Saturday, September 5, 2009

Am I or am I not?

As most of you guys know Stampin' Up! asked it's demonstrators to sign a new Independent Demonstrator Agreement by Oct 1st. I'll have to be honest with ya that at first, some of the content of my blog that they were trying to control was too much for me and apparently for other people as well as lots of people were complaining. Well, happily for me they changed their mind and revised a couple of things. The following is an excerpt from the fabulous Janine Tinklenberg's blog post that will explain the changes much better than I ever could (it is long!). Please read it all...it will probably answer all your questions, too!

***Start JanTink's wonderful explanation***

So what did they say last night, Shelli (may she live forever!), Dale Fillmore (that old guy, LOL!), and Pam Morgan? They said that YES we can link to our friends blogs, YES we can link up to sites like Splitcoaststampers, Stampin' Addicts, and Craft Critique! We can link anywhere that does NOT sell competitive products and have a shopping cart or Buy Now button on the site.

We can even design for other companies, we just can't blog about it. While there are many internet companies that would not accept this for design team members, there are still more traditional companies that are always looking for display stampers. Your creations can go on their boards at stamping convention and even be posted on their websites WITH YOUR NAME ON IT and this is not a violation of policy. You can also submit them for publication just as before.

So what are the don'ts? It's fairly simple:

1) Don't link up to places that actually sell on their site. So SCS? That's fine. Scrapbook.com? Nope...they have a web store. Your friend's blog who sells a competing product? Link away! Your friend's business website where she actually sells that product? No linky. Easy peasy, lemon squeezie!

And this includes only competing product. So your friend's website where she sells handcrafted tomato cages autographed by an NBA superstar who loves tomatoes, each one painstakingly created from gen-you-whine copper imported from Michigan's Upper Peninsula, with tiny beads made by Hungarian peasants with their own crafts cooperative hanging off the wires that chime gently in the breeze and organically scare away insects?!?! YES, you may link to that website.

But if she adds a line of stamps depicting tomatoes, or NBA superstars eating tomatoes, or patterned paper with tomatoes on it...then you have a problem. Not just with SU!, but with tomatoes...you need to eat something else for a balanced diet. Because too many tomatoes will....well...never mind! Smiley from millan.net

2) When you post a project using other companies stamps, or supplies, there are particular rules that apply. SU! encourages it's demos not to be too specific about who the manufacturer is, what the price was, and where you bought it. That's it. If you happen to mention it, you will not suffer a painful death while Pam Morgan turns the rack. Probably, nothing will happen at all. People who ABUSE the policy are the ones that will have their turn on the rack! (I AM KIDDING!) There is a bit of a gray area here and its called "incidental use".

Now, if I use someone OTHER company's embossing folder on the card I post and I say, "Swiss Dots embossing folder" that is just fine. What I can't say is "Provocraft Cuttlebug Swiss Dots Embossing Folder bought at Michael's with a coupon for 40% off, here is a link to their website, here is a link to the coupon, OMGosh go buy one today!!!' Then I have a problem. But when have I ever said anything like this? NEVER. Doesn't bother me.

And look, I just mentioned a competing company on my blog! And it's okay, because a) it's INCIDENTAL and b) I did not LINK to those companies. And the STAMPIN UP! police have not shown up!!! WOW!

Of course, if one of my lovely readers sees my reference to the "Swiss Dots embossing folder" and says, "OMGosh I NEED TO KNOW WHO MAKES THAT!!! I want to buy one today, this minute, I will sell all my children's Pokemon cards on Ebay so I can buy it!!!!", all that lovely reader needs to do is to email me and ask, "Who, O who, Jan (insert Lorie here), my idol, my queen, makes that beautiful embossing folder you had on your card of yesterday? I really REALLY NEED TO KNOW!!! PLEASE! PLEASE! I'll send CHOCOLATE!!! I'll DO ANYTHING!!!" and I will, of course, tell you who makes it and I will be perfectly in compliance. Ask me where I got it and I will direct you to Google, where I am sure you will be able to find a vendor without a problem. If you do have a problem, just email me back!

