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More and More Design Uploads & How We Deal with Them

Over 300,000 designs are uploaded to the Spreadshirt Marketplace every month – and that is only for our North American platform. But what happens afterwards?

It’s been a while since we’ve updated you about our statistics, processes and Marketplace developments. Here’s a review of what happened in recent years and a forecast of what 2021 holds in store for us all.

Upward trend since 2017

For the past three years we’ve been observing an upward trend of daily design uploads to the Marketplace. Curiously, this year it seems that the current pandemic has further contributed to more people than ever wanting to sell their designs.

We are highly appreciative of this development, but it also presents us and the entire community with tough challenges. This is why we’d like to give you an update on how we deal with this huge number of design uploads, while getting back to some of the questions you’ve asked.

You can see a steadily growing number of uploads since 2017. In April 2020, we had to reduce the upload limit to 5 designs per person/day due to the pandemic. As of May, we’ve managed to administer 20 uploads per person/day while managing an influx of account registrations. Suspicious accounts registered in North America made the curve peak before we deleted those accounts in September.

2020 – Proportion of rejected designs

On average, 333,000 designs were uploaded to our North American platform (including the domains .com, .com.au, and .ca) per month in the first eight months of 2020. That’s 11,000 designs per day and over 460 designs per hour. Still, we’ve had to reject about 34.5% of all design uploads, decreasing the actual number of approved uploads to about 211,000 per month.On what grounds do we reject about 122,000 designs per month, you may ask.

Reasons for rejection and design approval

Since the update of our Community Standards in October, we’ve received some criticism and lots of questions as to why we’re doing this. And who decides these things, and is it legal at all?

In a nutshell – yes, we can do that. However, the decision of what content we endorse weighs heavily on our shoulders. We’d rather go with positive content than with anything that some groups or individuals could take offense at. Our community is – at least for the most part – a place of good ideas.

There are several reasons for rejection:

  1. Poor design quality or poor quality anticipated for printing
  2. Copyright offenses and/or infringement of personal rights
  3. Violation of our Marketplace guidelines
  4. Violation of our Community Standards or disregard of the law

Spreadshirt has a whole department that evaluates quality requirements and researches copyright infringements. In addition to this knowledgeable team, we use automatic and digital filters to manage the 460 design uploads our platform receives every hour.

And now you might be wondering…

What’s the most common reason for rejection? Marketplace Standards!

In first place: Our Marketplace Standards! About 48,000 designs per month are rejected because they violate our Marketplace Standards. These e.g., include plain photographs that have little appeal to anyone but the person uploading it, or a design series with repetitive content (only differing in names or dates). The second most common reason is quality issues, with 44,000 rejections per month.

Finally, in third place: Unknown rights of use. An average of 22,000 designs are rejected every month because the rights cannot be clearly traced back to the person who uploaded it. Only a tiny fraction of uploaded designs are rejected because they violate our Community Standards.

What’s the report design feature used for?

When it comes to Community Standards and laws, we rely on our “many eyes” principle. Basically, this means something goes through a variety of checks and systems we have in place. While our team is really hardworking, they can’t be aware of every single issue that arises. This is true for every major online provider. We can’t make space for content depicting a glorification of violence or pornography that would, for example, be deleted on Facebook within minutes. This is also a reason why platforms offering live content without any filter functions often make the headlines.

The report design feature provides us with local knowledge about regional laws and sensitivities regarding the interpretation of certain designs and wordings. This is why it’s always good to have a “local eye” out in our international community to help us weed out the rotten design eggs on our platform.

But we don’t remove every design that gets reported. Not at all…

What happens after a design gets reported?

Once a design gets reported, it remains online until it’s reviewed and assessed for possible cultural differences, political developments or any other reason that could impel it to be removed. If it’s a tricky decision, there is a larger conversation about the design in question. And if it’s really difficult, we put a task force in place to deal with the specific issue. Special cases like this take a lot of time, but – thankfully – they’re few and far between.

If a design violates our guidelines, Community Standards or a copyright, we have several options:

  • Reduce the visibility of the design and deactivate it for certain products (e.g. kids’ clothing)
  • Delete the design from the platform and the account of the person who uploaded it
  • Delete designs that are associated with the design
  • Close the showroom or account on which the design was found
  • Block certain terms related to the design on our platform

Many designs that are removed from the platform get re-uploaded, and on other occasions designs need to be deleted due to context changes (copyrights, etc.). We are grateful for everyone who supports us in maintaining our Community Standards. And we’re also happy about the 500 great design ideas that outweigh the 100 rejections.

Do you also sell your designs on our European Marketplace? Then take a look at the statistics here.

Any more questions about upload numbers and reasons for rejection? Ask them right here in the comments!

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