Please Help with Some Stuff . . .

This is the header for the advertising blog I have been thinking about for over a year now. It is a great idea but lots of details had to be worked out, and I have done a lot of waffling about how, when, why to do it.

The idea is that artists, craftspeople, and purveyors of art supplies, etc. can run an affordable display ad to let people know they exist, or that they have a new product.

Any artist can start a site or an Etsy Shop, or a blog, but unless you have a way to let people know you are there, they won’t come.

If we can start with my online following and get the word out to lots more people, we could create a sort of community resource for the creative community.

The idea is that you can run a display ad with a photo for $15. The ad includes one headline which you supply, one photograph which you supply, 100 words of copy which is about as much as the first three paragraphs of this post, and a link to wherever you want the interested reader to go.

Your display ad is actually a blog post, and stays on the blog until you want it taken off. Ad posts will age like any blog post, but will always be available when someone searches by category (Jewelry, for example). When you ad gets too old, you can afford to place another one.

What to advertise?

Your handmade artworks and craft creations.

Your Workshops or books you have published

Your blog, website, or Etsy shop

Your art supplies if you sell them, or if you just want to move along some of what you are not using.

Anything at all that would be of interest to other creative people.

Tis the Season?

Because the holidays are coming, it seems to me that this Fall might be a good time to Beta test this idea, because people need to find handmade gifts (and make some so they need supplies).

So, I have the blog site ready to go and I need to start it off with some ads. to make sure everything functions correctly.

I was just going to make some up, but I think I have a better idea.

I am giving away the first 8 ads FREE of charge – to the first 8 people who get their information to me.

Here is what I need emailed to me:

Use this email address:

A photo of your work or whatever you want to sell. Or it can be a photo of your site or the top of your blog or whatever you think will appeal to other creative people.

The photo must be 72ppi and no wider than 500 pixels. The photo should be attached to your email.

If you don’t know how to resize your photos, check this Techinical Tizzie post:

A headline for your ad (as long as a typical blog post headline.

100 words or fewer of copy.

Your contact Link

You will be notified by return email if you made the first 8 and win the free ad.

If you do not make the first 8, I will notify you when the Creative Classifieds site is ready, and ask whether you would like to purchase an ad.

This experiment . . .

WIll tell me if there is enthusiastic response to this idea. If there is, I will go ahead with it.

If there is not, I will get the idea out of my head and make room for others.

To PayPal or not to PayPal

I have been a credit card merchant for 18 years. I now accept Mastercard and Visa directly through the Shopping Cart on my website, and process all the charges manually through a real world terminal.

I am sick and tired of being ripped off by the merchant banks.

I have not accepted Paypal in the past because it would mean a separate and second way of bookkeeping, and for a long time, it was more expensive. But that is different now.

I quietly added PayPal as a payment option a week ago. 65% of orders coming through have chosen to pay through PayPal.

Very Important: You DO NOT have to be a PayPal member to pay with your credit card through PayPal.

The benefit to my customers is that they can use Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover, have the security of the PayPal system, and even pay directly through their bank account if they are a PayPal member.

The benefit to me is a savings of both time and money.

I am thinking of PayPal being the only payment option on my site, and I am just wanting to know if that would be a problem for anybody?

Do you know of any reason I should not make this change?

I will so appreciate your feedback on this issue.

Talk to me (and send me those ads!)






26 thoughts on “Please Help with Some Stuff . . .

  1. Kathryn

    I HATE PAY PAL! I will not use it. I got ripped off by them. Some one said they were from pay pal and got all my card info, Pay Pal would not listen to me or help me clear up the mess. I will never ever use them again. I hope this is not good bye to you and your wonderful web site and products.

