Sunday, June 9, 2013

W.A. Stark .30 Cal Bolt Action Pen Giveaway!

Last August, I reviewed the .30 Cal Bolt Action Pen from W.A. Stark. That review has continued to be one of the most read postings since it went up, so now I'm going to send it off to one lucky winner in a giveaway!


Outside of the pen, I'm including a Schmidt 1.0 ballpoint refill, a Parker style 1.0 ballpoint refill, and a Parker style 1.0 gel refill.

I selected the wood and hardware for this pen, and the pen was made to order just for me. Because this is a really nice pen, there's going to be a little bit more involved to enter.

My friend Derick, who made the pen, recently re-launched the website (and opened the W.A. Stark store), so I'm trying to help with some feedback and exposure among the pen/paper/ink community.  Here's how to win:

Visit the W.A. Stark website and take a look around. Post some feedback about the site as your comment to enter for the giveaway. Your feedback can be anything from a product that you want to know more about, something you would like to see on the site, or something that you like or dislike about the layout and design of the page.


  • The giveaway is limited to one entry per visitor. Any duplicate comments will disqualify you from the drawing.
  • The giveaway will be for U.S. visitors only - due to costs and potential issues with items being held in Customs.
  • Entries will be accepted until 11:59pm, CST, on Friday, June 14th, and I select and post the name of the winner either Saturday or Sunday.   
If you have any other questions or feedback, please let me know. Good luck!


28 comments:

  1. The website is pretty nice but it's not all that clear that W.A. Stark has their own line. You'd think they'd have that front and center instead of Moleskines and other items available elsewhere. You almost have to dig to find them.

    Maybe they deserve their own subsection under Writing Instruments?

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  2. The pictures on the products page are of different sizes, therefore making it look less professionally, especially for the OCD types, lol. The "Add to cart" line should line up on each row. Pictures of pens should be all horizontal, vertical, diagonal (unless there's something specific to showcase).

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    Replies
    1. You're correct, the images are not of the same size. We are currently working on new imagery that fits our criteria.

      Delete
  3. I looked at the site before anyone posted any comments here. Speaking purely as an end user, it wasn't as intuitive as it should be. I felt like I was going in circles. That isn't even taking into account the fact that several categories generated no content messages. Then there were the "out of stock" coming in July items. Sorry to be a bummer, but it was just so frustrating :( Clarity and simplicity are useful.

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    1. What do you feel the flow should have been? The landing path is "find a product," "put it in your cart," "buy a product," then end.

      Delete
  4. It's a pity not to be able to take part for being European, but it is understandable for the customs tariffs. Nevertheless, thank you very much for the drawings, I am charmed with your web. ^^

    My blog:
    www.FountainPenLand.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excuses me!!! , I wanted to say Reviews, sorry again ^^

      www.FountainPenLand.com

      Delete
  5. Some suggestions:

    * I like the general look. A little bare, maybe, but calm and professional.

    * Only 8 items per page is limiting; with the amount of products he has, there really need to be an option to select more. [Example: http://www.wastark.com/brand/knock-knock/ is page 1 of 9. I am never, ever, going to click next eight times.]

    * Ditto on previous comments about the images being the same size.

    * Have your techies run Page Speed or YSlow and follow the recommendations.

    * Some lost markup visible on http://www.wastark.com/corporatesales/ and apparent links not actually being links.

    * I would put the information about ordering, shipping, and online security which is on the front page also in the footer (at least with a link). And actually do something with the last two which are just href="#" now.

    Sorry for the random order of the comments, but I hope they are useful anyhow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For whatever reason, the new "in" thing is these minimal theme. Give it a year, maybe we'll go back to huge pages with lots of ancillary imagery.

      You actually shouldn't have to hit "next page," or even know there are pages, at all. I'm working on integrating the "brands" system into the theme, so that it uses the infinite scroll resource that the rest of the site does.

      We use Page Speed as a benchmark, within reason. The site is heavily cached through CDN, and all images are run through smush.it after upload. The only thing that I don't want to do is minify JavaScript, there's way too much JavaScript on the site demanding to load in specific orders to safely minify.

