All by Design

Rusetsy knows where the “holiday dresses” link on the Etsy front page leads without ever going there…  but for fun, let’s just see which shops are prominently featured in Browse. Follow the “holiday dresses” link from the front page, choose “handmade,” and here are the shops featured front and center, page 1:

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Fitdesign opened shop on August 5, 2013; 184 sales. Items ship from China. This is a 3.5 star shop with telling reviews. No seller information other than “we.” No about page. “Cheap price.”

Elegantlovers opened shop on May 13, 2013; 39 sales. Shop located in Malaysia. 5-star shop. No seller information other than “we.” No about page.

BestdealFashion opened shop March 3, 2013; 280 sales. Shop located in North Carolina, USA. 4.5-star shop. Seller information: “…We are running a small fashion shop by my entire family, also hired Jessica Stallings, Patrick Blaney and Laura Ortiz to work together as a term for orders fulfill and manufacture.” No about page. Same dresses can
be found on Alibaba.com (with same photos).

CarlyCustomDress opened shop November 25, 2013; 77 sales. Items ship from China. No reviews. No seller information. No shop policies. No about page.

MissBrides opened shop January, 2013; Began listing in September, 2013. 2 sales. Shop located in Hong Kong. No seller information other than “we.” No about page. This shop has dresses listed with an”Eternal Brides” watermark on the photos; however the shop owner assures buyers the photos are her own. EternalBrides, based in China, also has an Etsy shop. MissBrides also has dresses listed with “loving dress.com” and “lovingdress.etsy.com” watermarks on the
photos. A search for lovingdress on Etsy leads you back to the MissBrides shop. (Are we confused yet?)

KissyBride opened shop May 27, 2013; 201 sales. Shop located in China. Seller information: “we” and “…Our models are designed by a professional group of designers who have a sharp nose for fashion in the apparel field. Many of their masterpieces have been popular with customers worldwide in the last few years.” No about page.

Donastyle opened shop August 4, 2013; 22 sales. Shop based in Romania. 5-star shop. Seller information provided. About page provided.

Lemonweddingdress opened shop March 15, 2013; 252 sales. Shop based in China. 4.5-star shop with many good reviews. Seller information: “we” and “our.” No about page.

All but one of these shops has no about page, and most offer no information on who “we” is, or what “we” does, or how “we” makes their products. Absolutely no transparency. Do you think these shops will suddenly come around and comply with the About Page requirement? Don’t bet on it.

From Etsy Admin (emphasis added):

In the near term, we will not be proactively seeking out or punishing sellers that have not filled out their About pages. Over time, we’ll be working with all shops to add information and continue to build more transparency on Etsy. You will be given plenty of time to make changes…

In case you haven’t figured out what is going on with the about page nonsense, here is the scoop. Etsy could care less whether everyone has an about page, and doesn’t expect everyone to have an about page. The about page was created as a way around creating separate categories for handmade and factory-made. And over time. well, that means in perpetuity…

What Etsy does expect is that you, honest seller, create an about page to lend legitimacy to the idea of transparency on the site. And this is how it will go….

Etsy will say see how transparent we are, we have required an about page of all our sellers…. and meanwhile, all the dishonest shops will still have no about page, to which Etsy will respond (if anyone dares to question) that Administration is working hard to bring all sellers into compliance, but oh dear, there are just so many sellers, and not enough Administrators, and then…. Administration will pull out the whip…. to the legitimate sellers who have no about page…  this will be followed by phoney-baloney statistics showing just how many sellers have been cited for being in non-compliance with the about page rule…. meanwhile, the dishonest sellers will continue to get a pass on transparency. Of course, Etsy will then have to ban any talk of the about page from the forums. Believe me. We have seen this all before.

And it is all by design people. All by design.

Etsynomics

Etsy is so proud of its recent joke-of-a-report, the Etsy Sellers’ Economic Report, that Etsy PR looks to be cramming it down the throat of every media outlet in the U.S. NBC must have recently received its copy as this article on “Etsynomics”  was published yesterday on Today.com. NBC wasn’t as harsh as Slate.com, but did notice the lowly little income generated by Etsynomics (emphasis added):

And most aren’t getting rich. The report finds that sales contribute an average of 7.6 percent to a seller’s household income, a little over $3,400…

The NBC article features three Etsy success stories… one will make $8,500 this year, another $25,000 – not exactly Quit-Your-Day-Job money.  One, a supply seller, is said to have a $100,000 business revealing one Etsy truth: supplies are the money-makers; handmades are not.

So, what exactly is the purpose of Etsy’s Economic Report? From the Etsy blog post introducing the Report (emphasis added): “We’ll be using our findings to urge policymakers to acknowledge the economic power of micro-businesses and to adapt public policies to support and promote them.”

The Report is for the purpose of lobbying the U.S. government for change… what exact change we don’t know, but you can bet it is change that will benefit Etsyinc, not the small seller.

