Donal Reddington on mass customization, crowdsourcing and digital manufacturing

Zazzle Introduces Product Engine and Create-a-Product API

Online customized products marketplace Zazzle, has announced a new program called the Zazzle Product Engine (also known as “ZPE”). The Zazzle Product Engine is an overarching effort to enable product creation for the masses by opening Zazzle’s customization tools and technologies to third party websites.

As an introductory offering under the Zazzle Product Engine, Zazzle is releasing the Zazzle Create-a-Product API, the first-ever API that allows third party websites to offer their users an easy “one click” way to turn digital content — such as images, designs, photos and text — into custom products such as t-shirts, mugs, posters, cards, real U.S. postage, and so on.

By offering a referral fee on all sales generated through the Zazzle Create-a-Product API, Zazzle is providing an entirely new monetization opportunity for websites with digital content. This means that any website owner, blogger, or Web 2.0 company with photos, designs, artwork, and/or text can generate revenue by turning this digital content into physical merchandise.

“We are extremely proud of as a destination site and wanted to bring our technology to an even larger audience,” added Robert Beaver, Chairman and CEO of Zazzle. “The Zazzle Product Engine now offers an unlimited variety of websites to provide their users with all of the unique and powerful Zazzle tools that were only previously available on our site.”

“As part of the Web 2.0 ecosystem, we felt the time was right to let consumers mash up content from anywhere onto t-shirts, postage, cards, mugs and posters,” said Tuoc Luong, Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Engineering at Zazzle. “We’re excited about our first offering under the Zazzle Product Engine, the Zazzle Create-a-Product API, which scales infinitely, and allows individual sites to easily offer their users the opportunity to create unique custom products directly from their site.”

Zazzle has already secured partnerships with websites employing the Zazzle Create-a-Product API, including,, and more. In particular, and have recently deployed the Zazzle Create-a-Product API and their customers can now create and order branded mugs, t-shirts, and real U.S. postage directly from their sites.

The Zazzle Create-a-Product API works by providing a URL linkover-based API where websites simply specify the source of images and text within special links to, and customized products – such as apparel, posters, mugs, and real U.S. postage – are automatically generated. Users can then further customize these products with fonts and colors using Zazzle’s design tools, and proceed to order or share with friends. Upon ordering, Zazzle’s proprietary manufacturing systems take over and the products are created on-demand within 24 hours, and then shipped to the customer.

In addition, websites have the ability to create product templates allowing them to incorporate their logo or additional default designs on the products. Lastly, Zazzle provides monetization for these websites with a referral fee on all sales of products created through the API.

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