      As it stands, we run the W. A. Stark site on a Linode with all static images and many static pages served by Azure as a CDN, with heavy caching. We use New Relic for application monitoring, with a 5 second limit for an application's load time.

      Delete
  6. I like the general look of the site....very clean. The selection of products available is very nice. I, however, am not a fan of the "infinite scroll." It is just a personal preference, but I don't like it.

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  7. I found the site to be straightforward and easy to use. It doesn't look quite finished--different sized images,etc.--and from comments and answers above I think it is. It looks to be on the right track.

    I did find the pop-up search image to be a bit distracting since I tend to run the mouse over the page until I get to a product I want to learn more about. I question the need for it, as clicking on the product image to get more details is standard.

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    Replies
    1. That should be 'I DON'T think it is(finished).

      Delete
  8. The site does a nice job of looking like it sells premium products to customers with fine tastes. Very classy!

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  9. The website is pretty sleek, but it was a bit cumbersome to try to find info on their pens (which coincidentally didn't have any info). It may be useful to have a separate category/tab for their own line in addition to being bundled together with the rest of their stock.

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  10. Overall, I really liked the site!

    However, I have the following issues:

    * Couldn't find shipping costs or estimate calculator anywhere.

    * Not a fan of the load-when-you-scroll-down-far-enough pages. It takes too long for the items to load when you reach the bottom of the page. Maybe have a "Display All" button or something.

    * If you are going to sell fountain pens, you should carry fountain pen friendly stationary: Rhodia, Clairefontaine, etc. Moleskine notebooks are *TERRIBLE* for fountain pens!

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  11. Nice site, with some comments:

    - Images should be same size.
    - Although the magnifying lense is clever, it can prove distracting when browsing long lists.
    - There is ONE item under Ink, and it is out of stock, not a good impression
    - Thumbnails should display the entire image, some show just a center barrel, some the entire pen, it is difficult to compare items this way.

    Hope my comments are constructive

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  12. I thought it was well laid out. Easy to navigate. I like the "Knock Knock" line.

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  13. I like the layout, but I thought the stark pens should be the first pens I see, and not the pens I need to hunt to find.

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  14. The layout was okay, but when I clicked on the fountain pen refills, it said "no products found that match your description". Why have it listed as an option if there are no products to be had?

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  15. I would like to visit the WA Stark store in St. Paul. There's just something about being able to touch the merchandise.
    Lesa (f2pres@hotmail.com ... in case I win!)

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  16. the site looks like it is in its beginning staged. I say hats off for getting the product up and running. I do agree on the limit per page. I also think you should show your brand more. i would also find another picture other than a stor front with bare shelves. I can definitely see you are on the right path. Branding, you should definitely put your brand out there before anyone else. make them search for others and have WA Stark be the forefront. Also it may be cool to do a design your own. Im sure people would love to design your own pen, they do it with sneakers...

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  17. The site is easy to use and all the information that I would need about a product is easy to find. The site is better looking than most sites. Just for consistency and aesthictics, it would be nicer if the images were all the same size/shape. Also, in the writing section the images are different styles. For example, some pictures are close-ups of the barrel while others are diagonal and some are horizontal. Again, it's nicer to keep it consistent but it's not a major problem.

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  18. All in all I enjoy the look of the site since it is aesthetically pleasing and the information is pretty clearly presented. My biggest problem with the site was the photos being different perspective in the thumbnail photo and the picture was usually useless until I clicked on the full screen option. So why not just correct it and have all the of the item shown in the thumbnail. Additionally, I wish there was more perspective of items. There was usually only one picture per item which I feel could be improved.

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  19. A little too minimalist for my taste, and far too inconsistent about showing all or some of a pen, with too many images "coming soon".

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  20. I love that moleskine's are prominent on the site

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  21. While I like the simplicity in the logo, I felt that it blended too much into the background of the overall site and the top bar. My eyes are drawn more to the search box than the logo.

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  22. I really like the look of that pen...the idea of the wood design is very effective,good choice. Like it and your site,thanks.Sean

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