Wednesday, May 29, 2024

All First Party Nintendo Games will not have a Rating on Covers in South East Asia from 2024 onwards

May 29, 2024 0 Comments

Ever since I had gotten my Nintendo Switch it has been an adventure of playing games, and collecting physical edition of games. Being in Singapore, we usually get the MSE version of the physical games, which is the same looking as the US version. There are some games which are the EU version as well, but overall we get quite a few variety. 


Prior to 2024, first party games were released with the region code MSE. The physical games have an ESRB rating on the front cover of the box, and on the back there is an “Middle East/Southeast Asia/Official Product” logo, and the same Nintendo of America barcode as the respective product sold in the states. Inside the packaging is a USA region Game Card.


But starting this year in 2024, all first party Nintendo physical games in Southeast Asia will no longer have an ESRB age rating on the box. That would mean that games from this region will be the first in the world to have clean covers for first party titles. That is… with the exception of titles such as those from the Bayonetta series that will most likely have an IMDA 18+ age rating printed on the cover. 


The new ratingless versions will retain the MSE region code, “Official Product” logo, and have a unique Nintendo Co, Ltd (Japan) barcode. Inside the packaging, the USA region Game Card is expected to be replaced by a MSE region Game Card. Although the region of the Game Card is different, there are no differences to the software itself; all first party games work the same way regardless of its Game Card region.


This brings a new opportunity for those who wish to collect clean covers, aka covers with no age rating, of first party Nintendo games, which has never been possible for titles before 2024.


For my first game of 2024, Princess Peach: Show Time!, the cover is nice and clean. The game card however is still the US version and not MSE. But a cleaner cover looks nicer, doesn’t it? πŸ˜†




Monday, May 27, 2024

Curated Delights: Melodi Picks

May 27, 2024 0 Comments

Introducing Melodi Picks!


Whether you're a seasoned gamer or just starting out, having the right gear can make all the difference. That's why I'm thrilled to introduce my curated affiliate shopping page, your one-stop destination for everything mechanical keyboards, artisan keycaps, Nintendo Switch accessories, and games.


Since I like virtual window shopping and finding a good deal or two most of the times,  this is a page where I've handpicked the best products (and deals) in each category above.  I have purchased most of these, and others are really a good deal which I found. So if you are in Singapore, or South East Asia in general, you are in for a treat because sharing is caring! πŸ˜†


For international readers you could try your luck and see if you are able to purchase, but anything international would be under the "Other Links" section. 

 If you have not signed up for Shopee and want to get S$5 off your first order, sign up 🠊here🠈😊 Alternatively, if you already have an account but have not bought anything yet, you can still get S$5 off your first order with this code 7L6EM9H
Do note that if you are viewing it on mobile it will check if you have the app first, if you do it opens in the app, just click ok and you would get to the listing page. Happy Shopping!


Remember to compare prices and shipping costs, and check reviews across the different sellers / platforms!



Artisan Keycaps

  1. [Keycap Series: A Shopee Guide to Affordable and Good Quality Artisan Keycaps]
  2. [Keycap Series: Featuring Artists of the Month]
  3. [Beginner's Guide to Artisan Keycaps: Everything You Need to Know]



Nintendo Switch

  1. [IINE Splatoon Nintendo Switch Joypad Review]
  2. [HORI Nintendo Switch Split Pad Compact Review]
  3. [Top 5 Cheap Switch Accessories You Definitely Need]
  4. [Accessories Bundle for Nintendo Switch Sports]





Monday, May 20, 2024

Keycap Series: May Artist Featuring shopqwerkycaps

May 20, 2024 0 Comments


For the month of May we have R who owns shopqwerkycaps and makes artisan keycaps & digital stickers! She is based in Singapore which makes shipping so much more affordable at S$3. Her keycap creations range from an average of S$35 to S$65+, which was a draw along with the unique designs. πŸ˜† 


[Keycap Series: Featuring Artists of the Month

[Beginner's Guide to Artisan Keycaps: Everything You Need to Know]


I first came across R works on Carousell and went to check it out. Etsy, again won as there were discounts being offered at that time. There were so many adorable designs, but ultimately I decided on 3 Pokemon themed keycaps - Minunm, Plusle and Litwick. 😍


R was responsive and so nice to help time the delivery for me so that I would be able to receive them at a period convenient to me. Packaging was on point: each keycap was bubble wrapped and placed in their own little bag, along with their "birth certificate" which added that special touch. They arrived in a good condition along with 3 adorable stickers! 




was really responsive when arranging for the delivery. It was an overall good experience and I would definitely be getting more caps from her in future.  πŸ‘


R also has the occasional Raffles Sales where she releases one of a kind limited editions of various designs. So don’t forget to check out her Instagram page for updates and exciting news! 

