JapaneseSnacks.com sent out a huge email about needing help and such (bellow the cut).
Greetings Jsnack Fans!
Wow! There has been a record number of people signing onto the mailing list since I took the site offline to complete the new design and upgrades. I figured that I'd better send out a mailing pretty soon! *grin* This is long, as most of my newsletters are, but all the information is important if you're interested in reading all the way through. *grin*
Just a quick note before I begin. A few people have emailed, new fans I assume, asking if the model on the website is me. Since so many new people have joined the list and the FAQ is offline, I will say this for the record. No it's not me. I'm a ugly slob *grin* If you want to see what I look like visit my website. The model on the front of JS is my best friend. Her name is Jessica Calvello and she's an actress of stage, screen, and also voice. She's quite well known for her work in the anime industry. You can see more info about Jessica on her website (http://jessicacalvello.com). Feel free to download her resume to see what anime she's done.
Ok � now the NEWS! *grin*
HELP WANTED: Volunteers NEEDED!
JapaneseSnacks.com is in need of volunteers to help keep the site fresh and updated. You'll read more about why in the section below called "Major Change #2". I hope you all will consider helping out. If you're interested in volunteering please contact me via the contact form online (http://www.japanesesnacks.com/jscontact.php) or via my email email@example.com
UPDATE: Otaku Grocery
A woman contacted Team Of Dreamers about a web project that she needed done and she mentioned that she liked the design we had done for a friend of hers. After inquiring as to what site it was, I found out that she was talking about Otaku Grocery and that her friend, Robyn Gandy, recommended us. Needless to say I immediately inquired as to what had happened to Robyn. The short story is pretty much that Robyn just quit. Without properly closing her store or informing her customers, she just kind of decided not to continue or that she was too busy to run the store. How's that for good business? Jeez! What kind of business sense is that? This from a woman who was so determined in the beginning to build a store that rivaled the original JapaneseSnacks.com store and was so gungho about doing a good job. No matter what happens you never just quit. And certainly not without informing your mailing list and properly shutting down your store. You don't just leave it online to collect p
eople's orders and money.
I gave Robyn a lot of support, my Team even designed her site just about free of charge, I taught her how to take proper pictures, I even gave her a lot of my wholesale Japanese snack contacts. I gave her a lot of consultation on how to run a good snack business and gave her near free advertising on the JapaneseSnacks.com website to help get her started with gaining some customers. Based on her focus, her drive, her desire, and how quickly she picked things up and learned, it seemed Robyn was very serious about doing a good job. But after a year she just quits, leaving her customers just hanging and her website online and the credit card processing still going so that people make orders and their cards are charged but she's not filling orders. Nice. Real nice. I'm surprised she didn't get into trouble for all the fraud accusations and credits that PayPal had to issue to her customers. Bad business. Just bad business. *sigh* People's general lack of responsibility and selfishn
ess never ceases to amaze me. Anyway, that's the story for all of you who were wondering.
OLD NEWS: Kyun Fiasco
Regarding yet more bad business and bad integrity � For those of you that didn't read about the Kyun fiasco, the post is still up and alive on the JapaneseSnack forums which are still online and working for now.
NEWS: The New JapaneseSnacks.com Website
I am working very hard to complete work on the new design for JapaneseSnacks.com. I am very busy with my design and consulting business which is why it's not quite finished yet. I apologize to everyone who is waiting. It's interesting that I don't generally get a lot of email until the site is down for some length of time *smile* The point is, however, that I am working on it and it will get finished soon. I promise.
There will be a lot of changes with the new website. Most of them having to do with the fact that so much has changed in the snack industry and my experiences online have made me rethink the direction that the website was taking.
MAJOR CHANGE #1:
I have decided to no longer support online stores that sell snacks unless they have been online for more than a year. My experience has shown me that snack stores that spring up have NO idea what they are doing and generally don't care. Companies like Melon Moon, Otaku Grocery, Kyun USA, even Yes Asia � companies that tried to jump on the snack train and just couldn't stay on or didn't realize how tough it would be or didn't care to try � They think they can just roll up to the curb so to speak and sell snacks without any real research on them or an understanding of what goes into it. By supporting and promoting these stores all I am doing is sending them customers who inevitably are the ones who get deceived by bad business practices.
JapaneseSnacks.com is a trusted name in snacks and information and it is my responsibility to our loyal fans and mailing list to direct you only to reliable places of business. Not to JoeSchmo Snack Shop that thinks they can just cash in on a niche of business that I worked my tail off for years to develop in the first place.
I originally wanted to try and support companies interested in the snack business because I know that when we closed up shop in 2000, that it really left a void and a gap in the snack business online. I know that a lot of people were really disappointed (and still are) because we were the best around. I thought that by supporting other companies, helping to build their stores, lending them my experience and consulting, that someone would take our place and be able to provide our fans and customers with products the way we did. I was wrong. And to all of you I apologize for that. It won't happen again.
MAJOR CHANGE #2:
Another major change is that I won't really be updating the website any longer. It's impossible for me to keep up with all of the various snack products that come out of Japan on my own. Without a connection there, I will be unable to get the products to try them, photograph them, and write a review. One of the reasons I worked with Kyun was because they would ship me anything I needed for the database and that was a great partnership. Without a Japanese connection I won't be able to do anything with the website.