Put On Your Boots. More More Stupid Shit

boots

In my previous post (which you need to read first to get the full jist of this post), and on the subject of the weekly Q&A, I pointed out Administration’s ludicrous excuse for its’ less-than-timely status update on the Q&A. The excuse being a) Etsy sellers made it hard to provide the update, or (b) Etsy employees made it hard to provide the update. Take your pick. One makes as little sense as the other.

In any event, the previous post was intended to be the lead-in on the subject of the improved format of the weekly Q&A, but I got so caught up in the ridiculousness of Administration’s excuse, we didn’t make it to the intended subject. In other words, it is hard wading through bullshit, so you might want to put on your boots before we go any further. (And go get some cute crocheted boot cuffs. If you can’t find any, let me know. Crochet is my gig. This paragraph sponsored by Pomegranate Farm.)

So, about next year’s improved Q&A format, keep in mind Etsy’s definition of improved, and the common sense definition of improved, is probably not going to jive. We won’t know definitively until next year, but have gotten a few hints. Here is the official announcement, and the unofficial first announcement. Assuming you looked at the survey (yes, they even let us banned folk look at the survey… to see what fun we are missing out on I guess), you noticed the survey question “Which of these topics do you most want to learn about and discuss?” Do not be fooled into believing Administration gives a shit what topics you want to learn about and discuss because a) Administration fully intends to present topics Etsyinc wants discussed, b) you aren’t going to learn a damn thing you don’t already know, and c) there ain’t gonna’ be no discussion.

#1 on the survey: Everything you ever wanted to know, and then some, about international shopping including shopping behaviors in other countries. I just gotta’ ask: what the hell does that mean, shopping behaviors in other countries? Isn’t shopping everywhere pretty much the same thing. You want/need, you go, you choose, you buy? Is that done differently in France for example? Or in Australia? Taiwan? Just for all you non-U.S. people, I’ll go ahead and give you the heads up. The way we do it in the U.S.: we want/need, we go, we choose, we buy. So if you all have other ways of shopping, I’d be interested in hearing  it.

I hope it wasn’t lost on you that this is the #1 topic Etsy wants to cram down your throats  discuss. Not resellers, not Etsy poaching, not the workings of search and browse, not site improvements, but international shopping behaviors. Don’t recall too many questions in the Q&A on this subject, or did I miss something?  Didn’t think so.

Etsy is preparing you, dear seller, for the influx of …..OMG, I’m going to say it…. Chinese shoppers you are about to encounter. Expansion in the Chinese market has long been the focus of Etsy (and its investors) and as this comes into fruition, Etsy feels the need to teach you (xenophobeshow to treat the Chinese. It is lost on Etsyinc that sellers will treat the Chinese customer the same way they treat any other customer – with honesty, appreciation, and respect (okay, from most of you anyway.)  I would say that if anything, Etsy tiptoeing around the Chinese as not to hurt their feelings, is xenophobia on the part of Etsyinc, not the sellers.

So, be prepared for what is first on the Etsy agenda. And secondly,

#2: All things shipping.  Now there’s a topic sellers have been yearning to know more about. Imagine. They are going to waste an entire Q&A session on the topic of shipping. I bet that will get all of about 18 discussion participants. (Can’t you hear the cupcakes: “Oh goodygoodygoody!!! we are going to talk about shipping this week!! Thank you Etsy, thank you. I love you and I love shipping too.ooo.ooo! Come back next week and talk to us about brooms!)

#3: (heeee…hehe… this one is funny) How to get noticed and featured by Etsy and the press. Let’s first tackle the how-to with the press. The way to get featured by the press is to do something totally illegal, obnoxious or way off base. Because if you think you are going to get featured for your sweet little shop and its big time success, well… you are more likely to do something totally illegal, obnoxious or way off base…. which isn’t very likely, is it?

As to how to get noticed and featured by Etsy, don’t shoot the messenger, but for 90% of sellers it just ain’t gonna’ happen. And administration is going to spend a Q&A session explaining to you why this is so. Of course, it won’t be presented that way. It will be presented as here is what you need to do to get noticed…. then they will throw out that tired old canned response about good pictures, seo, blablabla. If you want, just dig around in the forums and go ahead and read the response and be done with it.

#4 Etsy Headquarters and B-Corp Team: Here again, I don’t remember anyone in the past Q&As asking about Etsy Headquarters, or B-Corp……..Oh, I get it! This is the April 1st topic and is really one big joke. (I really want to stop right here and make fun of all the ridiculous, childish things at Etsy HQ, and to talk about the fallacy that is B-Corp; but because each of those is so laughable special it deserves its very own post.)

#5 Tips to improve your shop and save you time. Ho hum. I’ll go ahead and tip you on how to save some time. Don’t bother with this Q&A.

