Friday, July 9, 2010

EB Friday Hotlist: Kaboodle

So I've been curious about the site called Kaboodle for awhile, but didn't decide to take the plunge until this Storque article was published on Etsy.  To be honest, it's not the most intuitive site to use but it's got potential to be a promotional tool.  I'll go over some of the features that you can use for promotion:

1. Lists: When you sign up for a profile, you get several lists by default but you can delete them, add others, and customize them with any items you like.  Since people can search Kaboodle for items that interest them to feature in other parts of the site (you'll see what I mean later), it's a good idea to upload your own items into a list.  Kaboodle recommends you sort your items by theme to encourage friends to flip through your lists, but that's entirely up to you.  I decided to just put mine in a generic "My Creations" list so that it's not misleading.

You can also add other people's items to your lists.  As long as you have a web url, it can be added.  This site is not just for handmade items, but shops like Amazon, Target, and Victoria's Secret also have their brands represented.  However, Etsy and the handmade community have a reasonable presence and the operators of Kaboodle have expressed that they'd like to see our numbers grow - so spread the love!  Add your treasuries to Kaboodle using the promote links and add individual listings using the share button on the right sidebar of the listing page.

2. Styleboards: These are probably my favorite things on Kaboodle.  Styleboards are collages of items you either find on Kaboodle or upload to the site.  Much like treasuries, they aren't intended for self promotion but for showcasing style ideas pulled from the entire community.  Also like treasuries though, you are allowed to include one of your own items.  I've created two styleboards so far.  I picked a piece of interesting jewelry from my shop and searched for Etsy items already on Kaboodle that I think go well with the item.  Check them out:

Zesty Lemons
Zesty Lemons by ellesbeads

Cherry Red...
Cherry Red... by ellesbeads

It's a great way to both showcase other people's vintage and handmade items as well as show off how my funky jewelry can be worn with style.  Styleboards can be hearted, commented on, shared via Facebook/Twitter, and embedded in blogs.  The main styleboards page features popular collages by default and can be sorted to show the most recent first.

3. Friends and Groups: Like most social networking websites, Kaboodle offers the option to add people as friends and to join groups.  In your profile, you can add tags to describe yourself to allow people with similar interests to find you.  When viewing your profile, just click one of your tags to be taken to all the people who identify with that particular tag.  There's also an option for you to search your email contacts and Facebook friends for anyone you might know who already has an account.

Groups are just like they sound.  They allow you to network with large numbers of people at once - and there are tons of them.  I'll be honest and say they aren't easy to get to.  I had to search via Google to get to the groups page that didn't just have the featured groups listed:  Once you get to what should be the Groups landing page via the link I provided, you'll see categories that you can use to find interesting groups as well as a link to create your own.

Etsy Loves Kaboodle is the largest Etsy group on the site and is open for membership to any seller or buyer.  The group allows members to create new discussions as well as add their lists to the group for members to browse.

4. Blogazine: This unique feature is one I haven't tried yet.  Apparently you can host your own style blog right on the site.  You can post about fashion, decor, beauty, and other style items and recent posts may show on the Blogazine homepage.  If you already have a blog like me, another one may be too much to keep up with.  What I do recommend is checking out some of the posts, making comments, and interacting with other users just like you would here on Blogger.  That should get people clicking through to your profile and then looking at your lists and items.  Click on the image below for an example of a Blogazine:

5. Brands: Brands have their own homepages with special features.  If you have a website with your products, and you upload one or more of them to Kaboodle, a brand page is automatically (well, it takes a day) created for you which you can claim.  They want you to use an email address from your domain, which I haven't set up so I'm not sure if I'll be able to claim my own brand. Once you upload at least one of your products, you can go here to claim your brand: (replace with the URL for your website).  There are also several buttons you can add to your product listings that will allow your visitors to quickly add your items to their Kaboodle lists.

Okay, so for the downsides of Kaboodle: It's not the most intuitive site I've ever used.  Getting to the main groups hub is challenging, and when you're creating a styleboard you can't favorite products or click through to get full information (like the whole title).  It's also not just for handmade, so your products have some competition to actually be seen.  And I actually see this as an upside, but there is a limit to how much self-promotion you can do - no sending private messages to your friends about sales or spamming your links in the comments.  It's a great tool, but read the Terms of Use before starting so you don't step on any toes.

So, do you Kaboodle?  Add me as a friend!  Don't forget to put the link to your Kaboodle profile in the comments as well.

Until next time,