  2. Paula Scott Molokai Girl Studio

    I have very mixed feelings about this approach-mostly because letting each other know what we have available for sale is still a bit, well, ‘incestuous’. I wish I knew the answer as to how to reach the crowd out there since there are so many ways-its like sending light out to a black hole, it seems. I’ve been grappling with this dilemma for quite some time. The business model for an artist is, even in the best of circumstances, is difficult in trying to at least break even.
    As to Pay Pal-I say go for it! I love it as a consumer and it really is easier on the merchant. We use it for our company and for those few who have problems with Pay Pal (as the security is tight), we enter the credit card information after we contact the customer through a service called, Square. The info is easily done via your cell phone.
    We all need to keep our costs down and Pay Pal is a great way to do that.

  3. Cathy

    I like Paypal also. I haven’t had any probs with them. Altho I have heard they can be difficult to deal with, if you do encounter probs.

  4. silverb

    One poster wrote that she had been” ripped off” by PayPal. I have received e-mail messages in my spam section that proported to be from Pay Pal. The message read that my account would be suspended if I did not give them certain information to “straighten
    out” my account. I do not think that Pay Pal would ask for info in this manner, so I just
    deleted it as fraudulent. My account has not been closed. These kind of messages appear frequently from people pretending to be banks, charge cards,etc. It is best to
    hit delete.

  5. Shelley

    I think the Creative Classifieds are a wonderful idea. I would definitely use them for shopping, and I would advertise too, if and when I get it together to have something to sell! I wish I had a product right now because I would love to be one of your first ads, but I’m just not quite there yet.

    I’m puzzled by Molokai Girl’s comment that she has “very mixed feelings about this approach-mostly because letting each other know what we have available for sale is still a bit, well, ‘incestuous’.”

    What could be wrong with letting each other know what we have for sale? Why would it be “incestuous”? Seems like a marvelous idea to me.

    Using Paypal would not be a deterrent for me. I do usually just use my credit card, but it all comes out of the same account, so no worries. I have had an excellent response using Paypal’s dispute resolution process when I did not receive something I ordered. It was way easier than dealing with my credit card company and the resolution was speedy.

  6. Shelley

    I too have received those fraudulent spam Paypal messages and I don’t recall all the details, but there is a place on the real Paypal site where you can report any phishing scams that you have gotten. My few dealings with Paypal have been quite satisfactory, and my husband uses them constantly for all his old car parts he buys on eBay, and has never had any problems.

  7. Paula Owens

    I have someone that you might want to contact that does what you are talking about. She periodically sends out a message about advertising on her site and she is a wonderful person and has a great soul. Her name is Tam and this is her Ning site: I’m sure some of your people here know her. She has been really successful at getting advertising and it helps her and the person doing it. She could also guide you as to how to charge, etc. She will answer your email- let here know I sent you. Here are her 2 email addresses: willowing [at] or tamara.laporte [at] She has over 5000 subscribers! I have this new business that some of my artist friends are using to promote their businesses by using video email to keep in contact with the people that buy their art and it keeps them connected on a more personal level and has a contact manager with it. I won’t put the website here unless you ask me to. I would like to advertise my site to help business owners retain the customers they have, get new customers while saving them both money and making a residual income- I’m trying to help our country keep the small to medium size business a float so I’m not sure if that is something you would want on your advertising or not. Since I have artists that use it I guess it would be appropriate but that can come later.
    As for PayPal- I use it all the time and love it. I even use it to pay for my bills when I can for the protection part of it. The person above that hates it was sent an email that was a phishing email. You should never click on a link from anyone when that happens- you need to type in the PayPal URL yourself THEN you know if you have been had. I had one last week- knew it looked wrong because they wanted to update my personal info and they don’t do that. I reported them and they caught them! So any way of payment CAN be hacked but that is the price you pay for doing transactions over the internet. So for me I like the idea of PayPal for both parties and like you said you don’t need a PayPal acct. to do the buying.
    I assume you also know about affiliates like Dick Blick that you have on here that pay you to have their site on yours? You can get lots of those going too and make some money to help you pay for your costs of having this great website plus it exposes people to sites they may not know about.
    I don’t know if this info helped at all but I think you are on the right track as far as I’m concerned.

