You know when you meet a new friend and you feel like you've known each other forever? You want to spend lots of time together and wonder where they have been your whole life? Then remember that feeling of foolishness and disappointment when they do something to show they are not who you thought they were? You look back and see signs you ignored during the "honeymoon phase" of your relationship and feel even more foolish...
This is how my experience has been with Open Sky during the past several months. When I first learned of this new platform to connect products I love with my own readers, it sounded like a match made in heaven! I spent lots of time interviewing and training, lots of time locating and contacting the manufacturers of my favorite products to encourage them to allow me to sell their products on Open Sky, lots of time writing about these products, lots of time choosing just the right items.
I felt proud of my little 23 item Open Sky Shop that I had curated myself over the past months. I loved each and every product in there and was happy to share. I loved that Open Sky marketed themselves as joining forces with the little guys, us bloggers, to promote a new concept in online shopping.
Looking back I realize that there were warning signs that our relationship was in trouble...poor communication from administration, lots of confusion in setting up my shop (that I assumed was just me being thick headed!), mistakes on the orders I placed to purchase items myself, lots of featured sellers on the front page that were always the same (and who weren't me or any of the other shop owners I knew)...ahhh, hindsight...
But, you know, we were moving along and getting to know each other and I pushed the doubts aside and focused on my own little shop. Last week I received an email from Open Sky with the subject line "IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM OPEN SKY" - it looked kind of shouty with all the capitals!
I opened it and saw doom in the opening sentence "We have some news and wanted to make sure you heard it directly from us" Come on, nothing good ever follows that sentence. They went on to explain the changes, including this new rule: "You must have at least 4,000 followers and have expertise in women's lifestyle to become a curator and sell products on OpenSky."
Huh. I went to their front page and saw this:
Lots of "curators" who all had some sort of celebrity connection.
Okay, they added "follow" buttons to our profiles. So, I went to my profile to see how many followers I had and saw this:
No followers because I had no "follow" button. Interesting. It was all becoming clear. All those profiles I had seen every time I logged onto the front page had received all kinds of publicity over the past several months and they had decided to discard all the other "little guys". So, the rule should have read "You cannot sell if you don't have 4000 followers and you can't get followers unless you sell. Ha ha, see ya!"
Several posts on the Open Sky discussion board have been ignored by administration. Yet another sign that they can't be bothered with us little guys. No explanation and no answers to our questions.
Researching it further on this blog, I learned this change had been in the works for about a year and they continued to accept new sellers all along knowing they were just going to shut them down come March. That friend I thought I had made was beginning to look shadier and shadier. How foolish I felt. How disappointed.
So, Open Sky will revoke my ability to sell items on March 1st, but I have decided to close my shop now. Why keep up the facade? Why pretend our friendship is still intact for a few more weeks? So, it was fun but in the end it was a giant waste of time and a lesson learned. I feel like they used us bloggers to generate buzz and interest in their new venture - free publicity - before shutting us out and moving on with their "real" shop curators.
Anyone out there have any experience with Open Sky?
**There is still time to join Tutorial Tuesday for some fun and inspiration!