Etsy observations

I'm a very active shopper on Etsy as my feedback makes all too clear for the world to see. I really believe in living the Handmade Pledge and supporting my fellow crafters as much as I possibly can, and Etsy is the easiest way to do this at this time. But one particularly annoying feature of Etsy is the complete lack of privacy. At least they finally took the prices away from the sold items last year so people now can't really look into your spending habits. At one time you could actually calculate exactly how much someone not only spent on Etsy each year but also how much they made. For sellers who actually make a living there that was a real invasion of privacy.

My other big quibble with Etsy is the favoritism issue. There are more forum threads then you could read in weeks about this issue. Etsy will continue to deny it but it's so obviously there. I'm sure that if I was one of the "chosen ones" it wouldn't bother me so much but I know that I will never be in that position. For one thing I live in the wrong part of the country. They have a very east coast bias, and if you live in Brooklyn you are golden. I once read a thread started by a knitter from the east who was complaining that she was only in 2 of the gift guides when before she had been in many more. Her whining was bad enough but then someone pointed out to her that she was actually in 6 GG's at that moment. I don't know about you but I was thrilled the 2 times I was in them and to be in 2 at the same time I would be totally doing the happy dance, not going into the forums and complaining.

Yes her pictures were very good but were they so good to be on just about every category of the well traveled GG's, absolutely not. She had something that many of us just will never have, that Etsy look. There is a very real hipster vibe that you find in all of the favorites of the Admin that for me is hard to describe but I know it when I see it. I understand that the Admin are in charge of setting the feel for the site but it doesn't make it any easier for the rest of us who are just trying to get a little crumb of attention for our shops. There is so much talent on etsy that the love really should be spread around.

It's not just the Gift guides either. There are some that say the front pages should be chosen randomly, which I really don't agree with. It is the first thing new visitors see and you want a good first impression. But there are so many treasuries that feature people who aren't there every other day that could show case some fresh blood. There should be room for other trends besides whatever one the Brooklynites happen to be on at that moment. Does everyone have to fall in love with owls or deers all at the same time. Can we please see something different on the front page once in awhile.

The tone of Etsy has changed a lot in the past year also. I really don't go into the forums much now but they are definitely a different place then when I first started. There is much less interaction with the Admin, whom we used to know fairly well. Many of the old guard like Matt and Rob are now pretty much gone, not to mention everyones favorite Revolving Dork. When these guys started dropping off I knew things would be changing. It is now much more a business about making money, which I understand. I want etsy to be around for the long haul as much as a buyer as a seller. I know that I'm going to make the bulk of my money from craft shows, not etsy so it is actually more important to my life as shopper than a seller. So I want them to do whatever they have to in order to create a successful long term site. I just don't think alienating a lot of your core sellers and buyers is the way to do it.

I won't even go into the lack of site statistics and how annoying the lack of communication can be. The new site Artfire that every one is talking about was pretty much born out of the frustrations that many have with Etsy right now. I will be talking more about my decision to open another shop this week. No, I'm not leaving etsy just spreading my wings a bit more and seeing what else is out there.


The Hyperlexian Aspie said...

Yep, I'm with you, sister! I closed my store, which is actually my 3rd attempt at a store on Etsy.

My 2nd store sold photographs, until one day in the forums Rob started a thread to express his opinion that photography is no longer a legitimate art because of digitization and drop-shipping... Even after 100 plus sales in my old store, it took the wind out of my sails. For some stupid reason, I wanted Etsy to find me as cool as their favourite Brooklynites... It's hard to keep selling when you know the CEO doesn't respect your craft.

There are other reasons why I'm not selling anymore, but Etsy's lack of professionalism is a major problem!

Lenox Knits said...

I'm glad to know I'm not alone. I have heard others talk about that post by Rob. I don't think he had any idea how many people he was turning away by his casual and thoughtless comments.

Athena said...

Hmm, I'm not on the forums much so I didn't see that thread, which I find crappy. I sell photography in my shops, and I find the art form very legitimate.

I share some of your thoughts on Etsy. I don't fit into their "look" and it's pretty frustrating sometimes. Since coming up with my goals for this year, I'm going to go ahead and keep my shops, but focus more on "real world" sales, so to speak. Good luck to you!

MySweetThree said...

That horrifies me that they used to have the prices of the sold items!
And in my naiveity (sp?); I never even think about the privacy issue..but for some ill-intentioned people, they could easily look into someones feedback to find where/what they have purchased or what is their best selling item from their sold items...eek. It sends shivers down my spines. Especially when those "I've been copied" threads are so rampant. Bleh.

Bella Casa said...

I don't sell on etsy, but I do buy...so I really don't know anything about the politics at Etsy, but I do wish you well and hope 2009 is a fantastic year of sales for you...talk about a run-on sentence ;)


mu-yin jewelry said...

i'm with you!

CastoCreations said...

I'm right there with ya! I just joined 1000Markets yesterday. And I've been on Etsy since 2005.

And I avoid the forums like the plague ... there's very rarely anything really new there except when Admin makes announcements - but you have to wade through so much crap that I just ignore it all.


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