Thursday, August 6, 2009

In True Etsy Style

Ah, Etsy, where the admin gather links like nobody's business...

Have you seen the Etsy Seller Handbook! (which is dated Aug 3, 2009 at the time of this blog post)

At first glance it looks like a thorough compilation of information to help newbies wade through information in the Storque...but, aha, some of them are useless! (And listing links to previous entries is one hell of a way to crank out one more Dorque post)

For "beware of spammers" they link to a warning from October 2007 about a then recent spam problem. Only the last line about the abuse email is relevant...they couldn't just extract this bit? They don't even note if it's still the way to report spam in August 2009 (almost 2 years later!).

Heavn forbid they actually do something like compile a useful block of information. Instead they scatter it, link it, scatter it some more, and confuse the hell out of everyone in the process. A reasonably searchable and practical FAQ or Help page would do a lot more for new sellers.

What is YOUR favorite useless bit of information or aspect to the new "handbook"?


EtsyWTF said...

I've always wondered why they list several different links for exactly the same thing. The last thing anyone, especially a newbie, wants is to be assaulted by that many links.
It's funny how they call it "handy", like it's easy to get straight to what you need to know. They should just throw whatever there is left to know about Etsy in there and call it the Etsy Encyclopedia.

forum rubbernecker said...

Hmm...I was planning to link the seller handbook for someone I know who's joining Etsy.

maybe not, I haven't even read it...

The Funny One said...

My favorite useless link is the Advertising How-To's and Holiday How To's where Etsy tells sellers to "get out a calendar and plan ahead" -- which is something Etsy's forgotten to do themselves for 4 years! Last year, Matt kept promising a BIG HOLIDAY PLAN that never materialized. So, how's that for waiting for the other Etsy shoe to drop?

Here's the real How-To for making sales on Etsy --- get picked as a favorite seller and sit back to watch Etsy promote you 24/7 for months and months without having to do a damn thing yourself!

Hey, I do think it's an impressive list (and mainly a gathering of all the folksy advice from a site that never takes that advice themselves) and sellers might get a smidgen of info from 5 or 6topics, but this is the real deal on Etsy....

It's a megasite with over 300thousand stores and tipping above 5 million items. If you aren't promoted by Etsy on the front page, in repeating theme-Finds emails, get permanent real estate in the GG's and have Admins gushing over you like the 2nd coming of Swimmy, your store languishes in the deep waters off the edge of the cliff. (Guaranteed now that your Etsy listed items never show up on Google search results at all!)

No amount of "social networking" or tweeting is going to get a seller the prime (selling) advantage of being an Etsy-picked favorite with lots of free front page frontage and a lot of paid people to promote you for free.

The Skeptical One said...

Bitch FAIL.

This "Seller Handbook" isn't new. They just periodically bump it when they add more links to newer posts. And there's 250+ happy comments from people glad to have a consolidated resource for once.

Yeah, wow, they sure do suck, don't they?

Slow news day, ladies?

...rolls eyes...

EtsyPatsy said...

Customer Service is something Etsy staff need to learn about themselves. Maybe they should take a few of their own "tips".

*Email response? Spotty.
*Responding to customer requests? Don't respond at all, and if you do use a form response that doesn't answer the question. Then, block the questions by shutting the thread.
*TOU's? Only if they feel like it. Forget "due process" of any kind.

The Righteous One said...

Skeptical, it was just published in the Dorque this week, it's the not the old one. Maybe click the link before commenting?

Linda said...

A bazillion links, but not a single one that instructs on using the Checkout system.

Checkout is the most important component to processing online sales, and Etsy's Checkout is widely known to be troublesome & dysfunctional.

Wouldn't you think the handbook for selling would include something on "how to get your money, and how to nurture your non-paying customers through the maze"?


The Skeptical One said...

Righteously-Wrong One, how about fact-checking before you publish your supposedly "witty" criticism?

Look at the URLs. There's a new number for each article. The Handbook is article #2383.

The latest new post for the "blogosphere" article is #4595.

