In-Stream Buying with YouTube Annotated Links

Travis Nichols on July 24th, 2014

Instant gratification holds a special place in our frenzied hearts. That wonderful, addictive feeling of getting what we want, when we want it diminishes in the face of obstacles. That’s part of why we work to make buying on Gumroad as streamlined and simple as possible.

Now there’s a new way of doing that in the most shared and embedded website on the internet.

Annotations have long been a part of YouTube, but until recently, they have primarily been used to add background information or to link to other videos and channels. Now, Gumroad is on the short list of commerce platforms authorized by YouTube to be linked to via annotation directly within a video’s stream.

What does that mean for you? Viewers of your film/book/game trailer, music video, poetry reading, software patch, etc. can click an in-stream link and easily buy your product. It’s faster, it’s easier, and early evaluation is showing that this trimming of the fat can result in more product views and sales for you.

While logged in to YouTube and on your channel, click Edit on one of your videos. Then click the Annotations at the top. Choose the type of annotation you want, and what you would like the link to say (the Label box). Move it around to where you want the link to go. Then you can choose your colors and font size. The timeline at the bottom will help you find the place where you want to put your annotated link, as well as the Start and End boxes. Finally, enter the URL of your product on Gumroad or your Gumroad Gallery URL. The Link box will automatically check, and the default Video drop down will automatically change to Merch. Play back the video to make sure the link is where and when you want it, double-check your link, and you’re all set. Hit Publish and start sharing.

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Previously, using a video to share and promote your project meant embedding the video in your Facebook feed or blog and linking to it in a tweet along with a separate purchasing link. Suddenly that feels like sending a telegraph to place an order via Pony Express.

Your videos can now be a direct call to action. To learn other ways you can connect your audience with Gumroad, see our Integrations page in the Help Center.

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Kiwi Juice: The Power of Community

Travis Nichols on July 17th, 2014

When Gumroad was founded, there was a conscious decision to not be a marketplace. We believe that direct-to-audience sales is superior to setting up in a packed bazaar and hoping for the best. Ten years ago, one could chuck something at the internet and it’d be found. Each page was like a much-desired service station in the middle of the southwest. Now the internet is an endless Times Square (shudder) and everyone is screaming to be heard.

It’s more important than ever to build an engaged audience and make it as easy as possible to get your work in front of them. Additionally, it’s easier than ever to put oneself in a position to generate income selling creative work; a double-edged sword since it’s not just easier than ever for you, but for everyone. That’s why we’re so interested in helping creators take advantage of and maximize the leverage they now have.

That doesn’t mean we’re all in it alone. There’s power in communities. A group of like-minded creators can band together and, in a unified front, help each other promote to a much larger audience and accomplish much more than any of the individuals on their own. That’s exactly what the founders of Kiwi Juice are doing for professional tutorials in the the concept, illustration, and 3D fields.

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We talked to Anthony Jones, who got things rolling on the commerce and gospel-spreading side of Kiwi Juice. Anthony has done work for Activision, Blizzard, Hasbro, Disney, and many more. He personally has almost 30 tutorials on Gumroad ranging from design to painting to Photoshop techniques, and Anthony is just one of dozens of professionals on Kiwi Juice. These videos, brushes, tool presets, and hi-res graphics are packaged and offered affordably to amateurs and pros alike. Their roster and numbers continue to grow, and for good reason. Check out a tutorial and see for yourself.

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Who built Kiwi Juice and why?

Gavriil Afanasyev Klimov built the site. He was working with other artists on the structure in which it should be run, but he put it all together himself.

What I did to contribute was start using Gumroad and convince others to use it too. So with our powers combined, we were able to let Kiwijuice.net become what it is now. A place where artists can build their own custom store and create affordable content for their fans and supporters.

Do you consider Kiwi Juice to be a community, a hub, a collective, a marketplace, something else, a combination?

It is all of the above. It is something that is run by the community of artists who put together their own individual stores, and it’s a collective for supporters to browse through and learn from the artists that they care about at an affordable price.

What is your curation process?

Kiwi Juice doesn’t take a commission, but we do review and take into account the quality of the work/instructor and try to ensure that those who we showcase on Kiwi Juice have good information to spread. And all of this is free.

Tell me about one or two of your favorite tutorials.

