Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Black Friday/Cyber Monday and More Etsy Crap

Always pitifully late to the party, Etsy published their "plan" for Black Friday/Cyber Monday on November 20, and guess what sellers? It’s a list of what sellers can do to lose more money on Etsy!

Yes, you too can:
1. Lower your prices to below-below cost!

2. Label everything in your store BARGAIN! DISCOUNT! 99% OFF!
2. Offer FREE SHIPPING and lose big piles of money fast!
3. Market Etsy for free all over cyberspace and provide even MORE free labor than usual!

Sure looks like marymary did it again! Slapped together a crappy plan in 5 minutes to make it look like Etsy's doing something for sellers when it’s all about WHAT SELLERS CAN DO FOR ETSY! How much lower can you go Etsy?

Thanks Mary for giving sellers even more work to do to NOT sell a damn thing on Etsy!


le sigh said...

There was a good point made in the comments...

Why are we being encouraged to add "sale" or "free shipping" NOW to our tags when they won't go into effect until Black Friday?

FedUp said...

Yeah I can't believe this! Free shipping?! I'll make more money if they let me increase shipping for this one day, not free!

Social networking is a waste of time, Twitter and the like will never increase my sales. Who even uses Twitter? We don't need promotion elsewhere, etsy. I can get my own customers, thank you very much.

They need to stop working on social features like Twitter and facebook, which is proven to get zero promotion, and start working on things that matter, like adding new categories (like marble, for one...hello? Where is marble?)

foxaz said...

all those items tagged "sale" and "free shipping" get rejected by google merchant., so the etsy promo isn't getting too far..

The Funny One said...

If this lame trick doesn't turn off more sellers, I'll eat a plate of miniature fake terrariums with salt and pepper.

Etsy's 2 tiered system for telling most sellers to lower prices while agressively promoting their fave sellers (where prices are not a factor) only reinforces the Etsy myths.

I gotta tell you Etsy, if you want fewer sellers (who refuse to produce only Etsy branded products) on the site, you picked the right strategy -- put them all out of business.

UPIT said...

AF is also touting similar stuff. I am raising my prices; maybe someone looking for quality will see me and realize that I am proud of my work for good reason. buy less, but buy the fuckin' best!

Old Hippie Bitch said...

What an unimaginative pile of poo.

Promoting handmade goods as more meaningful gifts? As a way to directly help the economy by supporting cottage businesses?

Nah, that's too much work.

Like the "Glass Menagerie" unicorn who lost his horn, now Etsy will blend in and be just like all the other retail outlets.

Eveline said...

Free shipping for the holidays? If I want to spent hours queuing up at the post office this time of year I better not have to pay for the postage out of my own pocket thankyouverymuch!

Oh wait.. I'm no longer an Etsy seller. Thank fuck for that!

The Funny One said...

Yeah, FedUp, I'm dismayed by the AF promos and other bargain-pushing efforts on other sites, but they just don't know what they're doing. Etsy is such a bad example that they'll try anything and it all looks and sounds cheap, fake, and oh yeah, just like Etsy!

Selling handmade online sure has been a lesson in what not to do and artisans who want to sell their work online AND offline are going to suffer the extremely negative consequences for the next 10 years, if we last that long.

The main problem with ALL the sites is that their inexperience is bad bad bad for artisans who want to sell anywhere, anytime and at any price.

Santas Sweatshop said...

You know, I'm going to take issue with EB about picking on Mary here.

I don't think it's Mary who comes up with these ideas all by herself. I agree that all the discounting and free shipping is ridiculous promotion for a site that is basically pushing crafters to run home sweatshops.

I agree that Etsy should be promoting the quality, benefits and features of handmade artisan goods instead of discount trinkets.

But I've had at least 6 issues that Mary has personally helped me with, and she has been fast, nice, and effective.

There are other admins and managers whose brains appear to be a clusterfuck of jello-shots. But I disagree with hatin' on Mary.

Roberta said...

I hear you. I cannot afford to offer free shipping or reduce the prices on my handmade jewelry. I am NOT Target or Walmart. I sell one of a kind items.

It is crazy to think that way.

Just my opinion.

