When I started my online store a few years back, the concept was to help the art and filmmaking community take a more hands-on active role in the promotion and distribution of their own product without having to sign their rights away to a commercial distributor, at least not right away. My part was to promote their product, take orders from the public, collect the money, and send the order and money to the "vendor" (the artists themselves) for order fulfillment -- admittedly a risky proposition as artists are not normally known for their business savvy or discipline. Nevertheless, it worked pretty well and was a win/win for everybody (I kept a small agreed-upon percentage) with only a few minor bumps in the road along the way.
Unfortunately, not everybody's set-up lasts forever. There have been many changes in the artistic community I was supporting with the store. Some I can no longer get a hold of and am not even sure they're still in business. Others have found different or more lucrative avenues for selling their products, or simply have gone on to sign with a commercial distributor, caution to the wind. Still others have experienced life changes that make tending to order fulfillment a distraction.
The amount of money generated by the store was never very much, but it served to promote the products nonetheless, and I liked having it around.
Some negative feedback I've received, and the ever-changing situations of the artists, particularly this year, has led me to conclude that the online store is no longer practical. I cannot guarantee to the minute and second when orders will arrive since they are sent out by private individuals at their discretion if I can even track them down. (And the caution: "Please allow two weeks for delivery", posted on every page, was consistently lost on most customers, who panicked easily.)
I was much more enamored by the potential of setting up shows like NolanCon, where the artists are free to sell what they want and keep all the profits. Theoretically, more money can be made there than in a whole year of online sales. Unfortunately, the first NolanCon show never took off due to lack of financial and popular support, plus there are fans who simply can't travel great distances to get to every convention. But I digress...
Most artists, filmmakers, and musicians have websites where their products are sold online anyway. I was just trying to help with whatever traffic I was able to generate.
All regular writers for Nolan's Pop Culture Review are guaranteed a free link that appears on their page when its published and points right back to their website where their products and purchase information are on display. All other interested parties can purchase a link that will appear every month prominently on the Crazed Fanboy homepage as long as they care to pay for it.
I realize there may be exceptions down the road where selling something directly from this site may be to a mutual advantage. All I can say is I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.
Thanks to all who posted their wares on The Last Outpost in good faith; further thanks to all those who purchased the artists' output -- I assure you that you definitely helped.
Keep the faith.
Nolan B. Canova