My personal favorites are definitely the ones done by John Park and Maciej Kuciara. These guys are good friends of mine, but also great instructors. I’d highly recommend both, especially since they created a great place on facebook for people to work together on improving one’s art. It’s called Brainstorm.

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-from Mech Rendering by John Park

Is there a lot of overlap between professionals and consumers for the types of work that you are curating tutorials for? Are things already happening fast enough that you have seen new artists become professional artists and teach others? 

Like most things, to become a professional takes time and effort. But what I have personally seen is an increase of ability and confidence amongst amateur artists. Also, the fact that there is a sense of light competition amongst the instructors gives us more fuel to create higher-quality content. The better the content, the better the response. I love this model of business, because it keeps everyone honest and hard working and accountable for great products for our fans and supporters.

What has surprised you most in this endeavor? 

The amount of positive feedback from the masses. So many people approve of this because of how artists who were radio silent have now become way more engaged and involved with their fanbases. It’s a win-win. But more importantly, it’s allowing some people to actually leave their day jobs and pursue this, making their own content and helping the community get better as a whole, full-time. It’s fantastic and inspiring for everyone.

What’s next?

I have always been an advocate for people to pursue their dreams and aspirations. I think the next step is to create a more fluid experience for users of Kiwi Juice.

Also, we have plans on putting together a miniature convention for people who have something to show and something to prove. It will be a place where people can meet their favorite artists and learn from them on the pros and cons on building your own content and things you should do to achieve this. I want people to start realizing that you can make money off your own hard work, and I want to help create strategies towards doing so.

I think it’s time to give more power to the content creators of your favorite movies/games/entertainment and really build a better economy for them. Artists tend to get unfair reimbursement and percentages by going through some third-party distributors. Gumroad/Kiwi Juice provides an opportunity for artists to sell their own content and keep practically all of the profit. And because of this we can sell it for much cheaper. Like I mentioned before, it’s a win-win. 


There’s strength in numbers, especially when a team is overflowing with amazing talent. Look around. You might be able to find what can become your community. Join up and work for the common good. We look forward to hearing about it.

 

Introducing the Best of Gumroad List: June 2014

Jessica Jalsevac on July 9th, 2014

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Here at Gumroad, we’re continually awed by the creators we see joining the platform each day. As part of an ongoing effort to showcase their work to the world, we’ve put together the first ever Best of Gumroad list. 

We looked for creators who had either a strong launch, a high number of purchases, or high gross revenue in the past month. From there, we hand-picked 10 whose products are especially innovative or exciting.

As the list came together, we noticed some interesting trends emerging: 

  • Niche Films: Two documentaries (Motonomad and I Am Road Comic) appear in the top 10, both aimed at very niche audiences (motorbike enthusiasts and comedy nerds). The filmmakers took very different approaches to distributing their films - Motonomad relied heavily on YouTube promotion of extended trailers, while I Am Road Comic used Twitter, comedy podcasts, and a few art house screenings. These different strategies reflect a clear understanding of their target audience, where they hang out online and offline, and what type of content is important to them.  
  • Art Tutorials: Artists Anthony Jones and Eytan Zana experienced a lot of success with the launch of Kiwi Juice, a new site devoted to the collection and listing of independent art tutorials (most of which are from Gumroad creators!). We love the concept of this community and hope to see a few more popping up organically in different verticals in the near future. Watch out for an in-depth piece on Kiwi Juice next week. 
  • Software/Tools: We’re seeing more software being sold on Gumroad recently, such as Pat Flynn’s Smart Podcast Player and ThinkDev’s Quickres 4.0. This is in part due to our new license key feature, but also seems to be part of an exciting trend where content creators are expanding their product offerings into the software realm (think Laura Roeder with the recent release of her app, Edgar). 

Without further ado, here are our 10 Best of Gumroad Creators for June 2014, in no particular order:

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Motonomad by motology Films (Film) 

Two motorcycle racers, Adam Riemann and Mark Portbury, endure a 7000km mission across Europe, in hope of reaching the Pyramids of Egypt.

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Color and Light by Eytan Zana (Tutorial)

A three hour long video takes you through Eytan’s thought process on applying color, light, and mood to a painting. Also includes a PSD file, brush set, and perspective tool plugin for Photoshop.

