Thursday, June 18, 2009

Seeing is Believing Etsy, but.......

As of 6/18/09, saralouhicks has finally posted a lengthy response to the SEO debacle in this forum post

EB certainly applauds the corrections to SEO search titles that Etsy promises to put in place (though it is copying Artfire yet again), but we’ve been around the block a few too many times with Etsy. Promises that arrive many days after the issue became the hot seller topic in cyberspace just don’t come across as all that sincere. We’ll believe it when we see it. (And wait with bated breath for the next nutty idea.)

Meanwhile, the damage already done will live on, and the negative publicity surrounding Etsy’s latest faux pas will add to the pile of mistrust constructed by Etsy’s inability and stubborn unwillingness to communicate with their sellers BEFORE they implement dramatic branding and marketing changes that affect every single seller on the site. This time they went too far.

We’d like to point out that Sara’s conclusion is a little off the mark:

We read that some of you believe our initial SEO approach was deceitful or mal-intentioned. This is not true.

While Etsy’s "initial SEO approach" may not have been mal-intentioned or even malicious, it WAS DONE WITHOUT seller input and without beta-testing. Disrespectful and deceitful, yes.

It was also done with COMPLETE DISINTEREST in how it might affect the sellers on Etsy.

It was done with the explicit intention of benefitting Etsy’s merchandising and branding plan and boosting Etsy’s numbers in search and search results. It was NOT done to provide a better search tool to send buyers to individual sellers (since the seller names fell off the Search grid). The proof is in the fewer views and fewer sales pudding.

The complete disconnect between Etsy and its sellers couldn’t be more evident.


The Funny One said...

Stop! In the name of Branding
Before you break the “hand” in handmade
Stop! In the name of Merchandising
Before you turn handmade into a chain store
Think it over, it’s not handmade anymore
Think it over, it’s not handmade anymore

We’ve tried so hard, hard to be patient
Hoping you'd stop making changes before telling us
But each time you do something to remove the “hand” from handmade
We’re so afraid we’ll lose handmade forever

Stop! In the name of Branding
Before you break the “hand” in handmade
Stop! In the name of Merchandising
Before you turn handmade into a chain store
Stop! In the name of handmade
Before you break handmade forever

Etsy, think it over
Think it over, Etsy.
Ooh, think it over Etsy.

(Profound apologies and thanks to the Supremes.)

Anonymous said...

Etsy is a hot mess, but it has always been so! From the admin to the nasty vendors, they act just as bad as the admin! Etsy has never been that rainbow at the end of a tunnel as it seems to be for everyone else! I noticed in order to get some attention you have to be a great "brown noser" something I have never subscribed to!

Etsy success formula: Pucker up and start turning that nose a nasty shade of brown! Suck ass!

mamaslittlemonkeys said...

I love you guys.
And ya know I STILL got reamed in MY OWN thread by a hater...
Yes I went a little nuts on her but she'll live. I think my very last response on page 12 might shut her up...maybe...

I love artfire.

RunzwithScissors said...

As much as I love you guys, I really have to point out that you meant to say "complete disregard" not "complete disinterest". The first definition of disinteresl being "Freedom from selfish bias or self-interest; impartiality." and synonymous with "neutrality". Their stampede toward Etsy Branding is certainly not disinterested.

Whatever I'm sick of it all said...

A friend of mine who blogged about the situation, without ranting and raving, received a rather threatening convo from Maria. Asking her to change what she was saying, apparently. What???

geeraise said...

i dont think they are malicious or deceitful at all bitches, just perhaps lazy

The Funny One said...

Runzwithscissors, I stand corrected and thank you for your clarification of "disregard" - you are right. However, the lack of interest that Etsy has in the integrity of the handmade product can be traced to their lack of real experience and their inability to admit that they couldn't care less about what products are listed for sale on the site, as long as their profits continue on an upward spiral (as reported by Etsy).

If Etsy were based on selling socks, their approach would be the same. Box it, brand it, color it beige, stretch it out and wear it like a cowl, and be sure to use predatory tactics to knock everyone on their butts if they don't agree.

So what's the difference between Etsy and a big box store? Not much.

No more branding! Branding takes the hand out of handmade!

WindysDesigns said...

Whatever I'm sick of it all said...

A friend of mine who blogged about the situation, without ranting and raving, received a rather threatening convo from Maria. Asking her to change what she was saying, apparently. What???

No shit?!!?!?!

I would love to see this convo! What did your friend do, did she change anything?

So much for Etsy not monitoring off-site content. Yeah, right. Now the CEO is going around bullying sellers about their blogs.

Doesn't that just give you the warm fuzzies.

All Wired Up TOO said...