  8. yogi

    I have had no problems using PayPal so far either just as a credit card or going thru my bank account.

    As to all the spam that comes through – NEVER – answer them. If you’re unsure if it’s legit or not, check with a spam website. Or copy and paste part of the spam email into a Google search.

    There are a lot of websites and search engines that do this already. What makes your any different.

  9. Susun

    I have also received so many scam e-mails from Paypal in the past month. It bothered me, as I did use them to make a purchase after a very long time not using them. The purchase went through but the e-mails started soon after, as though someone had immediate knowledge of my purchase. The latest one this week told me my Paypal account had been closed. Needless to say, it is very confusing and I haven’t notified them yet but it does make me wonder why I and so many others are having similar problems with them.
    Wish I had something wonderful to offer for your new business venture, but I’m blank right now. Im sure it will inspire me to buy or sell in the future. Good luck! I, too, am puzzled by the “incestuous” comment. Artists typically love to support and promote each other. I know I do!

  10. jessica

    I am so loving this feedback.

    Yes, I do know Willowing (Tam). Have been following her a long time. Her use of YouTube to launch herself was very well done (although I could have lived without all the singing videos – grin) My idea wants to be much simpler, though. I know of no blog of display ads – at least I haven’t been able to find one.

    I find the idea interesting but am not attached to it, so if it seems like it would not work, I can go that way too.

    Kathryn – I am so sorry you got creamed by the phisher-men. But it really can’t be blamed on PayPal/ They are victims too (albeit richer ones). I can’t believe how these people can make a website look so authentic. If you don’t know that PayPal. Ebay and so on will never ask for your information that way, you can easily be done in. It happened to me once – long before Phishing had a name – and it taught me a good lesson.

    Molokai Girl (Paula) – Do you mean exposing your ideas to other artists? I think if you sell something on Etsy or your website, it’s already exposed.

  11. jessica

    HI Yogi, if there are a lot of websites and search engines that run affordable ads for creative folks, I’d like to hear about them. This would be nothing like sticking Google Ads on something.

    Send me some links.

  12. Jeanne

    First off, Jessica, you know me—I copyedit and proofread EVERYTHING, so the first thing I noticed was that “affordable” in the header is misspelled. :-D

    Second, I have absolutely LOVED the idea of the Creative Classifieds since you first proposed it. And although I probably won’t be ready to use it right away, I WILL support it.

    As for PayPal, I do not like it. I’ve read too much negative stuff about them. There’s even a website ( with a very active forum and many horror tales. And unless I’m mistaken, PayPal does not offer buyer protection like the major credit cards do. So for me, that’s a deal breaker. I will not use it, but I will continue to buy from you even if you no longer offer the option of credit cards. I’m assuming you will still take checks?

    How are you ripped off by the cc companies? I’m asking out of pure ignorance, since I have never been in your position. If it’s a matter of being charged money for the use, could you not just pass on that charge to the customers?

  13. Annette

    Great idea, Jessica! I certainly would use it. I use pay pal and have never had a problem but do have friends who have. Way to go!

  14. Stephanie Romero

    Wow…do you ever sleep??? My opinion…yes, and yes:)

    Hugs and hoping to come your way maybe in October:)

  15. Vicky Haynes

    Although I don’t sell anything at this time, I do like your concept and I do know that finding the customer is one of the hardest parts of advertising. This sounds like an interesting concept and a nice addition to your site.
    As for PayPal, I have used them for years and never had any issues that weren’t resolved. I do NOT like to give my CC info to individual sites as I do not know how secure they keep their info and by limiting it to PayPal… it limits my exposure. Most of the “horror stories” that are passed around are because customers don’t understand what they need to do in order to safely purchase online but overall, online CC transactions are safer than phone or mail. I do KEEP a copy of all my PayPal receipts so that if there is ever a problem, I have digital documentation. And since I do a lot of international transactions, working with a single pay point that does nothing but financial transactions makes it less likely that there will be a problem. Since you are using a CC, any CC protection will carry through to PayPal just as if you had paid the individual. It is liking using a pay point in any store. Brick and mortar stores use a PayPal type service to process their credit card transactions too.
    PayPal does have a link on their site to report scam emails and does their best to pursue the scam artists who are trolling for suckers. I NEVER go to PayPal from an email link. This is the safest way to protect yourself from scammers! Whether it is a bank, credit card company or anything financial… take the time to access the website directly. Most of the fake sites look identical to the real ones and that’s how they steal your info.

