Sunday, August 17, 2008

Quotables: Look at the shiny new feature!

Irony at it's finest.

cool--this will really help me out when i need to update my shop when I go on vacation next month! oh wait...

cool--this will really help me when I'm trying to search my sold listings for something! oh wait...

cool--this will really help me know how well my advertising is paying off by giving me stats! oh wait...

srsly, was "expiration dates" really all that confusing???

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Sigh said...

I would laugh

but somehow it just makes me want to cry.

Sigh said...


You just KNOW Etsy is going to pull the big boner for the holiday season. You know it.

pony-lo said...

perhaps this is a stroke of pure genius

and we just havent noticed it yet.


wristeroni said...

I can understand sellers being pissed (as in this is a ridiculous thing that Etsy is touting as an improvement)

I can understand sellers being indifferent.

What I CAN'T understand is all the "cupcake squad" actually THANKING Etsy for this. pfffft!

jodie nicholson said...

They could have called it so many other 'hip' and 'cool' things, instead of Renew Items. How dull!

My suggestions would be:

Etsy Fund (too obvious?)
Bend Over (nuff said)
Cha Ching (wave goodbye to those coins)
Casino Royale (renewing IS a gamble)

Cover That Mother said...

I (heart) Hello!

Since Etsy is telling sellers that renewing is the way to go, I really wish they would tell their flock that there is a difference between Renewing and Relisting.

So many confuse the two.
Relisting means you've actually sold something.

The Disgruntled One said...

Great comment. I like Pie's suggestion of "Bend Over", too!

80 said...

Fuckin' ugh.

ebbandflo said...

in the beginning adding something new to your shop every week was enough

then it was add an item every few days

then list every day

and finally list something 5-6 times a day

so etsy - what proportion of your income do you get from this renewing frenzy now as a percentage of sales commission?

eyeswideopen said...

I just found this blog yesterday, mentioned in a thread about HRMB getting muted. It's great to see a lot of like-minded Etsians in one place, and I know there are more people out there who just haven't made it to this blog yet. The big question is, what can we realistically do? Is it worth fighting to save Etsy, and if so, how do we do it? Or should we just throw in the towel and find other platforms for selling our arts & crafts? I cringe at the thought of the second option because 1) we've all put so much work into our Etsy shops and 2) Etsy could be such a great thing if it were run properly. I probably sound like a teenage idealist here, but if we could get everyone mobilized to stop listing and renewing for one week, while simultaneously flooding Etsycorps with our "demands," maybe the message would get across. We have to find a way to hit them where it hurts, in the pocketbooks.

Andy Mathis said...

and people wonder why there is little advertising done to promote selling of items.

Anonymous said...

I am no longer going to renew shit in either one of my shops. My view of Etsy is now completely lucid, and my goals are not their goals.
Now that they have shown again how important it is for them to get $ this way, is it now obvious that no other work on the site that benefits sellers will be worked on? It's obvious to me now; it sure took a while for the blinders to fall off.

confused said...

What completely boggles the mind is why etsy is after that 20 cents renewing fee instead of going after the 3.5% commission for each sale.

Maybe I am not seeing the big picture here, but I would think that 3.5% adds up a lot quicker than 20 cents. So help your sellers sell and bring in more buyers. But then again, what do I know? I am just an etsy seller, and not a very good one at that.

ShrugItOff said...

Actually, Confused, if the average item on Etsy sells for about $12 and that person renews 6 times a day, that's $1.20 in Etsy's baked goods fund vs. if they sell the item and get about 42cents.

It's the ultra deluxe imported-chocolate cupcake with the fancy whipped cream frosting and cream center vs. the tiny day-old burnt sugar cookie.

just bitchy said...

Someone posted a few days ago that their esty bill was over $400 and they said most of that was relisting fees. I checked their store and I couldn't figure that their sales justified that much relisting.

I'm sorry to say that a lot of sellers on etsy really have no idea how to run a business and have no idea how to figure their costs.

Also, this is a hobby for some sellers so some probably don't care if they lose money every month.

Sellers like that are lambs to the slaughter. Only etsy wins.

