Tuesday, May 26, 2009

So predictable

Well, Etsy seemed to get the note about mentioning gifting holidays in advance. Today's Etsy Finds email was about deals on gifts for Dad as Father's Day is in 3 weeks. But they have such a fixation on certain items, and nothing says "I'll love you in 6 months" like a cowl for a June holiday.

Here's the Finds in the Dorque, it's the same as what was emailed. Scroll down to the last item lol
Come on Etsy, you have us debating whether admin need a therapist for a new disease: EAOF, Etsy Admin Object Fixation. Otherwise known as "Oof", as in "Oof that's a bad choice again"

You're just so damn predictable. Maybe Etsy Finds Bingo should be our next game.

(Yes, it is Winter down under, but Australia and New Zealand celebrate Father's Day in September, just before Spring - when cowls wouldn't make sense either)


forum rubbernecker said...


I think I will get that for my brother in law who lives in the South, because he just might not be warm enough!

Gift giving fail.

I expect to see this in the next round of "what's the crappiest gift you ever got" in Etc.

The Funny One said...

Well, we might want that therapist to knock some sense into a "retail site" that insists it's "too cool" to promote a retail calendar that actually encourages people to buy things! Recession anyone?

Why, I haven't seen a holiday mentioned on Etsy in any significant way for so long, I forget Etsy when I shop for holiday gifts! (No time to wade through 4 million items and nothing you keep promoting is anything I want to buy.)

Maybe Etsy needs an "identity" therapist to figure out what it really is.....a boutique for Etsy-branded products!

Etsy will go the same way as eBay------only it will lose its "trendy appeal" a lot sooner with all those disappearing attention spans.

There are plenty of new handmade and art sites that are infinitely more interesting than Etsy.

The Righteous One said...

BTW, The Funny One gets the credit for thinking up EAOF :)

foxaz said...

Maybe that's an Alaskan Mosquito Catcher down there on the bottom of the Finds list. Slather it up with citrnella oil and Dad would be all set.

Every living soul on earth should have a cowl. Ya just have to learn how to use it.

RRobin said...

A cowl, especially one made with bulky yarn and no fancy stitches, is the, easiest, fastest and cheapest thing possible to knit. Any father would love such an item -- if it were made by his own kid.

Anyone capable of typing on a keyboard, clicking a mouse or programming an iPod can knit a simple cowl in an evening.

For less than $10, you can buy a skein of Homespun and a pair of size 11 plastic needles, and pick up a free instructional flyer at Michael's or Jo-Ann's.

For less than $20, you can get a skein of fancy imported wool, a pair of nice wooden needles, and a free basic lesson at a tony yarn shop.

In either case, you make Daddy proud and you gain a skill for life.

And in either case, you get a far better deal than buying Dad an overpriced cowl from an Etsy cupcake.

The Funny One said...

Love it! "How To Use A Cowl 12 Ways for 12 Months" - the next Etsy nifty crafteeee lesson by way of smacking-the-sidewalk-hammocks.

Hmmm, the cowls are starting to look a little like the censorship that goes on in a particular "public" section of the site. Is Etsy telling sellers to stuff it (mute it, ban it) with a cowl, any cowl, just buy a cowl and wear it up to your eyeballs?

Julie said...

Frankly, at this point I'm sorta starting to wonder if they're just messing with us.

The Righteous One said...

Julie, you make a good point!

forum rubbernecker said...

foxaz, I must say I enjoyed your recent use of the cowl, as the argument over it led to the muting and booting of THAT THING. You go girl.

miffed said...

And three choices for cuff links...is this 1965?
Sadly this is the most relevant gathering of topic specific goods I've seen so far, anyone remember the "back to school" patsies.

Annoyed said...

There's some tag abuse going on with that neckwarmer, too.


Old Hippie Bitch said...

That Etsy Finds grouping is the most unimaginative thing...

I was annoyed by a Father's Day front page recently that was over half vintage. Guess the kids in Brooklyn think, "Hey! Old guys must like old stuff, right?"

My dad would say, "Did you get that out of the garage?"

