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The Value of a CafePress Store ($5 or Whatever You Make of It)

Posted by Melanie Phung on Sunday, March 18, 2007 at 8:31 pm

I was taking a look at one of my company’s competitors recently and noticed they were using CafePress to sell merchandise with their logo on it. They’re a relatively small site, not one I’d expect to have a fan club, so I did a search on the company’s name to confirm a hunch and saw that the CafePress store ranked very well.

My theory is that the company is using the CafePress domain to help dominate the results for brand searches. I.e., In order to control what potential customers see when they search for your name, you want to dominate the top results and prevent any potentially negative sites from ranking. (Negative sites like that extortion scheme run by Ed Magedson — whom I like to call Ed the Maggot — that tries to pass itself off as a consumer advocacy website. But never mind, that’s a different story.)

I’ve also seen at least one individual do this, although I don’t remember who. But I do remember noticing that this person (or whoever was in charge of his “brand” management) advertised the CafePress store with Google PPC ads. Weird.

There are a number of ways to dominate the first page or two of search results on your own or your company’s name, and it appears creating a CafePress store is one such avenue.

Looking at the company’s CafePress store reminded me of two things: First, I set up a CafePress store many months ago just to see how it worked, and hadn’t checked how that was going for a while. And second, and probaby more interesting to my reader(s), there was a great series of articles in late 2005 by Search Engine Guide author Jennifer Laycock.

In the write-ups she chronicles how she sets up an online business from scratch with no start-up money whatsoever, using only the online marketing techniques she writes about on her blog. After weighing eBay and AdSense as options, she settles on CafePress as the way to go.

I’ve recommended these articles to a number of people who wanted to get started promoting their own projects online. Using only the techniques she shares freely with anyone who is interested, and starting with no special advantages, she proves that it really is possible for just about anyone to succeed in building a small income-generating business with nothing but a little elbow-grease.

As for my own CafePress store, I checked into my account and was surprised and just a little bit giddy to see that I had made five bucks even though I’d never bothered to promote the shop or any of its products. Someone bought a pack of cards. (whoohoo: $5!)

Use my affiliate link to create your own CafePress store — either to sell stuff or just to create another site that you can optimize to rank well for your name. Setup of a basic store is free.

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