I learned the hard way years ago to only promote my own site, never buy adwords for an etsy type store, always have my own dotcom and never buy advertising for an etsy type site either.

Any of you who are trying to make this work "for realz" need to move away from etsy as fast as possible and take your buyers to your own dotcom website.

That poor seller above could have their own shopping cart for $20-$50 per month AND buy advertising for far less than $400 per month.

It's so sad to see people throw their money away like that.

stace said...

wisteroni... i completely agree. i had to leave the thread mary mary posted because it was obvious that very few people realized just how self serving the move was.

wow... now how about something the sellers NEED. instead of something that only goes to prove what's actually important to etsy. etsy really is like handmade vegas... dime after dime, into the machine.

i duno why i bitch, i do just fine. i think it just irks me to see all these newbs suckered into slipping all those dimes in the etsy piggy bank. a lot of them aren't even selling... at all. and they'll spend $5 a day on what they think is savvy marketing, via etsy standards and then jump up and down to make a $3 sale.

it's just horrible.

but, i am glad to see some voices of reason rising. i have a feeling that etsy notices them, too... and the last thing they want is to lose all the profits they make on renewing. eventually, though, it'll pass. always the optimist, i have a lot of faith that the sellers of etsy will wise up.


life-during-wartime said...

confused -- All venues make their $$$$ on rent (either a monthly fee to have a shop or a per item listing fee, sometimes both). Rent is a 'sure thing'. Your customers, the shop owners, making a certain $$$ value of sales for the venue to take their commission on, is not a sure thing.

What venue owners I've encountered in the past like to publicly tell prospective shop owners is that low listing/monthly shop fees but with a commission charge means the venue is more committed to promoting/supporting its shops. One venue owner told me on the phone that venues like hers do not need to collect any commission fees to be profitable. The profit comes from the fees shop owners pay to be there (or, at other venues, to list their items). This is why the silly 'renewal' gimmick on Etsy is truly such a cash cow for them!

Sales depend on so much more than how good a venue is in providing customer service and truly useful site features. Things like the appeal of any shop's merchandise, combination/variety (or lack thereof) of different kinds of merch on the site, the economy and tons of other marketing variables.

Oh, and Etsy's form of pay-for-months-ahead per item fee is obnoxious IMO. Why pay for 4 months listing fees at once? Successful sellers surely sell their items long before that time is up. How many Etsy shops sell a lot of stuff that has dropped to the very bottom of the pile after being on the site 10 weeks or more?

confused said...

ShrugItOff said...
Actually, Confused, if the average item on Etsy sells for about $12 and that person renews 6 times a day, that's $1.20 in Etsy's baked goods fund vs. if they sell the item and get about 42cents.

It's the ultra deluxe imported-chocolate cupcake with the fancy whipped cream frosting and cream center vs. the tiny day-old burnt sugar cookie.

I get your logic. I just think in the "long run" the more buyers the better, not the more sellers renewing the better.

I am guilty of renewing items when I have not had time to make new products. Maybe I need to rethink that.

just bitchy said...

Places like etsy and ruby lane need to make enough money WITHOUT commissions to keep their sites profitable or they would fold during every economic downturn or seasonal shopping dip.

They have to be able to maintain their business model with monthly fees + listing fees (ruby lane) or listing fees and renewal fees (etsy).

Commissions are gravy and not necessary to keeping those site running.

The quicker people wake up to the fact that etsy wins no matter what (just like slot machines in vegas) the better.

stace said...

the house always wins!

but the player doesn't have to waste all his dimes on one machine.


if the listings were random, and renewing was pointless... people would spend more time adding to and improving their shops, instead of renewing the same items over and over.

it's really weird, too... to me, that all these people say they have to renew in order to not be buried, but they bury each other faster than sand crabs by renewing every hour.

it's counter productive.

i know that most of you know this... but i see that the view counts here are on the rise, so maybe, if just a few more newbs come here and read, they will start to pump their dimes in more valuable marketing schemes.

confused said...

Everyone is right. Renewing is not a very good marketing strategy. Fortunately, when I have renewed items, it was only a couple of times a week and didn't amount to very much of my etsy budget. However, I am going to start looking for better tried and true marketing methods instead of feeding the etsy monster.

