Friday, April 17, 2009

Enough with the bullshit about Treasuries

Most of you are just getting this in the latest Etsy news for sellers-email:

"In other news, we have clarifyied [sic] the Terms for the Treasury, a very popular site feature on Etsy. Because many Treasury lists are "promoted" in part or in their entirety to the home page of Etsy, this site feature is followed closely by many member of the Etsy community. Please note, nothing has changed about the functionality of the Treasury itself. Visit this post on Etsy's blog to read more about this. Additionally, we've also updatedthisa how-to article, How-to Make a Treasury: the Nuts and Bolts, that explains how you can curate your own Treasury list." (4/16/09)

Nothing has changed about the "functionality"??? Well, a lot has changed about the functionality of the treasuries since they started, Etsy.

First, the treasuries created by sellers are listed in the treasury queue, but they do not appear randomly; they are screened, picked and edited by the site.

Second, the treasuries have developed into a tool for those who regularly create them to continue to make them with Etsy’s heavy-handed editing pattern in mind. Treasuries are increasingly created to make sure they get picked by Etsy for the front page.

Third, Etsy has taken over 50% of all front page treasuries with their own picks. While this may look like it addresses the longstanding issue of "everything looks the same" and the widespread complaints about "same sellers all the time"--it means that the FUNCTIONALITY OF THE TREASURIES has changed, and changed drastically. Etsy picks or edits every item that appears in the front page treasuries.

Lastly, sellers who are eager to create treasuries and wait for hours for that tiny window of opportunity to add them to the very long queue have an even smaller chance of ever seeing them get to the front page.

If the seller-treasuries don’t meet the formula Etsy has developed for the front page, they will never get picked. So, why bother to spend the time and energy to create them?

Be honest with your sellers for once, Etsy. The treasuries have changed. And that’s why the complaints of "everything looks the same" and "same sellers all the time" persists.

Just read your own forums before you lock another thread--those same complaints appear week after week after week. The treasuries are for Etsy picked promotions, no more, no less. That's very different from the original concept behind the Front Page Treasury on the site.


claire said...

bummed they locked the comments. they don't want our feedback? wah!
so many people relist items in the categories etsy uses to make the front page "browsing" lists. they must make a bundle every time those lists hit fp.

thenerve said...

This discussion is going on right now:


It's one thing being seen as crazy or stupid (which Etsy's igorance of sellers views amounts to)-- but they now think that we are SHIT, TOO!
Give it up and make Etsy a juried site if you do not trust their design decisions. They want it both ways: lots and lots of new sellers, but nobody gets to see them.
I see this as Lou Sagar's work-- and am beginning to think of him as The Devil.

The fact that his background has been in social networking and choosing his own marketting focus for the other projects he has been involved with says to me that Etsy has hired him to do what he will.

And he must have some serious disdain for sellers who make treasuries. Is he going to be the one to jury them? Who is? What makes anybody think that the Etsy 'professionals' have a better sensibility than the people who actually create things?

I visualize Lou taking over the Etsy content meetings with the force of his personality and getting everyone to say YES to all and any of his ideas.

Where is the CEO? Who hired him?

My final feeling after spending all day yesterday immersed in this subject is that Etsy wants more sellers, and thinks that this is going to get them. Not customers for its sellers, just more sellers who think they can make anything for $14 and quit their day jobs.
We are Etsy's customers, and they just want more of us.
"They Were Expendable"

Lovin' me some Etsy Bitch said...

I was waiting for your blog post about this- what a joke that whole email was. I used to waste time doing Treasuries. No more.
I wish they'd explain WHY they would edit someone's Treasury? I think it's insulting to take someone's Treasury and alter it, both to the curator and the person whose items was removed. What message does that send to the Treasury picks that got the boot? "Hey, we'll take your listing fees, but really, we think your stuff sucks." If I were in someone's Treasury and saw that it made it to the Front Page, but my item had been swapped out, I would want someone in Admin to tell me why they pulled my item. If it's not violating some listing rule, there is no justification for altering a Treasury.
On a side note- I sat in on the tagging workshop the other day, but had to leave because listening to Michelle cackle & act like a twit was more than I could take. Etsy should not let her talk to the public if they want to be taken seriously. The other chick seemed to be taking it seriously and trying to be helpful (Mary?) but Michelle killed it for me.

