Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Etsy, I wish I could quit you.

A non-bitch friend of mine (who has been wanting to get into selling on Etsy after seeing my success there), was reading over this site and asked me a very large question today:

"I just read some of the shit you guys post and i'm thinking 'Why TF would I ever want to sell there? Ever?' "
The answer is: Etsy itself is fine. It's amazingly successful and a great many people have found at least a modicum of success on Etsy. People are making livelihoods there due to its being the biggest venue of its kind. It leaves Dawanda, Pinkdoodle, Lovli, bigcartel, icraft, and the others in the dust as far as size and exposure go.

It's the moment you have ANYTHING to do with the Etsy staff that it all goes to bollocks.

When you dare to ask a question about why thus or such happens, make a suggestion for an improvement, or god forbid criticise the way things are done, even merely request help, you'll finally find the chink in the armour. You will quickly be told by those in the forums and even Etsy staff, that: "it's not us, it's you". It's your problem if you aren't happy, it's your fault the site's not working, it's something you did to get you in the spot you're in, you ungrateful bastard. And sellers who ask for entirely reasonable things are viewed as insolent children who bite the hands that feed them. Cue the choir of cheerleaders who can cripple a wildebeast at 20 paces with chants of "if you don't like it, leave!".

Amazingly, the staff somehow doesn't make the correlation that it's the sellers that bring buyers in, and sellers who pay the bills, and sellers in reality do the real customer service to the buying public. They should be bending over backwards to not only serve them, but cater to them to keep them happy and earning the money that pays their salaries. Making the seller's life easier should take precedence over some inane flash plaything whose overspecialisation is so specific it is virtually useless to everyone.

In a business with a shopkeeper model it should be obvious to not piss off your sellers, to not call them demeaning things in public forums, to not talk down to them like children, to not call them ungrateful bastards or "grumpy haters", to not shut them down for sometimes fabricated events by jealous competitors or mistaken or unscrupulous buyers. You'd think that would be obvious. It seems to be so to everyone but Etsy. Such a business environment should offer them a wide berth and provide them the support and tools to make you more money. But Etsy does these horrid things to its money generating customers, and yet they really don't do anything at all to bring in new ones. They do no advertising, at least not in magazines that anyone actually reads.

They adamantly resist proven methods of the traditional old advertising geezers, even advocating its unhippness with their young city bohemian conceived ideals of current web technology and its need to be 'indie' - whatever the fuck that means. They instead go with an all word of mouth plan with hordes of prostrating housefraus preaching the gospel of Etsy to strangers at the street fair as if they were a new branch of the Mormons. I'm personally waiting for Mary Kay-style Etsy Parties with the level of fanaticism at play with the street teams. (Hey, that's my idea, I get a cut, damn it.)

And that's the damned shame of all this. Etsy would prefer to spend money on the office half pipe or paying staff to play Rockband than serve its fee paying customers. It's hard NOT to be disenchanted by that.

At times it seems as if the sellers care more than the staff about the site and its success, because for the most part it's entirely left on our shoulders. It's our job to not only make and sell our own goods, but to promote and market ourselves and Etsy.

Is it any wonder we're unhappy?

9 Comments:

TheSneakyOne said...

Has Etsy become the cigarette of the crafting world?

Love the article, love it, love it.

Morrigan said...

Damn, you've really hit the nail on the head.

So don't you think things will change now with the new COO and the investors?

impetuous said...

what I don't get is why it's all up to me when there is no "I" in etsy...

AliciaMae said...

It's a damn shame, it really is.

The Cranky One said...

Dammit. I just more some more damned sales.

Amber said...

Really good read, thank you!
I would say you are quite correct, very well said.

Craft Boutique said...

I am on iCraft.ca and pretty happy with the responsiveness of their Admin. You can also get a very friendly "Live Operator", if you have a question. I am very surprised at all the negative comments here about Etsy and the fact that people still stay with them regardless of that. iCraft is relatively new, but I think they are doing all the right things and trying hard to please their sellers. I’ve seen the changes, that sellers proposed, have been implemented. They also actively look for our input. I hope they'll become more popular. Competition is good for any business. :)

santoki said...

Oh it's too bad to hear so many are so disgruntled with Etsy. I've sold hundreds upon hundreds of items on the site and haven't had too many problems. The staff has always been super helpful when I have questions and problems, too. Maybe things have changed since May 2008?

Anonymous said...

Things haven't changed a bit over at Etsy.