Combustion Glassworks said...

A few months back i did an 'etsy experiment' that i blogged. (I wanst able to complete the blogging of it out of being completely burnt out.)

I listed 15 items a day and did so for two weeks. I wanted to see if you constantly listed, with a renewal here and here, how things moved.

I was beyond scientific about it. I started at 9 and went till 9 and i allowed 4 renewals a day, mostly to give myself time away from the computer and camera.

What i found is that renewing does work IN ADDITION to actual new listings. But no matter, i noticed that only the new things listed sold. Showing that people didnt seem to be traveling past page three or using categories.

It was batshit crazy. I sold almost 100 items in those two weeks but i NEVER left the computer and of course, my bills were heftier but the 80cents a day for two weeks was only $11.20 so that didnt hurt too bad. I would literally sell a renewed item everyday.

so in my experience, small amounts of renewals (especially in a shop like mine with a lot of inventory) do work as long as you are adding way more new inventory.

Of course, i can see right through what they are doing, but it does have some advantages for the seller if done properly.

just bitchy said...

CGW I'm sure renewing worked for you. Your products are nice and in demand, you have good feedback and you list at the magic price point/price range and your shipping is reasonable.

No amount of renewing will work if your products are not desirable.

That's where etsy starts to sell the "if you list it they will buy it and then you can QYDJ" dream.

Romantic newbies will bite every time.

Eventually the "you can fool some of the people" adage comes into play, but not before etsy has made money off of the romantic newbies.

Grace said...

stace said "people say they have to renew in order to not be buried, but they bury each other faster than sand crabs by renewing every hour. it's counter productive."

It definitely creates an atmosphere of pitting sellers against each other, competing for top spots. Only the sand crabs at the top of the heap get a good view. The rest of the crabs just get to look at the other crabs' asses!

On the other hand, the clueless newbies who constantly relist are keeping the fees down for the rest of us.

Nora said...

I'm a new reader to EB and wow am I so glad to find like minded individuals! I really never expected etsy to be more than a hobby for me but what started out as a great experience has been replaced with many times reading the forums with my mouth hanging open, and now I deleted all of my listings off of etsy for good.

I LOVE some of the sellers on etsy and will probably follow them on trunkt (where most of them have shops). I'm sick of the relisting debacle and the obvious way that etsy lines their pockets. Why give the sellers what they want when revamping the relisting system gives etsy more money? It is just so frustrating.

forum rubbernecker said...

if the listings were random, and renewing was pointless... people would spend more time adding to and improving their shops, instead of renewing the same items over and over.
Yes, I have often thought of suggesting something like best match on Ebay for Etsy. I do what someone else said--I renew when I don't have time to create. But I try not to do it too often lest I contribute too much to the cupcake fund. :-P

And....I still don't get why they had to change this and what people weren't getting.

The Funny One said...

No matter how many arguments I read in favor of renewing, none have convinced me it's worth it. I do understand it is Etsy's cash cow, but there's much more at work here.

While new sellers buy into the myths of relisting and renewing, they might do ok for a month to 3 months. But, once you are open for 6-12 months, the site eats you up up like a garbage disposal. Your store falls by the wayside, overtaken by age, fatigue, and being pushed to the bottom by the tens of thousands of stores opening each month (with products priced at or below cost).

Add that to the fact that Etsy promotes only about 3% of the stores that open, older stores have no chance, and Etsy would prefer you drop off the roster because you start to demand services that they have no intention of offering - ever.

So, they are glad to see you go.

And then you have Pounce, and see featured sellers that set up 5 weeks ago, see 100's of articles about brand new stores, and you get buried even deeper.

Relisting buries the stores that don't, new listings bury the stores that don't, Etsy buries the stores that don't fit their mold, and on and on. It gets to the point where it probably is not worth the effort to keep fighting a platform that makes selling harder (and more expensive) than ever.

And what does Etsy do for it's sellers that makes all that time, money and effort worth it after 3, 6, 9,and 12 months?