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Skift Trends Report: The Rise of the Silent Traveler by Skift (Report)

Skift is proposing a new model to look at the mobile-first travel consumer. The silent traveler is the travel consumer who turns to their mobile devices first, seeking a solution to in-trip challenges that used to be the primary domain of customer service staff.

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flex-i-ble dieting by Krissy Mae Cagney (Book)

Krissy Mae has compiled every iota of guidance she has on becoming a healthier and happier person into this book. 

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“Country Club Rejects” Polo by Shady Records (Tshirt)

Wreak havoc on your local golf course with the “Country Club Rejects” pack from Shady Records.

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I Am Road Comic by Jordan Brady (Film)

A first-hand look at working the road as a comedian. This funny documentary includes interviews with more than two dozen fantastic comics discussing the nuts and bolts of working the road in bars and clubs. 

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Smart Podcast Player by Pat Flynn (Software)

The best media player solution for podcasters who are tired of clunky, confusing players that are ugly and hard to install. Note: The beta launch of the Smart Podcast Player is sold out, but you can sign up to be notified of the public release here

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Paint with Color by Anthony Jones (Tutorials)

Anthony Jones started painting in 2007 when he was 23 years old. As someone who wasn’t initially a painter/artist he had to start from the beginning. He tries to spread as much good information to as many artists as possible, always trying to inspire people and let them know that even if you are a total newbie, you can still become a great artist. 

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Kyle’s Ultimate Dry Media for Photoshop by Kyle T Webster (Design Tools)

This great new set from illustrator Kyle T Webster contains 25 tools: 20 brand new Dry Media brushes with great effects, as well as the Bone Dry Brush and the Deliciously Dry Brush from the Drawing Set / Megapack, a new ‘rough’ eraser, and two new blenders for great smudging and edging effects.

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ng-book: The Complete Book on Angular JS and Complete Source by Ari Lerner (Book)

The most comprehensive guide to AngularJS available anywhere. Includes the book, all source code for every example in the book, 3 hour long Angular screencast for beginners, the sample app mini-ebook, and complete source code for the sample app.

That’s all for this month - we hope to see you on the next list!

Loud Music in the Library: The Listen Feature

Travis Nichols on July 8th, 2014

Our new Listen feature allows you to stream audio files you have purchased in your Gumroad account. You can listen to a track on your receipt immediately after purchase, and more importantly, in your Gumroad Library.

When logged in to your account, click on the book icon in the upper-right corner of your browser to access your Library.

If you click on a single track you have purchased, you’ll see a Listen button that will let you stream the track in your browser’s tab. You’ll also have the option to download the track or save it to Dropbox.

When you select an album or audiobook of multiple tracks that you have purchased, you’ll notice a View Product button. This will take you to a list of tracks that you can listen to, download, or send to Dropbox.

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Listen is a free option in addition to downloading your tracks that gives you streaming access on your computer or mobile devices. Listen to an audiobook on your commute. Play a podcast without saving it to your computer.

Go ahead. Go to the Library and crank it up as loudly as you want.

What Does Authenticity Mean to You?

Travis Nichols on June 26th, 2014

The reality of our businesses is that we’re not dealing with numbers. We’re dealing with human beings.

- Leo Babauta

A few weeks ago, for our third Gumroad Creators Studio event, Leo Babauta gave a talk on building authentic businesses in an age of online noise. Leo is the author of Zen to Done and The Power of Less, and he writes to over one million subscribers at ZenHabits.net. One of the most refreshing things about Leo is that he writes as a person on a journey, not as a flawless sage on a mountaintop. The result is a body of work that is approachable and sincere.

You can also read a blogged version of the talk at zenhabits.net/trust.


What does authenticity mean to you? 

The days of being sleazy and ripping people off on the Internet are over. The only way you should be building an online business is the honest way: being yourself, charging what things are actually worth, and not being greedy or selfish.

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 - Caleb Wojcik, co-founder of Fizzle and author of DIY Video Guide.

If you want to build trust, take the first step and give someone something. Offer help to someone without expecting anything. If they can tell that you expect something, then it’s not a gift, but a deal.

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 - Ben Johnson, composer and pianist

The essence of underground publishing is to risk everything for the few. Selling publications that have virtually no audience and being satisfied with the results, no matter how meager, is the driven goal. I believe in publishing the strongest ideas, the greatest art, in the truest reproduction of the author/artist intention, and selling it to the public that needs it the most.