An Ominous said...

yep.... Etsy is all about "don't call out" ... and "respect the members of the community" ... but then turn around and feel it is okay to shun a seller or two from a front page, seller-curated treasury, in order to put in their own favorite sellers... Is that not hypocrisy?

they locked every thread yesterday where this was being discussed, with absolutely no good reason, other than maybe giving admin a hard time. Pretty small peanuts in comparison to some threads down in the bowels of ETC (which rocks btw) ...

they suck hard.
they fix the search engine after three years of fucking with us and expect that all the ass-kissers will pander to the almighty Etsy and be happy as pigs in mud. After a three year wait, you would think it would kick ass. It has problems, alas.

as for the monopolizing of the front page ... it's sickening that they think they are progressive and hip. they can't even remember to roll out their idiotic themes in time for anybody to do anything about them. and who in the FUCK buys items for the kentucky derby a day before the event? in fact, who buys items for the kentucky derby, period? it's an international site. Canadians and Europeans et al couldn't care LESS about some ridiculous race day in the USA or japanese independence day or whatever the fuck they have on that laughable list.

and for the record, HeyMichelle is a disrespectful jerk.

Crystal from KIZZ said...

Was wondering how those treasuries work over there at Etsy...don't have a store there and probably never will...... oh well.
Thanx for your post. Like it alot!
Crystal from KIZZ

The Funny One said...

It's true that Etsy is on a thread locking binge this week, but that's what happens when sellers speak about what's really going on in the lives of sellers on the site.

Even toned down by fear that Etsy will start on another muting rampage (which always follows all that thread-locking), these threads reveal just how frustrated sellers are. But there are longstanding issues important to sellers that always get the shaft at Etsy.

Etsy claims it's protecting its reputation - but isn't that exactly what's gone wrong at Etsy? Etsy is a brand that protects itself and promotes itself. It's NOT about handmade and the people who make the products. It's about Etsy, the overblown and overbiased personality that has a completely different idea of what it is.

Choosing an image consultant whose experience is mainly in the home decor world is a very strong statement from Etsy that shows their true colors.

Etsy really believes it is a trend-setter in home decor. How they got that idea is a big huge mystery, but that's what they think.

Etsy is also maniacally fixated on its own numbers. Remember that they have all the statistics, sellers don't.

Etsy knows what sells because they have the daily results. They cling to that tiny fact and have set up a site that hangs everything they do on their sales trends numbers.

Etsy could be promoting anything because they really don't care if the products are handmade. They care if it sells and they make money and therefore attract more sellers to make more of what Etsy sells and make more money and hire more employees whose entire job is to pick and choose products for their site-controlled promotions.

We all know it's a lost cause. The original concept behind Etsy is long gone. Etsy never really embraced handmade, and they have no real respect for their sellers or for the handmade product. It's just something that keeps a lot of people employed. And it feeds a lot of egos.

I do encourage all sellers to keep speaking out about their important issues about Etsy and keep starting new threads. If Etsy locks one, start another.

Etsy is, ultimately, not worth the time and effort it takes to fight them while trying to sell in a very difficult time for retail and small businesses.

The biggest mistake Etsy made was that it never included sellers in their business model. Instead of working on the site to make it THE site for handmade, they pushed sellers to run out and start sites of their own. One of them will get it right, and Etsy will supply plenty of sellers who will eagerly jump ship.

Etsy can keep giving lip service but sellers are a lot smarter than Etsy will ever give them credit for.

Read the statements made by Etsy just before they lock a thread. That's the "real" Etsy attitude towards sellers.

cynicallyopenminded said...

here...has nothing to do with your discussion, but I could have sworn I saw DanielleXO here:

justbitchy said...

The thing that really chaps my ass is their f-ing shopping cart is so inadequate and not even industry standard and they are spending time on marketing.

What a crock of shit.

Etsy doesn't sell anything except a selling platform. WTF? Etsy ceases to exist without sellers. One would think they would understand that simple relationship. Clearly not.