Right, they tell you to relist, renew............... and intriduce 24 new Etsy employees who are going to write 240 new articles a week about the 240 brand new stores they think are 24 times better than all the other stores because everything in them costs 24 cents.

incognito said...

I had thought of renewing as a waste of money and time and have never done it But after reading CGW's post I am re thinking this idea.
My shop is almost always at the top of my general category so is renewing trying to catch the eye of people who are shopping by newly listed/pounce/time machine?

stace said...

I saw CGW's experiment... but what I found fascinating is that a lot of credit went to renewing...

however, I never once saw any of her items at the top of the pages... what I saw was her forum posts about it constantly bumped, and her blog...

doesn't mean that renewing wasn't working, at all... I'm sure buyers were seeing things here and there... BUT... her thread about it spent a LOT of time on the top of the forums because of interest.

how many people buy from forum exposure, vs. renewing? do we have actual numbers, or speculation?

how popular was her blog and how many people referenced it during this time? if i am recalling the right thread, the buzz was really hopping.

maybe not the act of renewing, but the hype and the buzz around what she did, was very good marketing.

just saying...


just bitchy said...

Very good point stace.

Also, when I was on ruby lane years ago they gave us stats. 90% of my customers came in through google not via ruby lane traffic.

I have always suspected that etsy doesn't want to give people stats because that would tell people clearly and specifically that traffic does NOT come from etsy, rather from search engines.

That makes renewing make even less sense. In that case good titles are your best bet for increasing your traffic and then perhaps increasing your sales if you have an in demand product.

my2cents said...

From HeyMichelle:
Hey there guys,

We changed it because it was a simple switch to make it more clear. We regularly get the question, "how do I renew my items?", so it made more sense to change the name of the page. We regularly make simple text changes such as this if doing so will help people understand. We usually don't announce them though, as most people won't notice.

The last time I remember that we did a simple text change that people noticed was when we added the word "edit" next to the pencil icons on page 5 when you're editing a listing, so that you can go back to a particular page. Many people thought that we had added a new feature!

Anyway, this is just a simple change to help make things more clear...hope that helps!
Posted at 5:45 pm, August 18 2008 EST

from here:

I LOVE this:
"We regularly make simple text changes such as this if doing so will help people understand."
"Anyway, this is just a simple change to help make things more clear...hope that helps!"

Now please explain, dear Michelle: why it took so damn long to add "USD" next to the prices then?
Give me a damn break.
That "simple text change" certainly would've helped
"people understand."

Do you really think we believe your bullshit explanation?

theoriginalwtf said...

CGW, I was wondering why there was no further word on your experiment but now that you mention it, renewing/listing/selling like mad probably doesn't leave much time for talking about it.

funnyone, you're right, etsy's strategy seems to be to attract a steady stream of new buyers since they have no intent of doing anything to pacify the older (in etsy time) sellers. I suppose that at least they know that their long-term customer satisfaction is lacking. Speaking of customer satisfaction, dare I ask what happened with that survey from the UK-based grad student? I noticed it just disappeared from the site...

The Righteous One said...

originalwtf made me search the forums (aaaaaah lol)

recent thread regarding title use

older thread regarding using "handmade" in the title for google

Simone said...

I regularly renew items and for me it does make enough of a difference in views and sales to make it worth doing - and my prices are high enough that the cost is covered, as opposed to someone renewing endlessly to make a $5 sale.

So for me it is worth doing it and does make a difference to my bottom line in a positive way - and it is the only piece of marketing I continue to do for my Etsy shop. All of my marketing efforts apart from that point to my own shop.

However, I feel that whatever the benefits for *some* sellers, this is a really crap situation to be in. It sucks that Etsy is set up to work like this and that Etsy is now reliant upon a deeply flawed system to bring in so much cash. They've got no real reason to work to make their commission bring in a lot more than it does.

Last Christmas the major categories actually stopped functioning as far as being places for buyers to browse because of this flawed system. Because the amount of listing going on if you were to browse these categories you'd keep seeing the same pieces over and over again - even just clicking straight from one page to another without looking at anything meant you'd see the same pieces because of the huge volume of new pieces constantly being added at the front.

