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Tag Archives | Michaels Stores

Update | Etsy, Creativeworld, Stampin’ Up!, Michaels, & More!

[Disclosure: Messe Frankfurt is a sponsor of this website.]

Increases. Etsy announced yesterday (Thursday) that it is increasing seller fees significantly on July 16th. Transaction fees for sales will be increasing to 5% from the current 3.5% fee. The transaction fees will also now be charged on shipping as well as the listing’s sale price.

In addition to the increased fees, Etsy will be launching subscription services for sellers. The first product launching will be Etsy Plus, for an “introductory price” of $10 per month. (No word on what the price will be after the introductory price runs out.) Etsy Plus will include 15 free monthly listing credits, a $5 monthly credit for promoted listings, some new special features for shop owners, and discounts on items like custom web addresses and packaging. Etsy Premium will launch in 2019, and is targeted for Etsy shop owners who have employees.

Etsy’s Chief Financial Officer Rachel Glaser described the increased fees in the announcement as a method for Etsy to invest in more marketing of its sellers.  “Our revised fee structure will allow us to make more meaningful investments on behalf of our sellers while remaining what we believe is the best value for entrepreneurs looking to start, manage, and grow a creative business. We plan to increase our 2017 direct marketing spend by at least 40% in 2018, revamp our Etsy community platforms, and execute against an exciting product roadmap. We believe all of this will help drive near-term growth and increase buyer lifetime value.”

In the same announcement that unveiled the increased fees, Etsy also announced new market guidance for earnings for the 2018 fiscal year. GMS growth is now predicted at 16%-19%, up from 16%-18%. The company is now predicting revenue growth of 32%-34%, up from 22%-24%. The previous guidance was issued at their earnings call last month. There was no change to the forecasted adjusted EBITDA margin of 21%-23%.

The changes went over well with investors. Etsy shares rose 35% in the first few hours of trading yesterday to a record high of $44.78. The stock closed for the day up over 25% at $41.65.

Endings. Studio Calico has announced that the June kits are the last ones for the company’s Scrapbook and Planner kits. The Scrapbook kit is the original kit that launched Studio Calico 11 years ago. Subscribers to the discontinued kits can transfer their subscriptions to the company’s Documenter (pocket scrapboook), or Stamp kit, or to the new Traveler’s Notebook kit launching in July.

Studio Calico’s announcement on their blog explained the reason for the changes: “There has been a drastic change in the memory keeping industry over the last 11 years, and we are continually thankful for all our loyal customers, their feedback, and the ever-evolving community of paper lovers.”

Creativeworld 2018

Shows. Messe Frankfurt announced last week that 300 manufacturers are signed up to take part in the Creativeworld 2019 trade fair. The event will take place at the Messe Frankfurt exhibition grounds in Frankfurt am Main, Germany from the 26th to the 29th of January, 2019. Companies committed to returning to Creativeworld for 2019 include C. Kreul, Clairefontaine, Creativ Company, Efco Kreativ, Folia, Marabu, Rayher Hobby, Rico Design and Staedtler.

“We are very pleased with the number of registrations received and are keenly looking forward to Creativeworld 2019. Our planning for the hall layout and the multi-faceted programme of events are also well advanced”, says Michael Reichhold, Creativeworld Director, Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH. Continue Reading →

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Update | Martha Stewart, Craftsy, Snap, Jobs, Dave Grohl, and More!

Support. A Gofundme campaign has been established to help Bella Blvd founder Stephanie Smokovich with medical expenses. Stephanie, for those who haven’t heard, was diagnosed with brain cancer after experiencing a seizure shortly after Creativation. She has already undergone surgery (and a lengthy hospital stay) to remove the tumor and is now facing radiation and chemotherapy treatment. You can keep up with Stephanie’s progress on her Caring Bridge site.

[Sending you hugs and wishing you a speedy return to running marathons, Steph!]