Jen Segrest (verybigjen) said...

Funny one,
I can say why AF does it, the sellers asked/expected us to. Many want it.

We do often advise though that to examine your bottom line and see if you should offer discounts. I you are not charging enough for your time and materials you shouldn't have a sale.

Personally what I sell is not terribly cheap as I charge for my time, but light I can lose a couple bucks and not feel it too much.

The Funny One said...

I believe sellers asked for it on AF verbigjen, but that's because they've been conditioned by Etsy to believe that lower prices, sales and bargains are the only way to sell, and the only way to get noticed on sites that are unable to figure out how to promote handmade effectively and survive as an online biz.

What I am against is the overwhelming pressure to sell 100%handmade at lower and lower prices which is going to make selling handmade impossible at any price.

The trend to put everything and your grandmother on sale is so over, even for traditional retail.

As long as sites treat handmade like mass produced products, it's bad for handmade. It strips the artisan and their products of all their unique qualities. Pretty soon, the only handmade that'll sell is handmade sold below cost and imported in a big metal container.

Handmade sellers have been fed a bill of goods on Etsy and all the other sites that has, ultimately, not been good for the artisan and their product.

AnotherTypeofBiotch said...

I saw this article a few days ago and was thoroughly disgusted.

After scrolling through massive amounts of stepford wife comments like "Sounds great! editing all my items now to free shipping!" and "great idea - I'm offering free shipping too!" to finally reading a couple of smart sellers that asked the question - how do we edit our items for free shipping or EtsyHolidaySale now when we don't want our items to go on sale or offer free shipping UNTIL black friday? And of course, there was no explanation.

How can so many Etsy sellers be so damn stupid?? And I know why most of them post a comment, it's just so they can be added to the list of potential sellers who MIGHT be picked for a promotion. It is just ass-kissing and sickening to watch.

And, why doesn't ANYONE from Etsy answer the sellers request of offering a discount code? I guess the non answer is the answer! Same as encouraging sellers to offer Free Shipping (just like Ebay) - then Etsy Corp makes MORE money off of YOU and you LOSE MORE money to Etsy.

It feels good to say: FUCK YOU ETSY and your stupidass stepfordwifeasskissing sellers!

AlexMMR said...

They want me to offer free shipping, when I sell pottery? The weight and size of my product cost almost as much to ship as the purchase price!

So let's see, if I sell a mug for $16, and offer free shipping, it generally costs between $8-$9 in postage (not including costs for the boxes themselves), so I'd be taking in about $7 for that mug? Oh yeah, let's not forget that it takes a good 5 listings for that mug to be seen, so there's another dollar out the window. And of course the 3.5% that Etsy takes and another 3.5% for paypal.

So I would take in a total of $4.88 on that mug. Ummmmm, yeah. That doesn't even cover the cost of materials.

OR I can offer a 10% off coupon at Artfire, use the global editor to add the "holideals" tag to all of my items, and get listed in all of their deals pages. Total investment - 3 minutes and potentially 10% off of any of my items (or $1.60 if we're still talking about that same mug).

Etsy, it was nice knowing you!

Bite me Etsy said...

The more I think about it the more it irks me.

I'm not cheapening my art and what I devote long hours to just to land myself on the front page right alongside those godawful eye sores of knitted neck braces (aka cowls).

According to HeyMichelle, those things sell like hotcakes.

*snort* Must be a regional deal, because I don't know anyone who'd be caught dead wearing one.

Clara said...

I can't believe sellers are being forced to offer free shipping and put their stuff on sale!

Take a look at etsy's traffic on last year, and you can see why they're so desperate! They've lost millions of users already, only a matter of time before they go under...

sillygirl said...

I whole heartedly agree with the funny one when it comes to the consequences of what etsy is doing to handmade. I remember a time where there wasn't lingo like "convo" "relist" "renew"" "sold and renewed"...It's all I see in blogs, twitter and on-line these days and quite honestly, it's like being in hell.

Etsy has made craft so beige.

notsomuch said...