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- Ron Turner, Last Gasp Publishing


We’d love to hear from you. Let us know if you write a post on trust and authenticity on your blog. Here are some questions get you thinking.

  • What does authenticity mean to you?
  • Have you ever taken a great risk or passed on something that would have made you a quick buck to instead have more authentic business relationships? What happened?
  • What is something you do that is trust-building / what advice would you give on building up the trust of one’s audience?
  • What are the long-term effects of a business built on trust and authenticity?
  • Is there something you did when you started that you are now embarrassed about?

ExperimentalPsychology.pdf - Games by Ben Lehman

Travis Nichols on June 24th, 2014

Ben Lehman makes role-playing games that are at times tragic, romantic, introspective, scary, action-packed, and hilarious. At their core, they are all about creating and telling stories. You and your friends might be a group at war with alien invaders, super-bro street lugers, space explorers, or even characters experiencing a picture-perfect, idyllic childhood.

These aren’t your typical enter-dungeon-fight-monsters-gather-jewels types of games. When you (and/or more people) play Amidst Endless Quiet, the first thing you are told is that, “You are Elios, a deep space transport en route from Gliese to Zhou’s World. You’re never going to arrive at Zhou’s World. You’re going to die.” It might not take much longer to say the title of Being a role-playing game on the topic of the High-Flying adventures of Beatrice Henrietta Bristol-Smythe, DBE, daring Aviatrix and accomplished Exploratrix, and her Gentleman Companion, who for a Modest Fee, accompanies Beatrice Henrietta Bristol-Smythe, DBE, when the Occasion warrants her an Escort than to play the game itself.

I first met Ben at Big Bad Con, a yearly RPG convention in Oakland, California, where game-makers and players meet, play, and share tabletop games of all kinds. I found Ben somewhat randomly on Gumroad, but at the convention I found that most people there knew his work. My experience and knowledge of RPGs is extremely limited, but I was quickly drawn to Ben’s quirky, deeply-thoughtful games. In his words:

“I write games that, when you play them, make you a better person. I write games that you can play by yourself when no one is watching, games that you can play with friends in the cracks of your time, games you can play with the flowers in your yard, games that take only a moment of your time, games that you never stop playing for the rest of your life.”

Ben sells PDF-versions of his smaller, more experimental games through Gumroad (which otherwise often exist in physical book form). He prices them all at $0+ because he wants them to be accessible to anyone who wants them. I talked to Ben about becoming a game designer, his work, and the intrinsically psychological aspect of RPGs.

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Your games don’t involve dice, fold-out maps, tokens or little figurines (although at least one of your games uses standard playing cards). You play with books and in your mind. Sometimes in an incredibly social way with a group (more so than traditional role-playing games), and sometimes alone while you’re on a bus or walking to work. Where does this interest in the sociological side of games/life come from?

Some of them do have dice!

I think that the interest involves out of more standard-issue tabletop role-playing. I grew up with D&D (I think I started playing when I was around 5 or 6) but since my access to new RPGs was only available at the used bookstore, I played a lot of the weirdo less common RPGs of the late ‘70s, early ‘80s. The thing that these games had in common was: a lot of good ideas that didn’t fit totally well together. So in order to play we ended up making up a lot of our own rules and so on and so forth. My older brother started out doing a lot of design, but he would get bored and abandon projects and then I’d finish them. Eventually I started doing my own stuff.

If you’re interested in games, you end up being interested in psychology, by which I don’t necessarily mean the academic body of research, but in how humans think, behave, relate and make decisions. If you’re interested in tabletop games, you end up interested in group psychology as well, which is even more fascinating and weird. I’ve always been an edge-pusher and kind of experimental, wanting to take a what happens when I do this? approach to art (when I was in school I studied physics, which only encouraged me). Of course, edge-pushing for its own sake is fairly pointless. What we want are games that are fun, satisfying, or rewarding. So I end up trying out a lot of things which seem weird or non-game-like because I want to see how they work. The ones that do work, I publish.

Ultimately a game is just a set of instructions, rewards, goals and capacities. This can be complete or incomplete, tightly-wound or muddled. But basically you are either telling people what they must do, or what they can do, or what they want to do. That’s an extremely intimate thing to tell someone! It’s pretty hard to stop once you’ve realized you can do it, and people will listen.

