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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cafe Press: F**k Arabs?

Let's see how long this lasts.

On Monday, I reported that Cafe Press - the online marketer of merchandise for bloggers - had a "F**k Israel" page. Reader Shy Guy wrote to Cafe Press to complain that the page violated Cafe Press' own policy. Cafe Press responded:
As you may know, CafePress.com provides an automated service to a rich and vibrant community of individuals across the globe who differ in their views about what is considered offensive. All product images and ideas used in connection with the CafePress.com Service have been provided to CafePress.com by users and do not reflect the opinions of CafePress.com. While we don’t endorse any particular position, we respect the right of individuals to express their own opinions. Thank you for bringing this content to our attention.
Shy Guy has withdrawn his complaint:
So then, you are saying that Cafe Press does not adhere to its own published policy. Specifics outlined in red, below, taken from http://www.cafepress.com/cp/info/help/index.aspx?page=cup.aspx :

General Guidelines for Prohibited Content

  • Content that may infringe on the rights of a third a party.
  • Items that make inappropriate use of Nazi symbols and glamorize the actions of Hitler.
  • Use of marks that signify hate towards another group of people.
  • Hate and/or racist terms.
  • Inappropriate content or nudity that is not artistic in nature.
  • Content that exploits images or the likeness of minors.
  • Obscene and vulgar comments and offensive remarks that harass, threaten, defame or abuse others such as F*** (Ethnic Group).
  • Content that depicts violence, is obscene, abusive, fraudulent or threatening such as an image of a murder victim, morgue shots, promotion of suicide, etc.
  • Content that glamorizes the use of "hard core" illegal substance and drugs such as a person injecting a vial of a substance in their body.
  • Material that is generally offensive or in bad taste, as determined by CafePress.com.
However, I understand your policy of understanding the rights of individuals to their freedom of expression of their own opinions.

I therefore withdraw my complaint.

Shy Guy
Shy Guy has decided to open his own Cafe Press account. You can check it out here. There's a sample at the top of this post. I wonder what would have happened if he had written Muslims instead of Arabs. Heh.


At 7:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carl I also wrote in and got the same automated response today. I'm currently deciding how to respond but I think something along the lines of "F**k Hamas" would work for me.

At 7:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I intentionally did not write "Muslims", as I wanted to counter the use of "Israel", as in the "Israel-Arab conflict".

Anyway, stop talking already and buy a thong. You know you want to. ;)

Credit for revealing the original story goes to IsraellyCool.

At 7:53 PM, Blogger Eliyahu in Shilo said...

ShyGuy ROCKS! I think I need this one for my 1 year old. http://www.cafepress.com/fuckarabs.389188486

At 9:59 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

ShyGuy did the right thing... if Cafe Press revokes his account but not the other one, we'll know they're hypocrites not just on their own terms of content policy but on free speech as well.

At 10:46 PM, Blogger LB said...

I, too, wrote a complaint and received the same boilerplate response (not the initial automated response). I wrote back, again citing their policy and have not yet heard back.

Antisemitism in the guise of freedom of speech that is not even guaranteed by cafepress in the first place. Wonderful. How about starting a site that says "F%$* Cafepress!"

At 11:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LB, I had the same though already about openning up a F*** CafePress shop.

Let's wait and see what happens. In the meantime, couldn't you use a new conversation piece coffee mug for the office?

At 6:09 PM, Blogger A New Yorker said...

I was thinking of doing the same thing minus withdrawing my complaint. Great minds think alike.

At 8:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In June 2009, CafePress began competing with the artists for whom it acts as printer and shipper.

CafePress rents web shops to its artists. The artist creates a website page and manually loads the desired blank products. The artist imports his image onto each product, arranges the products on the page, describes the products, titles the products and tags the images.

Initially, the artist would set a markup and received the markup for each product sold.

However, recently CafePress began competing with its artists, using the artists' own images. CafePress created a marketplace where a customer can search a keyword. That search brings up artist products. When the customer buys from the marketplace CafePress pays the artist 10% of the price CafePress set. Both the customer and the artist lose money. If the artist's shop sells a t-shirt for $21, the artist makes $3.01. If the marketplace sells the same shirt for $25, the artist gets $2.50. The customer pays $4 more, and the artist gets $0.51 less.

CafePress tells artists to "promote your own shop," but CafePress buys Google adwords using the very image tags the artist provided.

CafePress justifies this bait and switch of service terms by telling artists they can opt out if they don't like the new terms; however, many have spent as much as 7 or 8 years creating as many as 88000 images.

In spite of their sweat-equity, many shopkeepers (content providers) are building shops at other print-on-demand companies and then closing their CafePress shops due to the broken faith and trust, the financial hardship CafePress has delivered into so many lives, and the huge amount of time and dedicated effort all lost in the momentum of their own businesses. Would you keep your AMOCO station franchise if AMOCO built a company store across the street from you?


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