Video. Craftsy Unlimited is now available for subscribers in the U.S. to watch on Roku streaming devices. At a cost of $14.95/month or $120/year, the channel is similar in price to other premium channels available on the device like HBO.

Moving On. SNAP! Conference founder Tauni Everett announced at the annual conference last weekend that she has sold the event and will be moving on to other projects. Mandy Beyeler of Sugar Bee Crafts and Kim West of A Girl & A Glue Gun are the event’s new owners.

Contests. Duck Brand has launched its annual Stuck At Prom contest awarding prizes for prom clothes made out of Duck Tape. This year, instead of awarding prizes to couples, Duck is awarding two grand prizes – one for a tux and one for a dress.

Revamp. Stampin’ Up! has announced their annual update to their color palette – and it’s a big one. In addition to announcing a new In Color palette, that company has completely revamped their core color palette as well. The palette still has four color groups with ten colors in them, but a new group of Basics has been created to hold the colors basic black, whisper white and vanilla. Thirteen core colors are being retired along with the In Color group that is due for retirement. Because of this, there are 21 new colors being added to the Stampin’ Up! color palette in the revamp. (Flirty Flamingo actually appears on both the retirement and new color lists. It is being retired as an In Color and added to the core collection.)

Along with the color revamp, Stampin’ Up! is also refreshing their iconic ink pads. The new cases are slightly smaller, stackable, open more easily, and close tighter. But the changes aren’t just cosmetic. Stampin’ Up! has also made a change to their ink formulation that they say will reduce bubbling in the ink and give better stamp impressions. For more details on all of these changes, visit Stamp Your Art Out.

Martha, Martha, Martha. Lifestyle icon Martha Stewart has several big new products rolling out at Michaels. Ten new themed collections are being added to the Martha Stewart Celebration line of party supplies. There’s classics like gold, or black & white, along with trendy Meyer Lemon and even Iridescent (complete with the requisite unicorns).

In addition to the party collection. Martha and Cricut are pairing up for a Martha Stewart special edition Cricut Explore Air 2 machine. The machine’s bundle includes a special Martha Stewart tool set and 25 free Ready to Make Martha Stewart projects. Currently available for order for $279.99 on the Michaels website, the machine bundle will be available in-store at Michaels on May 4th.

Martha Stewart Cricut Explore Air 2

Martha Stewart had previously partnered with Cricut for a Martha Stewart-branded version of the Cricut Cake machine.

Shopping. Bella Blvd has joined the ranks of manufacturers who are selling direct-to-consumer online. Their newly-launched retail store can be reached at www.bellablvd.net

Crime. A JOANN store in Lansing, Michigan was the site of a murder-suicide on March 26th. Store employee Rachel Renee Duncan’s ex-boyfriend, against whom she had recently secured a protective order, murdered her with a gun stolen from a local gun range before turning the gun on himself. At least 15 people were inside the store at the time of the murder, according to police. An unidentified store employee told the Lansing State Journal that counseling services were being made available to store employees by JOANN.

[Disclosure: The following item contains Amazon affiliate links that pay this site a commission at no cost to the reader when a purchase is made after a click.]

Books. Designer Amy Tan’s publisher has republished her 2017 book Craft A Life You Love: Infusing Creativity, Fun And Intention Into Your Everyday. The new edition hit stores earlier this month.

Lia Griffith Cutting Machine Crafts

Lia Griffith’s new book on digital die cutting will be available on May 1st. Cutting Machine Crafts with Your Cricut, Sizzix or Silhouette includes instructions for 50 projects and 60 downloadable SVG files for readers to use to create the projects.

Careers. Have you ever wondered how you could turn your career into a craft career? Brittany Luiz talked to PR Daily about how she turned a career as a journalist into a position as the PR and media relations manager at Tombow.

Cool Crafters. You never know who you might run into at your favorite craft store. ICYMI earlier this year, apparently when Dave Grohl isn’t busy being a rock star he hangs out at Michaels in his spare time. (Definitely worth clicking the link just for the crafty Foo Fighter lyric puns.)