To expand on that, some of your games come with interesting warnings. In Polaris (which won the Indie RPG Game of the Year Award in 2005), you say, “Your knight will betray his people and die forgotten and alone. If you don’t like losing, you won’t like Polaris.” In Clover, you warn would-be players that, “There is no way to win. You just play because the experience is fun. So don’t play with anyone mean.” Ben! Games require a victor and a victory! What are you thinking, man?

Tabletop role-playing has a long tradition of not allowing any sort of “win”. You lose (traditionally: you die) or you keep playing. That’s it. When role-playing games started introducing win conditions, or even just “a way for the game to end” people got extremely upset and started denouncing them as “not a role-playing game!” (I’m thinking particularly of Paul Czege’s My Life With Master.) It seems very strange in hindsight.

Like I said before, games can be complete or incomplete in their instructions. Clover tells you what you must do (one player is Clover, another player is Dad, there’s no mention Clover’s mom, etc.), what you can do (explore, ask questions, learn), but not why you want to do it. Or, rather, the reason to do it is just “to have fun” with no further instruction. You have to find your own reason to want to play. With something as intimate and, frankly, personal as “a happy childhood”, that is just not something I’m willing to dictate by giving out “happiness points” or whatever. It has to come from the players.

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How did you get into publishing?

This story cuts out some important bits, like that I was already sort-of published in Luke Crane’s No Press Anthology, but it’s funnier this way.

I had gone to GenCon in 2004 to help sell Driftwood Publishing’s Riddle of Steel, which I was (and still am) a huge fan of. There I had met Vincent Baker, who published Dogs in the Vineyard that year, and after I overcame my fan paralysis, we became friends. I was homeless and jobless, but still had some money from college, and was staying on friends’ couches on the East Coast and he invited me up to stay for a week at their place in Western Mass. I met Meg Baker, his wife and also a game designer, and their friend Emily Care Boss. Both Meg and Emily were at around the same stage of RPG publishing I was: they had drafts of games that they liked but were still revising and testing and so on.

Anyway, Meg and I went to the local game store to drop off copies of Dogs for sale, and she introduced me to the owner as “another game designer.” I went, “Well, not really,” and she looked me square in the face and said, “Own it, dude!” That was the point when I became a Real Professional RPG Designer, I think.

(Also, later that trip, the three of them cornered me around their dining room table and made me promise to revise and publish Polaris for Gencon 2005).

Are you still into traditional tabletop games and RPGs, and have you ever made any?

Yes! I really like Basic D&D, Riddle of Steel, early Vampire from back when it was weird, Tunnels and Trolls, Star Frontiers, Streetfighter: The Storytelling Game, Cyberpunk 2020, and a lot more that I’m going to be embarrassed I forgot. I’ve designed a number of fairly traditional systems (most recently High Quality Role-Playing) but for one reason or another I’ve never published any (not any hard rule against it just I never thought I could sell them). I suppose you could count Deeds and Doers, my business card-sized version of D&D, as a traditional game, so now I have.

Digital versions of your games (in PDF form) are sold as Pay What You Want. How has that been working for you?

For a while I was making money hand over fist with it. It’s trailed off a bit, as “pay what you want” has become less of a novelty and more of a normal way to pay. However, it’s really important to me that my games be accessible to people who can’t necessarily afford a $10 PDF or $20 hardcopy book. And from time to time I get very nice letters from folks saying exactly that (some of them even send me money later, when they have gotten out of their tight spot). So, in that sense, it’s working very well for me.

When I met you at Big Bad Con, you had a system where people could still pay for games when you were away (playing a game or otherwise): two sheets of paper. One specified that buyers could place money under the sheet to pay you, and the other specified that buyers could pay for games with a donation to Doctors Without Borders, again by putting cash under the sheet. That’s incredibly trustworthy. Are you concerned about someone taking advantage of that? 

At small cons like Big Bad Con, people are super good about honor system payments. When I do go to a con (which is rare these days) I don’t want to spend the whole time behind a table watching a cash box. I find that if you trust people they’ll genuinely surprise you. I also feel like, if someone steals the money, I’ll just hope that they needed it more than me.

Big Bad Con is a charity con that supports DWB so I decided to direct donations to them. They’re a good organization: one of the few big name charities that actually spends most of its money helping people who need help. Left to my own devices I usually donate to RAINN, which is also a good group that has given a lot of needed support to me and my family in the past.

