There may be several important problems to solve regarding the marketplaces and their development in the future - yet it seems to me that there’s one basic, underlying question that all those problems are related to:
How can Envato make it easier for customers to find high-quality items that fit their needs?
(Of course a few authors may want to argue about “what is a quality item…?” - but I’m not interested in that discussion.)
I think it’s obvious to everybody that the number of authors and items have drastically increased over the last couple of years. Since I can’t imagine that the number of customers has increased in the same way, it seems only logical to me that there’s simply less ‘attention’ by customers for each and every item. (At least that seems to be the case at Audiojungle - and that’s my perspective as an AJ author…)
Ok, so quality items get lost in the flood of new items and authors… What can be done about that?
Well, those quality items need some extra boost to make customers aware of them. A few basic steps have been already done by Envato that I can think of ad hoc:
The search engine got a (long-awaited) complete overhaul not too long ago. This made it possible to offer customers a search based on filters (rather than a search based only on text).
The minimum quality level (necessary for items to get accepted) was slightly raised from time to time.
Just some weeks ago, an upload limit has been implemented.
And of course there may have been many more smaller efforts and tweaks behind the scenes - and I can’t list them all here…
However, I think a lot more can be done to make quality items stand out. So - here’s a post to start a conversation about what CAN actually be done to make high-quality items stand out.
I want to start with this rather simple idea: A ‘LIKE’-button for items on Envato.
There actually is some kind of feature like this already: You can add items to your ‘favorites’. But this feature really works more as a ‘personal watchlist’ to quickly ‘mark’ items that you want to get back to at a later point.
What I’m talking about would have to be a new feature that would need a really prominent space on every item page: A ‘LIKE’-button and a simple counter along with it. The basic idea would be: If Envato isn’t capable of giving quality items more weight by editorial work (e.g. completely rethink the weekly features…) or marketing efforts (e.g. make high-quality editorial selections and market those directly to customers…), then why not give the community a bit of power to shine some extra light on items that stand out from the rest? Let the ‘swarm intelligence’ do a little bit of magic…
Of course there would have to be some things to consider for this to work (and to avoid abuse etc.):
Only registered members can LIKE an item.
Each member can only LIKE an item once.
LIKES should be anonymous. Only you should be able to see the items you liked.
And, most important of all: To really have an impact, the LIKES of an item should be an important factor in the context of search. The number of LIKES should be shown in the search results. And maybe it should even be possible to sort by number of LIKES. Ideally, the LIKES of an item would be shown along with the item’s thumbnail everywhere it appears.
Maybe there are good reasons why this idea won’t work? Maybe you have ideas that would further improve the idea?
Or maybe you have other, far more potent ideas on how to tackle the ‘quality-vs-quantity’ problem?
I’d really be interested in a constructive discussion about how we can point some actual spotlights on high-quality items to make it easier for customers to find them… Let’s hear it!