(I'm pro-vintage, don't get me wrong...just sayin' there is a limit to what vintage items make good gifts.)


The "writers" of these Storque articles are either lazy or stupid. Where does Etsy find its employees-- at the local joint?

child of veterans said...

The Father's Day picks were significantly more appropriate than the Memorial Day Dorque article & picks.

They forgot that Memorial Day is about dead American soldiers, not about kool aid & sweetness. It was an afterthought that they even mentioned the Military Spouses Team.

And the picks for the Memorial Day showcase? All International Sellers.

That's right. Those neglected International sellers got their big chance in an article about a holiday that is solely American.

fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck etsy.


Disowned/Divorced said...

I would be disowned if that cowl was my Father's Day present for dear old dad. Seriously. And my dad has accepted alot of funky Father's Day presents over the years! That, however, would cut me out of the will.

BTW...I would also end up in divorce court if that was given to my husband. This is the man who has gladly worn my own knitted items, however, he would rather be dead than caught in that. Or, in divorce court.

WindysDesigns said...

That's all they could find? Not even a father's day card?

Sorry, if the median age of Etsians is in their 30's then the median age of Dad's would be in their 50's. Not one thing there that would appeal to a father in that age range.

Epic fail.

itsalovelycake said...

if I could be bothered I'd make a cowl Treasury-- it would be bound to get on the front page!

forum rubbernecker said...

There's some tag abuse going on with that neckwarmer, too.
I did find it amusing that the words "thick chunky man" were all together! LOL

life-during-wartime said...

Isn't the neckwarmer for a June holiday kind of the flip side of all the sleeveless mini dresses featured on Etsy throughout the winter (in the Northern Hemisphere anyway)? I think NYC is only a few desgrees warmer than it is here, and it's only going to be in the 50s(F) today. Wouldn't mind a cotton neckwarmer myself if I go outside tonight.

I am guessing the Admins don't have the imagination -- I know, frightening for an artsy site! -- to find something interesting yet tastefully appropriate for Memorial Day. It's probably just me, but as the child and grandchild of vets, I am just as happy there wasn't a FP with grenade earrings and cammo g-strings, skulls and human body organ illos. Or, if there was such a page, I missed it!

If Etsy is going to do the Holiday thing, they need to hire someone who has experience in this type of marketing. Not gonna happen.

Noticed that I haven't seen much use of the word 'indie' relating to Etsy these days. I wonder why?

geelizzie said...

okay, the guy cowl is good for a laugh-do any men (not to mention women) actually wear these things? I didn't realize how easy it was to make them-thx rrobin-so I think I'll get me some yarn and knitting needles, knit some up, and then maybe I'll get picked to be featured seller.

The Cranky One said...

It's the high 70's in NYC today.

If they got the massive storm front we did last night was over 80 the last few days and it brought a cool night, but it is over 80 again here and they are every bit as humid as we are.

Humid eastern summer and cowls do not mix.

Child of veterans: We hadn't noticed that the Mem Day picks were all interational, that's a total riot. (Why didn't anyone riot over that btw?)

EyesWideOpen said...

This is a general comment, having to do with almost everything Etsy does or does not do for sellers:

Etsy makes its money taking on new sellers: these are their customers. These new sellers are attracted by the lack of jury, seemingly cheap listings, and wanting to believe the dream that Etsy hawks. Everything Etsy does and does not do is focused on those new "customers".

"Quit Your Day Job"? Make sure that the stuff looks like almost anyone could do it. Don't pick people who had a day job to quit, an alternative to selling on Etsy, or create things that take time and talent to create. And make it look as though they are supporting themselves on less than 1,000 sales (usually less) of items priced under $20. Youngsters want to believe, and won't bother doing the math.
Show off the stuff that just about anyone could make with little practice (like that shitty Fathers' Day cowl).

And be sure to advertise in places that only crafty types every see.
This is intentional: this is their business model. It has nothing to do with "community" or "QYDJ" and everything with soft propaganda that focuses on the young and easily sucked-in.