Etsy just bumped the old Handbook post with a new date. Rehashing old content to look fresh, which blogs do all the time.

The Skeptical One said...

Aaaaaaand.... the first comment on the Handbook is dated September 22, 2008.

Like I said, check your facts. BITCH FAIL.

The Righteous One said...

Skeptical, you're proving the point. Etsy has no original thought in the handbook. They just compile old links and bump material to make it look like they're doing something.

Skeptical asshole FAIL

The Funny One said...

Etsy might have posted their "handbook" months ago, or 2 years ago, but that isn't really the point. A "handbook" that is merely a list of links to old, out of date blog posts that are difficult to decipher shows that Etsy has exploded to the point where certain segments of the site are unmanageable, and continue to be because Etsy is counting the cash, not paying attention to what their customers/sellers need in any consistent way.

Still broken:
1. No customer service and no format or time limit for responding to sellers who need help
2. A fucked shopping cart that facilitates NPB's - soon to be a major issue for Holidays 09
3. A promotional structure closed to most sellers unless they want to pay through the nose for an expensive and ineffective showcase spot
4. No coupon codes
5. No marketing structure for holiday promotions available for sellers to use (pay or not)
6. Continuing GA and SEO issues that have fallen off Etsy's map
7. Random mutings, bannings and store closures with no seller-appeals process.
8. Reseller redux every single weekend.

foxaz said...

closing the threads about the problems with checkout resulting in non-payers with this comment:

"We want to make this very clear that this bug is NOT creating non-payments. If you have not received a payment from your buyer, please follow the normal process of filing a non delivery claim with Etsy."

Huh? What?
Why would you file a non-delivery report on non-payment?


They need to re-write the sell hand book completely. I'll help them out:

1.) Forget the .20 listing fee. So many mass sellers are re-listing everyday, you need to consider at least $100.00 per month for re-listing. Of course you have to pretend that etsy is cheaper then an ebay store, and BASH ebay whenever possible. Although the "Pay to Play" search has ruined the playing field, especially for newer sellers, etsy makes a TON of money on listing fees (on average, more then selling fees), so don't expect that to change anytime soon.

2.) Tag as you wish, NO ONE moderates tags, and it takes SEVERAL members to report you before an item is removed. I found a listing using two and three word non-related tags, and they managed to squeeze about 31 tags on their listing. Use your imagination, etsy doesn't care, they already have your listing fee!

3.) Trademark Shrademark! Etsy takes a back seat, and does nothing. Trademark owners are now searching for infringement on their own. The worst that can happen is a strongly written convo.

4.) Report your fellow seller for tax evasion. Many sellers make a purchase from competing sellers just so they can report them, and eliminate the competition. GREAT COMMUNITY!

5.) Get in good with Etsy admin by becoming a cheer leader, and be willing to smite anyone down for being critical of etsy.

6.) If you follow step 5 correctly, you can be on the Front Page 97, 119, or even 120 times! You can also violate etsy's own TOS while being on the Front Page (link another selling site on your shop announcment, re-selling non-supplies, etc.).

7.) Forget what YOU do best, and focus on easy stuff to make for a quick buck (My favorite example is pouring melted wax into a Dixie cup).

8.) The line between hand made or hand crafted and manufactured is very blurry, so feel free to exploit this gray area as much as possible! Just about ANYTHING can be considered hand made, so use your imagination! Etsy doesn't care, especially if you follow rule 1 and 5!

9.) Every once in a while start a forum thread about how it takes hard work to be successful on etsy. This will insult all the the sellers who work extremely hard, but are still struggling, but Admin LOVES these! NEVER mention rule #1, and pretend that the 20 re-listings you do a day have NOTHING to do with your success. Remember to use vague encouragement (ex. "You just have to work harder"), but provide NO real actionable support.

10.) When in chat, criticize other seller's shop, even when they don't ask.

11.) If you just wanted a place to sell your hand made art and(or) crafts (Like the site founder states as his reason for starting etsy), sell elsewhere, you will just get buried on etsy.

