Friday, April 10, 2009

The Price of the Brooklyn Bridge - It’s a $7 “Trial Offer”

Etsy just announced that they have just launched a "trial offer" of New Subcategory Showcases for jewelry (for $7 per spot) in this Forum Announcement.

It’s a "trial offer" because Etsy is NOT telling sellers what they get for their money. And this latest offer to sell sellers the Brookyn Bridge has not gone by without some skepticism about this "new feature"

Etsy is asking sellers to SPEND MONEY on new showcase spots without disclosing any statistics about view and sales from these new showcases. It’s a secret. Sellers can spend their money on this one, measly "advertising tool" on a site that never tells them whether the expense generates actual sales.

And the showcases have proved to be a cash cow for Etsy, so why not add more???

Controversy over this feature has gone on for many months and the forums are littered with questions and comments about the value of a showcase spots over the costs of relisting. Many sellers have commented that the showcases are a WASTE OF MONEY.

It’s odd that Etsy is ADDING more showcases when Etsy itself decided that the Main Showcase wasn’t all that important anymore in the Front Page re-design. It’s a costly $15 per spot, but now it is boxed into a tiny section of the top of the Front Page surrounded by ALL ETSY PICKS for their own promotions.

We wonder if visitors even know what the Main Showcase is anymore. And can anyone actually FIND the existing Category Showcases?

What we do know is that Etsy is asking sellers to spend more money on a "seller tool" that may or may not be beneficial for sellers--because the stats are another Big Etsy Secret.

All they are offering in this "trial offer" is--IF it works-- Etsy will EXPAND to MORE subcategory showcases (for $7 per spot) WITHOUT ever telling sellers what they get for their hard-earned money.

Sure sounds like your re-selling that bridge again, Etsy--on pure faith (and easy cash).

We didn’t know sellers were breaking down doors to get MORE SHOWCASES, because they’ve been asking for a long time if any of the existing showcases WERE WORTH THE EXPENSE.

Is this "new feature" on the Etsy agenda, or on the sellers’ long list of requests for site improvements?


Brass Monkey Designs said...

Well you can't very well blame them. I mean, they have to do SOMETHING to make up for the loss of renewing fees when people finally caught on to THAT scam.


justbitchy said...

Etsy proves daily that there is a sucker born every minute.

So sad for the sellers who will spend too much money before the wake up.

Etsy is in it for Etsy. For as much as people would like to think Etsy does care about it's sellers, well, it's about money.

shiny said...

Thank you for weighing in on this Etsy Bitch, I thought I was the only one surprised...but not surprised. Seriously, how much more money do they thing they can milk out of people?

If you block out the stupidity, the favoritism and the "in it for themselves" nature, Etsy's not a bad place.

RRobin said...

As I understand it, there are scores, perhaps even hundreds or thousands, of brand new sellers joining Etsy every day. So there is a viable feeding ground there of people who have not discovered this site, or the dissenting forum threads, or even been around long enough to notice the sameness and favoritism of the front page. Justbitchy's channeling of P.T. Barnum's line about a sucker being born every minute is spot on.
I've said for a while now that Etsy is a ponzi scheme, and this latest offer is just more proof of that.

Donnalda Does Art said...

Why would any seller even consider this? Showcases don't bring in sales, just read the Etsy forums and you will get that one.

Laura said...

I'd rather buy the bridge, at least it has some pratical applications.

Eveline said...

I don't care that Etsy is in it for the money. They should be, they're a company. But what bugs me is that they make it sound like they care about their sellers, when it's so painfully obvious they don't.

working on my website... said...

I do give them this, they are doing everything possible to skirt around raising listing fees or charging for photos beyond the first one as a means to make back some of what they are losing. They can skirt it all they want but sooner or later that is what they will do.

etsyH8r said...

i just looked at the front page -curated by etsy not a member. once again sarahseven has a spot after just having a spotlight on her. jaysus! since i started coming here ive really watched the front page and it is indeed the SAME people all the damn time. i wouldnt buy a showcase. i relist, but i dont think it works as well as it used to. duh, sukka! i think im going to stop that. i finally caught thanks to this birch fest. i hate etsy!

and why cant we arrange things in the shop without relisting? bastards!!! hate them. hate em baaaaad

DebbieB said...

I spent $14 on showcase advertising last month. Not one sale and I have popular items at a reasonable price. Never again!

TooOldForEtsy said...