#6 Payments, billing and direct checkout. All I will say on this topic is I hope we get to hear from good ole’ Joe.

Okay, let’s take a little break here and get a visual so as to break up all this wordiness… ’cause I know that is what blogs are supposed to include… pretty pictures and stuff… not just a bunch of words… that really turns readers off… blog readers want it quick… and they want it pretty…. so here you go…. a pretty picture:

giraffe

This photo was taken on my latest adventure into the beautiful South African grasslands where this long-necked fellow ambled over and begged to have his photo taken … not really… I snagged it from allfreedownload.com. (Told you to wear your boots.)

Okay, visual break over. Back to the subject.

#7 on the survey:  Think like a buyer and buyer behavior. Hey, I’ve got a novel approach. Instead of Etsy telling us how the buyer thinks and behaves, let’s go straight to the source.  I’m sure Etsy will reach out to this bye-buyer to participate in the Q&A and give her opinion;  to do otherwise would be in “poor form.”

#8 is Marketplace Integrity and how they handle flaggings and policy violations. There is just too much to cover on this subject, so we will save it for a later post. But. You can bet your sweet ass this is one Q&A where no legitimate questions and no honest answers will materialize. And I honestly can hardly wait to see how Administration handles this. (Note to self: wear boots.)

TO BE CONTINUED

An Outsider’s View of the Etsy Economic Impact Report

A big thank you to Amanda Hess for this honest review of the Etsy Economic Impact Report, the latest fauxtistics to come out of Etsy. Regarding Etsy recommendations that government focus more on micro-businesses like those run on Etsy, Amanda says, “Etsy bizarrely knocks the government focus on creating “good-paying jobs,” instead suggesting they invest more in poorly-paying hobbies.” She also points out the obvious: “Etsy’s recommendations could help the economy in one way—it would make Etsy’s own big business even bigger.”

Cloudy With a Chance of Ròu wán

Etsy released the October weather report last week. Yawn. The only telling statistics from the report are the number of member comments…. a paltry 17, with 3 from one user. Etsy sellers obviously have lost interest in the numbers that say nothing.

ETA: The number of member comments is up… mostly from the cupcakes ooing and aahing… my, Etsy, what BIG numbers you have…

One reasonable voice:

Joe Papendick from joepapendick says:

A 7.8% increase in the number of new items listed should, at the very least, result in a 7.8% increase in items sold. As far as the average Etsy seller is concerned, that would amount to treading water. It wouldn’t be making a dent in the existing inventory, but it would at least mean that unsold goods weren’t accumulating. As it stands these numbers show that new inventory again outpaced sales. Any increase in the total size of the pie is good news for Etsy. Unfortunately these numbers continue to show that the average seller’s slice of that pie is diminishing. That’s a shame!

Thank you Joe!

Etsy Seller Says the “C” Word & A Frank Conversation About Resellers

OMG! An Etsy seller said the “C” word! again.

Hi Everyone, We understand that members ultimately want to protect our shared marketplace and we want to preserve the authenticity of Etsy as much as you do. We believe the new guidelines open doors to more authentic makers – not resellers or people who have no intentions of being connected to the design or creation of what they want to sell on Etsy. Corinne addressed some of the challenges related to reselling and what the Trust and Safety team is doing about it in this recent blog article: www.etsy.com/blog/news/2013/a-frank-conversation-about-resellers/ I found the numbers presented on the new Integrity page really helpful as well. You can check that out here: www.etsy.com/integrity As always, when discussing difficult topics it is important that we not associate one country or part of the world with guidelines violations out of respect for our global community. Additionally, we can’t use the Forums as a method of reporting. As many of you have done, we ask that members report any violations they find on the site by flagging a shop or listing. Thanks for understanding – – – www.etsy.com/help/article/360
About that blog article. Etsy members have been screaming about resellers forever, and the issue has never been thoroughly addressed by Administration until THE SAME DAY THE NEW GUIDELINES WERE INTRODUCED.
In the article, Corinne says, “Reselling is buying an item and selling it unchanged as if it were your handmade creation.On Etsy, that’s not allowed. That rule is not changing with our new Guidelines.”
 
Oh Corinne, Corinne, Corinne. I do believe your pants are on fire.
Your article basically says that Resellers are not the problem; Sellers are.
The problem is lack of understanding on the part of Sellers: “…As our policies grew more lengthy and complex, it was harder to understand how Etsy defined handmade…”
The problem is frustrated members: “This situation frustrated many Etsy members.”
The problem is confounded sellers: “That may be confounding to members who feel certain that shops or items that they have flagged are breaking the rules.”
The problem is challenged sellers: “Trendy items that are simple to make, like bubble necklaces or iPhone cases, can challenge our personal definitions of handmade.”
The problem is close-minded sellers: “but it also means community members need to keep an open mind about other sellers’ methods and choices…”
No. Corinne. The problem is resellers.