It looks like Etsy is trying to pull together a sitewide sale, and telling more sellers how to be a part of it. I'm no cupcake eater, but, isn't this better than them simply picking their favorites again and again? At least they're showing us all how to participate in the sale, and, hopefully, broadcasting to buyers who come in over the weekend to use the 'etsyfreeshipping', et al, tags to search.

Sure, we have to do a bit of work, but - really? Not that big of a deal.

comeon said...

"Who even uses Twitter?"



hyperbolesucks said...

Clara said...

I can't believe sellers are being forced to offer free shipping and put their stuff on sale!

Take a look at etsy's traffic on last year, and you can see why they're so desperate! They've lost millions of users already, only a matter of time before they go under...


Millions? Really? I looked at the data and I see nothing like that. Care to elaborate/back up your findings?

The Righteous One said...

notsomuch, the problem is that Etsy hasn't given sellers the tools necessary to effectively carry out such a sitewide sale, as well as the fact that Etsy is made up of many different sellers that can afford many different types of promotions. Free shipping is not a feasible option for many sellers, and this is something that Etsy is constantly pushing.

In addition, you have the lack of promotion by Etsy itself. Etsy doesn't advertise Etsy, sellers advertise Etsy. So those participating in the "sitewide sale" or driving customers away from their own shops.

Who's the turkey now said...

marymary had her list of favorites already selected before she even sent out the notice. She tells everyone what they have to do to participate in the great big weekend sale! Now that sounds so fair, you actually feel like if you do go along with all the price lowering that you might just might get promoted. Except the list is already made and she's been out of town since last weekend.

DeadGirlPoseur said...

Hi Bitches! This is, once again, another example of disrespect from Etsy. Take your free shipping and lower prices and stick em' up your cowl! If the individuals at Etsy Admin. were true artisans, they wouldn't make these Black Friday "suggestions". I take pride in what I create and I also take it seriously. I welcome their nonsense, because it confirms my belief that very soon another online venue is going to evolve and prosper. Etsy has become a parody, and it's simply because they do not know any better. Pure incompetence. The blind leading the blind...etc.

grumpy said...

Being asked to edit all my listings and tags? ONE AT A FUCKING TIME?

Hell no.

I ignore all this crap from etsy. Until they give me a way to batch edit and add coupon codes, fuck 'em, I'm not paying the slightest attention to this stuff.

Etsy promotional strategies are useless, at least if I want to actually make money.

Violets new Vintage said...

Free shipping is attractive to buyers who purchase a great deal on line. A jewelry maker or print seller can add a dollar or two to the price of their item and let the customer think its free shipping, I guess. What about the artisans who make and sell pottery, or wood items or anything else that weighs more than 2 ounces? They can't afford to participate in these so called promos. The flavor of Etsy has gone down the tubes (following the beige brick road) I finally accepted the fact that Etsy changed in a very negative way. I list alot less and this holiday season my off line customers are my priority.

tupitee said...

I believe it was started by sellers themselves though, who asked Etsy to promote it....

The Funny One said...

Whatever the reasons are behind any Etsy promotion, the fact is that sellers end up doing all the work for very little in return while cheapening the value of their own work with discounts and free shipping.

It never makes up for the fact that what sells on Etsy is 99% what Etsy promotes for free 24/7, relentlessly. That's it. Spending time, money, discounting, tagging, and the rest makes little difference. If you are not promoted by Etsy, you don't sell on Etsy.

Stefan said...

Tupitee is right. WTF is all this moaning about?
Let's get this straight:

1. Etsy sellers obviously wanted this, it's not a from-above feature from Etsy itself
2. If you don't want to participate, you don't have to. No one is forcing any sellers to do anything, unlike what is implied or said here
3. If you're a seller and blaming Etsy's not promoting you for your lack of sales, then maybe you're in the wrong business. Having an absolute dependence for sales on curation is ludicrous, which is why I promote my store elsewhere as well.
4. Noted that almost every other handmade site is doing similar things

so, maybe folks should start taking responsibility for their own businesses. If you're so annoyed, leave. There will be more room for my shop if you do.

Chuckle Head said...

I used to sell on Etsy at around the time when it was just in Beta mode. I remember the beginnings of Etsy. it looked very promising. I sold some very elaborate Dream Catchers there. It was very friendly, and the customers I had were always very happy with my work, and never questioned my pricing-or shipping for that matter. There were a few times that I sold an item just minutes after listing it!