Jobs. The following industry jobs are currently listed as available:

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Update | Etsy Earnings, Closure, Hancock Fabrics, and more!

Welcome to the weekly Update column from Scrapbook Update for August 3rd, 2017!

[Disclosure: I have professional relationships with Cricut and Scrapbook.com who are mentioned in this article but this content is not sponsored.]

Closures. Illinois-based craft product distributor Product Performers closed its doors unexpectedly on June 30th. The closure of Product Performers leaves three remaining major distributors serving the paper crafts industry in the U.S.: Michaels-owned Darice, Notions Marketing, and Petersen-Arne.

Earnings. Etsy reported its 2nd Quarter 2017 earnings after market close today, posting a 19.1% year-over-year increase in gross revenue. The company also posted a 10.9% year-over-year growth in active sellers, and 17.2% year-over-year growth in active buyers. Mobile continues to grow in importance for Etsy, with approximately 65% of visits to the site occurring on mobile. Just over half of the platform’s gross merchandise sales (GMS) now occur on mobile.

Etsy has cut nearly a quarter of it’s workforce since January 1st, and says that this and other operational streamlining to reduce costs should reduce costs by $20 million in 2017 and by $35 million on an annualized basis.

Based on 2nd Quarter 2017 numbers, Etsy released new earnings expectations for Fiscal Year 2017. The company’s new forecast is for Gross Merchandise Sales to be up 12-14% year-over-year, and for revenue to grow 18-20% year-over-year.

Events. AFCI and SPC have announced the date and location for the 2018 Mixed Media Event. The show will take place at the South Towne Exposition Center in Sandy, Utah (south of Salt Lake City). An education day is scheduled for July 16th, 2018, and the show floor will be open July 17th-18th, 2018. For more information, visit the AFCI website.

Endings. The Paperclipping.com online video service run by Noell & Izzy Hyman will be closing down at the end of September. Members are being given one last chance to renew their membership on a month-by-month basis this month and then the Hymans plan to shut its doors after next month. The closure of Paperclipping has been planned by the Hymans for nearly a year, as Noell is moving on to a career as a yoga instructor in several studios near their Arizona home.

Crimes. Israeli police have arrested five antiquities dealers in connection with the illegal sale of artifacts that were seized from Hobby Lobby by the U.S. government over allegations of smuggling.Cricut Maker

Partnerships. Cricut is partnering with Simplicity as part of the launch of its new machine, the Cricut Maker, that was announced on August 1st. Simplicity is making hundreds of its digital patterns available in Cricut Design Space to cut on the Cricut Maker machine, which features a special rotary blade specifically for cutting fabric. Previous generations of the Cricut machine could cut fabric, but only when stabilized with an iron-on backer, which isn’t necessary on the new machine.

The launch of the Cricut Maker machine reflects a broader trend among companies that were once marketing solely to the paper crafts market to try to serve a broader audience – and the sewing market, via fabric and quilting, has been a popular target of many companies making the shift.

Endings II. The liquidation of Hancock Fabrics, which began well over a year ago, is still underway, with the liquidation plan finally being approved by the bankruptcy court on June 20th. Liquidation of many of the company’s key assets had already taken place, despite the lack of a court approved plan. In Summer 2016, Michaels Stores purchased the brand assets of Hancock – its trademarks, brands, and customer database – for $1.3 million. The Hancock-owned trademarks bundled in the deal included the brands Sew Perfect, Absolutely Cotton, and Creative Sewing Solutions (among others). Michaels did notify Hancocks customers that it planned on using the customer database to give them the option to opt out. Whether the company will use the sewing-related trademarks is another question. Sometimes purchases of assets like this are made not for intended use but as a sort of game of corporate “keep away” to prevent the assets from being used by competitors.