What a lazy-ass attempt at 'doing their job'.
Where are the conscientious workers????? They sure aren't at Etsy. When/if they lost their jobs, they will realize that they blew an opportunity that will probably not come again.
Too young to be in charge, too stupid to know that things don't always get better-- sometimes they get worse and the opportunity is squandered.
I hope they all lost their jobs and are forced to grow up.

Brass Monkey Designs said...

raising listing fees or charging for photos beyond the first one

When/if that happens, I will close my shop. I'm sure I wouldn't be missed, I'm just some small time seller there, not a celebrity, BFF, of power seller.

Brass Monkey Designs said...

RRobin, you are absolutely correct, for every one seller who leaves Etsy there are ten to take their place. Unfortunately, as word gets out that anyone with a hot glue gun and some crap out of their junk drawer can make a buck, I fear the quality of the replacement sellers will degrade.

The Funny One said...

If you check the forums, even the sellers have no idea where these "new showcases" are, but by the time they figure it out, that damn Etsy bill comes again 2 minutes to midnight on the last day of the month.

Sellers can't find them, buyers sure can't find them. And IF THEY ARE using the showcases to actually buy things, sellers are the last to know (meaning never know).

Showcases are the biggest scam on sellers since Etsy started. Save your money. Visitors to the site have no clue that Etsy picks 99.999% of every product that is over-promoted on the site.

They still get so lost doing a simple Search that they've already gone elsewhere to shop before the word "Showcase" hits their eyeballs.

Just when you thought it was safe to come out of the relisting debacle, Etsy thinks about another way to fleece sellers without offering anything back!!!! How endlessly clever!

geelizzie said...

I did think about getting one of these showcases because my sales have been so slow lately...and then quickly slapped myself upside the head. No! No! Bad! Showcase bad!
I'd much rather spend the $7.00 listing 35 new items. Much better use of my money.

Melissa said...

Count me as one of the suckers taken in by the showcase scam. Complete and total waste of money. I was the only seller showcased in my category (knitting) for the entire 24 hours and don't think I got any clicks (I know I didn't make any sales).

cynicallyopenminded said...

I saw the extra showcases in jewelry and rolled my eyes. When I first started on Etsy, I bought a showcase. Nothing. I decided never again.

A new seller was asking me for advice and mentioned the show cases. I stated to not bother and it was a waste of money.

Then I referred her to this blog :)


Malacologist said...

Right from my first day selling on Etsy it was obvious to me that the showcases were a losing proposition. My hunches were confirmed when I began reading sellers' complaints about the showcases in the forums. Over the course of several weeks I paid close attention to showcase-related threads, and I can recall *one* positive seller comment about a showcase. It was drowned out by about 200 negative seller experiences. So my intuition steered me right.

The Funny One said...

working on my website said has a very good point: adding cash cow showcases may temporarily delay raising other fees.

But there are 2 big fundamental flaws that make Etsy what it is today. They generate revenue based on the total number of listings instead of quality control. And they spend the money on a headcount whose entire job descriptions are manual and editorial.

Instead of automating their marketing function, they pay a lot of people a lot of money to pick personal favorite items for the hundreds of daily marketing slots on the site (imposing quality control on a site with no restrictions). Which gets so boring, they keep picking the same products from top to bottom and back again.

That's expensive. Only now they brought on an expensive consultant to tell them to pick their personal favorites based on "themes" so they can fulfill their intense urge to tell sellers what to produce.

After all this time, Etsy still hasn't figured out a sustainable business model. They've just taken the old magazine format (dominated by an over-egoed editor) and put it online. Everything is manual (huge daily blog), expensive (wow what a headcount!), and no longer has anything to do with the original mission.

And we all know what's happened to magazines. They got really boring (as the price went up), then completely irrelevant, then their editor had a hissy fit, and then they closed down.

proudMary said...

The Funny One, that's exactly what it is. They're trying to be the online version of Vogue magazine.

They're trying to muscle their way into the influence arena (Etsy says cowls are cool, so they MUST be cool, buy one!) while counting on all the talented artists and crafters to do all the heavy lifting by making and listing and relisting and renewing their stuff = cha-ching in Etsy's coffers.

With all the web word of mouth and how folks hem and haw over their every move, they rely on giddy artists and crafters to tell all our creative friends to sign up and sell stuff = ka ching is Etsy's coffers.

But lately, as was mentioned, folks are catching on to this, so Etsy's digging in their bags for new tricks. I also believe fees may be increased as all this stuff is exposed for what it is and Etsy's profit making schemes don't spread like wildfire.

What a coincidence.... said...

Man, it is amazing to me that a certain raspberry dress seems to be found over and over by Etsy admin when they browse through the millions of listings on Etsy.