That is a broken system. And it's going to be even worse this year. And Etsy is going to make a lot of money from it.

jodie nicholson said...

Like Simone, I renew daily...and I resent it every time. But it does give me results.

Everytime I sell a wristlet, Etsy gets a $1.05 cut, which I'm totally cool with.
I would prefer to be handing them many more $1.05's for sales than 20c's for renewals.

If they'd just give us a decent Search, we'd sell more, they'd make more and we could all eat friggin' cupcakes.

just bitchy said...

If you are selling, your product is in demand and renewing works then great.

I suspect a lot of people are renewing who shouldn't be because they don't have the sales or price point to support the extra expense.

What boggles is the people who are selling $1 things. At some point even volume can't cover the paypal %, paypal fee and etsy fees and %.

Until people learn to figure their expenses vs. their sales they will keep throwing money in the etsy slot machine.

love the snark said...

I really do need to stop and tally my renewing fees.

ok, I'm feeling snarky tonight. Please check

Looks like etsy needs to do some house cleaning.

Combustion Glassworks said...

WOAH Stace...

if things in the forum got bumped, you will clearly see that it wasn't by me. I simply had NO time in btwn the photography, editing and listing of at least ten new products a day.

if there was a buzz i was the last person to knwo because i was literally, a one woman sweatshop.

As much as my experiment proved taht it works in some facet, it proves that it will also wreck you and is completely non feasible on a daily basis.

I get such a negative tone here, why? I was trying to see what works for my business where i happen to have as million things to list. I tried to see if I could be a super cupcake lister and couldn't.

But im glad that you think im some great marketing mastermind ;)

and to theoriginal, its been a pretty shitty year since, involving a death in the family, pneumonia, and constant down internet. i wasnt even able to finish it, I only made it to day ten of 14 so i didnt find it to be as scientific as i wanted, though the findings were still the same.

Eveline said...

I was ranting to my boyfriend about this (poor poor sweetie, he has to listen to so much rants on Etsy), and he said that in Logan's Run they would 'renew, renew, renew' before they died. Sounds about right....

stace said...

hahah, well... it definitely wasn't meant negatively. i wasn't aware that you had no idea the marketing frenzy you created.

something for you to think about then, too... i suppose.

i guess you weren't aware of the frenzy you caused... which probably had a lot more to do with your sales than renewing.

but there was no negative tone.

i'm sorry you read that into it.

pony-lo said...

just in case anyone might find it of interest, with regards to renewing/relisting versus posting in the forums to ensure sales -

i have sold just over 2000 items (over 24 dollars each) in a year, about 80 percent of my buyers are buyers only, and i never visit the forums. relisting and blogging monthly does seem to help. i think!

i know this is only my single individual statistic, but there ya go!

stace said...

i can't even get ahead on my stuff. and now i have another large wholesale order. i think i'm about to hire an assistant... honestly. i can't work like this and design. i have other ideas. i could have some one doing the prep work for me.

i don't rely on etsy... completely. i spread myself EVERYWHERE. and i sell both on and off etsy. i do well off etsy. i could be doing a LOT better, but i can't keep enough in stock.

i figure it like this... i can relist, and pay $.20 to be on page 1 for about 1-5 minutes, rinse, repeat... blow profits. OR, i establish myself online, everywhere i possibly can and create a lasting trail.

the way you guys feel about renewing, i feel about online presence. if i'm not social, my sales slow waaaay down.

so, i think renewing really creates a dependence on etsy that a seller should not be creating for themselves.

there's not really a right or wrong answer... you do what works for you. and no one will convince you otherwise. but i know other successful sellers that work hard to market themselves, who have never renewed, and they do well.

but i think long term is very important... if you sell 2000 items in a year... and let's say you renew each twice, on average... that's $1200, vs. $400 in listing fees. so.... $800 you could have sunk into your website, some flyers, promotions, as space, time networking... things that get you established outside of etsy.

you could pay someone to sit down for a couple hours a week and market you, for that. even at $10/hr. that's 80 hours of help.


like i said... just sayin'... i don't think any seller really believes that renewing is good investing. especially when you look at the numbers.