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Debian Marketing: Part I, Merchandise (was: [Debconf-discuss] Debian Merchandise BoF?)

Hi there!

I cc:ed all the people who contributed to this thread or who are in
someway involved, please forgive me if you have received this email

FYI, this email is the follow-up on the thread starting at:


I replied to the topics trying to quote in a sensible way, which means
that I could have re-arranged them.  I am sorry for the long mail, I
would have preferred to split it, but I thought that after two months it
was necessary to give an overview of what was being discussed.

The major point discussed was who is contacted whenever there is
merchandise involved.  Three were the entities: the marketing team, the
mailing list used by/for that and the merchandise@debian.org address.
And then the discussion continued about specific resources...

It took me a bit more time to "recover" from DebConf10, but at list this
helped out having a sort of unofficial test for a more centrally-related
"we want to sell Debian merchandise at this event" request (read below).

On Tue, 03 Aug 2010 23:50:19 +0200, Stefano Zacchiroli wrote:
> On Tue, Aug 03, 2010 at 05:25:39PM -0400, Jeremiah Foster wrote:
>> One of the things I'd like to address (and I'll send an list of
>> suggested agenda items to this list for feedback) is the relationship
>> of the various teams, i.e. Merchandising, Press, Publicity, and
>> Marketing. I'd also like to address this email;
>> http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2008/04/msg00009.html
>> specifically how we can incorporate the work that has been done by
>> Andreas and Moritz and carry it forward. I think their input would be
>> invaluable.
> I'm sorry I forgot to mention that, which in fact I wanted to in my
> previous post. I've addressed a couple of weeks ago Moritz and Andreas,
> and they both agree they are not active as marketing project
> members. So, even if I haven't yet formalized it yet, their delegations
> will be revoked soon (and they are fine with that).
> As a matter of fact, that means that I am *eagerly* looking for a new
> marketing team to coordinate marketing activities. Part of those
> activities surely match the merchandising stuff, but marketing would be
> more than that, so also having people interested in organizing campaigns
> of various kinds, both in real life and on the net, will be fine.
> If people here is interested, I urge them to contact me at leader@d.o as
> volunteers for the new forthcoming marketing team.

I would like to (thus cc:ing leader@), but clearly not alone.

As I wrote in my report above, we need at least two different
contacts^Wteams, one in the Americas and one in Europe.  During private
discussions following the BoF, it was mostly clear that the biggest
association producing merchandise in the Americas is Debian Brasil
(cc:ing Felipe), while in Europe there are Credativ (cc:ing Alexander),
debian.ch (not cc:ing myself ;-) ) and Debian UK (cc:ing Steve).  IMHO
these people could be all part of the team.

On Tue, 03 Aug 2010 14:56:35 +0200, Alexander Reichle-Schmehl wrote:
> * Luca Capello <luca@pca.it> [100803 03:10]:
>> We discussed shortly about the merchandise@debian.org address, but we
>> were not able to find out who actually receives this mail, thus we stop
>> at this point.  IMHO this address should be the primary resource for any
>> merchandise question, being it official/commercial or for booth/event
>> preparation.
> To the best of my knowledge that alias is forwarded to debian-www@l.d.o
> (added them to CC:) these days; see for example
> http://lists.debian.org/debian-www/2010/03/msg00172.html where a mail
> send there ended on that list.

Thank you for the information, Alexander.  For the reasons pointed
below, the forward should be changed at least to debian-publicity@, but
please continue reading ;-)

On Wed, 04 Aug 2010 10:04:47 +0200, Alexander Reichle-Schmehl wrote:
> * Stefano Zacchiroli <zack@debian.org> [100803 18:24]:
>> Regarding the <merchandise@debian.org> address, I think that ideally
>> that should be the role address that gets mail on "please send me the
>> box". At this point in time, it would then probably be better to have
>> it point to people willing to coordinate that, rather than to -www.
> I might have pointed that out sooner, but there's also events@debian.org
> (IIRC it's read by Rhonda, Joey and me), whose purpose is to take care
> of www.debian.org/events/* and from time to time forward request to
> participate on various events to known candidates.
> Maybe those two should then be merged, as it doesn't make sense to
> contact one person to get listed as official event and an other one to
> get merchandising for said event.

Cc:ing Rhonda, Joey (I guessed you meant Martin, right?) and Alexander.

I fully agree in joining the two addresses, for the same rationale you
provided.  However, there is another option, i.e. having everything
merchandise-related forwarded to debian-publicity@.  Here the relevant

On Tue, 03 Aug 2010 23:25:39 +0200, Jeremiah Foster wrote:
> On Aug 3, 2010, at 12:24, Stefano Zacchiroli wrote:
>> On Mon, Aug 02, 2010 at 09:10:16PM -0400, Luca Capello wrote:
>>> I cc:ed the debian-publicity@ mailing list because during the meeting we
>>> decided that the best place to continue discussing about merchandise
>>> should be the Debian Marketing Team <http://wiki.debian.org/Marketing>,
>>> which mailing list is... debian-publicity@!  Before any flame, please
>>> read the *full* mail, thanks in advance.
>> FWIW, I personally agree that -publicity is the right place to have this
>> discussion, as there you find people that are interested in promoting
>> Debian in various ways.  I've been told (by you) that there is a
>> -merchandise mailing list somewhere (can't check right now as I'm
>> offline). Having both lists at this point might sound quite confusing.
>> Would you mind mailing that list that merchandise stuff will be
>> discussed here?
> FWIW I agree as well. I think this list should be the main focus of
> both merchandising and marketing. It has a fair amount of traffic,
> people are active on the list, and seems quite relevant.