I guess it all boils down to the fact that since Etsy takes a commission they have a conflict of interest built in.

So they don't care how bad the f-ing shopping cart is as long as they can get enough sellers to sign up and use the bad shopping cart and then promote enough sellers who then sell so Etsy gets their vig.


They so suck and this new marketing guy clearly has no f-ing idea what Etsy is.

It's and ecommerce site, not a retailer.


forum rubbernecker said...

I wish they'd explain WHY they would edit someone's Treasury? I think it's insulting to take someone's Treasury and alter it, both to the curator and the person whose items was removed. What message does that send to the Treasury picks that got the boot? "Hey, we'll take your listing fees, but really, we think your stuff sucks."
Well, not to stick up for admin, but I have seen some funky treasury picks made just so someone can stick their friend in, when the item doesn't go AT ALL with the rest and it's otherwise a good treasury. That's why it's better to freelance your treasuries instead of cramming your buddies in.
Maybe I'll make a Kentucky Derby treasury next, LOL. I still don't get how people with money in kentucky are at all like the grungy hipsters of Etsy.
Oh, and I was just reading an excellent book on marketing yourself and your craft and it says that you SHOULD NOT think you have to run down to the Salvation Army for your clothes so you can look like an artist or a "hipster". Apparently it's not necessary for success! Who knew?

jean chick said...

Treasuries, smeasuries. I'm sick of the whole thing.

Another Fp Treasury trend I am tired of seeing is all the waif like dresses on the FP.

They are cute and adorable, but seriously, who really wears them? I own a few dresses that I save for weddings, funerals and such.

working on my website... said...

Etsy really believes it is the next Pottery Barn/Pier One/Urban Outfitters don't they.

u make me yawn said...

the items from my so called non etsy-iest conformist but popular shop (with over 4000 sales) will never, ever (never, ever ever!!) be on the front page because i fail to use pastey white warm frosty pastely boring pathetic yawn sleepy tired backgrounds that they so much love and adore to spread all over the front page. makes me want to vomit. treasuries were cool way back when etsy actualy had some originality. now it just feels like a commercial home living or decor magazine. with a pool of hundreds of different styles and types to choose from - they go safe - instead of edgy, scary, hot, fun, bright, dark, kitschy, cool, etc.

justbitchy said...

After giving this more thought...

If Etsy wants to be a retailer they should just own that and buy the stuff they think is fantastic wholesale and sell it themselves.

If they want to be the next Anthropology then they need to own that and focus on that and stop the charade of being a selling platform.

If they are an ecommerce solution (which clearly they are not because their shopping cart completely and totally sucks and is woefully inadequate, but I'm trying to make a point) they should own that.

They really have no f-ing clue what they are or what their role is. This type of unfocused, random trend grabbing, ridiculous, head spinning clutching is exactly how businesses go out of business.

If the VC people are champing at the bit for profits, then Etsy's ridiculous, random grasping just shows their complete cluelessness and would not make me feel better if I was one of the VC people.

To completely mix in a quasi-retail focus is just bullshit.

You are either a retail site or an ecommerce site. You can't mix the two.

Holy shit they are so f-ed up. So much money wasted.

What a bunch of knuckleheads.

Oh dear... said...

I give up on Treasuries, given that they last only a few days. I like the spotlights on You can feature anyone, from any handmade site, flog them and they don't expire either :-)

Rana said...

You are either a retail site or an ecommerce site. You can't mix the two.I think they are trying to be Amazon, with sellers playing the role of the auction part of that site.

Unfortunately, for that model to work, your company has to be the primary etailer, not your supporting sellers.

You also have to be honest with your customers so that they understand the difference between buying Etsy brand products and other ones available on the site, and so that they understand when they are your customers and when they are the customers of the sellers.

Right now, Etsy seems to want all the benefits of being a big etailer - sales income, control over product selection, buyer name recognition - without the drawbacks - marketing costs, the cost of obtaining the products for sale, handling shipping, etc.

