So what about Etsy?

I’ve had a very interesting time today reading some, ah, unofficial information about Etsy.? The official Etsy communiques like to make it sound like everything is sunshine and rainbows and unicorns and cute little kittens.? If you go digging a bit, though, you find there is a seething cesspool underneath.

Since I don’t hang out in the Etsy forums, I don’t hear about a lot that goes on.? But the recent saga of a certain “lampworker” who was discovered to be actually buying other lampworkers’ work and reselling it as her own beads caught my eye.? She was doing this on Etsy, in clear and incontrovertible violation of Etsy’s standards — yet it took several weeks, a huge outcry from real lampworkers (and a boycott from some), and some real negative publicity for them to shut her store down.? Apparently she was a big enough revenue source for Etsy that they dragged their feet in their investigation.? Sad, when you hear about how fast they have been to shut down other sellers without such thorough investigation.

If you want to dig into this yourself, start with the Unofficial Etsy News and Etsy Bitch.? Both sites have posts about the lampworking scandal as well.

So first eBay goes in the toilet as a sales venue for independent artisans, now Etsy looks like it’s trying hard to head down the same highway to Hell.? It’s not done a lot for me, that’s for sure — the tiny little side-biz lampworker just trying to sell a few beads and pendants between the two or three shows I do a year.? Unless you spend a lot of time trying to game the system, you get lost.? Add to that a mediocre website and a deteriorating reputation, and I have to wonder if this really is a good venue for me.? Perhaps it’s time to begin investigating the competition…again.

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    • Mincot on July 4, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    I’m with you. Rob keeps saying that there’s a new team and a new manager, but so far Etsy is not managing the transition from small indie site to mega site particularly well. It pulls stunts like the one you referenced, it is not professional in its policies on a consistent basis, and it is not real sure what image it wants to project. Furthermore, it has not bothered to develop any of the widgets that make consistent sales more easy–pre-scheduled listings, site stats, and the like.

    What that means is that selling on ETSY is a serious effort. You have to spend the time to upload to multiple sites, upload a new listing EVERY day instead of spending a single period a week planning the listings out for each day, to spend time in the fora, and do all sorts of other things. I can’t keep up the pace that’s required to get even minimal sales, particularly not when the school year starts up again.

    On top of that it seems as if people are mostly selling to each other on ETSY. Unfortunately I don’t know that the other sites have even the exposure ETSY has.

    • Mincot on July 5, 2008 at 12:27 am

    OMFG, have you seen Loco’s response — her Etsy Administrator Alien bead? BRILLIANT!!!

    http://cgi.ebay.com/loco-The-Etsy-Admin-Alien-Lampwork-Beads_W0QQitemZ320263584489QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item320263584489&_trkparms=72%3A552|39%3A1|65%3A12&_trksid=p3911.c0.m14

    • Julia on July 5, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    That’s not mere brilliance — that’s Divinely Inspired!!

    I also noticed who won the auction…

    Thank YOU for weighing in on the issue as well!

    • kate Drew-Wilkinson on July 8, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Love the work and info you are giving us access to here.
    I got into a spot of bother last night being my usual blunt but well informed and experienced self (!)
    I’ve just joined Etsy and have to say I love it even though I am not getting sales yet. I imagine that those who have been here since the start might be having problems with ongoing changes, but all in all, selling on the Internet, time consuming and frustrating though it can be, can be fun too, and I am certainly having plenty of that in Etsy, particularly when visiting the Forums. It seems to be more effort to stay with the Chats… there rarely seems to be much in the way of real and interesting interaction there… I suppose the Chat rooms are places for many to unwind.
    You glass work is unique and creative…isn’t that what we all aim for, along the line ?
    Peace, Kate.

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