What’s the best feedback you’ve received about one of your games? What’s the strangest?

Someone who really didn’t like Polaris once wrote, “The entire concept of Polaris utterly repels me.” I was very happy about that. I think that we should endeavor to repel people who won’t like our stuff.

Someone posted a story about playing Beloved as a way to deal with their choice to break up with their terminally ill girlfriend. I… don’t know how I feel about that, both what he did and how he used my game to help recover from it. It was a scary thing to read. But Beloved is a scary-as-hell game, so.

Which of your games is your favorite?

Nope nope nope nope nope. That’s like asking a parent what kid is their favorite.

(Pssst. it’s Hot Guys Making Out).

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Above illustrations from Polaris. By Boris Atzybasheff from the book The Wondersmith and his Son by Ella Young.

Why Do You Do What You Do?

Travis Nichols on June 19th, 2014

At our Gumroad Creators Studio events, we display boards from a variety of creators. Each board displays a bio, one or two products, and a quote. Each participant was asked a few questions, and all of the quotes ended up being taken from the same one:

Why do you do what you do?

If you’ve attended a Creators Studio event, you’ve likely seen the boards. Otherwise, aside from the Gumroad team and the folks at the print shop, they’ve gone unseen. So we thought we’d share some of what we heard.


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"I love writing and I love making myself laugh.  If others laugh at the jokes too, that’s EVEN BETTER."

— Ryan North, author of To Be or Not To Be: That is the Adventure and creator of Dinosaur Comics.

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"There is beauty in the simplicity and nuance of well-written code. When we take time to hone the craft of software engineering, we become capable of elevating assembly instructions to something more—something between philosophical treatise, legislature, and poetry. So I write and speak and share my code and experiences as best I can to do my part to make the world a little simpler, a little more beautiful."

— Mattt Thompson, author of NSHipster

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"We are a team of writers and designers who love magazines and wanted to launch our own publication. Booze seemed like a great topic. There are loads of really good food magazines out there but very little about drinks – and those that exist are often quite dull and pretentious. How exciting to launch something of our own from scratch and see it take off all over the world!"

— Fraser Allen of Hot Rum Cow

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"We love video games for what they have done, what they are doing, and also what they are capable of. We are all visionaries in this respect, and we do what we’re doing for that reason. We want to create new and unique games that capture the imaginations of many, and inspire others to do the same."

— Karl Inglott of Space Budgie


So what about you? Why do you do what you do? 

Google Analytics Campaign Tracking

Jessica Jalsevac on June 12th, 2014

Last week we looked at how to set up goals in Google Analytics to track conversions such as views and product purchases. 

This week we’ll learn how to track the performance of specific marketing campaigns by setting up custom campaign tracking in Google Analytics.

With custom campaigns, you’ll be able to see exactly how many conversions result from a given email blast, Twitter post, or Facebook ad, enabling you to make more informed marketing decisions.

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It’s important that you have goals already set up to make the most of campaign tracking. Check out last week’s post for a step-by-step guide on goals.

Disclaimer: Custom campaigns are extremely powerful. But, like your uncle always says, with great power comes great responsibility. If not done correctly, custom campaigns can mess up your analytics big time. So start simple with the guidelines we’ve provided here, and when in doubt, remember that its better to not tag at all than to tag incorrectly.

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What are custom campaigns?

The gist of custom campaigns is that you can add information (called “parameters”) to any URL you own that links to your site. This is known as “link tagging.”

The additional parameters tell Google Analytics more about your traffic, and help identify things that might not be reported properly. For example:

  • traffic coming from an email newsletter often shows up as “direct” because certain desktop mail apps and secure servers don’t pass referrer data.
  • banner ads get grouped in with your referral traffic, even through they’re ads.

You can overwrite this reporting with your own custom tags to ensure you’re capturing the correct information.

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There are five different types of information (parameters) that you can add to a URL:

Medium*: The type of marketing/advertising, in very broad terms. Examples: email, social, cpc, banner.

Source*: The specific site, publication, advertiser, etc. where the link lives. Examples: awaytogarden.com, newsletter, twitter.com.

Campaign Name*: The name of your campaign. Examples: small_gardening_launch, free_trial, thanksgiving_sale.