What's screwed up with this cake-and-eat-it-too approach is that it screws over sellers by making them do a lot of the hard work for free (or worse, doing the hard work and paying for the privilege out of their own pockets) - the production of products, the advertising, the storing and handling the products, the labor involved in production and shipping, customer service, etc.

It's also stupid from the etailer's perspective, in that Etsy, because it never sees the products in person, and because it doesn't own them, can't guarantee the quality of the items on its site, nor the quality of customer service, nor of shipping and returns, etc.

It's a really stupid combination!

The Funny One said...

I completely agree with Rana's point that the current Etsy developed into the "commissioned products" branded Etsy because that's the formula that makes them the most money with the least work.

(Getting paid fulltime money to pick your pet faves for all the promo spots every day must be a no-effort, sit on your ass workday!)

Etsy lacks respect, even after 4 years. No respect for the sellers, no respect for handmade, no respect for customer service, no respect for anyone's professional reputation, and no respect for the term COMMUNITY.

It's not a community. It's a "We make money, You do the work" company that happens to be at the top of a trendy wave of popularity.

And we all know what happens to trends in the end. Hoola Hoop anyone?

life-during-wartime said...

But Etsy brands itself as a 'unique artisan community'.

I just noticed that yesterday when I was browsing some categories on Etsy. It appears as part of a subtitle line under the category name, even for vintage and supplies.

Right now, what is truly unique about Etsy? How many Etsy sellers only sell on Etsy? The vintage items and commercial supplies are certainly not unique to Etsy.

In my experience, calling a business or a product 'unique' says mostly that you have no idea what you are. Just like sellers who call all their antique or vintage items 'rare' because they are clueless about what they are selling. Unique is supposed to mean something other than trend chasing. The whole point of bringing Lou on board was to distance Etsy from what remained of its unique aspects.

Just Make a Spotlight Instead said...

Oh dear... said...
I give up on Treasuries, given that they last only a few days. I like the spotlights on You can feature anyone, from any handmade site, flog them and they don't expire either :-)

They're more functional anyway since you can post one to any blog and still click through from each item directly to its listing. Much better than posting a screenshot of a treasury.

itsalovelycake said...

Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.

Whatever happened to TreasuryTown, anyway?

buddy said...

An Ominous said...
...and who in the FUCK buys items for the kentucky derby a day before the event? in fact, who buys items for the kentucky derby, period?

Actually, I have a friend who throws a huge KD party every year - spends a lot on food & drinks, and makes a day of it for about 80 people.

I always buy them a nice KD gift to bring to the party, usually a unique art piece or handcrafted item. But of course, I purchased it last week so I would get it in time - from eBay.

If Etsy's going to promote these things, they should at least try to promote them properly and in a timely way.

sellerfocusedmyass said...

Here's the thing.

I don't have any problem with Etsy focus being on recruiting more sellers. Sellers are what bring them money. That's their customers.

What I do have a problem with is the fact that once there, Etsy ignores sellers and their needs.

24/7 customer service and phone support is mandatory these days. Not to mention- why isn't every want and need of sellers catered to?

Flash toys? How about state of the art shopping cart?

Hell, sell the spots on the fp if you really want $$ Etsy! I know plenty of people that would pay BIG money to be there. Oh- but then you wouldn't be "grassroots" and "community focused" right?

Funny how the longer people are there, for the most part, the more uncomfortable they get with the way Etsy runs things.

It just makes no sense.

Arty said...

Check this out:

Read the Storque-it goes into detail about this.

Apparently it's just a ploy to recruit more sellers and thus oversaturate the site even further. Etsy needs to take care of the bigger issues at hand before they start looking for more newbies.

Cyber_Hippie said...

Wow. I just got around to reading the article, and I find the whole thing rather insulting, really. Wow again. What, are we 4th graders now? FFS!

I have never made a Treasury before--didn't have time to wait for a slot and never learned how--and now I won't bother.


The Righteous One said...

Arty, we saw that - there'll be a post up about it shortly

justbitchy said...

Why the FUCK does DXO STILL HAVE A JOB????????

Anonymous said...

Why can't Etsy have a program where it counts how many times a seller has been included in a treasury? It could be similar to the number of views, number of hearts someone has.