Artist Info

  • Style: πŸ¬ Fantasy / Gaming / Pop Culture / Nature Inspired / Anime πŸ“Ί
  • Pricing (per keycap)an average of S$35 to S$65+ (US$25 to US$50+)
  • Shipping to Singapore: S$3 (US$2.50)
  • Shipping Internationally: around S$10+ (US$8+)
  • Shipping to US: Free shipping for the first order for over US$35
  • Wait TimeMy order via Etsy took about 5 working days to get processed. Once was dispatched (the benefits of being in the same country πŸ˜€), it only took 2 working days to reach me.
  • Material: Polymer clay, PBT keycap, Matte glaze or UV resin glaze.
  • Social Media: 

πŸ’— Loves

πŸ’— Animal & Pokemon Themed Keycaps.
πŸ’— Light weight and easy to install the keycaps. It fit my switch perfectly.
πŸ’— The evenness and smoothness of the end product.
πŸ’— Does not look mass manufactured and has individualism.
πŸ’— Good quality and amicable, responsive artist (to address and concerns or questions). 
πŸ’— Reasonable shipping price and overall pricing.

Remember to compare prices and shipping costs across different artisans and platforms to find the best fit for your budget!

Have you gotten any keycaps from shopqwerkycaps ? If the answer is yes, let me know in the comments below what you loved and what did you get! 


[Keycap Series: Featuring Artists of the Month

[Beginner's Guide to Artisan Keycaps: Everything You Need to Know]



Wednesday, May 15, 2024

First Look: CIDOO ABM066 Barebones Kit Alice-layout Review

May 15, 2024 0 Comments


Finally, I have my very first Alice-layout keyboard! Well it might just be the barebones kit without the full set of switches and keycaps, but it also cost much less on Lazada. I managed to get it on sale (as always) for under S$40! The last I checked it is still cheap and going for about S$65-120 currently. So if you are interested, you can find it here on Lazada. Alternatively you could also check out Shopee where the average pricing is around S$72-89+. Of course with sales, and the use of vouchers and coins you might be able to get it for slightly lesser at either shopping platforms.


With some left over Akko Jelly Blues (tactile), Orange (tactile), and Pinks (linear), I decided to go for mixed tactile and linear experience. I also happened to have a cute cat themed keycaps set that I thought would go well with it.



Delivery was not so fast, taking about a 7 days to arrive. Confirmation of the order took about 2 days and once confirmed it was on its way. One thing to note if you are buying from Lazada Choice is that is can be a sort of gamble, sometimes the order gets cancelled and you lose out on the best price at the time you ordered. Other times the seller takes almost forver to pack and send out the item. There’s also no way to contact the seller except through the Lazada help chat support (not the chat bot). The good thing is when the order goes through, the joys of receiving your items which you got at a deal is oh so sweet. 😁


Given the price point, I guess I cannot complain that it arrived in its box and nothing else. There was no protection, but thankfully it arrived intact (the box was a little beaten but it survived). It came with a manual guide, cable and keycap / switch puller. 



Adding the ‘Flesh’ to the BareBones Kit Experience

As mentioned earlier, the concept of affixing the switches into the board was quite novel and seemed simple, but the execution was another story. Some of the switches were not affixed securely resulting into the switch and keycap being loose. Not knowing how much strength to use and not wanting to break the board can be pretty nerve-wracking. That and the fact that you would expect the switches to fix nicely and easily. But I am not complaining since this was on sale and is working as it should. Alternatively if you are interested in an Alice-layout but want less of having to assemble your own, you could get it pre-assembled with switches and keycaps already on it. 