Term: Used for paid search campaigns to identify the keywords you bid on. Examples: small_space_gardening, urban_garden.

Content: Used to differentiate ads within the same campaign. Most useful for CPC campaigns. Example: logolink, textlink

* Medium, Source and Name are the only three required parameters. We suggest that you only use these three (plus Term when doing paid keyword searches) for now. Once you get more advanced you can add in the Content parameter.

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How to create custom campaigns

To illustrate, let’s enlist the help of the fictional Calvin Burns. Calvin recently published a product, “The Small Space Gardening Guide”, on his website. He’s ready for budding urban gardeners to buy it and create their own beautiful mini oases.

He’s decided to promote the guide in 5 different ways:

1. Newsletter emails
2. Twitter posts
3. Facebook ads
4. Google AdWords
5. Guest post on Awaytogarden.com

We’ll create some custom campaigns for Calvin so that he can analyze how well each of these promotions is working.

First we need to add parameters into our links. Google created a nifty tool to help with this called the URL builder. You simply plug in your parameters and voila! The link is created automatically for you. 

1. Newsletter emails

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As you can see, we entered Calvin’s website, plus his campaign Source, Medium, and Name. It isn’t necessary to include the campaign Term or Content here, so we’ll leave these blank.

Click Submit, and you’ll get a link that looks like this:

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Now Calvin can include this link in his email newsletter to get accurate tracking on the traffic and conversions its driving to his products.

Let’s run through the rest of Calvin’s promotions to see how we would tag the URLs for each of them.

2. Twitter Post

You’ll likely want to use a link shortener before posting this on Twitter.

3. Facebook ads

  • Website URL: http://calvinburns.weebly.com
  • Campaign Source: facebook.com
  • Campaign Medium: cpc
  • Campaign Content: planter_map
  • Campaign Name: small_gardening_launch

See how we included a Content parameter this time? This is useful if you are running different versions of ads. In this example, Calvin’s ad might feature a map of where to put your planter boxes. He might have another ad that features basil on a balcony, which he can call “basil+balcony”.

4. Google AdWords

Don’t tag AdWords URLs. Instead of creating custom campaigns, simply link your AdWords account to your Google Analytics account and enable auto-tagging. Auto-tagging provides more information than custom campaigns without you doing a thing.

5. Guest post on Awaytogarden.com

Don’t tag links back to your site in your guest blog posts. These links will show up in your referral reports, which give you more information than custom campaigns.

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Make a plan

To keep all your information organized, create a spreadsheet with columns for your original URL, all your parameters, and the tagged URL. You can see a great example spreadsheet here.

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Reading your data

You can slice and dice your campaign data in a number of different ways. The most common is to head over to Acquisition > Campaigns for an overview of all your campaigns.

Above is a screen shot showing Calvin’s Small Space Gardening campaign. As you can see, his Twitter post, newsletter, and Facebook ad campaign can all be compared against each other in terms of traffic, bounce rate, goal completions, etc.

By clicking on “Goal Set 1” at the top of the page under the Explorer, I can view how each source performed for various goals. For instance, we can see here that the conversion rate for purchasing the Small Space Gardening Guide from Calvin’s newsletter is 50%, vs. 33% for Twitter and Facebook. If this trend continues, Calvin might want to test different copy for his social media channels, or direct more effort towards getting people on his newsletter.

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A note on Medium vs Source

One of the most common mistakes we see is people mixing up medium and source. Medium is your largest bucket, so you should not use things like “twitter”, “weekly_newsletter” or “awaytogarden_banner” for it. These are Sources. Instead use “social”, “email” and “banner” for the Medium.

For more best practices and troubleshooting, plus a great video explanation of the parameters, see this fantastic post on Annielytics.com.

How to Set up Goals in Google Analytics

Jessica Jalsevac on June 5th, 2014

If you’ve plugged your Google Analytics tracking ID into your Gumroad Settings, you might be wondering what to do next. How do you make sense of the data and actually use it to focus or adjust your work?

Gumroad’s Google Analytics integration enables you to get way more insight into your buyer behavior and how your marketing efforts are performing. For example, you can look at:

  • which keyword searches drive the most purchases of your products
  • what percentage of visitors to your website end up purchasing
  • which marketing campaigns result in the most revenue

But there’s one big thing you have to do before you can dive into all that juicy data. You have to tell Google Analytics which actions to track and log as conversions by setting up goals. So lets create some goals and get tracking!