I've also seen some people saying, "But if I don't list a stamp manufacturer when I post a card, I violate their angel policy!!" Angel policies cover commercial use of stamps, not personal. If you are making and posting? No violation not to put a name and/or copyright on your picture. Making and selling? Yes, not putting the copyright info on there somewhere would be a violation.

I know there are people who are complaining that it violates their right to free speech. This is the thing: there are situations everywhere that take way your right to free speech. Anytime you sign a contract, chances are there is a clause in there to prevent you from saying something to someone about something. If you are a demo and you signed the old IDA, you already traded away your ability to say whatever you want in a workshop. You did it to get a discount on the best stamps on the planet (well...that's just MY opinion). You can't walk into a customer's home, say, "I know I'm a SU! demo, but I really want you to buy my friend Sally's stamps from her company instead!" It's in your contract already. If I had a problem with signing contracts that prevent me from saying what I want, I would probably end up staying in my house all day and never leaving. And someday, they would find me, half-eaten by Alsatians.Smiley from millan.net

Now how is SU! going to police this? Are they going to go around reading my personal emails, Facebook page, newsletters, posts on web forums, letters to my cousin Patti (hi Patti!) and this blog? Smiley from millan.net

The answer is a resounding NO. This is all based on the honor system. It will work much as the old way of monitoring Ebay used to be. They will deal with referrals for abuse and only come down hard on the rampant violators of the policy. . And I'm talking about people who regularly link to competing websites. Not people who list the occasional other company's product in their ingredient list.

***End JanTink's fabulous explanation!***

As you can see the new contract is more restrictive but still allows the freedom for me to stamp with whatever I want, post it to share with you all, and even link to all of my friends blogs...perfect for me as you guys were the biggest consideration. I did not want to lose the ability to link to my friends!

So, what does this mean for limeLIGHT Papercrafts and I? Well, it means that after I sign the new IDA that I can no longer be on a design team for them as it is my agreement that I design for them in return for product in their store AND I will link to the product in the store for your easy reference in where to purchase it. So, with that information the sketch and product challenge of September 17th will be my last official act as a design team member with LLPC. I am excited though as I can still play along in the challenges on the blog...woot!

And, since you've read this far...I've started thinking about how I'm going to celebrate my 40th birthday with you all so even though it is still a month away start anticipating now!

One last thing...I'm sure you've noticed that I haven't been posting quite as much recently. I believe that will be a new trend for me. I love ya all but with school starting and new things happening for me I will be a little more limited with my time.

Now, go...have a wonderful Labor Day weekend but DO NOT FORGET to stop back here on Sunday to see my limeLIGHT Papercrafts big project for the month!

8 comments that make my day!:

Sparkle said...

I really hope that people don't really sell crafted tomatoe cages, lol. This whole thing cracked me up.

I'm really happy that you're staying a demo! Have a great weekend dearie...is it raining for you too?

Sue from Oregon said...

Yeah, you is! LOL

sorry about LL, but I do love SU! too! that is where my roots are!

bsgstamps4fun: Barb Gault said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. Having been a demo with SU only since March and basicly a hobby one at that, I was upset at first because I have made so many friends including you through the blogs, challenges & postings of many companies. I read the chatter on fb and realized one of the things I liked most about stamping is the freedom it allows. I previously was a consultant for a scrapbook company that did not offer the creativity that I found on SCS, SNSS, PCP etc. After reading Shelli's comments and listening to her talk, I felt more comfortable about signing the new contract, which I did. Then I read Jan's explanation on fb which spelled it out in plain talk, reaffirming my decision to sign. It will be interesting to see how this plays out with friends.
Hugs and blessings,

Kelly L aka Littlekel90 said...

Not being a demo, I hadn't read about all the hub-bub, but I am glad you and JanTink (she's a riot, isn't she?!) shared it with us.

Danni said...

I'm glad you have made a decision that works for you. Hugs!!
Can't wait to celebrate your bday with you...I had a wonderful one so I hope yours is even better!

ryannmarin said...

Well I think it's a bummer you will be leaving us, but I wish you the best in everything that you do!

Lori Barnett said...

Now that there's funny...I don't care who ya are!

Lisa H. said...

I'm so glad you were able to make a choice that makes you happy, Lorie. I'll be sad to see you go, BUT I know we'll still see you around. Hugs to you!