Etsy has shot itself in the foot. According to HeyMichelle:
Because of the volume of new listings, we are uploading new listings in "batches". This means that there will be a delay for appearing on the Front Page and Time Machine 2. Additionally, items *may* not appear on the Front Page "Fresh Items" section.
This revelation about the fruitlessness of renewing for exposure comes amid a flurry of threads in site help asking about a lack of views, lack of exposure, time machine 2 looping, the appearance of new items far back on category pages immediately after listing, and the absence of their items on the front page. (See the sampling at bottom of entry).
Nice. Renewing is now gambling for exposure on the front page and categories.
One thing they've definitely accomplished is eliminating renewals as their bread and butter - a task they previously encouraged. Actually, this was the only good way to gain to exposure AND it was keeping Etsy afloat as a company.
Samples in the usual Etsy schema:
Renewals not working
Renewing is broken
Stop wasting your money