My official Creative Market online marketplace review! Creative Market seems like it would be a great place for creative types to be and open shop. Think again. Having been with them for over 3 years, with a successful shop with several 5-star reviews, I closed up shop on their platform for a multitude of reasons. Here are some pretty big reasons why I’ll never recommend Creative Market for creatives, my Creative Market online marketplace review.
Product Pirates on Creative Market
I’ve been talking to others with shops and have discovered that I’m not the only victim of product pirating. Some of my favorite designers, including my favorite theme designer, Hello You Designs (HYD), have had their products lifted from the Creative Market online marketplace and placed on file exchange sites, Russian-hosted sites and forums, and we have no way to report these buyers to Creative Market and keep them from gaining further access to our files.
They typically create new accounts, buy something, and then demand a refund either same day or within minutes of purchasing. They specifically look for reasons to do so, being overly picky, not reading the description, finding loopholes, or become problem customers from the get-go. Or, they’ll file chargebacks, and still use the product they got. So I know of over 20 creatives that have had enough that are either scaling back or leaving their platform altogether.
Bad Customer Service on Creative Market
The customer service is horrible to creatives. You have zero say in whether or not to grant a refund (if there’s a technical compatibility issue), and the people that don’t deserve one get it from their support team. Meanwhile, creatives get fairly rude emails and demands put upon them by customer service. For example, I once had someone need a fresh link for a Canva template. I had already addressed the issue and provided one directly using their messaging app.
Days later, I’m getting an email from support that copies that same customer, and wants me to give them a fresh one. I message back, “already done”, etc. Then, they continue to copy me on every single update email requesting the customer update them on whether or not they got the fresh link. A total of 11 emails were received, after the issue had already been solved. It got ridiculous.
Creatives Can’t Work 24/7, So Don’t Expect Immediate Emails
I refuse to have to drop my family plans on a holiday weekend to answer a message demanding something from someone I don’t know. If someone can’t wait until regular office hours, they don’t need to be my customer. Unfortunately, Creative Market attracts a lot of these small-minded, demanding people, and for shop owners, they’re a huge hassle.
And, because the digital market is open 24/7, you get customers around the world. I live in the US, so when I get an email from a customer in Russia with half-broken English, sometimes I don’t even know what they’re asking. I don’t think Creative Market uses a translator like Etsy does, or if they do, just know it doesn’t work well.
Bottom line, it takes some time for shop owners to respond to emails. They have lives, kids, the basic day-to-day lifeing, and other things going on. Just be patient while we get to our emails (sending 10 within an hour does not make the response time any faster, it just makes you a Karen).
Creative Market Takes 40%
The payout is only 60% (which also means as a consumer you end up paying more than you would supporting the creative’s work on their own website for a lesser price), and shop owners only get paid once a month, around the 10th. That’s a long time to wait for your funds. This is a mega-important reason why I’ll never recommend Creative Market for creatives.
Trouble with Creative Market Payouts
Creative Market has had numerous instances of late or problematic payouts to their shop owners. We’ve received every excuse under the book for numerous months of payout problems. ‘We’re having an issue with our payments provider.’ ‘We’re looking into the issue.’ ‘Payouts are pending but no firm date has been issued for resolution.’ ‘We’re sorry your payout is late.’ ‘Due to unforeseen circumstances…’ And the list goes on and on.
For many shops, their Creative Market income is their primary source of income. Not just passive income. So when you’re only being paid once a month, and your source of income is having ‘issues’ with their system, that can spell a lot of trouble for some creators who rely heavily on that payment to come on time each month without issue.
When an online marketplace like Creative Market takes a whole month to pay creators (ahem, after taking their 40% cut), there can be absolutely no issue with those payments. Zero excuses.
Creative Market Refunds Customers After Shop Closes
Here’s something that happened after I closed my shop. There was a customer from several months back whose links had expired. They failed to follow instructions and make a local copy. After my shop had already closed, Creative Market actually refunded the customer, dinged my shop for the expense, and put me in the negative. Long after their stated refund / service window had expired for the customer.
Now, that’s just ballsy. But if you look at the numerous instances of curt, snippy responses they give to not just shop owners but also customers sometimes, this is not surprising. The culture at Creative Market is simply terribly arrogant.
Where Was the Justification for Taking Another 10%?
Creative Market seems like they’re trying to capture more and more funds for their executives, all on the backs of their creators. Did I notice a change in marketing or sales when they claimed they were investing more by taking an extra 10% of our sales? No. There was absolutely no change. This is also why I’ll never recommend Creative Market for creatives. Find somewhere else that is much more financially prosperous for your hard work!
Many of us are closing up shop. Jennifer at HYD let me know that her site and sales went much better after closing up her shop (she has only a few designs left on there that thieves have already pirated). More traffic to her own website, and a 100% cut minus processing fees with her merchant provider.
As a creative, I had to take a stand, if you’re a creative thinking about opening up a shop on Creative Market, I urge you to reconsider. This is just one Creative Market review. I would recommend reviewing others and talking to existing shops. I’ll never recommend Creative Market to any creative. It’s tempting to want to be found on an online marketplace full of traffic, but should you really give up 40% of your product revenue? No.
Thank you for taking the time to read this Creative Market review. I love that you may have found me on there, but I had to close up shop on principle. It’s not right to download files, demand a refund, and then continue to use the product. That takes away from my kids’ plates, and I can’t support that. Creative Market has long lived off of our talent and creativity, and this has got to stop.
All of my designs are available through a membership, my shop, or on my Etsy shop. I welcome you to support and enjoy my designs there on those platforms, and thank you for your understanding in advance.
Also published on Medium.