Social. If you are an Etsy storeowner looking to improve your social media reach, Forbes has a must-read article analyzing how some Etsy artisans have dramatically improved their sales using Facebook Live.

Change. A lot is written about the local retail businesses that die as a result of ecommerce, but we don’t hear as much about the businesses that are built from the rise of ecommerce – and the jobs they create. To learn more about one company that credits its booming growth to the rise of ecommerce, including clients that do business in the crafts industry such as Amazon, and Hobby Lobby – visit mlive.

Milestones. Congratulations to stamp company Neat & Tangled on reaching its five year birthday yesterday!

Products. Simon Says Stamp has released a new collection of stamps and dies by designer Cathy Zielske. In Zielske’s signature cheeky style, with sentiments like “Hello my hide-a-body friend”, these aren’t your grandma’s everyday stamps. (Unless, of course, you have a really cool grandma.)

Social II. In case you weren’t already convinced that Pinterest was a search engine, the social media platform drove the point home this week by updating its mobile app to reduce the number of clicks required to do a search. The search box is now visible on the app’s main home feed page, instead of buried in the explore tab as it previously was. They’ve also placed the button to access Lens, the feature that uses your device’s camera to take a picture and search for similar items on Pinterest, on the home feed page next to the search box for easier access.

Pinterest said in the announcement that monthly mobile searches are up 40% over last year and that 85% of all Pinterest searches now take place on mobile.

History. For a great read about the history of stamping and the rubber stamp dating all the way back to Old Testament times, check out Scrapbook.com’s article “The History of Stamping“.

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Update | Taxes, Growth, Exclusives, Earnings, Events, and More!

Taxes. Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) has proposed a bill that would affect how companies like Etsy, Lyft and AirBnB have to report their sellers’ income to the IRS. The bill would lower the income threshold that requires reporting by these entities to the IRS from $20,000 to $1,000 per year. It’s estimated by one tax policy expert at American University that the policy change, if implemented, will result in billions of dollars of new taxes being collected from sellers in the sharing economy who previously didn’t report their income.

Predictions. Market research firm Technavio has just made a new report available on the Global K-12 Arts and Crafts Material Market that predicts that market will grow at a CAGR of over 2% from now until 2021. To purchase the full report, visit the Technavio website.

Exclusives. Sizzix has announced that its Big Shot Jewelry Studio machine and an exclusive collection of jewelry dies and embossing folders are now available in a limited number of Michaels Stores. Only 30 stores – less than 3% of Michaels stores – are scheduled to stock this collection. To see the list of stores, visit the Sizzix website.

Bella Blvd Designer Day

Events. Registration is now open for Bella Blvd’s “Designer Day” event that will take place in Milwaukee on October 12th. The event will feature classes by Illustrated Faith designer Shanna Noel, Megan Hoeppner, Cynthea Sandoval, Jamie Pate, and Bella Blvd founder Stephanie Smokovich.

Deep Thoughts. Vicki O’Dell has a thought-provoking blog article up about the concept of being a “serial crafter”. I’ve long believed that most crafters tend to migrate through multiple crafts over the course of their lives. It’s an interesting thought to contemplate both from the standpoint of what it means for craft marketing, and what it means for the careers of professional crafters.

Security. In modern marketing, social media accounts are a vitally important company asset. They are also a major target for hackers, and a successful hack can cause at best a PR crisis or at worst the complete loss of social marketing assets. To combat this threat, Pinterest has just announced it is rolling out several new security features to help keep its users’ accounts secure. Turning on the new two factor authentication will require providing a code sent to your phone before you can log in. A list of logged-in devices on their account will also be available for Pinterest users, allowing them to disconnect ones they do not recognize. In addition, Pinterest will begin notifying users via email if a device not previously used on the account logs in.

Expansion. Hobby Lobby’s new store in the Lake Park area of Palm Beach has had its opening delayed until after the first of the year by what the company calls issues with getting permits. Another new store in progress, in Turlock, CA, is expected to open in September. A hiring event for 30-50 positions for the new store will be scheduled once an opening date is set.

