The Competition Monster

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July 8, 2015 at 6:57 AM #22769

Anna

The Competition Monster has ambushed me with a gut-wrenching dilemma: whether the THP Bazaar should reveal or conceal multiple revivals of the same face developed by different Partners.

From the beginning, my policy on this issue has been consistent:

Preservation of pre-digital typefaces is far too important to acknowledge—much less accommodate—any perception of commercial rivalry.

  • A site-wide search feature would enable original tradename keywords.
  • Results would assemble links to all fonts with the same original tradename(s) as documented in the “Revival History” panel of every font [example].
  • Consequently, Partners’ work would be exposed to alternate purchase options.
  • THP must prevent this Bad Thing and find another way to assist patrons seeking revivals of letterpress, transfer-type and photo-lettering designs.
  • There shall be no search feature at the THP Bazaar site.
  • A comprehensive system of nested browsing menus shall be substituted.

Logistic Downsides

MenuDetail

The THP Bazaar pledges verification of revival authenticity. Besides historical documentation of each font, dozens of educational articles on Styles, Periods, Designers and Producers will be published there. Preliminary examples:

Inevitably, multiple revivals of the same face will appear together on such pages. Obscuring their similarity would require a great deal of extra work:

  • Partners must furnish several unique specimens to preempt comparison with existing and future fonts.
  • Manual selection of specimens, manual building and manual updating of every related article.
  • This chore may become prohibitively time-consuming for THP to maintain.
  • Errors and omissions are unavoidable.
  • Perhaps a trusted volunteer would undertake these tasks.
  • More realistically, THP must hire someone to do so.
  • The thought of granting the “keys to the store” to a mercenary stranger is very scarey: The entire collection could be pirated and uploaded to a usenet group.

Marketing Downsides

From the beginning, colleagues expert in eCommerce have advised that THP’s “no competition|no search feature” policy is counter-productive for all concerned:

  • To sell Anything to Anyone, it must be easy to FIND—INSTANTLY.
  • Otherwise, potential patrons’ brief attention spans soon turn elsewhere.
  • Not providing a search feature is just-plain crazy.
  • End of story. Period.

From the beginning, I have ignored such “nay-sayers” and proceeded as planned.

The Turning Point

Recently, I consulted a genius who knew how to listen. She asked the right questions, understood my concerns and painted the Big Picture:

  • THP and Partners have worked hard to produce the THP Bazaar and the rare fonts it represents.
  • This history-intensive venue is a valuable resource for a significant niche of graphic designers, collectors and scholars.
  • Some may not have the historical knowledge to find what they want by browsing.
  • Don’t confuse, over-work or annoy them.
  • Everyone contributing to this project deserves the maximum-possible number of sales.
  • Lack of a site-wide search feature may reduce sales volume to a minimum.
  • Without search-ability, no keywords including digital tradenames may be queried.
  • Partners represented elsewhere may protest this limitation.
  • There must be a “level playing ground” for all Partners.
  • A search engine is the best guarantee of impartiality.
  • Configure the options to query all THP and Partners‘ sites including flickr.com.

The Winning “Spin”

Then this genius suggested a brilliant solution. Instead of regarding multiple revivals as threats to Partners, welcome them as a Good Thing that helps them—and patrons too:

  • Applaud an abundance of available revivals.
  • Present specimens with the assumption that patrons intend to purchase all related fonts.
  • Bundle them as a range of weights, alternate letterforms, charsets, etc.
  • Offer a bargain price for this option (objections?).

Historical information uniquely equips the THP Bazaar to cross-reference such fonts, unite them and market them accordingly.

Poof!

I have been duly convinced to adopt the Winning Spin approach. When implemented, all Logistic Downsides described above will disappear (as soon as the plugin needed for the final presentation hassle is discovered). Thereafter, specimens illustrated in educational articles will be displayed automatically according to properties assigned as EDD Features, which are applied only once—eliminating the need for assistance as well as the likelihood of errors and omissions.

Objections?

If YOU disagree with this critical decision or foresee a “backfire,” please speak NOW by responding below.


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