Friday, July 24, 2015

Why LINE rejected my stickers 3 times before it can be sold on Creators Market

Work began in April after persistent requests from fans to do LINE stickers. I first did a focus group on Patreon to gather feedback and Kurone Shizuhi, a very hardcore LINE user, suggested the most changes (Thank you Shizuhi, Reventon and Jerome!)

After finalising the chosen 40 stickers, I inked it and sent it to my assistant to colour. Then it was returned to me a week later and I continued to clean up the lines and tweak the colours for another week or so (on and off). I finally submitted on 18th May excitedly and announced on my Instagram:

A photo posted by Evangeline Neo (@evacomics) on

1st Rejection

Unfortunately this is what I get 2 days later:

Yes, they rejected me because they think my vomit sticker was too offensive or crass (em showing off English eh?) and the other was an infringement of copyright with no clear owner:

For my foreign friends, "WIN LIAO LOR" is a Singlish term that expresses resentment that the other party had won his argument.

Although strictly speaking, someone does own the copyright to the above photo. It could be Mark Lee, the actor posing for the photo, the photographer/videographer taking the photo and the person who slapped the text "WIN LIAO LOR". But nobody knows who is the owner. It is highly debatable that my sticker was an infringement of copyright unless someone went to file a trademark that NOBODY else can pose exactly like this (half body) and have the words "WIN LIAO LOR" slapped onto it, AND regardless if it is human, animal or a cartoon character doing the pose. THEN well, yeah, maybe I would be infringing something. So this means if I do a LINE sticker of a character clapping hands and slap the words "COME I CLAP FOR YOU", it would be rejected because it is infringement of this meme:
For my foreign friends, "COME I CLAP FOR YOU" is a Singlish sarcastic response that you praise the person without being genuine about it.

So I think LINE was trying to say NO MEME allowed. I sure hope nobody does a meme for words like "I AM SO HAPPY" and other common phrases because that means all will be rejected by LINE's standard.


LINE, COME I CLAP FOR YOU. 



As for the vomit sticker. Some people said that they had seen animal vomit LINE stickers before so perhaps humans are banned from doing the same act. But then again my friend told me that his cat vomiting sticker was also rejected, so we conclude it could be because of the vomit's colour...!?

Anyway I cannot risk another rejection so I changed the vomit to tongue sticking out and rephrased the other sticker to "LIDDAT ALSO CAN". I even changed the hand so it would not be an infringement of any trademark (in case Mark Lee did feel rich and went to file trademark worldwide).

2nd Rejection

Little did I know they replied 2 weeks later to say that I was rejected again because I cannot use LINE stickers to gather donation. They actually dug up my Patreon page!!!  

*Reward has since been taken down (of course)

NO WONDER THE REVIEW TOOK SO LONG!!!
(even regular readers don't bother to go to my Patreon!)


3rd Rejection

So I promptly removed my Patreon reward (with much sadness) and resubmitted on the same day. Unfortunately I received another rejection 3 weeks later:

This made me fuming mad, why can't they tell me all the reasons at one go? So even when I changed the words and hand, they still think it's an infringement of copyright...

Hello LINE rejection team, if you are reading this, please get a lawyer to do proper training to understand copyright and trademark ok?

So I was exploding with frustration and anger. At first I was thinking of replacing the rejected sticker with an exploding face, then I changed my mind to flipping a table... because you know, everyone will have moments like these when you feel like flipping a table but can't because it's too heavy or expensive.

So I resubmitted at night and oddly, I wasn't expecting to be approved because I firmly believe LINE could dig up something to reject me again, like it is ANOTHER infringement of copyright of this meme:
Or maybe the graphic is too violent? Or wasting food is illegal? Who knows...

Approved on 22 July (after 3 rejections over 2 months)

Oddly, barely a week passed and I received another email from LINE. To my surprise it was a notification of approval!? I had to re-read a few more times to make sure my eyes weren't playing tricks on me...

I also became very paranoid that they might find something later to take down my stickers so I quickly ramp up some promotional ads to sell them before they take them down for any baffling reasons!

In Conclusion

On the first day of release, I sold an estimated 100 sets? And ranked no.1 in local Singapore LINE creator store. Meanwhile I only ranked no.21 in female character category in Indonesia. Which means... IT'S VERY DIFFICULT TO GET SINGAPOREANS TO PAY FOR STICKERS and OUR MARKET IS DAMN SMALL.

