Saturday, 23 November 2013

Zaps progress and history

let's get promoting...

I thought I'd write a quick(!) post about my Zaps journey now that it's been launched and I've got its marketing plan fully under way...

You can find out all about Zaps and (as at Nov 2013) apply for a free tryout license via the Zaps - Zazzle Automatic Promotion System link at the top of this blog.


June - Zazzle announced up-coming changes to their volume bonus mechanism and at the same time told all storekeepers to promote their gear like crazy to help make up for the lost VB income. But they didn't give us storekeeprs any tools to help us.

July - Zazzle changes kick in. I started to research online tools that would help me promote.  I looked at systems like Hootsuite, Twitterfeed, Tweetdeck, Gremlin and others which, between them, give scheduled sharing / posting, sharing from one social source to others and so on.

But the major drawback of each of them was that tracking codes were a pain. What's the point of putting major effort into lots of promoting and social engagement when you don't know what's working and what's not? And it it was still way too time-consuming juggling them all and having to keep copying and pasting codes all over the place.

All that time spent meant I wasn't engaging much socially - and making stuff on Zazzle suffered too.

I wanted a magic solution to meet my major needs as a Zazzle storekeeper:

  • Once set up, little or no maintenance - posts / shares would flow by themselves
  • Must support tracking codes properly (and, of course, referrer ids)
  • Must allow sharing down the major social media channels (Google+ being the exception by my choice)
  • Must support the major blog platforms Blogger and Wordpress
  • Must allow flexible selection of products to promote, including from market place, named store, specific store category 
August - I started to develop my own system by mashing up free online tools.
End August - Zaps guinea pigs round 1 participants sought via the Z forum
Early September - Zaps guinea pigs round 2 participants sought via the Z forum
November 10th - Zaps launch party took place with Tryout Zaps announced!

So here we are, three months since Zazzle made their announcement. After weeks and weeks and weeks of blood, sweat and tears I was able to build the Zaps tool to do all those things (and more!) and in very flexible ways. I actually exceeded my own expectations!

Next steps with Zaps

Where do we go from here...

The full Zaps (Zaps Pro)

I'm continuing to develop new features - I recently announced a Zap for pulling from Amazon's Goldbox programme - Daily Deals for Amazon affiliates. Also one for drawing from your Skreened pod store.

I'll be doing more as I come across other pods that let me!


I sent out a newsletter today to those who signed up for the free tryout of Zaps, giving hints and tips and some background.

On Christmas Day, the free tryout of Zaps comes to an end. I'll be providing a migration path for those who want to upgrade to the paid-for version. And with a novel way to pay (basically get it for free when you spend enough in the outerspace section of my store)

Happy Zazzling,
Happy Zapping!

comments, likes, +1s, tweets are always welcome! :)


  1. I like the idea but my friend and business partner Debra Miller said she could not figure out your system. She knows so much more about all this that if she can't figure it out, I feel there is no hope for me :P I have urged her to keep trying!

  2. Hey Ted, thanks for saying so. Get your partner to get in touch so I can provide my second-to-none hand-holding service :)
    I'm told I'm really patient and good at explaining things. Often it's just one thing that's the sticking point so let me help...

  3. Hi there Mark. She saw my post and will renew her efforts to make it work. I believe you have been in touch with her in the past. And yes, she says you are a very nice person! I am only good at taking pictures...well I guess not everyone would think so....but all the internet marketing things are beyond me at the moment. But I am learning!


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