But if you  want to try and have some sort of sense of accomplishment putting on your own switches and keycaps, this could be a good option. 😎


Now this being my very first Alice-layout and a barebones kit no less, it did take me a while to figure out how to affix the switches. It could be me or the fit of the board, but it took some effort to get the switches to fit (the key is to find the right angle and push it in). It was initially a tad loose for the “right shift” and “? “ buttons but I took them out and out them in again and made sure they fit in tightly (usually there would be a click when you’ve gotten it right).



I have not yet customised the digital screen so it is stuck on 01 April, but I’ll get to it … eventually. Here’s a video I found which gives a pretty good overview about the aesthetics and an overview of the RGB light effects and hot keys.  



Typing Experience

I would say that having this split does make it ergonomically friendly for the left and right hands. The only thing is getting used to it. I found myself having to look at the keyboard or risk hitting the wrong key, also my left hand is really used to hitting the ‘y’ key and keeps on mistaking the left shift key for the ‘a’ key.πŸ˜‚ So that’s probably something to get used to (that and the interesting fact that there is a ‘b’ for both the left and right spilt of the board).


For the moment (for this post and just using the out of the box default settings), the experience typing on an Alice-layout is pretty refreshing. It’s supposed to nurture a healthier typing posture and reduces strain; let’s see how this goes.



Default Settings and Connecting to devices

The out of the box key mapping should be alright for a Windows system. I am using it currently on an iPad Pro and the copy / paste key, display home shortcuts are not as I would expect (or I just need to get used to the layout). Other than that it is alright.


Connection to an iPad or Android device is relatively simple, just set the keyboard to Bluetooth setting, and turn on Bluetooth for your device which you want to connect to, press the FN + Q / W / E to pair. The keyboard can be simultaneously connected to 3 devices at a time. 


If you want to connect to a computer (Windows / Mac), you also have the option to connect it via the USB cable it came with or simply use the USB for the 2.4GHZ. Of course you have to remember to adjust the keyboard setting for the 2.4GHZ connection.



What I love

πŸ’•The split layout (takes some time getting used to but so far so good).

πŸ’•The LCD screen with the battery indicator so it gives a good visual cue how much power is left.

πŸ’• The RBG effects, adds that something special when you are typing.

πŸ’•Being able to customize the key mapping and LCD screen.

πŸ’• The default setting for the ‘b’ key being on both the left and right side gives it more flexibility for the hands.

πŸ’• The ability to swap out the switches and keycaps for personalization or a different keep experience is tthe reason why I got it.

πŸ’• The ease to use right out of the box, to connect and start typing  away.

πŸ’• The quality of the build which made my tactile switches and cat theme keycaps produce a nice mellow thocky sound.


Not so much

πŸ’” It is not as easy to affix the switches, resulting in loose switches and keycaps (till you find the right angle to get them in).

πŸ’” Customization for the LCD screen has to be done via a driver (on a Windows system).


So, there you go my first look at and review of my experienc with the CIDOO AM066 Barebones Kit Alice-layout. Given that the loves are more than the not so much, I’ll say give it is worth a try. For those of us located in Singapore, you can get it here for about S$65 or cheaper when it is one sales from Lazada. Alternatively you could also check out Shopee where the average pricing  is around S$72-89+.


For those you who are not really into mechanical keyboards (yet), I would still recommended you try the Alice-layout. If you think that the typing noise is too loud you could always swap them out for silent linear switches that would sound not more noisy than the normal laptop membrane keys. And at this price, it really is worth a try so that your hands are not strained when you are working for long periods of time at the computer.



Get from Amazon



Get from Shopee



Get from Lazada




Have you tried an Alice layout keyboard before? If the answer is yes, let me know in the comments below how your experience was! 



Monday, May 13, 2024

An Introduction to Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town Nintendo Switch

May 13, 2024 0 Comments


Have you played any cosy games? If you are new to gaming and just got onboard the Nintendo Switch bandwagon, I would like to introduce you to Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town.


If you are looking for something aside from the busyness of life and would like to curl up somewhere comfy and escape to a virtual world where you can farm, talk wait virtual villagers and manage your farm which you inherited from your virtual grandpa? Welcome to the enchanting world of Story of Seasons: Friends of Olive Town.