NOTHING about etsy has given me the warm fuzzies in a LONG time Windy~

Viva La Art Fire!

just sick to death said...

This is just the sickest joke etsy has played on us, ever.

They knew -maybe not the twits, but you can't tell me their seasoned individuals like Chad etc. didn't know.

It was another "those dumbfuck sellers will never notice" moves.

Its sad that it's our own fault. There are many brave individuals who gave up their shops via being kicked off, and many who spoke up and left, but by and large the masses cupcaked etsy into thinking they can do whatever they fucking want to.

Fuck that ".20 only gets you a listing" shit. Etsy promised the world at the beginning, and has been taking away instead of giving.

Unless the goal of etsy in the long run is to drive everyone out to make their own websites, then it's been not much more than an epic fail.

Andrew said...

I like how everyone will moan and complain about the SEO changes because they have immediately had a terrible impact on traffic, not stopping to think about the positive outcome this will have for the future of the shops.

But that's what happens and it will take Google time to update everything.

In a months time everything will be back to normal and the changes made were for the better, and will ultimately bring more traffic than before.

Take a chill pill.

The Righteous One said...

Andrew, how exactly does branding everything "Etsy" make things better for individual shops?

life-during-wartime said...

Andrew, I think it takes longer than one month. The google bots don't do major crawls every month AFAIK. There is time for the situation to improve before the winter holiday shopping and promotion season starts, so that's a plus.

The only positive outcome I can think of for Etsy shop owners from this mess is that some of them are now more aware of what Etsy can do to the site -- and their shops -- without emailing each shop owner explaining any changes in detail. Hopefully, some shop owners are better informed and more vigilant.

A Top Seller Who is Sick of This said...

This shit is seriously killing me. You know, I pay for listings on Etsy so I *don't* have to worry about things like this. That is why I didn't start my very own website. I am not, nor am I interested in becoming, an expert on SEO. Looks like I'm going to have to in order to stay in the running.

At this rate, Etsy is forcing me to become knowledgeable enough to do my own website. Maybe the $2,000 (yes, you read that right) I spend per month with Etsy is better spent elsewhere.

boggled said...

Is it possible we are still getting screwed?
My mind is boggled.

justbitchy said...

I have no idea why ANYONE would think that spending 2K per month on Etsy is a good idea in first place.

No fucking idea.

Seriously? Talk about drinking the koolaid.

Holy shit and son of a bitch you can hire a dedicated webmaster for less and places like BigCartel and many other hosts are a tiny fraction of that per month.

You can get a website and advertising for LESS than 2k per month! ugh.

Some of you have been taken in the worst way, however, I can't get a tear in my eye. That's serious coin and if you couldn't or can't figure a better way to spend your money then, too bad, so sad.

Cry me a river.

Wake up and get a clue.

A Top Seller Who is Sick of This said...

JustBitchy, believe me, I've snapped out of it. Seriously. Done. Even if they fix this fucking mess, I see how I've allowed myself to be taken. I bought a clue - it cost a bunch of money, but I have it now! lol

And don't forget, if I'm paying Etsy $2k per month, I am making much more than that. Etsy used to be warm and fuzzy, but most of all, it felt safe. That is no longer the case.

foxaz said...

The one thing I learned from this is the importance of having other venues for my work.

I'm not a top seller and never will be, by my own choice. But I like communication and clarity from a venue. I don't want an emotional relationship, and don't expect me to kiss your foot, Etsy-- but for god's sake, don't block me from selling my work!

Mimi said...

Are you serious, Etsy is 'copying artfire'?

What an absurd statement... Artfire got their entire idea for a site and swiped the categories, 'handmade' wording and more from Etsy. As if that was MORE THAN OBVIOUS.

Mimi said...

Well justbitchy, probably because whomever posted that is making 10-20k a month from Etsy and figures overall, things are working out.

brandingconsultant said...

A Top Seller...

I will be your webmaster for $2K a month. I am a branding consultant, am social media savvy, have created and developed websites and databases, I am an artisan myself and understand the art/business/entrepreneur dynamic...and would probably drive MORE sales for you! Can I send you my resume?!

2K? That is some serious profit, and you could be applying most of that back to your bottom line if you walked away from Etsy. Don't give that money to the kids in Brooklyn, that total cluster *f* that plays "Lets run a website" and probably runs around the offices with moustaches, fingerless gloves and cowls bought with YOUR hard work and fees! Hope that more people wise up to the Etsy game and take their
$2K/month elsewhere.

The Righteous One said...

Mimi, Artfire's categories were done from the ground up, by user suggestions.