Earnings. Amazon announced its 2nd quarter earnings today. Investor anticipation of the number temporarily made Jeff Bezos the world’s richest man, as Amazon’s stock rose enough to put Bezos over Bill Gates before a drop put Gates back on top again. The company reported a 25% increase in net sales versus the same period in 2016. Net income, however, was down significantly compared to 2016: $197 million versus $857 million last year.

The recent Prime Day event on July 11th, which will be reported with 3rd quarter sales, was described in a July 12th announcement as the biggest day ever in Amazon history. While sales were lead by offerings of Amazon’s signature devices like Fire and Kindle tablets, many other companies took part as well. Cricut was one craft company who offered Prime Day items. Even Amazon Handmade sellers took part, with Marcia Ricchiuti of Kahili Creations in Pahoa, Hawaii saying of the day that “So far, this year’s Prime Day sales increased 350 percent from last year’s. Getting the opportunity to offer lightning deals as a Handmade at Amazon artisan has been a boom to my business.”

Salutations. Happy Birthday to Jayne Burns of West Chester, Ohio. Jayne works at the cutting counter at the Jo-Ann Fabrics in Mason, OH – and celebrated her 95th birthday with her coworkers on Wednesday.

Peeks. A lot of crafters joke their homes look like a craft store…but what would your house actually look like if you owned one of the country’s biggest craft chains? You can check out this real estate listing for the answer – it’s the iconic Dallas home of Michaels Stores owner Sam Wyly. For a mere $12.5 million, you too could live in 7579 square feet of historic 1924 home on the Dallas Country Club golf course.

Jobs. The following industry jobs are listed as open and available:

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Update | Kickstarter, Stacy Julian, Merger, Crimes, Jobs & More

Recall. American Crafts is recalling two of the Jane Davenport acrylic paint kits that were sold in Michaels Stores in the U.S. and Canada before June 16th, 2017. Some Jane Davenport Portrait Paints Kit and the Jane Davenport Matte Acrylic Paint Kit may contain some defective paint containers that split and leak during use. Click here for full info on the recall, and contact acinfo@americancrafts.com for information on how to get a refund for your paints if you own the affected kits.

Start-up. Designer Lesley Oman is about to conclude a successful Kickstarter campaign to launch her own stamp company, called Heffy Doodle. Her campaign has raised over $15,000 so far to fund the launch of the new company.

New. Stacy Julian, founding editor of Simple Scrapbooks magazine, has a new product line coming in 2018. The product line, called Story by Stacy, was announced on June 30th at the annual Close To My Heart convention and will be a Close To My Heart exclusive. Julian was associated with a previous product line called Photo Freedom with Echo Park Paper, but it is fitting that she should get a product line with Close To My Heart – she started her scrapbooking career as a consultant with the company in 1993. Follow the Story by Stacy instagram account to keep up to date on the upcoming new line.

Story by Stacy logo

Mergers. Liberty Interactive, the parent company of tv shopping channel QVC, announced on July 6th that it is acquiring QVC the remaining 62% part of competitor HSN that it did not already own. Liberty also owns online retailer zulily, Evite, and interests in several other companies. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017, after which HSN will remain operating in its St. Petersburg, Florida headquarters under the direction of Mike George, CEO of QVC. The move will combine the two eCommerce channels, both of which have strong presences in the craft segment, into the internet’s 3rd largest retailer.

Hoaxes. Like a celebrity death hoax that won’t go away, the viral Facebook post that claims “Hobby Lobby is closing all of its stores” is making the rounds again. No, it’s not true this time either. This go-round was probably triggered by the recent stories about Hobby Lobby facing government penalties over the illegal importation of ancient antiquities.