Nestled at the heart of Olive Town, you inherited piece of land from your grandfather. Olive Town is more than just a fertile soil for crops; it's a community teeming with fascinating characters, each with their own stories, dreams, and aspirations. As you till the land, raise livestock, and explore the vast beauty of the valley, you'll also have the opportunity to form profound connections with the townspeople.


The changing seasons play a pivotal role in your farming journey, bringing both challenges and rewards. With each new season, you'll adapt, strategize, and learn the rhythms of nature. Tend to your crops, care for your animals, and unlock the secrets of the land while embracing the ebb and flow of life in Olive Town.


But it's not all about toil and sweat. Olive Town comes alive with an array of lively festivals, opportunities for exploration, and the chance to delve into the captivating mysteries of the valley. From seasonal celebrations that showcase the town's unique culture to quests that will test your mettle, there's always something new and exciting on the horizon.


As the seasons dance by, so too do the challenges and rewards of farming. Adapt your strategies, tend to your crops, and uncover the mysteries of the land while embracing the natural cycle of growth and renewal.


From bustling festivals to thrilling quests, Olive Town offers a plethora of opportunities for exploration and delight. Immerse yourself in the rich culture of the town, embark on adventures, and unravel the secrets hidden within its charming streets.


I like this as it is single player, there is no need to interact with humans (which can be comforting for some), and you play at your own pace.  There might be a lot of graining but the satisfaction in the consistency is there as you develop friendships with your virtual villagers. 


[Top 10 Tips When Your Start Playing Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town]


You can always buy the physical game cartridge (and resell it when you have completed the game) or check out the Nintendo e-Shop for sales (they have pretty good sales from time to time).


Do let me know in the comments below what are your favourite cozy games and why! 





Friday, May 10, 2024

Exploring Artisan Keycaps: Ninku by O_OOHKeycap Finds a Home

May 10, 2024 0 Comments

 O_OOHKeycap is a artisan keycap artist and Ninku -  cute kid who dreams of becoming a ninja - really grew on me that I create this short little story of Ninku traveling the galaxy and hitch hiking a ride with Astronaut Rabbit, and finally finding his home with his cat friends rent free. 


[Exploring Artisan Keycaps: A Review of O_OOHKeycap]



[Keycap Series: Featuring Artists of the Month

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Exploring Artisan Keycap Artists: A Review of O_OOHKey

May 08, 2024 0 Comments


O_OOHKey
, is located in South Korea, specializing in resin artisan keycaps and loves cats! The process of creating the little creations is fascinating: the artist posts sneak peaks of the process and it is mesmerizing to watch. So do check out their Instagram (or Discord if you have the app)!

There's actually an interesting backstory behind the artist's online persona: in Korean the word μŒμ•  means the cry of a baby, and when re-interpreted it was born as 'O__OOH ' in English.


I have not yet bought from O_OOHKey, so I am not able to put them in my Featured Artists List (yet). But I did win a giveaway from them and appreciated that the shipping cost was covered (not every artist does this), so here is this post to share about good things. 😍 


[Keycap Series: Featuring Artists of the Month

[Beginner's Guide to Artisan Keycaps: Everything You Need to Know]


The quality of the keycap and my interactions with O_OOHKey got me thinking to start another series, "Exploring Artisan Keycaps" where I curate (and possibly in the future purchase from as well) keycap artists with unique designs, good quality and interesting backstories for their keycaps, along with shipping which is not more than S$25


Doesn't little Ninku look so adorable?

Designs

O_OOHKey's current works (in 2024) revolve on different variations of the below:


  1.  O_OOH CAT: Kitten looking like suspenders but wearing a diaper. 😸
  2.  Ho-Raeng: In Korea, there is a culture called '12 gods'. To celebrate the Year of the Black Tiger, we made a tiger character by hand sculpting.πŸ’–
  3. SneakInKitty: Introducing SneakInKitty, our adorable new character! Watch as this lovable kitten playfully sneaks inside a stylish sneaker, bringing a burst of charm to your day. Shower lots of love on this little feline companion – a delightful addition to your world of whimsy and style! 
  4. Ryong-E: Dive into the mythical charm of the Year of the Blue Dragon with our exquisite Blue Dragon, Ryong-E! This blue dragon keycap created in celebration of 2024 boasts a captivating azure hue symbolizing strength and prosperity. Embrace the upcoming year with Ryong-E, whose horns will ward off all your hardships! Meet Ryong-E at Raffle!
  5. NinKu: A cute kid who dreams of becoming a ninja

There are also other occasional designs such as the Cloud Keycaps and Stingray which are priced at US$20-25. So definitely something to look forward to!