Why bother spending effort with site improvements when your business model is working just fine the way it is? And once you get them hooked, keep pressing Community and "don't give up" and refresh so that your bill will be a big surprise at the end of the month-- but who cares? It's their money then, too late, and hope springs eternal.

katie said...

It can be hard to shop for Dad's, but oh dear. Unless he loves baseball, is under 37, an extreme touchy-feely hipster, and kinda gay...whose Dad is this for? The individual products are nice, but a girlie tea cup for my 62 year old Dad? A journal? Even the soap label is soft and ladylike. The xoxo plate? For a Dad? Not that everything needs to be macho, it's just soooo girlie. The cowl is amazing! Perfect for when Dad wants to lie around the house nude in July, but feels he should wear a little something, maybe. The Etsy fashion bubble is amusingly out of touch. Cowls and tanktops! Watch out!

The Funny One said...

While EyesWideOpen brings up familiar Etsy themes (the sellers are their customers--it's also important to remember that Etsy's popularity today is based on hundreds of thousands of hours of free advertising and marketing by sellers, many of whom no longer benefit at all from having a store on the site. No views, no sales, no promotions, no front page features, no repetitive bloggies, and no permanent spots in the guides.

For new sellers who are enticed by the the Etsy formula-for-success, as long as they produce and list Etsy-approved products, they may sell well because Etsy will promote them (and often) in order to reinforce their formula.

Keeping in mind that, on Etsy, the site isn't about providing a showcase for INDIVIDUAL artisans with UNIQUE handmade products, but is a site where sellers are openly encouraged to make what Etsy likes to promote. Or, a site full of similar products of similar quality and artificially low prices (at cost or below).

Etsy has not incorporated the individual sellers into a business plan; they've eliminated the individual seller from the site. It's all branded, all Etsy, all the time.

Themes, ridiculous titles and artificial, awkward groupings of products on Etsy are not for the benefit of sellers and their buyers, or even for the benefit of the reputation of the handmade product. They are artificial groupings of items that Etsy likes personally and likes personally to promote.

life-during-wartime said...

The Funny One said...

Keeping in mind that, on Etsy, the site isn't about providing a showcase for INDIVIDUAL artisans with UNIQUE handmade products, but is a site where sellers are openly encouraged to make what Etsy likes to promote. Or, a site full of similar products of similar quality and artificially low prices (at cost or below).

Well, yeah. That's why there are so many forum threads asking about how to make generic stuff and where to find the supplies to make it.

Etsy is going to have to take the forums private for sellers only to get some damage control. The site is too big now for the community eccentricities not to become targets for online humor. Less postive and friendly than the rather gentle pokes the bitches take at them.

RRobin said...

GeeLizzie, free patterns for cowls are available free online from Lion Brand yarns:


You may recognize some of them from their promotion on Etsy as the seller's "original designs."


Child of Veterans, as someone who is also the child of a veteran, I am saddened although not surprised at Etsy's gormless response to the holiday. But this is why I never read the Storque. I expect no better from Etsy, as I have a sufficient number of things to annoy and depress me without seeking them out.


Windy, although I agree with you in principle, your demographics are skewed and you need to look up the meaning of median.


Life-During-Wartime, I fear you hit the nail on the head with your remark about Etsy Admins lacking imagination. It explains a lot, including the fact that they can't recognize a REAL artist from all the trend-followers, etc., that it has trained to kiss their collective, tattooed with chandeliers and mustaches, handmade-soap-washed behinds.


EyesWideOpen, you are right on in your observation about how "Etsy makes its money taking on new sellers." That is the very definition of a Ponzi scheme, which is what I've been saying all along that Etsy is.


Funny One, your summation is well put and so painfully true, and exactly what people who might be tempted to open a shop on Etsy need to know.

RRobin said...

For those who would rather go the ubiquitous fingerless glove route over that of the ubiquitous cowl, here are more free patterns from Lion Brand, some of which are specifically "learn to knit/crochet" patterns for absolute beginners:


Make your own and screw Etsy.

RRobin said...

I seem to be on a roll.