  16. GillM

    I have an online store in the UK, and have used PayPal as my payment processor for 4 years now, I know there are many people who dislike it but I have to say I have never had any problems with them. Several points to make -

    1. As Jessica says, you do NOT need a PayPal account to use this payment method. All online stores need a payment processor of some type. PayPal also act as a standard payment processor – you can simply use your credit or debit card – no information of yours is stored by them during use, it is just the same as if you used Sage Pay or WorldPay or similar.

    2. I receive lots of PayPal phishing emails, if you are unsure if an email is genuine or not then one way to check is to see if the email has been addressed to you personally (as you are known by PayPal) – they never send emails to ‘dear PayPal customer’ for example.

    3. If you are unsure if an email you have received from ‘PayPal’ is genuine forward it to ‘’ (I assume there is a similar .com address for anyone in the US), they will check it and get back to you. It also helps them to track down the spammers.

    Jessica – sorry to have rather hijacked your thread re. PayPal issues!

    Regarding the blog – I have mixed feelings, I think if you have a good system of categories set-up it will work, but otherwise it will be very difficult to find things. I may give it a try to see how it goes… :)

    Good Luck, Gill

  17. Jerrie

    I think that this is a marvelous idea Jessica……..although I know that there was at least 1 site that had a similar, but more extensive premise. I said was…because I haven’t used it in years, but it still might be in existence today. It is called “Wink Elf” & it is an actual on-line shop. There You can open up your own shop and post photos of each individual thing you want to sell…it is NOT limited to artists so there is a lot of stuff that you won’t be interested in. There is no rental fee, they get their money of 3% of a sale if it’s under a certain amount and a little more if it’s over a certain amount. You set up your own payment thing, it’s all mapped out when you sign up. Within the main opening page, they do have advertising if you want to pay extra for it. I set up a pay pal account and had no problems. They did say it takes about a year for customers to really become aware of you and build a following. They were right! I kept up with it for at least 2 years and did make some sales…but not enough to keep going with it. They do have a search engine so I’m guessing eventually you would be “found”.
    I know I’m forgetting a lot of info……..but if they’re still in existence, you could check their operation out. As a matter of fact, I’ll put this note on hold and check it out myself and post the results at the end of this missive.

    Just got back from my investigation………Wink Elf closed its doors in November 2010. From what I gather, it was quite unexpected and left a lot of unhappy people. They did post an address where you can find out info…… Don’t know if it’s valid though.

    That being said……..this concept could really be viable to a lot more artists.

  18. Lani

    The idea of the shop is a fine one but I but I think it would be better if you offered to sell your ability to set it up to someone else who does not have a heavy load of work such as you have. With so many irons in the fire something will have to give and it could very well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Your wonderfull creative soul and brain drawing on your many talents and abilities can see possibilities that could be very lucarative but no one person could open all the roads to the money tree just as no one painter can paint every picture they see in their mind’s eye. I will use the service if you offer it but I will be afraid for your energy drain.
    As to customers/clients paying only with pay pal the more choices you offer for paying the more buyers you will have.
    Again Jessica I really like the idea of your online art shop and in time it could be a real money maker but to be so it needs full time attention by not so much a creative mind and a time and energy devoted owner with it being their full time job and you being their paid creative consultant (percentage partner?) to help them get it started. and luck but take care of yourself and feed your creative fire but don’t let it get too big that it burns down the forsest.