The Cloud & Stingray Series which are always available 

How to Buy

The mode of which the keycaps are sold is via Raffle Sales with Google Forms: where you sign up to win a chance to buy the keycaps. The form is usually open for a week and sales are conducted on a first come first serve basis. If payment is not made within 24 hours, then it gets cancelled and you would not be able to particulate in the next raffle. 


O_OOHKey announces the latest sales and posts about past creations on their Instagram. They also occasionally have giveaways, so do check them out! 😍

Artist Info

  • Style: 🐯 Fantasy πŸ‰⛅
  • Pricing (per keycap)an average of US$20 to US$60 (S$26-S$80+)
  • Shipping Internationally: Depends on your country and ranges from USD$15-$30 (S$20-S$50)
  • Wait Time: Not including the time it took to be processed / made, it took within 5 business days (total was 8 days if you count the weekends) to receive my adorable keycap from South Korea.
  • Material: Resin (Hand sculpted)
  • Location: South Korea
  • Payment Method: Paypal
  • Social Media: 

πŸ’— Loves

πŸ’— Fantasy / Animal Themes keycaps which are cool and adorable looking.
πŸ’— Light weight and easy to install. It fit my switch seamlessly.
πŸ’— Quality for coloring of the resin and the detail. The little detail where the artist has their logo behind the keycap is genius!
πŸ’— Has personality and unique.
πŸ’— Reasonable shipping price and overall pricing (coming from South Korea and in USD$). 

Monday, May 6, 2024

Beginners Guide to Artisan Keycaps: Everything You Need to Know

May 06, 2024 0 Comments


You just got your very first mechanical keyboard and discovered a whole new whole of  keycap sets and artisan keycaps. There are just so many options that you do not know where to start and what to do to get those adorable or fancy keycaps you see people posting about. 


If you're seeking guidance on purchasing keycaps without the hassle of scouring Reddit, forums, and endless Google searches (or Discord groups), then this comprehensive guide is just what you need!


Styles of Keycaps

  • Keycap sets: Perfect if you want to change out your old keycaps or simply want to give your mechanical keyboard a new look without having to buy a new one. Any design you can think of as long as it is not the "normal" looking keycaps and comes in enough pieces to fit your keyboard. 
  • Accent Pieces: Usually used on a lesser used key like "Escape" or simply a center piece(s) for your keyboard.
    • Custom: Anything you can imagine is probably able to be turned into a keycap based on your imagination and vision, along with the skills of the artist.
    • Resin/Polymer Clay/Blanks/Novelty - Based on the artists interpretation and inspiration they create their keycaps and you buy them if you like them from their store or google forms (via raffle sales) etc...

Price

If you are looking for value then getting keycap sets for more keys might be more worthwhile instead of an individual keycap which can cost about the same. 

In general, retail prices can range from S$10-90+ for a single keycap (depending on its detail, the price set by the artist and what you really think it's worth).


Where to Buy

For those of you who are in Singapore (or South East Asia) and are on a budget but still want an accent piece (or two), then Shopee is a good place to look for keycap sets and artisan keycaps which can typically range from S$10-60+. 

If you are wondering what is Shopee, it’s basically a shopping platform like Amazon but with pricing closer to Temu. They have an app for Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia, mostly for the South East Asian countries. Besides the (probably) more affordable (cheaper) pricing, shipping is either free or less than SGD$2 (for majority of the sellers). The only downside is that you need a local number and address for each of the country app. 