Certainly, friends like Viki of Japan Connection can help. However, Viki is swamped in her regular life between all of her teaching and running Japan Connection. I cannot rely on her as the sole source of news for JS and that would be wrong of me to do so. Peter Payne of JList has approached me in the past about working together but even he has told me that pretty much he doesn't have time to keep up on new things either. Jlist/Jbox really only carries what they know they can sell, they aren't interested in a lot of the random things that people hear about or want to try. (This is one of the reasons Viki has so much business). Back in 2004 when I relaunched JapaneseSnacks.com as a resource site, Jlist was suppose to send me a box of products once a month in exchange for advertising space. I think they sent me one box total. Peter admitted to me that it just wasn't something he had time to do. I understand that. They have a business to run and they aren't interested in keepin
g up with new products really.
So where does this leave JapaneseSnacks.com? Well, without a supplier or news source, pretty much it leaves the site as a dinosaur archive of what was. That's why when Kyun decided not to launch, it really completely destroyed what JS could have been. It wasn't just about the years of our wasted time working on their website and store, it was also about the lost possibility of being able to keep the site updated all the time.
Japan Connection and Jlist are the only sources of new snacks available online. They are both in Japan of course which means you're going to have to pay for overseas shipping if you want to try something new. U.S. based companies like Asia Foods, Asian Food Grocer, and Asian Munchies only sell what each other sells. They only sell the most common items and they pretty much watch JapaneseSnacks.com to see what new products are coming out and then they try to sell them. Remember when I announced Reverse Pocky? Kyun USA was the first company to import it. Viki couldn't even get it in her area of Japan. Once we had the Reverse contest, everyone and their grandmother selling snacks online in the U.S. started trying to import it for their stores. So you can pretty much bet that once we stop updating our website with news about new product, the U.S. based stores won't be updating their inventory unless a customer makes a request for something. Most of the companies I'm talking about
are members of this mailing list in fact.
JapaneseSnacks.com will remain online as a source of information and education. But as far as being updated with the latest information from Japan about snacks? Not gonna happen unless I get a sponsor that's interested in our 1200+ unique hits a day and our 6000+ member mailing list enough to feel like they want to make the time to send me products from Japan. Or unless we get some volunteers who reside in Japan, who aren't mentally ill, lazy, or undisciplined enough to decide that they would like to contribute their time to helping to keep JS a great source of snack information for fans of these products. Our website is visited by people all around the world, not just the US. There are a lot of people who love snacks and JS is the only source of information. I'm only one person and I have two businesses to run on top of running JS. I can't do it alone. There's a lot to research and a lot to keep track of. If people out there really value this website and what it represents a
nd how it tries to inform, entertain, and educate, then perhaps they'll be willing to support it with their time and effort. It's not about money, it's about time.
If you're interested in volunteering please contact me via the contact form online (http://www.japanesesnacks.com/jscontact.php) or via my email firstname.lastname@example.org
MAJOR CHANGE #3:
The new design is very small and sleek and streamlined. Since there is no more advertising space, except for 4 small spots, (for people who have supported us since the beginning) the website looks much cleaner. The navigation is also much simpler and all unused sections of the website will be deleted. For example, the Fan Picture Gallery was suppose to be a place where people could submit pictures of themselves eating various snacks, sort of similar to Think Geek's "Action Shots" which show people using the items for sale. People didn't take too much interest in this so I'm removing that section.
Most people come to the website for the forums, the database, the online shopping guide, and the store reviews, and that's pretty much all that's going to be left on the site. I will also keep the ECards up as those are one of the second most popular sections. I may even make a few more.
So it's a lot of cosmetic changes mainly. Trimming the excess fat and making the site, as I said before, more streamlined. I think you'll all be pleased with it very much. I know that I'm very excited to launch it.
Thanks for reading this to the end! *smile* I am always sure to keep all of you great fans informed of what's going on. So many people have stuck with us through all the ups and downs and I will always be sure to let you guys know the truth of everything. I appreciate your continued support and again, I apologize for the delay with getting the new site online. I know you will all enjoy the new site and we're even going to have a new section!
I have heard from a few people about volunteering and I appreciate everyone who has emailed. I don't really need HTML or web design help though *smile* I do that for a living so I'm pretty set on that. What I need is people to do research, keep track of what snacks and flavors are coming out in Japan, or people who live in Japan or have their own connections in Japan who could help keep the site updated. I'm also always looking for people who are interested in writing columns, but again, serious inquiries only. Most everyone who has volunteered since last year has quit or was mentally unstable or was never really serious. Do not volunteer unless you're serious about helping JS out and know what it means to be a volunteer. It just wastes everyone's time and causes more problems for me.
So here's the info again. If you're interested in volunteering please contact me via the contact form online (http://www.japanesesnacks.com/jscontact.php) or via my email email@example.com
Thanks again everyone for your continued support! Welcome to all the new people and, don't worry, the site will be back online soon! Stick with us!
Elaine Barlow and the Jsnacks Crew