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Saturday, February 23, 2008

disillusioned?

Etsy has been having "growing pains" for a while now. I love the idea of Etsy and its promise, but I've encountered, both personally and through Etsy friends and from reading the forums and Unofficial Etsy News, many disappointing and unprofessional tenets of Etsy. I am very grateful to Etsy for allowing me to grow my business at a comfortable rate by offering an affordable and easy to use interface, and, importantly, allowing me to meet so many wonderful sellers and buyers, but I'm very worried, and have been slowly disillusioned.

The biggest personal reason for me is the uncontrolled and proliferating rate of copying on Etsy. The low barrier of entry of Etsy is both good and bad, but unfortunately, Etsy has done nothing to stem the influx of people who see a good idea or best-selling design in another shop, and then proceed to copy the idea without any qualms. Many, many good sellers have left Etsy for this reason, and I, unfortunately, have experienced this first hand. I do not think the Etsy admin realise how important it is for them to address this on a site that focuses on handmade goods. Instead, they are often secretive and discourage open discussion about this. I was not even allowed to discuss my own case, without naming names, and their handling of it with other people.

A second important reason is Etsy's wanton shut-down of successful shops, and then baffling and contradictory replies about their policies regarding this. For more info, see the UEN here and here and here and here. People rely on Etsy for their livelihoods, and deserve to be treated with more respect and consideration. We also deserve an open and clear policy on shop suspension, which admin has repeatedly refused to do. They offer vague guidelines, which do not seem to be adhered to, as seen from the above cases.

Other gripes? Etsy admin feature their own items in gift guides (EtsyLabs had as many 14 featured items), and only realised that this was a conflict of interest after many people petitioned this on the forums. Etsy often shuts down threads in the forums that deal with very pertinent issues that may be critical of them. They allowed people to trash a foreign seller with racist comments, then proceeded to shut down the foreign shop for being the source of too much conflict. (this is what I understood from UEN, I was not around when the incident happened)

I’m so disillusioned. And I am so glad that I kept reinvesting in my business and can finally take the plunge to go it on my own. Some people have said that Etsy is a great launching point, and when designers have established themselves, the natural transition is to move on to an independent website. I am very grateful to Etsy, and think that it is invaluable to alot of crafters and designers, and hope that it will develop much greater transparency soon to accomodate its rapid growth and for the sake of its wonderful community. But at this point, I'm looking forward to not having all my eggs in one basket for much longer.

*sigh*

4 comments:

Diva with the pliers said...

Oh. My. God. You're kidding me? No wonder I couldn't get into ThatsMyCharm sometime back! Is that what also happened with PiecesOfYourSoul, do you know?

pequitobun said...

i'm not sure about that.. i wouldn't have known about these incidents if not for the UEN. the forums are impossible to wade through for any information.

i think several of the shops have been reinstated. but i am very serious about my business and i want to have a safety net.

it kinda makes you sit back and think when you realise that your shop can be shut down at any time at their prerogative. i buy $100+ of ads a month and point most of my PR efforts to my etsy shop. not to mention sticker, biz cards and other promo items etc. i could probably better invest it into marketing my own shop instead. =)

Diva with the pliers said...

And the recent loss of all views really, really ticked me off to no end, I tell you. Like you, I invest a great deal of time and $$ into marketing my stores, and movements in views per item allow me to monitor efficacy of showcases. The total eradication of views last Saturday basically erased my data :(

This business is my passion, my lifeline, my life, as it is with you, I am sure. I have begun efforts to resurrect my own website :)

pequitobun said...

i totally understand about the views, although it just demonstrates how sorely we need a real traffic analysis tool. yes, i think it's real good to have a website, even if it forwards to the etsy shop at first, so that if any craziness happens, all your promo items point to your domain, not etsy, and you don't have to throw them away. plus, you can measure site traffic for your ads that way!

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