 If you have not signed up for Shopee and want to get S$5 off your first order, sign up 🠊here🠈😊




For everything else, the keycaps can range from S$35-100+ for just one little keycap, and that does not include shipping yet:

  1. Raffle Sales: Usually, the artists will promote and open raffles sales on their limited designs on Discord, Reddit and/or Instagram. Interested buyers try their hand and sign up  for a chance to win the opportunity to buy those keycaps. Google forms are the usually methods for signing up and PayPal a very common payment method. No one knows how many actually sign up and only the artists knows how many pieces they really have for sale. If you get an invoice, you've "won" else try again the next time. These might be pre-orders or fulfilment orders where they just sell the limited amount they have made/will make.
    • ✅Pro: 
      • Most of the time the designs are limited and one of a kind. So perfect if you are looking for that perfect keycap.
      • Payment via PayPal is always good for buyers (buyer's protection).
    • ❌Con: 
      • For Raffle Sales, you cannot buy it even if you want to, you have to be "lucky" to win a chance to purchase the marketed one of a kind creations.
      • Depends on what the artist is selling so designs may be limited or no longer available once its run its course.
      • Usually in USD$ and can be pricey (that’s not even including the shipping yet). 
      • Tax is not included (explicitly), so there might be a chance for it to get stuck at customs.
      • The use of Google Forms and collecting your address might be a privacy concern for some.
      • As they are mostly made upon order, it might take a month or so for you to receive your keycap.


  2. Online Shops: Some artists choose to create their own online shop using Shopify, Wordpress or similar to sell their creations. Paypal should always be the preferred choice of payment as that would offer buyers a little more protection and getting their money back (just in case since they do have Buyer's Protection).   
    • ✅Pro: 
      • Sellers can provide better discounts or cheaper shipping due to (probably) lesser platform fees.
      • Some designs are only available on the online shops. 
      • Mostly ready stock, you might not have to wait so long to receive the keycaps as they are usually already made and ready for a new home.
      • Other than the above, there is no other benefit for buyers per se. But more so the freedom and flexibility for the sellers as they are not restricted by platform rules and fees etc...
    • ❌Con: 
      • Depending on the artist / sellers IT savviness, your data might be compromised if security fixes are not taken care of and breaches occur.
      • Not all online shops convert the currency for you. So make sure you check the final price and currency before check out to make sure you know the amount you are paying for.
      • Usually in USD$ and can be pricey (not even including the shipping yet). 
      • Tax may or may not be included, already so there might be a chance for it to get stuck at customs if it’s not included. 
      • Anyone can create their online shop and fulfilment of those orders can be a tad sketchy at times given the trend nowadays with online scams and security breaches. They can close shop and disappear with little to no avenue for any recourse if things go wrong.


  3. Amazon: You'd be surprised that Amazon also has keycaps for sale, but I rather go to Shopee instead as they are more reasonable in pricing and have greater variety. 
      • ✅Pro: 
        • Assurance and ease for refunds if things go wrong (most of the time). At least they have a contact us / support section should the seller go missing in action or the delivery did not reach you.
        • As a platform, it has a reputation to uphold and should have a higher sense to stay updated for security breaches.
        • Free shipping (for most sellers).
        • Tax is already included, so it definitely saves the hassle of calculation and payment.
      • ❌Con: 
        • Limited variety.
        • Expensive (overpriced most of the time on Amazon)
        • There’s always a chance if things going wrong when you buy things online. 


    1. Shopee:  For those of us in South East Asia (and Singapore), Shopee should not be unfamiliar to us. They do have a wide range of keycaps at affordable prices.  
        • ✅Pro: 
          • Assurance and ease for refunds if things go wrong (most of the time). At least they have a contact us / support section should the seller go missing in action or the delivery did not reach you.
          • You can search and look at different designs from various sellers all from one place without have to leave.
          • As a platform, it has a reputation to uphold and should have a higher sense to stay updated for security breaches. If anything goes wrong, they should be responsible. 
          • Free shipping (for most sellers).
          • Tax is already included, so it definitely saves the hassle of calculation and payment.
        • ❌Con: 
          • Long delivery times (sometimes 6 to 12 or more working days)
          • Taking a risk on sellers or listings which do not have any reviews. 
          • There’s always a chance if things going wrong when you buy things online. 