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Finding the Goal Setup Flow

To get to the goal setup flow, click Admin in the top navigation bar of your Google Analytics account. Make sure the correct account, property, and view are selected from the three drop-down menus. Under the View column, click Goals.

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Click + New Goal. You’re now in the goal setup flow! 

Creating your goal

There are three types of Gumroad events that you can set as goals in Google Analytics: a product view, an “I Want This” button click, and a purchase. Decide which you want to track, and then follow the setup flow to create your goal.

1. Goal setup 

Here you have the option of selecting a template goal configuration or creating your own. We’re going to select “Custom” and click Next step.

Don’t see the option to choose between a template or custom goal? Don’t worry. This just means that you haven’t selected an industry within your account, and so Google Analytics doesn’t suggest relevant templates. Its not crucial to have these templates enabled.

2. Goal description

Name: Give your goal a clear and recognizable name (for example, “Bought Small Space Gardening Guide”).

Type: Select “Event” as the goal type. (there are four types of goals, but we will be working with events to track Gumroad product views, clicks, and purchases). Then click Next step.

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3. Goal details

Now we have to set up the event conditions. Again, there are three types of Gumroad events that you can track in Google Analytics: a view, an “I Want This” button click, and a purchase.

Here are the possible inputs to configure your event:

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Lets walk through an example. To set up a goal that tracks purchases of the product, “The Small Space Gardening Guide” (URL: https://gumroad.com/l/apUj), I would set the fields to:

Category - Equals to - product-apUj
Action - Equals to - purchased
Label - Equals to - purchased a product

We recommend leaving the “Value” field blank,  setting the “Use the Event value as the Goal Value for the conversion” switch to “No” and entering the price of your product in the field next to the switch. Note that the value you enter manually will be recorded even if an offer code or pay-what-you-want pricing is used to pay a different amount. Therefore, for exact sales numbers you should rely on your Gumroad dashboard, but Goal Values are a great way to assess the value of your marketing channels.

If you have created a custom URL for your product, you will have to use the original URL to set up the Goal. You can find the original URL under your custom URL, or in the address bar while editing your product. 

Then verify your goal to make sure that everything is set up correctly. Finally, click Save Goal and you’re done!

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Valuable reports

Google Analytics has a ton of standard reports that you can use to analyze your data and make strategic business decisions. Here are just a few to get you started.

Conversions > Goals > Overview: View goal completions, value, conversion rate, and other performance metrics for all goals at a glance. 

Acquisition > All Traffic: See which sources (Facebook, Google, your website, etc.) result in the highest conversions so you can focus your marketing resources on them.

Acquisition > Keywords > Organic: See which keyword searches are driving the most views and purchases of your products and use that to inform your SEO strategy.

You’re on your way to improved conversions!

Next, check out our post on campaign tracking in Google Analytics to see how you can measure the performance of all your marketing campaigns, from Facebook ads to email blasts.

Beautiful Portfolios with Dropr + Gumroad

Travis Nichols on May 22nd, 2014

Joining forces with some of the best sites and plugins around is a cornerstone of our mission to help you make a living doing what you love.

Our newest integration is with Dropr, a stylish online portfolio, creative network, and promotional tool for people who create anything, anywhere. Photographers, designers, illustrators, musicians, filmmakers: here’s your new look.

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Dropr portfolios are clean, customizable, and look the same on every device. You can share pictures, music, videos, and more simply by dragging and dropping. And with Dropr’s Gumroad integration, you can turn your projects into products for sale with a single click.

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In addition to integrating with Gumroad, you can connect your Dropr portfolio to apps such as Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo and Soundcloud to get more traffic to your portfolio and import content from other sites.

And it’s free. No trial period.

You are allotted 20 free uploads followed by 1 free upload per week. Further, referring a friend awards you 5 free uploads (and 5 for your friend). However, if you’re still too prolific for that (way to burn the midnight oil!), you can upgrade to GURU status. With GURU, you get unlimited uploads and huge size limits, and you can use your own name vs. a generated portfolio number. GURU access is $9.99 a month or $99 a year, but if you enter the code ONTHEROAD, you’ll get a free month to check it out.

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