Here's a link to some more free patterns from Lion Brand yarn. I call your particular attention to the wine-colored "collar" that comprises the third item from the bottom of the first page, which many of you will recognize as an item regularly featured on the front page as the forte of a coddled Etsy cupcake:


Directly above that is a cowl that should also prove immediately recognizable, and a lot of fingerless gloves round out the page.

I am so tired of seeing items made from these very same patterns touted as "original designs" by Admin's favorite sellers on Etsy!


Tragically Unhip said...

I can see it now...
Emo-Dad sits in his garden, eating whole-grain cupcakes off of his XO plate, sipping organic fair trade tea from his haiku teacup, writing deep and sensitive poetry in his handmade journal, all while basking in the warmth of his hipster dude cowl. *sigh*

WindysDesigns said...

Thanks RRobin, I should have said 'average age', not median. I knew what I meant.

Not being a knitter or crocheter, your links prove to be very eye opening to me.

Perhaps some helpful Etsian should post these links in the techniques and materials section of the forums for all those who are wondering what craft they can pick up just to sell on Etsy.

As a matter of fact, I would love it if every single seller on Etsy decided to take up knitting and/or crocheting and have at least one cowl and one pair of fingerless gloves in their shop.

Can you just imagine the thoughts that would run through buyer's minds if in _every_ single_shop_ they go to to buy the things they want, they also find the same cowls and fl gloves?

Combustion Glassworks said...

I thought the winestoppers were pretty great though ;0

a bit ill said...

Given Etsy's attitude about they scope of what they promote, what they really need to be is a retail shop, buying wholesale from artists. Oh, but then they'd have to pay for their own advertising for their hand-picked items! This way they can fool naive sellers into doing all the work for them - for free.

RRobin said...

Etsy's front page at this moment shows some Father's Day picks that include a pair of vintage men's Sperry Topsiders.

They are used but said to be in "excellent condition."

Just what Dad always wanted: somebody else's old shoes.

The Funny One said...

Good point life-during-wartime about the "mentality of the herd" and your point about the Techniques & Materials forum section, how true. Unfortunately, Etsy has encouraged new sellers to follow the most-picked Etsy sellers and make the same stuff so You Too can be the next Featured Seller leading to Permanent Gift Guide and then to QYDJ feature and open another Iloveetsyblogtweetapammer to complete the circle of big-box-branded success. It's like offering a true path to that coveted cardboard display at the front door of the mega-mall.

Until visitors and buyers can't distinguish between one cowl and the next ---- they just pick the cheapest one (of any of the mass-produced item categories on Etsy).

Etsy has chosen to "manage" their humungous size by funneling "handmade" into a tiny, predictable format of predictable hand-picked products and stores.

And in doing so, Etsy has changed the very definition of handmade to mean a forumula-produced product completely dis-engaged from the artisan who made it.

The overall and long-lasting negative impact of the big-boxing of handmade translates to a lot more than one site that calls itself "all things handmade". It has an immense negative effect on quality, pricing, and the future of live craft events and shows (not to mention the ability to make any money as an artisan).

If the fans of handmade think it all boils down to a mega-site flouting cheap handmade that might not really be handmade, they might lose interest in seeking out quality handmade at any number of venues. Why? Because you can probably get it mass produced and cheaper on Etsy. Who cares who made it (if they did)------it's a baaaargain!

WindysDesigns said...

Speak of cheapening the site....I just caught a drift of that 30 deals in 30 minutes segment they're doing now. http://www.etsy.com/storque/spotlight/etsy-finds-30-deals-in-30-minutes-with-heart-handmade-4069/

Etsy is beginning to look like a 12 ring circus. It's mind boggling that while people are in the forums discussing relevant search, others are in the virtual labs hawking their sales.

It's getting more and more difficult to put your finger on the pulse of Etsy because so much is going on it's chaotic.

Jesus, even when Kmart has a blue light special, the whole store knows about it, they don't hide it in the basement where only the chosen few are allowed.