      1. Etsy: Some artists open their store on Etsy, a site which is essentially a platform for sellers to sell their handcrafted items (for a Singapore context, it's like Shopee and Carousell combined).
        • ✅Pro: 
          • Tax is already included, so it definitely saves the hassle of calculation and payment can also be via PayPal. 
          • The cool thing is there are occasional discounts which make it more friendly on the pocket. Discounts can be very worth it sometimes.
          • Unique keycap designs that you cannot find elsewhere, all in one place. 
          • Makes it easier to search across sellers all in one platform. Not having to look and search for individual seller's shop one by one.
          • Assurance and ease for refunds if things go wrong (most of the time). At least they have a contact us / support section should the seller go missing in action.
          • As a platform, it has a reputation to uphold and should have a higher sense to stay updated for security breaches.  If anything goes wrong, they should be responsible. 
        • ❌Con: 
          • Some sellers have really ridiculous international shipping fees probably due to the additional fees the platform imposes(?).
          • Some listings are really overpriced markups from Aliexpress or Taobao. So check with caution before you check out.
          • Lack of consistency -  Each store has different shipping pricing and policies. 

      Artists

      Enjoying art and fun shouldn't come with a hefty price tag; it can be both high-quality and affordable (as much as possible)!

      That said, I will be featuring keycap artists whom I have come across and bought from them as I love their designs. Their pricing and shipping options are also reasonable and worth it (to me), so here I am sharing them with you so you can support them too if you are looking for intricate, unique and reasonably priced artisan keycaps and shipping. 




      Remember to compare prices and shipping costs across different artisans and platforms to find the best fit for your budget!



      Thursday, May 2, 2024

      Deciding Against Joining the Etsy Affiliate Program

      May 02, 2024 0 Comments

      While the Etsy Affiliate Program may seem like an attractive opportunity at first glance, it's essential to weigh the pros and cons carefully before committing. My first encounter with Etsy was for getting Artisan Keycaps as a buyer. The experience was relatively good as a buyer so I thought if they had an affiliate program it would be so cool sharing the shops  I enjoyed purchasing from and earn a little pocket money.


      So I went and researched about it and while there were some good points, these 2 main "bad" points stood out so much that I decided not to join it.


      1. To join the affiliate program by AWIN, you would have to leave a deposit which would be returned to you after verification. Although it is a refundable $5 application fee to join (Awin, not Etsy itself). You only get back your deposit once you make your first sale. This is the first time I have encountered signing up for an affiliate where you have to pay, and only get that amount back when you make a sale. That was not very welcoming, so I will be going it a miss. 
      2. The other factor was that although the program would pay 4% for “standard publisher” referrals and 2% per sale for referrals generated by user generated content (UGC), the sellers who have a successful sale might have to pay for more as part of "marketing" fees e.g. 12-15%. 

      That just defeats the purpose of my guide on affordable and reasonably priced artisan keycaps and shipping fees. I want to support my favorite artists but I do not want to be the one to drives up the cost (and end up paying more for it when I want to get something).


      As a buyer, the experience is alright and if you know what you are searching for, you'd get what you want at the price you are happy with. Or for those of us in Singapore, Lazada and Shopee are good alternatives as well.

      Since I am not a seller on Etsy, I cannot say how good or bad the experience using the platform is, but based on the terms and conditions for the affiliate program, it seems a little unfair for the smaller shops and indirectly increases the overall prices for items getting sold using affiliate links. Passing on the cost of affiliate marketing to sellers who have nor opted for such fees is unfair, and inadvertently drive up cost. In addition, buyers are ultimately penalized for it by having to pay more and the seller does not necessary have an increase in profit with all the additional fees. This might also explain why some sellers have really ridiculously prices items and shipping.

      The only ones who would truly benefit from the affiliate model from Etsy would be the company itself (saving in marketing costs), the bigger shops where the sellers are aware of and factor in these costs to drive up sales (increasing prices as a result), and the affiliates who hardly buy anything off Etsy and just promote items they like.

      As a result, Etsy links in my blog will not be affiliate links but just link references to bring you to the shops I have shopped at and enjoyed the products and experience. πŸ˜€

      If you are a buyer or seller (or affiliate) on Etsy, do share with us your experience in the comments below!