This seller perfectly sums up Etsy poaching:
Here’s how I feel about all this, in a nut shell…..
Etsy does not bring buyers to our shops (aside from a very small amount of accidental overflow through a messed up internal search attempt), we have to find buyers ourselves. That is fine – we pay for the right to display our products on their site, for a small fee. They are just a venue. It is also a tremendous time suck and hit-or-miss undertaking with no promise of the hard work of finding customers panning out. If we can’t find our buyers, we have little, if any, chance of succeeding. To have the “venue” that you pay rent to arbitrarily syphon off our efforts of getting buyers into our shops, and then redirect them to our competition, is highway robbery in my book. Those buyers belong to the person who found them, since we have to harvest them. The venue obviously feels otherwise, for what reason, I cannot imagine. To have the venue help themselves and send them to our competition crosses so many ethical lines, I can hardly talk about it. There are a lot of things happening here that I think cross the line of ethics in so many ways…but as long as people, myself included, tolerate it, it will not change. It weighs heavily on me and as soon as I figure out an alternative market for my products, I will head there – pronto!
This blog post gives an example of one of Etsy’s many poaching techniques whereby traffic is redirected from one shop to another. The author of the blog post recently asked this question in the forums:
Should we hang around and wait for an answer from Administration??? ha.ha.
Just one more example of Etsy poaching, in this case, on an “unavailable” listing. Instead of showcasing items from the shop whose “unavailable” item was clicked by the buyer, Etsy takes this opportunity to redirect the buyer to different shops, or as shown in this instance, only one other shop even though the original shop has similar items. If Etsy is going to poach, why don’t they spread the poaching love to other bag sellers – why just this one?
With reference to my last post and recent Etsy disturbances, Administration popped into the disturbance forum thread to deny that Etsy sends follow-up poaching emails to customers, instead calling the similiar items from different shops merely coincidental (from Rob White, emphasis added):
With regards to emails, I’m not aware of an email sent following checkout that offers suggested items to buyers…Emails sharing new items from one’s favorite shops are sent sometimes…you could see items similar to those in recent purchases you’ve made as a matter of coincidence.
Rob then asks members to forward suspected emails to him for review. I’ve got an idea, Rob. Why don’t you walk over and talk to the Personalization Team? Geez. Its enough sellers provide customer support; but employee support? Get outta’ here!
(Where has Administration been? This poaching issue has been brought up in the forums more than once in the past couple of months.)
Then, Rob offered this reminder on saying the “C” word in the forums:
…the Etsy Forums are not the place to make remarks demeaning or detrimental to any race, ethnicity or nationality when posting here…It’s not okay to use any given nation as shorthand for any negative sentiment or idea, not here, not ever…
So, I agree that some of the comments were off-base; but the OP? Nope.
Strange and odd, yes. Unexplainable, no. Those buyers made purchases from your shop….. then uh! oh!… during the checkout process, Etsy showed them similar items … from other shops…
Rusetsy cannot believe more sellers are not up in arms about this Etsy poaching technique. What is only-a-venue-Etsy doing in your checkout process?? If you had a brick and mortar, would you allow your landlord to stand at the check-out line and lure away your customers to competitor products?? Hell no, you would not! Strange and odd. Strange and odd.
Etsy Poaching Complaint
These shenanigans even have buyers asking, WTF Etsy?
During Etsy checkout, buyers are shown similar items to those just purchased. These similar items are FROM OTHER SHOPS giving the buyer the opportunity to cancel the purchase just made in favor of one of the similar items from a different shop. And how are these similar items chosen??
Rusetsy has stepped forward to help answer this Etsy Seller’s question as first reported on Rusetsy in this blog post:
Want an update on competitive email issue?
Tica from SecretJardens8:23 pm Oct 22, 2013 EDT
hello all, i’d like to update my thread with a screen shot of the email my friend received but i don’t know how to upload a screen shot. sorry. if somebody can reach out to me with instructions on how to embed a screenshot within this format, i’d appreciate it and will upload it.that said, let me reiterate: this april, just shortly after i opened my etsy shop, a business associate, now a friend, new to etsy, came here to purchase a Secret Jarden, a customized terrarium from me. It was a gift, personalized for an engagement. she loved it. and planned on coming back. i believe she even says so in her review.last week she received a “fall into etsy finds” email from etsy suggesting not one, not two but an entire page of terrariums she could purchase from etsy. Mine was not among the list of shops, by the way. No mention. In fact, the first row of shops were bigger and way more established than my shop. She brought this to my attention because she was annoyed and quite surprised.
so, etsy admin, here’s my question: can you tell me how this is fair to a new shop like mine trying to build a business and repeat customers? and can you show me an example of when you sent out an email to a buyer from one of these big shops suggesting my shop as an alternative? I’d love to see it. please share. it would answer a lot of my questions.
p.s. my friend never signed up for newsletters or updates. she received this email out of the blue, presumably because she purchased from my shop. thanks.
First of all, Etsy has an “opt-out” policy for users of its’ site. That is, all users when signing up, are automatically “opted-in” to receive Etsy junk mail. So technically, she signed up by not “opting out.” (Yea, I know, it’s common-sense backwards.)
This is merely my opinion, but I’m wondering if since you do not want to offer a discount to a customer upon making a sale, as suggested by Etsy
, then perhaps Etsy chooses to send out the “Competitive Email” instead. This would encourage you (maybe with a little arm-twisting) to give discounts to Etsy’s customers. This might be a good question for Etsy Administration to answer.
Rusetsy Customer Support