Crimes. A 46 year old man was arrested in the Hobby Lobby in McAllen, Texas in the evening of July 13th, accused of using his cell phone to take photos up the skirt of a female shopper in the store. The man was charged with making invasive visual recordings, a felony, and released after posting $10,000 bond.

Crimes II. The Joann Fabric & Crafts store in Thousand Oaks, CA reported to police on July 8th that the store had been the target of petty theft and embezzlement for a six month period beginning in January.

Earnings. Etsy will announce its second quarter 2017 financial results after market close on Thursday, August 3rd. These numbers will be being keenly watched by investors, as Etsy has had several rounds of layoffs recently and also launched its new Etsy Studio website for selling craft supplies.

Location. Michaels Stores is increasing its presence in New York City, with plans to build a second Brooklyn store in a new building going up at 1633 E. 16th Street. Michaels has signed a lease for 20,000 square feet on the ground floor of the building, expected to be completed in 2020.

Sneaks. The AFCI trade show in Salt Lake City is over, but the sneak peeks aren’t. Today we did a major new update to the Summer Sneak Peeks page on Scrapbook Update…check it out for all of the latest!

Jobs. The following industry jobs are currently listed as available:

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Update | Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Celebrities, Layoffs, Jobs & More

Crime. One of the culprits behind the 2011 payment card data breach at some Michaels Stores pled guilty recently to two charges related to the crime, which involved installing 88 counterfeit PIN pads at 80 Michaels Stores locations in 19 states. As many as 94,000 cards were believed to be compromised in the breach.

According to a press announcement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, Angel Angulo pled guilty in Federal Court in Camden, NJ on June 20th to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. The conspiracy to commit bank fraud charge carries a potential sentence of 30 years in prison (plus a $1 million fine). In addition, the identity theft charge carries a mandatory 2 year sentence, which must be served consecutively to the bank fraud charge sentence. Sentencing in the case is scheduled for September.

Another conspirator in the fraud, Crystal Banuelos, pled guilty in 2015 to similar charges, and is still awaiting sentencing. She also consented in her plea to a forfeiture of $480,300 which is believed by prosecutors to be proceeds of the crime.

Crime II. Ivette Rodriguez, an attendee at Stampfest in Orlando over this past weekend, is being hailed as a hero by exhibitor Marco’s Paper and Crafts after she caught two people attempting to shoplift in their booth. Later in the day, in perhaps proof that the arc of the universe bends towards justice after all, Rodriguez won one of the event’s door prizes – a gift certificate to Marco’s Paper and Crafts.

Celebrities. Does your favorite Etsy seller have a secret – famous – identity? According to several news stories this week, Etsy apparently has some celebrity crafters lurking among its store owners. Singer Adele told a Wembley Stadium crowd recently that she has a secret hobby of making pom poms and selling them on Etsy. Also, Tila Tequila recently opened her own Etsy shop to sell her paintings through. (And of course, it’s not new…but who could forget Snooki’s Etsy shop?)

Celebrities II. Julianne Hough, of Dancing with the Stars fame, had her wedding shower last week for her wedding this Saturday to hockey player Brooks Laich. The event was thrown in Hough’s native Utah by her sister Sharee, who brought in Heidi Swapp to help plan and design the event. Hough’s blog contains an extensive recap of her wedding shower, including details on how Heidi incorporated her Design Boards and Instax products.

Books. Proving that trend is still going strong, designer Erin Bassett has a new book coming out September 5th called [Amazon affiliate link] The Art of Bible Journaling. The book is being published by Get Creative 6, an imprint of Sixth & Spring, which is a division of SoHo Publishing.

Layoffs. Etsy, for the second time this year, has announced that it is laying off staff. This second round of layoffs will include approximately 140 positions (or 15% of its workforce), making a total of 230 (or 22%) of its workforce laid off in 2017 based on end of 2016 employee numbers. The current round of layoffs will primarily be of marketing and product management staff as well as general & administrative positions. Most affected employees will come from the ranks of the company’s Brooklyn headquarters.

