How to sell digital goods

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Why did I migrate from Easy Digital Downloads to WooCommerce ?

I ‘m a webdesigner in love with digitalart. I’m still selling in a comfortable way my images (photos, illustrations, vintage stuff, 3D renderings) at micro-stock and stock agencies.
But my goal is to sell also by myself. As I can buildup websites, I launched AntikStock to sell a niche of mine: my illustrations restored and elaborated from the huge antique book collection of my property.

At a first glance Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) would really look the easy way to sell downloadable goods. But a rather disturbing (arithmetical!) issue (*) popping up changed my point of view and induced me to look seriously for alternatives and compare performances.

While comparing I found out that WooCommerce offers not only a quite solid E-commerce platform for virtual downloadable goods, but also much more interesting features free of charge.

A few examples: :

  • to duplicate a product to sell with WooCommerce is free, on EDD you have to pay 29usd/year only for this simple feature!
  • to comply with the EU VAT rules is free of charge, no way can EDD compete for free
  • cross-sells and upsells are included, no need to pay for the corresponding EDD options anymore.

I could go on further, I would just add that I completed seamlessy my migration owning an elegant new shop with many more features totally free of charge and – the cherry on top – with a beautiful free image zoom.

(*) As you may know, selling digitally downloadable goods in EU imposes a set of pretty complicated rules made by bureaucrats for bureaucrats, but we can cope with them. EDD behaves okay at checkout time unless you introduce a discount. If you do that a sum of round-up errors appears in the VAT calculation; as quite surprisingly the net amount in this case is not shown, the error goes easily unnoticed – until a diligent official remarks such a few cents mismatch and then things are likely to turn interesting. Of course I reported it, but EDD didn’t seem to take the matter seriously.

My first images at Arcangel!

AA11665980-500 by luisa fumi.

Since the microstock ship has begun to sink, thanks the Shutterstock coup de grâce, I gave some thoughts about escaping the frustration of the current situation.
It saddened me to see the Stock Coalition profile photos on FB : so many stunning images from many talented photographers on one side, and the fight for a few cents or (occasionally) a few dollars on the other.
This is not right.
These images tell a story: nobody should ever have to sell them this way.

Thanks to the suggestion of Alex Rotenberg’s Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock I applied to Arcangel, a stock agency that licenses images for book and disk covers. I had applied in the past in a lazy way and was discarded. Now, trying really to understand the mood of their images (and having fun doing it), I sent 20 resized pictures on one Sunday night and on the Monday morning after was instantly accepted!

Here a first batch of images:

I don’t know if this new adventure will sale well (if at all) but:
– in few days I learned about image processing more than in a decade
– I discovered the difference that ought to be between microstock and stock (the subject of my next post)
– I DON’T have to do the keywording job 😀 (I hate it even if is of paramount importance)
– I keep having fun discovering in my hard disks images not yet published and processing them in a quite different and emotional way

The new supernova over Munich, editorial photos (EN)

Inauguration of the ESO (European Southern Observatory) Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre near the Eso headquarters in Garching near Munich, Germany

GARCHING, GERMANY - APRIL 27, 2018  The new Supernova Planetarium of ESO (European Southern Observatory) opens to the public
GARCHING, GERMANY - APRIL 27, 2018  The new Supernova Planetarium of ESO (European Southern Observatory) opens to the public

A new great attraction in Munich!
Supernova provides an immersive experience in astronomy and technology and – I would remark – lot of fun with interactive gadgets and virtual reality.
Learn the stars, the new projects and the history of universe on colorful boards written with dedication and full of amazing images.

GARCHING, GERMANY - APRIL 27, 2018  The new Supernova Planetarium of ESO (European Southern Observatory) opens to the public
GARCHING, GERMANY - APRIL 27, 2018  The new Supernova Planetarium of ESO (European Southern Observatory) opens to the public
GARCHING, GERMANY - APRIL 27, 2018  The new Supernova Planetarium of ESO (European Southern Observatory) opens to the public
GARCHING, GERMANY - APRIL 27, 2018  The new Supernova Planetarium of ESO (European Southern Observatory) opens to the public
GARCHING, GERMANY - APRIL 27, 2018  The new Supernova Planetarium of ESO (European Southern Observatory) opens to the public
GARCHING, GERMANY - APRIL 27, 2018  The new Supernova Planetarium of ESO (European Southern Observatory) opens to the public

Digital art with watercolor filters (EN)

I have begun to play with Photoshop artistic filters for fun.
Adjusting the parameters, some results are remarkable: the starting point is always a shot of mine, but the overall feeling changes.

Not all the images are suitable for this kind of treatment, but some are really enhanced by the watercolor effect:









They are accepted by Shutterstock as illustrations and they are selling!

Editorial images: spring flea market (EN)

Spring in Bavaria is the best time to visit flea markets.
The season begins with the biggest of all, the Riesenflomarkt in Munich at the same location of the Oktoberfest in autumn.
A big flea festival reserved only to private sellers, about 2000 stands just for one day of bargains.