Which will explain why you seldom see Singaporean creators creating stickers in Singlish because not a lot of local will support (this is hard fact)... and foreigners won't understand them... The top selling sticker locally is actually in traditional Chinese, maybe downloaded by Taiwanese living here???

In response to some of the comments so far....

  • I emailed to FB stickers but they did not reply me... ... 
  • Whatsapp has no sticker store, please don't ask...
  • I only earned around SG$100 from the sales so far and it is dipping fast like a falling dead bird. So please don't ask me if it can be FREE or not. (anyway we cannot set it to FREE unless we are LINE partnering studios or creators). Currently we only get 35% of sales.
  • I do not know how to sell stickers on wechat, if you do let me know.
  • You can submit LINE stickers here: https://creator.line.me/en/ I urge you to google for answer next time.
  • Only partnering big studios and creators can submit animated LINE stickers. Small fries like me can only submit static stickers.

How to buy my LINE stickers


On PC, you can visit: http://line.me/S/sticker/1164919
You can buy for yourself or send as gift.

On iOS, you can search for "Evacomics" and it will appear on "Creators" tab. You have to purchase 50 coins, and it will cost 120yen, 1SGD or 0.99USD. It will be deducted from iTunes credit. You can either top up via credit card or iTunes gift card.

On Android, you can search for "Evacomics" and it will appear on "Creators" tab. Like iOS, you have to purchase 50 coins too. You may have to go through app store or something to buy those coins. I am not exactly sure how so please follow instructions on your LINE app to buy coins.

Please support, thank you very much!
*this is not a meme*

21 comments:

  1. Already bought it on first day! \( ^^)/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Congrats for the approval, Eva! :D
    Your sticker set is so cute, but I don't really understand Singlish X'D
    (I'm an Indonesian)

    My Blog: www.xiaovee.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Xiao Vee!
      Perhaps the next round of stickers will only be in English...

      Delete
  3. Congrats on the approval!
    Have you tried selling on telegram?

    ReplyDelete
  4. So jialat ah... :o Why make things so difficult for artists and sellers?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They want to play safe lor... don't want to deal with any court dealings etc... Or maybe its a Japanese thing, they love to play safe.

      Delete
  5. i learn much thing from this article. i am working with my own sticker and this is a good learning for me. thanks for your sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Singlish is probably even harder to sell on wechat

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm running into the same rejection, with vague copyright owner. I feel the same as you did that it is fuming mad. My character is a giraffe that dresses up as characters. A giraffe for goodness sake!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ouch, was it a famous giraffe? So far I have not heard of anyone getting their stickers approved on their very first try!

      Delete
  8. Hello. Thank you for posting this. It was very helpful. I have a question. How do you know how many sets you have sold?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The report does not reveal how many sets sold but just your monthly earnings in yen.

      Delete
  9. Apple's iOS 10 released next month is upgrading their iMessages app which is widely used. They are opening iMessages to developers. There is a new marketplace called Stickertime where you register as a designer and can create stickers similar to LINE creators market. I would think it's going to be huge considering the amount of iPhone and iPad users http://store.stickertimeapp.com/

    ReplyDelete
  10. Please add the stickers to telegram too!

    ReplyDelete
  11. i would like to ask guys or anyone i really need some answers why i didnt still get my payment request it telling me "no data"
    send your answers to my email
    ryan_ayk2@yahoo.com thanks a lot wno answer this

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Villamor, who long since your sticker has been on sale? As far as I know, we can't request payment from the 1st to 10th of every month.

      Delete
  12. Thank you Evangeline Neo. I got my first stickers approved pretty fast within 2 weeks. I guess they've added more manpower to their review team to speed up process. My only hiccup is that they told me to remove Indonesia from my list of countries of sale. Only reason they give is 'due to conflict with the worldviews in different cultures and customs around the world'. I just submitted a new set of stickers and got the same thing 2 days ago. Which is dumb cos Indonesia has tons of line users. If it's bcos of religion, I am a Muslim! Lol. N I don't see anything offensive on my set. Anyways I took the country out to move on. We are in need of creator's forum. I've been looking everywhere for one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The creators market is kind of saturated so I don't think LINE is interested to open a forum. But they are well-known to reject stickers for weird reasons...

      Delete

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