Etsy has not fared well with investors since its IPO in April 2015. Debuting at $16/share, the company briefly traded over $30/share before beginning to drop in value. Trading below $7 at one point in early 2016, the stock has been making a volatile climb back up. But as of today, it is still trading at $14.63, well below its IPO value 27 months ago.

Travel. If you are traveling to Creativation in Phoenix in January 2018, and your driver’s license is from Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, or Washington, you will need an alternate form of ID in order to travel home by air (starting on Jan. 22nd, 2018). Starting on that date, state ID from those states will no longer be valid for use for Federal purposes such as entering TSA checkpoints in airports, due to those states’ failure to implement the Federal REAL ID law that was passed on recommendation of the 9/11 Commission. Residents of those states will need to supply alternate ID, such as military ID, a green card/permanent resident card, or a passport, to be able to pass through airport security when traveling. It is recommended that if you need to apply for or renew a passport in the coming months, that you do so early, as the State Department expects a higher than normal level of applications due to REAL ID implementation in 2018.

Fees. Photobucket, in a stealth update to its terms of service, implemented major changes that now limit the ability to link to images hosted on the site from 3rd parties. This ability – which was previously available to all accounts, including free ones – is now limited to the service’s “Plus 500” level of account, which costs $399/year (or $39.99/month).

Linking to graphics hosted on free Photobucket accounts has long been a popular way on the internet of displaying message board images, and of hosting blog graphics to circumvent bandwidth and storage limits on blog hosting accounts. This change by Photobucket has resulted in a millions of images all over the internet now displaying instead as a Photobucket error graphic – being referred to as a ransom graphic by some. In many cases, the refusal of PhotoBucket to serve hosted images that have been linked has totally destroyed the usability of the associated content on blogs and message boards. In the crafts industry, this is especially true of one of the most affected sites – Etsy – where listings without photos are virtually useless.

Changes like this are why I always recommend to bloggers that their graphics be hosted on their own blog host. Linking to graphics on 3rd party sites carries the risk that those links could be cut off at any time. Especially risky is linking to images on accounts controlled by other people, such as design team members, who may choose to delete those accounts or images at any time for any reason.

Events. Ali Edwards has announced a second Story Camp in Eugene, Oregon fot October of this year. Registration opened  on June 27th, but bad news if you are interested in going – all 35 slots are already sold out!

Settlements. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York announced yesterday that it has filed a civil complaint against Hobby Lobby, alleging the company smuggled Iraqi antiquities into the U.S. in 2010. According to the government, Hobby Lobby spent $1.6 million in Dec. 2010 to purchase 5,500 antiquities from a dealer in UAE. The company proceeded with the purchase, allegedly, despite having been warned by a consultant they had retained about several red flags in the transaction that indicated the antiquities may be looted Iraqi objects. The antiquities were then shipped to the U.S. without proper customs paperwork, and labeled as “ceramic tiles” or “clay tiles (sample)” that originated in Turkey. Some of the shipments were seized by U.S. Customs, and further shipments originating in Israel were seized the following year.

cuneiform tablet forfeited by Hobby Lobby

International law enforcement agencies are highly interested in stopping illegal trade in antiquities from Iraq and other locations in the Middle East because selling looted antiquities is widely believed to be one source of funding for the ISIS terrorist network.

In a stipulation of settlement that was filed with the complaint, Hobby Lobby agreed to forfeit thousands of artifacts it had illegally imported, and pay a $3 million fine to settle the case. In addition, the company agreed to implement changes in the way it will acquire future antiquity purchases and to submit quarterly reports to the government of their purchases for the next 18 months to ensure that such transactions are legal. “We should have exercised more oversight and carefully questioned how the acquisitions were handled,” said Hobby Lobby President, Steve Green. “Hobby Lobby has cooperated with the government throughout its investigation, and with the announcement of today’s settlement agreement, is pleased the matter has been resolved.”

Jobs:

 

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