Etsy possibly copied their category design (released within hours of each other though AF's was up a month prior on Flick for user comment) and is trying to keep up with improvements made on other sites. The format of the metatag or title pull that Etsy instituted as a fix to their faux pas was identical to how Artfire did theirs since the beginning.

exhausted said...

The fat lady has not even begun to sing! she's still sipping honey lemon tea at this point.
you guys mind very much if I park this here?

Concerning Shop Meta Titles, Stella said...SEO issues still a problem!

they should have fixed this along with the others or maybe they just liked all the attention and back links from blogs and the twittering
the page rank went way up in the forums.

oh and the there's this

meta tags in categories

More SEO problems: Jewelry supplies category shouldn't say"jewelry on Etsy"

what's next?

Andrew said...

@The Righteous One - Branding by adding "Etsy" at the end of the listings? It doesn't really make any differnce whatsoever, it's not sacrificing anything.

@life-during-wartime - There is no such thing as a major google bot crawl. It crawls everyday, and crawls high powered sites like Etsy with a lot more frequency.

As I see it right now the SEO information is entirely what it should be.

Your title contains the item first with its keywords up front (important) along with the by shopname on Etsy.

Meta Keywords is filled by tags and meta description is filled by the items description.

And those forum posts you linked to exhausted...Making a bunch of hoopla about minor category meta details on the Etsy site itself is...well... retarded. I'd make an educated guess that those couple of pages don't even pull a fraction of 1% of what the individual item listings pull.

It's a bunch of SEO amateurs trying to find problems where there really are none. Funny, but I'm sure its frustrating for Etsy PR.

justbitchy said...

Just because a seller is making good money doesn't mean they shouldn't watch their expenses and spend their money wisely.

A Top Seller Who is Sick of This said...

I'm glad you bought a clue!

I don't mean to be cruel, but I just can't make sense of spending that much money on a selling site when you could have your own website for a fraction of that and keep all your money for yourself.

That's just too big a cut as far as I'm concerned and I never thought etsy did anything to deserve in the first place.

Now that they've f-ed up the site in the search engines they REALLY aren't doing anything to deserve anything.

exhausted said...

@ andrew

this is not about the item title.
it's about the shop titles which have
*username on etsy* as in broken plates for mosaics?

ahead of the titles we choose as descriptors for our shops.

NOT a good thing not even an okay thing.

many shops are still not coming up in search there seems to be a pattern for those which do

frustrated said...

Andrew - they are using our SHOP SECTIONS as keywords instead of our item tags.

'Back to normal in a months' time?' Yes, because the mortgage co, the electric co, and the other bills can just be put off for a month or so until things start going smoothly again. Except that the broken search is driving buyers away anyway. But everything's just fine, I don't know why anyone's in a tizzy!

exhausted said...

@ andrew I think there is a conflict of interest in your case anyway.

As long as etsy is screwed up, the naive and new sellers will be desperate to make their shops work with all sorts of sellers tips and tricks. SEO is such a big buzz word right now you're sure to benefit from the fall out so by no means should it be fixed! you need to make a living too, right?

Have fun taking advantage! and when the big mouthed "SEO amateurs" shut up, maybe you'll see a drop in business too.
The way the shop titles are now, no amount of keyword optimization or product branding or happy little avatars are going to help. So for you?

And another aside:

The team or Expert SEO person on board at etsy, AKA Chad Dickerson et al is NOT supposed to be an amateur and yet look at the mess he's made of etsy's customer base
everyday sellers are pulling out and it's not the little sellers pulling out, they can't even palpate the problem with their sales. The big sellers even frontpage regulars and the "quit their day job"-bers are pulling out because of this issue.

You really don't sound very informed on the subject, so your comments are just dust blowing in a vacuum.

Mimi said...

" The Righteous One said...

Mimi, Artfire's categories were done from the ground up, by user suggestions.

Etsy possibly copied their category design (released within hours of each other though AF's was up a month prior on Flick for user comment) and is trying to keep up with improvements made on other sites."

Um, wow, if I was a complete moron i'd believe that. Okay, so they've recently redone it, but it's still very similar.

Etsy was around long before artfire and when AF first came out, their categories were almost EXACTLY the same. Oh, so it's a coincidence... user input... whatever.

mimi said...

Ha, so Andrew has a 'conflict of interest' because he has a site based on Etsy related service... but, the 'bitches' cooing and stroking themselves daily about artfire while AF is the main sponsor of this site, and has been for months... that's not a conflict?

Take down the advertising and maybe i'll believe your impartiality.

mimi said...

okay, for my third installment..

the points made about SEO were right, etsy's categories in the title and the handmade all over everything are stupid.

