero activity in the Business forum.   The only forum with life ... if you call posts 4 hours ago life ... is the Promotion one.  Forums matter.  It's the little window into the site, and when the owners take it upon themselves to moderate them, it's a little window into the management of the site.  And the view in has been a horror show, or a lesson in what NOT to do to maintain and gain paying customers.

In this case, Owners who call sellers "trolls" in a secret forum they conspired in with other sellers, designed to artificially keep sellers from speaking their truth about the site and pit seller against seller.  And then publicly mock those who say the owners are doing just that.  (Screen shots sure can come in handy!)

Owners who publicly discuss their company's personnel issues and their failure to hire competent staff, or manage the project, so blame their employees for the debacle.  Owners who made time to patrol forums, private group posts, twitter posts, to mute discussions, join in on private forums to name call their customers, but can't find the time to oversee the project that ALL of their customer's livelihood depends on.  And that we paid for.

Owners who publicly discuss paying customers who they have decided to mute from their forum, allowing a virtual feeding frenzy on rumor and untruths go unchecked, and the victims unable to respond.  For instance, floating a rumor that one of us attacked another seller on the Zibbet forums, using profanities, which interestingly was never seen by anyone, nor been substantiated.  Yet that rumor keeps being whispered down the lane, like 12 year olds at a slumber party.

Owners who mute sellers who warned that a Google rep told them that  Zibbet's partnership with a pay-for-links scheme site would very likely result in "punishment" for all items on Zibbet in Google searches.  Owners who deleted that warning. 

Owners who wait until they are "outed" on their own forums before disclosing ugly things...like that they support controversial political views and tweeted about them connecting our Zibbet shops with that ugliness.

Or that they were not providing services they charged us for.

Or that they were not meeting the deadline they advertised for the rebuild, not even close.  Not until confronted on the forums were these issues disclosed.

There was a reason so many of us invested MONEY in Zibbet. It was the promises there, the potential there and the direction Etsy was heading.  Etsy is still heading in that direction, the promises are still being made at Zibbet, but the potential was not only halted, but put into reverse.

I wanted it to work and I'm angry it obviously won't.  Because I spent $237 in good faith and so did lots of other sellers.  A waste.  All I have left from my Zibbet dreams is the ability to warn others.  If you are thinking about investing your time or money there, I'd invite you to read this blog from the bottom up.  You'll see screen shots that are fact, not rumor.  I'd invite you to google and read others' warnings about the site.  I'd invite you to visit their forums.

And if after that, you want to invest in it, well, all the best to you.  At least you have info that we didn't have last fall about the site.  There are a few folks who sell well enough at Zibbet as a second site to keep a presence there.  But it could have been sooooo much more.  And it should have been, for all the money we invested.



Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Does Zibbet do well in Google Searchs? A review and another few tests.

First off, please remember that Google remembers us and shows us what it thinks we want to see.  This means that searching for our own items is likely to result in artificial results for how our items are showing to our buyers.  For this reason, to run these tests, I use things that I don't sell.  I'd love to hear if your tests on someone else's items are similar or different from mine.

Fact.  As of today there are 839  listings for "lampwork earrings" on Zibbet.  I pick this because I'm a fan and often search for new ones to buy.  So I googled that term.  It's how I, as a buyer, shop for new earrings. It's not how Zibbet owner, Jonathan Peacock says buyers shop, but, hey.

So I searched for "lampwork earrings" and here's what I see. 
First I see...

that every page in Google search results shows photos of 4 different lampwork earrings from Etsy or another site, the PHOTOS of them are in the Google Shopping.  Zibbet does not provide this advertising to its customers like Etsy does.  (Although it advertised that it did when it wasn't (have screen shots, J and A)).   So in this search, on every page, I was shown different, gorgeous photos of lampwork earrings, 60 of them.  And if you click on one, you go right to that item to buy.

As a buyer, I probably wouldn't even bother scrolling down the regular search results, I've already clicked on a cute set of earrings I SAW and am shopping at their Etsy shop.  But say I did scroll down to "regular google".   In 15 pages, or 148 results, only ONE listing for a Zibbet item shows.  On page 4.  839 Zibbet listings, only one result in Google for as far as any buyer is likely to search.  Ahead of that lone Zibbet listing are etsy, ebay, alibaba, amazon, artfire, THE FIND.COM, etc.  and dozens and dozens of stand alone websites and blogs, flickr photos, etc.

 Get to the bottom off page 15, and Google gives this message:

In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 148 already displayed.
If you like, you can
repeat the search with the omitted results included.

 
Wha????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

 

Think your potential customer hasn't already clicked on someone else's by now?  That they are going to REPEAT the search?

Next, I took one of the "most relevant" of those earrings in the ZIBBET search and pasted the exact title into Google search.  "Lampwork Pink Rose Earrings".  The "long tail tag" search that Zibbet owner Jonathan Peacock claims will do the trick and get items from Zibbet found.  Also because they are darned cute!

There are 16 "lampwork pink rose earrings" items at Zibbet search results.  At google, however  10 pages later, those earrings never appeared.  NEVER.  Cut and pasted the exact title and it's invisible for 10 pages of google results!

Again, only ONE Zibbet item showed, on Page 5 (from one of my favorite sellers, yay!).  Curiously, the ONE Zibbet item that showed in Google doesn't show in Zibbet's Own SEARCH using the identical search terms! (they are stunning earrings, by the way!).

 By the time I got to the bottom of Page 10, some pretty non-relevant things were showing, things like photographs that included the words "pink" and "rose".  And again, I've been shown gorgeous lampwork pink rose earrings photos from Etsy.  44 of them.  Think I haven't already clicked on one and gone to Etsy to shop? 

 

SO WHY AREN'T ZIBBET ITEMS SHOWING ON GOOGLE???  WHAT is going on here???? 

But wait! Here's a work around solution provided in the Zibbet forums!  Apparently, NING, the independent site that hosts the Zibbet forums, is in better favor with google.  Because, if you post your items on the Ning-hosted Zibbet forums, they can be found by google!  Or you can post them on Pinterest or Flickr.  Where somehow, the search terms Jonathan Peacock thinks can't be found for our Zibbet items, CAN be found. 

I will say it again and have several times. 
Putting photos on the bottom of the Community board here on main page with a link and having people comment Google picks it up immediately. 
Extremely important tool like a Billboard IMHO. 
Sandy 

So why aren't our Zibbet showing on Google within a reasonable amount of pages?  Why do we have to use an independent site like Ning or Pinterest to capture Google's interest and then redirect to your Zibbet items?  Why isn't Zibbet capturing Google's interest?  (I am not saying the Zibbet items aren't picked up EVER on google, but the back of the pack is the opposite place we need to be!) And all the competitors, standalones and blogs seem to be able to?  People with zero IT, engineering skill or internet interfacing skill or even the ability to build their own sites, are getting found BEFORE ZIBBET.  Why? 

Ask the owners.  And demand a REAL answer.  Them telling you that YOU need to work on YOUR SEO is not it.  Ask them what, exactly, is the issue and what, exactly, Zibbet is doing about these dismal results? 
I'd ask them myself but I was muted from their forums for asking questions like that, apparently.
But, look.  Don't take my word for it.  Run these tests yourself (unless you sell lampwork or earrings, because your results will be substantially different).  Or pick other things BUYERS search for.
I'll publish your results.
Whether they agree with mine or not.
You have my word.  Because I'd just like to get to the bottom of this.  And again, I want my money back.