The major drawback I see in having everything on this list is related to
the amount of emails exchanged between the two parties involved, the
merchandise people and the booth organizers.

At least in my experience (I am the one who stocks most of the debian.ch
merchandise), usually dealing with merchandise means "a bunch of
emails", given that it is not simply a "we organize a booth and we want
this, that and that, please send them to this address".  Instead, at
least until now each event I participated had (sort of) its own
requirements, which could vary during the discussion with the
merchandise people.

Obviously, if we set up a "centralized" system for that, this can/should
change, i.e. as I wrote in my report there should be a default box which
can be "improved" or "upgraded", but already containing some common
stuff (and I think about foilstickers, keychains, flyers and a poster or

And while I am all for being as much public as we can, I guess there are
some points which I am not sure people do not want to have archived on
mailing lists, e.g. addresses and/or bank accounts.

> On Aug 3, 2010, at 12:24, Stefano Zacchiroli wrote:
>> If you, or anyone else interested in organizing merchandising are ready
>> to follow this list for such notices, we can have it point here.
>> Otherwise (and I think it would be better) we should have it point to
>> individuals willing to take the responsibility of merchandising
>> coordination; that might be you, together with other people volunteering
>> for that.

Thus, here we are: volunteers!  As I wrote above, I would be more than
happy to take this responsibility (and I am slowly fading out from any
packaging work, also for other reasons not related to merchandise), but
again I would prefer to do that together with someone else.  First, to
avoid a single point of failure and, second, because as Alexander
pointed out before about events@, the two tasks could be joined, since
they are heavily related to each other.

NB, until now I have always talked about merchandise for events, and not
    for individuals: while I have not done that in purpose, debian.ch
    has sold so few merchandise outside of events that I do not consider
    that a real problem.  Obviously, we should provide this service as
    well, but the main point is merchandise for events.  We should also
    consider that most of the time I witnessed people interested in
    buying a T-Shirt at a booth, but they simply abandoned once they
    were told that we did not have any more pieces for that model at the
    booth and to contact us by email for the T-Shirt to be sent by
    postal mail.

At the beginning of this email I wrote about an official test for a
centralized system: well, this is what I am doing for the Paris
Mini-DebConf 2010 <http://fr2010.mini.debconf.org/> (cc:ing one of the
organizers, Carl).  Basically, Zack told Carl I was planning to attend
the Mini-DebConf and given that I had already sent Carl some merchandise
for the RMLL-2010, I simply ask Carl to tell me what he would have
liked, from <http://wiki.debian.org/Merchandise>.  Then, I contacted the
different people who actually have the various merchandise and discussed
with them about every detail, leaving Carl taking care of the event

I do not know at all if this "experiment" (still, I am a scientist ;-) )
was/is successful or not, but at least it showed some key points:

1) before contacting each merchandise holder it is mostly impossible to
   know what is available (not only in numbers, but also about items).

2) the fact that the merchandise is not always held by Debian sister
   associations (e.g. debian.ch) means that there is money that should
   be paid in advance (which is normal), something that can reduce the
   amount of merchandise available, especially if the booth organisers
   do not have any external sponsorship.

3) shipping is usually expensive and long, so it is always a good idea
   to act well in advance.

4) having the authorization for a booth does not automatically mean you
   have the authorization to sell stuff, thus it is a good thing to
   check in advance, even *before* asking for the merchandise.

On Tue, 03 Aug 2010 18:24:28 +0200, Stefano Zacchiroli wrote:
> On Mon, Aug 02, 2010 at 09:10:16PM -0400, Luca Capello wrote:
>> People organizing booth should deal with a single specific entity and
>> they should be able to simply request for a booth box.  Obviously Debian
>> will cover any shipping costs, for both receiving and sending
>> back what was not sold.
> I confirm that as well as the willing to use Debian money to sponsor the
> shipment of material to prepare booths and the like.
>> This booth box should contain a pre-defined set of merchandise stuff:
>> T-Shirts, flyers (e.g. <http://debian-flyers.alioth.debian.org/>) and so
>> on.  For a better (and in some case also professional) booth experience,
>> Debian could also provide booth infrastructure, i.e. foldable containers
>> for flyers or foldable poster standers [sorry for the names, I do not
>> have any idea how these are called in English, I hope you can get
>> them!].
> Absolutely agreed. If you are going to identify some durable material
> that will make our booth more attractive and, as you said,
> "professional", I'm all for investing some Debian money in that.

Some ideas:

- a banner
  Credativ has one, recently it was used at FrOSCamp 2010 last September
  in Zürich and it will be used as well at the Paris Mini-DebConf 2010

- posters
  some source files exist, but AFAIK nothing official, we need something
  similar to the debian-flyers Alioth project

- lit rack for flyers
  a portable one, you can see them at various expos, especially at
  business booth ;-)

On Tue, 03 Aug 2010 04:36:17 +0200, Valessio Brito wrote:
> my "0,01 cent" suggest is add Merchandise in "Promote page"
> http://wiki.debian.org/Promote
> We need  a page simple, How Promote Debian?!..



Thx, bye,
Gismo / Luca

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