[Lab] Introducing TugBits.com - a marketplace for makers.

Darcy Whyte darcy at siteware.com
Wed Jun 8 16:01:54 EDT 2011

A fair percentage would depend on how much value you're adding in the
chain. I'm not convinced people will adopt above ebay or etsy with anything
near 25%. You might use ebay/etsy pricing model and pricing level as a

But you're value will be much less than theirs initially since they are
already a "shopping district" or a destination for buyers.

Business wise, there's another issue to look at. Technical stuff (maker
kinda stuff), would not be single page product description. Users would want
to link back to their information pages, support pages, example pages and
such. So after you've created the route to your user's Web offerings, the
buyer may buy direct.

Actually, there is another issue for sellers who list on sites like etsy. I
once went to a sellers own Web site which directed me to etsy to make an
actual purchase. Etsy provided barriers. I had to register there before I
could buy. Had the seller just put a paypal button on their product page,
we'd be good to go and I'd have purchased right there. Instead I was put off
by the extra friction that this extra layer provided. It's another party,
another mouth to feed, another potential spammer, another potential security
issue, another password, more confirmation emails, another delay.

I came back a few days later (because the product was very unique.. WATER
MOLECULE EARRINGS), and I registered at Etsy. With all the clicking around
and looking at competitive stuff, I didn't make the purchase yet because I
wanted to shop more.

The seller is loosing sales from their Web site in this case because etsy is
a distraction. But on the other hand etsy may find them buyers (from some
other competitive Web site or from a person where etsy was their shopping

A already know the value proposition that the seller gave in too in the
water molecule earring example. They are a multi skew vendor and they can
manage their inventory and a large number of products through etsy.

For the single skew seller (typical of inventors), putting a paypal buy
button on the page is way more effective.

I think simplicity may have some value but it needs to be very simple. Much
easier than grabbing a pay button from the paypal interface and slapping it
on a page.

It's so easy to get a site together for selling stuff. It just needs
wordpress and a paypal plugin and you're good to go. Actually, Paypal has
enough tools to add pay buttons to any site so once a user gets through the
paypal hurdle, they can even make a single page site to sell their product

To overcome all this you'd have to become a shopping destination (like
ebay). You mentioned that you'd be promoting the site. What are your plans
for that?

On Wed, Jun 8, 2011 at 2:38 PM, Tom Burns <tom.i.burns at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Darcy, thank you for your response!
> On Wed, Jun 8, 2011 at 1:53 PM, Darcy Whyte <darcy at siteware.com> wrote:
>> The site looks nice.
>> 25%? You might find that wanting 1/4 of sale amounts will provide
>> significant friction to adoption (for buyers and sellers).
>  I understand and agree.  Once we are running for awhile we will have some
> knowledge of our costs and plan on scaling our cut accordingly.  We'd rather
> claim 25% up front and bring it lower in the future than vice-versa and be
> accused of bait & switch.  Out of interest, considering the service offered,
> what would you consider to be a fair percentage?
>> It doesn't have any measures for authenticity (ebay has reviews, web pages
>> have in-degree). How can buyers and sellers have as much confidence as they
>> have with ebay without those measures?
> The state of the site right now is "minimal viable product", so a lot of
> features are missing but planned.  Buyers will be able to rate items, and a
> seller's rating will be a weighted average of their item's ratings.  As of
> right now a logged-in user can comment on an item which gives a simple means
> to provide feedback, but a lot more is planned.
>> If a person were to list a product for sale on their own Web site, why
>> would your Web site sell more? Especially given that having a Web site is
>> either free or next to nothing and you keep all the revenue.
> We offer a few benefits compared to doing it yourself:
> - We are actively marketing this website.  Our success is derived from your
> success, so we are trying hard to drive customers to our site, to buy your
> product.
> - Marketplace visibility.  You will gain exposure by having your items
> listed alongside other similar items.
> - Simplicity.  You want to spend your time designing and building things,
> not writing PayPal integration code.
> - Security.  Items purchased with our service are only downloadable by the
> buyer.  The payload content is stored on Amazon's S3 servers and without a
> generated download key, access is denied.
>> I clicked through to the "Domain Name Finder" product at your site.
>> What you've done there is avoided putting the name of the product in the
>> Title Metatag. You put your own buyline there instead. You also didn't put
>> product name or information in the H1 tag. In fact you have a blank H1 tag.
>> With that situation, it reduces the chance that someone can google the
>> product successfully.
> Thanks!  That is completely a bug.  I've added it to our immediate TODO
> list.  We need to fix our SEO, I completely agree.  You should see a fix for
> this in the next 48 hours.
>> So what would be the reason someone would list on your site rather than
>> just make a simple site of their own?
> The list I provided above enumerates what I see as our advantages.  It's a
> good question!
> Cheers,
> Tom
>> Darcy
>> On Wed, Jun 8, 2011 at 1:25 PM, Tom Burns <tom.i.burns at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> I'd like to introduce the community to a website I've been working on
>>> with a few friends.  I would love to hear your feedback on the idea and the
>>> site, http://www.tugbits.com .
>>> Our dream goal is to help people quit their desk jobs and pay their bills
>>> doing what they love, making things.
>>> TugBits.com is a digital marketplace for makers.  You upload your design
>>> files, list them for sale, and collect money via PayPal when your item
>>> sells.  Likewise, you can use the site to find quality, reviewed designs
>>> suitable for printing on your 3d printer, milling on your CNC, running on
>>> your Arduino, etc.  Also suitable would be e-books, schematics, source code
>>> libraries and tools, etc.  Only after the PayPal transaction is the buyer
>>> able to download the files.  There are no physical items sold on the TugBits
>>> store, only files.
>>> Our goal is to help talented makers easily profit from their hard work.
>>>  We do not want to replace the existing "free/open source" model, but we
>>> want to augment it. We think that if you can get paid for your work it will
>>> compel you to go the extra step and make it that much better.  Market driven
>>> innovation.
>>> Registering and listing items is free.  We charge 25% of your gross
>>> revenue and bill monthly.  Depending on our costs and community feedback
>>> this number is probably going to change, but it's similar to the costs
>>> associated with putting an app on an app store or a musician listing with
>>> iTunes.
>>> Currently you can register on the site and list items for sale, which is
>>> what I would love for any of you interested to do.  We are in the final
>>> stages of getting PayPal to sign off on the site, at which point sellers
>>> will be able to collect money and items will be able to be sold.
>>> Please visit the site and let me know what you think!  Even if you hate
>>> it, please reply to tell me why.
>>> Thank you,
>>> Tom Burns
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Lab mailing list
>>> Lab at artengine.ca
>>> http://artengine.ca/mailman/listinfo/lab
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