It's a week before the 2010 American Idol Live Tour kicks off in Auburn Hills and the top 10 contestants are feeling the heat. On the other hand, graphic designing fans of the show and the Idol fans that love to shop will be feeling as though they have been left out in the cold. Today was the day that the revised license between FremantleMedia Enterprises and Cafepress came into effect - leaving the American Idol portal looking much like a ghost town.
On May 18, 2009 (only a little over a year ago), a Cafepress press release announced the launch of the portal. Within this the senior manager of consumer products for FremantleMedia Enterprises, Nora Wong, was quoted saying "The fan-designed merchandise gives Idol fanatics a fresh, fun and creative way to connect with the show." And that it did. In particular, Cafepress became the place for groups and individuals to discover (or self create) American Idol themed t-shirts, caps, buttons & bags, that they'd clad themselves in for a possible barricade meeting before their local live show. With tees adorned and sharpies in hand, they were ready to get themselves their favourite Idols' signatures that they'll cherish forever.
Changes to the license today involved one addition, the CAPS as per the following... "OK to use contestant names only (PLEASE NOTE ALL DESIGNS WITH CONTESTANT NAMES WILL BE REMOVED AFTER THE SEASON ENDS)". This meant that even a typically fan-based design such as a "Crystalized" (no use of contestant full name) was pulled from the marketplace. What's left? Not much. And what's still there (which may seem like a decent choice for fans) may not have been detected as yet and may become a ghost like all the others some day very soon.
The lesson here, folks? When you're considering designing for one of these third party portals, read the fine print. When you do, you'll most likely see a notation that the rules are subject to change. They most certainly are, and they may do so before anyone anticipates it! I wonder how many American Idol fans bookmarked a Lee DeWyze or Crystal Bowersox design with the intent to buy for this years' summer tour? Or how many designers will answer Cafepress' call to design more generic AI designs? This would have been the prime time for those shopkeepers to focus on marketing their contestant themed designs; the tour is when sales have historically been high. Unfortunately, they're now dealing with store clean-ups and design funerals.