Monday, January 18, 2010

I love Etsy, I really do. But . . .

I have a shop on Etsy. For those of you who are not familiar with Etsy, let me give some background.

As its slogan states, Etsy is a place to buy & sell all things handmade. Etsy is a venue that lets sellers open a shop and list their wares for a listing fee of $0.20. Then, if the item sells, Etsy collects 3.5% of the sales price. Prior to selling on Etsy, I had my own website. I gave that up because it is incredibly time consuming to maintain! Etsy makes it easy.

Etsy makes it easy. And that's part of the problem. It is all too easy for people to start up a shop on Etsy and start selling whatever they want. Etsy does not monitor new listings; they trust that you will be listing genuinely handmade items, vintage items that are 20 or more years old, or crafting supplies. But many, many, many shops are nothing but "resellers" who view Etsy as a cheaper alternative to ebay.

To combat this problem, Etsy has a "flagging" system. If you spot an item that is not supposed to be sold on Etsy, you are asked to flag it and bring it to the content team's attention. They are supposed to review each and every flagged item and take down items that are not within Etsy's Terms of Use (TOU).

That doesn't seem to be doing much good. I've flagged lots of stuff that is obviously breaking the TOU, but the items are still there. And from the comments I'm seeing on Etsy's community forums, I am not alone in this.

Etsy recently re-hired Rob Kalin as its new CEO (or whatever muckety-muck title). At first sellers were quite hopeful that he would begin implementing some changes. But so far, the only changes we've seen have been cosmetic and have not addressed the most serious issue - resellers.

So to Etsy, I say this: I can live without coupon codes, the ability to open multiple shops, and changes to Etsy's community forums. First things first. The reseller issue MUST be addressed. It is taking business away from legitimate sellers, and it is bringing seller morale to an unbelievable low - which cannot be good for business.

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