That, of course, was before the Etsy Hipster Dullard zombies started messing with everything. They are obviously following the Ebay model of 'business'.
Greed, apathy, avarice, laziness, incompetence, and the terribly Priggish need to 'fit in'~~These are the forces at work at Etsy now. The 'administration' has bought their own personal faults to the forefront, and in to their so-called business practices, and are bringing Etsy down.
I say don't go down with them. There are other sites, and Etsy will fall long before they think. I'm selling on eCrater right now-setting up my new store for the holidays. I'm doing well there. I'm also going to open a site on one of the other alternative craft venues as well.
Good luck to everyone here on Etsybitch~~~~Keep on BITCHIN'!!!

Anonymous said...

I remember a very long time ago when people assumed that "handmade" meant "poor quality" or at least that it didnt cost much/any money to produce.

We've come a long way since that time. Its a little lame that Etsy is bringing that attitude back.


Words fail, because the point was completely missed--- whishhh-- went right past him.

HellNo said...

No. Way. In. Hell.

Etsy is my sole income right now. If I cut my profit margins, I can't eat. If I had done free shipping for the last week, I literally would not have had grocery money I spent this week, as in, no money for Thanksgiving groceries. I even bought a bit of liquor, which is a luxury for me right now. I realize it's not wise to rely on Etsy income, but it can't be helped right now.

F#$(**#G sick of these sales and promos.

The Funny One said...

If Stephan got lost and thought this was a forum for bitching at the bitchers, just remember, if you aren't an Etsy fave, the deck is stacked against you. Even sweatshop prices won't revive a store that might do very well on any number of other sites. "Bootstraps" went out of style in the last century.

When the hoopla with sales, discounts, faves, and all the other crap that Etsy has wrought onto the world of handmade is over, it's time for sellers with 5 years online experience under their belts to start working on solutions based on real seller experiences.

Etsy has done a good job of censoring seller input, so let's not let that happen with the other sites.

Make the switch and you may find out how bad Etsy has been for 100% handmade.

Glasstastic Treasures said...

I'm thinking of plugging my ArtFire Studio on Etsy. It would be worth getting muted, I think. And then I could also plug how I won't have to pay etsy any extra fees and point out very subtly how etsy stinks.

I started listing again because I thought maybe things had changed, and maybe it would be good for me during the holidays. I listed for about a week, and after very low views, I've decided it will never change.

I won't go back to etsy.

Stefan said...

" if you aren't an Etsy fave, the deck is stacked against you."

I'm not sure what that has to do with the topic. Correct me if I'm wrong but it sounds like Etsy sellers asked for a feature, (free shipping, etc) and Etsy responded to that request.

Are you suggesting that Etsy shouldn't respond to seller requests? It sounds like you are.

come on people said...

Etsy will ALWAYS promote free shipping!!!

It costs them NOTHING!!

Revised paypal invoices cost them NOTHING!

If they get a way to batch edit, then you will be able to edit the price BEFORE the sale, and they will LOSE MONEY.

The Funny One said...

Stefan, I admit my mistake by attributing the bargain bin idea to Etsy Admins, when it clearly was not as so many have pointed out in comments here. It was my mistake. It also explains the lackluster presentation of the idea by marymary's post. I should have been paying better attention.

I still stand behind my belief that pushing bargains and free shipping is a bad deal for 100% handmade ---- but I do also know it's the way shoppers shop today. It's a tool for sellers to use if they want to, but, ultimately, it's bad overall for handmade.

I have serious issues with the negative impact Etsy's had on pricing (talking 100% handmade only). Lower prices means that shoppers are now conditioned to treat handmade like any other mass-produced product online or at live craft events --- they go for the cheapest price.

The site or venue that figures out how to retain the unique qualities of handmade instead of treating it like factory made will be the last one standing in a few years ---- but in the end, it has been more negative than positive to those who make and sell handmade.

The fact is that sellers can slap any sale price on any item on Etsy, but the only sellers that sell consistently and might make an actual profit are the ones that are promoted for free by Etsy 24/7.