  19. jessica

    I need to do a bit of clarifying, I think. Creative Classifieds would not be a shop site of any kind. The idea is merely to move readers to your site, blog, Etsy shop – wherever you want them, I would have nothing at all to do with any sales or transactions between you and the customer, take no fees, etc. The only fee is the cost of the ad and that is to cover the fact that if this succeeds, I can hire the time to post the ads (thank you, Lani, for being attuned to my always having too much to do!!)

    Jerrie, since you brought up the shop idea, I want to give you a speciific example.

    You make awesome quilts (among many other awesome creations). You have a blog and or an email address. So, you ad might be a photo of one of those amazing quilts plus the info that you make them custom – or you could have ready made quilts on your blog for people to see. So we have your blog in your ad, and anybody who loves the photo. goes there to see more.

  20. Cecilia Swatton

    I’ve used Pay Pal for several years and for the most part I recommend it. I did have one clipart customer who emailed me to say that she’d once had difficulties with Pay Pal and so did not want to use it again. I myself never had any difficulties with Pay Pal, but if it were to happen, I know that Pay Pal provides a way to deal with such issues to resolve them. One tip I would offer would be to add a bit to the asking price, because with each payment, the Pay Pal seller (if she chooses a “free” account as I did) has to pay a percentage to Pay Pal. (There is no Pay Pal charge to the buyer.) So the seller should add a little, to cover this loss that will occur at the time of the sale. Of course, there is also the option of going for a higher level at Pay Pal; I don’t remember the actual jagron they use; but they offer other accounts, besides the free one that I use.

  21. jessica

    There is no free processing of payments. No matter which method you use to accept credit cards from customers, you are charged a percentage of every sale, ranging from 2.5% to 5%, On top of that, depending on your merchant bank, there are also per transaction charges of 15¢ to 30¢ and a monthly fee of $20-$30 dollars, and various and sundry upcharges for different kinds of cards – an insidious system called EIRF. Taking credit cards through any source is very costly, but is a necessary cost of doing business. The trick is to find the least costly method.

  22. Sandra

    Aloha Jessica,

    Mixed feelings on the advertising blog. Sounds like a lot of work for little return. However, I’d certainly scan it periodically to see what might be of interest.

    Yes to PayPal. I use it as a merchant and a consumer, though I have to say, as a consumer, I use my credit card (for the protection it offers) via PayPal, rather than my PayPal account.

  23. Timaree

    I use PayPal a lot! My husband has had his creditcard info stolen via not using PayPal so now it’s Bill Pay and PayPal but since they’ve morphed into one unit it’s the same pretty much. I have been using PayPal whenever possible for several years now and haven’t had my info stolen.

    I have received the scam emails but WHENEVER ANYONE asks for personal info or updates to personal info a person should STOP and examine the request, go to the site via your own typing of the address which you should have outside the email and then see what’s going on. Hacking, phishing and malware abounds. It’s up to us to NOT give out our info whether it’s by email or even the telephone (which still happens).

    I can’t offer anything about your ad idea. I just don’t know if it would be worth it or not for you to run a listing like this.

  24. Deb Sims

    Just found out about a service called Square. It talkes 2.75% of each transaction but there is no monthly fee and no equipment fee. Works great for those of us who do periodic shows/sales and don’t use credit card processing all the time. I’m still exploring it so please do your own research but it does sound like a good possibility.

  25. Marie Z. Johansen

    I love PayPal and use it as much as possible. I’ve been using it for years and have found it to be rock solid (thankfully). There are some people who don;t like it though – for whatever reasons – so I think you should probably consider taking a credit card as well as PayPal. I would probably not choose to not ‘join’, or pay by, another form of third party handler.

    I think spam emails are just a curse of the internet. They will appear anywhere. Generally I delete them all or, if I think one might just possibly be legit, I go to the source to check my account first – or to to see if any similar scams are being reported.

    Are you considering something like Etsy or Artfire? Is that the idea ? Any way to spread the word about your work can be a great idea !

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