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NEWS: New Commission Structure

July 2, 2013

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Yesterday, all artists received an e-mail notice regarding a new commission structure at GCU. Below is the text of the message in case you haven’t seen it yet. You can also find it in the Announcements section of the Forum.


Dear GCU Artists,

Together we have done great things! Overall GCU has grown each and every year and hand in hand, more artists are getting paid each quarter and are growing their earnings more than ever before. GCU is proud of and grateful for the best artist community in the industry!

To keep focus on growth, GCU continues to invest heavily in many areas of our business that hold great promise for us all like: paid search engine ads (Google, Bing, and Yahoo), paid product feeds (Google Shopping and Amazon Product Ads), SEO optimization, promotions (“always available” free shipping), and forging & supporting key partnerships to better serve and expand into new markets (the UK printing partner and Kodak/Target partnership).

Starting out with one of the highest commissions in the POD industry, GCU has been conscious to not impact artists’ earnings until completely necessary. However, as we continue build our brand through advertising, SEO and strategic partnerships we need to ensure that the company maintains a level of financial integrity that will allow for continued growth.

Effective 7/01/13, we are announcing the following modification to artists’ earnings that will address some necessities:

Rebalance GCU’s earnings and investments

Incent artists to take an active role in self-promotion driving traffic and sales

Reward those artists that engage in self-promotion to drive traffic and sales with continued premium earnings

Allow us to keep GCU storefronts 100% free

Here are the details. In a nutshell, a two-tiered quarterly earnings structure:

Earnings per card will be reduced by 50%. EX: 20% commission on a $3.00 card will now be 10% (30 cents vs 60 cents), and so on

Artist’s earnings ($) will be measured against quarterly earnings thresholds

Artists that meet or exceed the threshold, each quarter, will double their earnings – earning the full premium earnings (100%)

This measurement is done at the end of each quarter as part of payment preparation

The thresholds are the same for all artists

The quarterly earnings thresholds are based on historical data and are realistically achievable, even for part-time, hobby artists

Single Card Price Increase – the majority of GCU’s sales transactions is comprised of single card sales (1 card). We will be increasing the single card price from $3.00 to $3.50. This means that artists will earn more on these transactions – 10 cents more for premium earning artists (70 cents vs 60 cents), 5 cents more for standard earning artists (35 cents vs 30 cents) – helping artists reach the thresholds faster.

Total Quarterly Earnings Thresholds are: 1Q = $150     2Q = $150     3Q = $150     4Q = $300

Examples to help you guess-timate your future earnings …

Meeting Threshold:
– If you earned $355 in 2Q2013 these earnings would be 50% less, $177.50 standard earnings
– The $177.50 meets the 2Q earnings threshold of $150 so you’d earn your double, premium earnings of $355

Not Meeting Threshold:
– If you earned $75 in 2Q2013 these earnings would be 50% less, $37.50 standard earnings
– The $37.50 does NOT meet the 2Q earnings threshold of $150 so earnings remain standard of $37.50 with no additional premium earnings for the quarter

The key takeaway is that for many GCU artists it will be business as usual with the added benefit of earning even more on single card transactions. Additionally we have plans to make it easier and more effective for artists to self promote. Lastly, do not despair, meeting the quarterly thresholds is realistically within reach for artists who are willing to put in the extra effort.

Please know we realize that no matter how we present this change for many it will not be favorably received. Some artists will be upset and leave. That is not our intent. We have explored many alternatives and in order to continue investing in our growth and GCU’s future this is a necessary change.

Thank you for your continued contributions, commitment and understanding through all of our growing pains as we continue to adjust in order to move forward and thrive.

Greeting Card Unviverse Team

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