Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Addressing the negativity charge

Greetings and salutations, and thanks for coming. I'd like to talk now to those who say that online negativity will kill Etsy, and to those who say if you don't like Etsy then you should shut your mouth and leave.

Here's why I'm feeling not so positive, and here's why "just leave" is not an intelligent response.

Yes, Etsy is a privately held (for now) corporation, and as so can do as it sees fit with its company, including its website. But how does Etsy make the majority of its money? From listing fees. Who pays listing fees? Sellers. How does Etsy make the rest of its money? From percentages of sales dollars. Does Etsy proper actually sell anything, beyond the "Quit Your Day Job" dream? No. Then who sells the items that Etsy collects a percentage of? Sellers.

Let's break it down even more. How many sellers also shop on Etsy and buy there? Lots. Etsy is full of amazing handmade items, beautiful supplies and drool-worthy vintage. We are paying Etsy on both ends, so to speak.

What is Etsy's main method of advertising? The advertising done primarily by its sellers, whether word-of-mouth, seller blogs, seller business cards, sellers tweeting, or sellers paying to advertise their shops.

Sellers support the site. Sellers get the site seen. Sellers are Etsy's customer base.

From what I have heard of late, the majority of sellers, Etsy's customers, are unhappy with recent changes. I am one of these sellers. There are many who have been on the site longer than I have, and basically built Etsy from the ground up. I salute you long timers. These sellers are trying to make their views heard, and are being silenced and ignored and shut down.

That makes me negative. I started this blog to figure out why I'm negative, if my negativity is justified, and if there's a way to remedy it.

Why don't I leave? Because I've built a business with a customer base at Etsy. Because I've put hundreds of hours of work into my shop there. And because I refuse to give up until I'm sure that the benefits of closing shop outweigh the benefits of staying open.

I'm a business person at heart. This means I understand the soul and passion that sellers have put into creating their Etsy shops, and I understand their fierce loyalty to those shops. I also understand those who feel they will do better elsewhere, and move on. I even understand those who hate negativity. We have all loved Etsy. Some of us are just having a more difficult time doing that at this time.

If you can't intelligently question the wisdom of decisions that impact your business with other business owners, how are you supposed to learn anything?

And, if you treated your customers the way Etsy has treated its sellers, how long would your shop have stayed open? If you ignored direct pleas for clear information, suggestions on how to improve the buyer-seller relationship, convos asking for satisfaction with problem transactions, how would your feedback look?

Consider this blog my feedback for Etsy. They have my twenty cents for each and every listing. I want delivery on the product I was promised. I still have hope that it might get better. Until then, color me negative.


  1. I use to consider myself an "average" seller on Etsy. I used to sell enough on Etsy to pay a few bills each month. Because of changes to the search function, huge amounts of resellers, mistaging items of items that screw up the search function, and other horrors, my sales have dropped to less than 10% of what they were six months ago. This despite doing much more promotion ala Twitter and other resources. I dabbled with the "renewing game" very briefly but didn't get any sales because of it. I think my case is very much the same case with lots and lots of people on Etsy. If Etsy notices a drop in revenue they might do something to fix all the horrendous changes they have made lately. Or maybe they will just keep allowing the resellers in to make up the difference.

  2. Well said, Cheeky.


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