It's degenerated into retardation, with people that can barely even read HTML insisting ''etsy needs to do this, etsy needs to do that, WHY IS THIS AND THIS' endlessly. People need to shut up.

if all of these people are SUCH SEO experts, and SO MUCH of their traffic comes from Google - GO MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN WEB SITE, WHY PAY ETSY???

The Righteous One said...

mimi, you wouldn't happen to work for Etsy would you?

we also have advertising from icraft, and we've had advertising for a number of sellers (but you haven't been around very long to see that). Anyone can inquire about advertising, but it's first come first serve. Email if you're interested.

We've talked highly of other sites that do something better than Etsy, whether it's a shipping calculator, customer service, or advertising. AF just happens to be our bet on the site that will hedge Etsy out as #1. Advertising on here or not (we did our initial review before they started advertising here, you haven't been around long enough to see that either).

By the way, we're not paid to give our opinion. It's of our own free will, and we don't always agree amongst ourselves. The advertising money goes towards future EtsyBitch online endeavors and we are still mulling around how to do a contest for the readers.

If you have any further criticisms of us, feel free to email the address above. But I'm not letting any more of your off-topic bullshit through. We're here to discuss Etsy, and now you've had your say about how much we suck you can get back on topic. Either that or blow it out your ass.

The Funny One said...

It's really a shame to see the Etsy forum habit of copying whole chunks of other comments and then taking a personal swipe at the commenter at the end leaking into blogs and other cyberchatter. Does anyone have the time to read that stuff? Or is it that forum commenters have run out of anything original to say?

The original EB topic is about what Etsy is doing without any seller (or buyer)input. Constant behind the scenes tweaks to the SEO on top of the relentless branding has caused massive confusion.

Confusion is the antithesis of BRANDING. The more Etsy confuses both sellers and shoppers about what it is --- the more it will drive sales off Etsy to other sites.

Open a store on one or 2 or 3 of the new sites and you'll be in better shape to jump ship. If you're no longer getting any traffic on Etsy, all branding signs point to the fact that you never will.

If online retail comes back (at all)and you've been knocked off the grid by Etsy because you don't make and sell their favorite products at ridiculously low prices (and picked for free Etsy promotions for several weeks or months), you'll have stores open and ready for the 2009 Holiday Shopping Season.

And let your wonderful customers know where to find you.

EtsyAWOL said...

So, is the consensus that it's kosher to email return customers to tell them I am elsewhere? My Etsy shop remains, but I am leaving it alone (because everyone else is now) and am slowly putting things (including new stuff) on ArtFire.
I have only nnotified one customer; mentioned it in an email about something else.
I have been reticent about notifying them all. Should I??

exhausted said...

Mimi your comment
re: Andrew vs EB

I just want to say that EB has never solicited anything form me, nor asked me to pay for advice, even though they have probably given me the best advice ever, ei get out while you're still sane. I only wish I had listened earlier.

Their anonymity is a smart move on their part, because etsy DOES hold a grudge, and admin DOES snoop around to find out who is talking smack about them, and sends threatening emails to people who they believe they can intimidate. And they promote for free those who they think will kiss up and sing their praises.

I'm a top seller on etsy and I didn't get there by accident or with any help or promotion from etsy at all. I've never been on the front page and don't imagine I ever will be. I don't need etsy to promote for me I do it myself. I do need the minuscule "platform" that they offer to work correctly though and I don't think that's too much to ask for

Andrew your mother is not a success story on etsy, so all of your etsy success advice is not credible on first glance. And your blogs landing page is a prime example of bad SEO, it's image heavy and lacking content, has loads of outbound links and very few inbound links,and no real keywords. Basically your blog is just an advertisement for your product and that's it. *tsk*

SEO amateurs? very funny.

TufferThanThou said...

Andrew: REAL men aren't cupcakes.
REAL women don't even contemplate sucking up.

justbitchy said...

So, is Andrew TimSpam's cousin? The Billy Mays of SEO?

The website screams "buy more buy now" "these deals won't last" "call now, operators standing by."

And, before you publish a website it seems like a good idea to have all the elements working, not just placeholders.

What a joke.

Rana said...

So, is the consensus that it's kosher to email return customers to tell them I am elsewhere? My Etsy shop remains, but I am leaving it alone (because everyone else is now) and am slowly putting things (including new stuff) on ArtFire.
I have only nnotified one customer; mentioned it in an email about something else.
I have been reticent about notifying them all. Should I??

EtsyAWOL, if you do this, I'd be very careful and would suggest using a non-Etsy mail service to send your emails. Be cautious too about mentioning your ArtFire shop anywhere in your Etsy shop, even without the URL. Doing this is what got me booted off Etsy.

(I have to say I know no other company so paranoid about "disloyalty" than Etsy. Do you think eBay cares if you mention other shops? No, if anything, they encourage it.)