I can honestly say I've never "loved" Etsy like so many others exclaim on a daily basis, I find it odd that I "hate" it though. haha.

WindysDesigns said...

Life during wartime said:

"Etsy is going to have to take the forums private for sellers only to get some damage control. The site is too big now for the community eccentricities not to become targets for online humor. Less postive and friendly than the rather gentle pokes the bitches take at them."

Unfortunately, that would be too little too late. With all the bloggers and tweeters, you tube and God knows what else sharing what they do, how they do it, where they get the stuff to do it with, all under the umbrella of good kharma or some other malarky.

I'm all for sharing, but not where I sell. That's like shitting in your own living room.

life-during-wartime said...

I think this thread


explains some of the big problems with Etsy.

A shop was open for 6 months, made dozens of sales, has all positive feedback. Based on her sold items, it looks like she listed her clothing under the handmade category while the descriptions said they were factory made used garments being offered on Etsy to 'save the planet'. For her customers, this was fine.

But the thread went into a squabble over vintage (how not?) on Etsy. Last time I checked the thread there were no repurposed or unique handmade design clothing sellers venting outrage on there.

This is an issue about handmade on Etsy, not vintage. Why wasn't this shop flagged into oblivion? Don't the handmade sellers care about resale shops in their categories? Or has Etsy admin been ignoring flagged resellers, and letting them stay in business if they fit into the new marketing guru's trend list?

WindysDesigns said...

Well, I just happened upon a shop selling organic onsies, they supposedly design and have mass manufactured by "many manufacturers" who conform to their standards. Meaning they use organic materials. They spend so much energy explaining what they sell, as far as how organic it all is, but no mention that they don't actually make them. And they link to their website where they sell the same damn exact things, in their profile.

I flagged, let's see how long it takes, or if it ever gets closed.

cowlhater said...

Ewww WTF! I don't know of any dads that would wear one of those fugly cowls.

upsetwithadmin said...

There is one thing you all are forgetting about cowls:

You have to go in training prior to wearing one. Training that consists of taking deep breaths and learning how to hold them for the long amount of time you will be wearing a thick knitted closed-weave cowl.

Either that or buy an oxygen tank so you can freely breathe.

I speak from experience. A friend made one for me just for the hell of it. Tried it. It wasn't all that easy to breathe; the yarn smelled from the chemical dyes; the fuzz tickled my nose and made me sneeze.

I handed it back to my laughing friend who then proceded to convert it into a winter coat for her small dog.

Would I buy one for me? No way. Would I buy and give one to my Dad on Father's Day? Hell no!

Another FAIL by Etsy Admin who have no class, no sense of style, no marketing skills, no business sense; no knowledge of the ways of promoting.

WindysDesigns said...

I hear body size cowls are life savers if you ever get thrown off a cliff.

sigh said...

The Etsy summer replacement for the knitted in five minutes cowl is the "handmade" hairband with a factory-made fake flower hot glued onto it (most likely to make it to the front page if modeled by chiseled jawed waif).

Even Etsy couldn't fit a big fake flower into a selection for Father's Day, so they had to default to a cowl!

The Funny One said...

Hey, woweeeee, 30 deals in 30 minutes!?!? Gee, potential buyers have that much time to search for irrelevant items over 1,500 pages of stuff they wouldn't even stop to look at in their local flea market? Holy cowl!

(Did you see what Etsy said a seller has to do to get into one of these off-the-wall promotions? Do you have 10 hours to waste?)

This layer upon layer of constant confusion doesn't do justice to the fact that everything a seller lists on Etsy is now identified as an "Etsy Product".

Confused? Oh, I think the move to brand is working in a very definite direction. The confusion is just a smoke screen.

The buyers may be even more confused than ever, but, they CAN find what they don't want in every size in both cream and white!

notacupcake said...

That HAS to be a joke! Please tell me it is! ROFL!

colormepuke said...

Tragically Unhip, I almost peed my pjs reading your Emo dad story.

I can picture rokali wearing his cowl year round to cover his nether regions ( they make for comfy undie alternatives with lots of stretch and swing for all cross dressing execs)