Munich, collectible objects, home decorations, dishware and lamps on sell at the open air giant flea market
Munich, vintage movie posters and clothing on sell at the open air giant flea market
Munich, great choice of classical and modern guitars on sell at  open air giant flea market

Fancy a cowbell? Great choice here!

Riesenflomarkt in Munich, spring flea market

… or a trophy for your drawing room?

Munich, ibex head with horns as taxidermic trophy on sell at the open air giant flea market

I always find something to buy: ancient books, coffee cups and absolute useless trinkets that I cannot leave there, because they are telling me a story.
After this shopping ordeal, you can have a beer and a merry-go-round at the nearby spring Festival!

Munich, spring festival

Editorial images: the march of Science, Munich April 22 (EN)

The calendar read spring but the weather in Munich seemed to differ, thus I feared that a lot of people would desert the march and look for something cozier to do. But I was wrong: Karlplatz was full of merry people, who turned this meeting in a sort of civil festival.

All signs were clever, funny and appropriate:

why science? because it works, bitches
make science great again!
don't mess with science, we have laser
the best, typical Bavarian: NO SCIENCE, NO BEER !
NO SCIENCE, NO BEER !

the participants spoke in a calm and cool matter-of-factly tone to an utterly attentive audience. Then the march: first time in my life I see such a march stop on red traffic lights – apparently science and civilization walk hand-in-hand!

stop at traffic light

The gloomy side:

is it really worth the while to demonstrate against “alternative sciences” (alas, nowadays calling them “superstitions” wouldn’t be politically correct), or against “alternative facts” ( calling them “blatant lies” would be risky)?
Yes, I definitely believe it’s worth the while.

If we don’t, tomorrow we might have to demonstrate against “alternative honesty” or “alternative democracy”, and end up in a jail if we call them with their true names.

fakt not fake

I’m persuaded that we must remember constantly that the independence of science from politics, superstition and bigotry is an essential factor to the welfare of society and humankind, and that the survival of a millennial culture depends entirely on it.

Feel like buying a lake? (EN)

Yes, nothing wrong with your eyes: a LAKE! And a damn beautiful one too, with a wonderful view on the Bavarian Alps, a complete immersion into unpolluted nature, clear waters, plenty of fishes, and as a topping an antique though entirely restored inn right on the bank, enjoyed for holiday and relax (among so many others) also by Sigmund Freud.
All included in the package (well, except for the Alps…)

Thumsee lake

Such an opportunity doesn’t really occur every century, nor does it having to design a website for it.
Et voilà: the Thumsee lake in Germany, near the Austrian border and 20 minutes away from Salzburg (does the name “Mozart” ring a bell?).

Thumsee Wewbsite
Fotos by Kurverwaltung Bad Reichenhall

The adventures of a web hosting wanderer (EN)

After my massive malware attacks at HostGator (see my previous post) I decided to change host provider.

The first condition to do it freely is:
always register your domain names by a registar indipendent of the host.
This way, when you want to change host, you have simply to point your domain to the new DNS severs and it is done, no permission to ask.
Several hosts offer you to register your name for free but then, when you want to change host, they keep it as hostage (bad pun, huh?) and make all sorts of trouble before releasing it. Beware…

Since many years I use directdn.com: I appreciate their fair prices, their smooth service and the easy way to manage my account.

After a look at one of the countless web pages “2017 Most Wonderful Web Hosting Services” (most of them quoting for some reason HostGator at the top) I landed on IPage, attracted by their low prices – though most hosting providers offer impressive discounts at the beginning and then double or triple the price the following years.

Alas! soon after paying my invoice I found out that it was impossible to set an email of the kind me@mywebsite.com (only me.mywebsite@ipage.com was allowed). In order to get a service provided for free by any other host I would have to pay a considerable monthly external fee to Google – once for every one of my 10 email boxes, of course… okay, IPage was definitely not my host of choice: money back, run away and try elsewhere.

My second landing was at InMotion, and here I hope to stay: the customer service looks helpful and nice and they offer a lot of useful literature about all the ghastly things that could happen to your website, their causes and the possible remedies. In case I need something to read before sleeping…

It’s about time for restyling (EN)

I just spent two hellish weeks on my 5 websites, which suffered a massive and repetitive attack of malware at Hostgator.

Repetitive I said: it had to be a backdoor on my hosting place – or, as I suspect, on the whole server – because a few hours after a complete cleanup all sites were infected again. And again. And again.

I decided to:

1) change host

2) dismiss completely SiteLock, which proved absolutely useless (no alert, no communication whatsoever). Only after the disaster, as I was seeking help by Hostgator, I was put in touch with their people instead, and all they did was try to sell me a manual cleanup (! ! !) for $99/month. Some help!
So please think twice before donating your money to them, there are better and fairer alternatives.

3) park my stock images websites elsewhere at the moment, for further consideration

As I’ve been changing so many things, I decided to start from scratch with this blog.
I was looking for something funny and nice for the home page and I run into this lovely movie clip by Jeffrey Wilson. I couldn’t resist, I bought him a coffee and grabbed it 🙂

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