I wish I were making this stuff up, it might be funnier. Etsy is just a complete let down, but the really sad thing is, they could fix EVERYTHING if they choose to.

Old Hippie Bitch said...

EB, if by favorite you mean that which disgusts us most, here's mine:

Under Shipping How-To's there are THREE links called Packaging. I'm curious because so many cupcakes don't realize that when they open shop they are starting a mail order business. As such they should know how to pack for safe shipping.

Guess what? One link is about making your own boxes from recycled whatever. The other two links are about stuffing extra crap gifties in to make your buyer squeal with delight.

Nothing about packaging for safe shipment at all, which would actually help new sellers. Typical Etsy.

WindysDesigns said...

Must be that time of year to start drumming up the traffic to the storque to justify it's existence to the investors and try and portray it as something useful instead of fluff.

I love the tips to finding your niche"make something unusual" "make something people want", whoop de doo, now tell me something I don't know.

Anonymous said...

When I was a newbie, I was having a hard enough time trying to understand the vernacular of some of these articles! Too much-Etsy vocab all at once!

WindysDesigns said...

Oh, and if this is the new format for the new SEO handbook, God help us all.

Please RAnd, don't let Etsy turn it into a kajillion stroque articles and spread it out over multiple articles, I guarantee you it will make all your hard work almost worthless to us.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I do agree that the User's guide has a bit of useful stuff, but I mostly learned from reading other seller's blogs and forums.

Eveline said...

Skeptical one, how about reading a blog post before replying to it? Your comment is exactly the point Etsy Bitch is trying to prove: that Etsy doesn't care, and just reposts stuff that isn't even accurate anymore.

SK said...

Customer Care Tip: Hello Policy!
What I would really like is a page with ALL the active etsy admins listed, which would link to a photo of them, looking professional (RE: no ironically large glasses, that has not and will not sell me a $500.00 table), with a bio that says how they are QUALIFIED to do their jobs: certifications, degrees, fuck, I'd settle for a seminar.

Stop talking to me like I'm 12.
I'm glad I'm not curious, because this would confuse the shit out of me.

Hello Policy = policies?
Seriously, stop trying to be my "girlfriend", and write like a professional who is hellbent on clarity and being taken seriously in a marketplace.

life-during-wartime said...

My fave is the 'making the most of your descriptions'. Includes suggestions on how to add irrelevant pop culture references, but skips over straightforward info like 'including measurements (or a size chart) in your description is essential if you sell handmade clothing, unless your items are made to measure.'

Wouldn't Etsy have done better by simply plagiarizing seller FAQs from other venues? But then nothing on Etsy can ever be...simple.

RRobin said...

Ah, Etsy Admin. It must be nice to have a job where you never have to do any actual work!

Not a wannabe hipster... said...

I *hate* being talked down to by admins writing "witty" things while showing how hip they are by changing their avatar to whatever new trend is currently raging through wanna-be hipster sets (the big glasses one just makes me want to vomit).

My favourite was an article a few months back about being a "recessionista", and all the links were from the same five people that they seem to circulate on the main page, and most of the pieces were not cheap in any sense of the word. When it was pointed out by some , the author said that if anyone reading wanted cheap, they should go to Wal-Mart.

I mean, wow. For real. "If you don't like my friend who sells overpriced clothes, you can get the hell off the site, assholes". I honestly think that most of the uneducated chimps they call staff merely flip through US Weekly and pull out buzz words and trends.

I've yet to see any actual useful information come out of the Storque, and when I went through the Handbook a few months back I thought I was going mad. I kept trying to find the spam that it claimed to be warning us all about....and I was just going in loops. If the information is not current, or is not directly linked to the FIRST FUCKING PAGE, it needs to get wiped.

Anonymous said...

How to refuse service or BLOCK BUYERs? There is NO way to block a buyer on Etsy, even when you know the buyer is crazy and has negative feedback for not paying or causing other have to send a series of e-mails to abuse@etsy usually after the harm is done. The sellers handbook pretends this e-mail series is a blockbuyer feature. Etsy has been refusing to implement a blockbuyer feature for years.