Friday, November 6, 2009

QYDJ & Other Etsy Myths

MYTH #1: QYDJ

Only applies to shops making/selling stuff in the distinct Etsy style, working ‘round the clock, and secretly employing lots of "santa’s helpers." An obvious and rather worn out, boring ploy to get more sellers to make & list Etsy-brandable (and usually low-priced) products. You have to be in it (lock, stock & barrel) to win it!

MYTH #2: SHOWCASES WILL GET YOU SALES

Etsy’s added so many Showcases and sub-sub-sub-subcategory Showcases that most shoppers don’t look & don’t care. Hidden in remote corners of the site or obliterated by competing Etsy-controlled promos, they're the biggest cash cow on Etsy, at sellers’ expense. We refer you to the hundreds of forums posts on sellers’ own experiences saying they're not worth the money. In fact, this is akin to opening your window and throwing out a wad of $5 bills with nothing to show for it. Total seller rip-off.

MYTH #3: FRONT PAGE TREASURIES ARE CURATED BY SELLERS

For the last 12 months, more than 50% (at least) of the FPT's are picked by the same Etsy Admins who also pick the FS, GG’s, Finds, and write all the blog posts about a small selection of stores on the site. Rumor is that Etsy also edits the seller-picked-FPT’s that do get to the Front Page. Still wonder why everything looks the same?

MYTH #4: SENDING AN EMAIL TO SUPPORT@Etsy WILL GET YOU THE INFO YOU NEED WHEN YOU NEED IT

A real shot in the dark. Not only does your email go into Etsy cyberspace, you never know who will answer it, when they’ll answer it, and if they actually read your email request to begin with. Caution: Many responses, if at all, will be cut and pasted from Etsy’s list of "take it or leave it" formula answers. (Double Warning: Not the same thing as email to you from content@etsy making (too often false) accusations about violations in your store, hmph, try getting those straightened out before the brick wall descends without notice.) Sometimes, Etsy just likes hassling sellers, it’s fun! Brings out the best in their personalities!

MYTH #5 YOU CAN GET THE HELP YOU NEED IN THE FORUMS

Try finding facts and real help in the forums, we’ll see you after 3 weeks while you look for it. A real hotbed of misinformation, blatant seller-self-promotion, and way too many damn sections that have nothing to do with selling. Avoid the Bug Reports at all costs, because Etsy does too. Go ahead and avoid the forums altogether since "mutes" are contagious (as well as vindictive and ridiculous). Caution: reading the Admin Announcements, aka Edicts, may be hazardous to your health -they’ll send you to read a 20 page blog post (with branded-promo pix!) - avoid them like the plague!

MYTH #6: THE SITE FOR ALL THINGS HANDMADE

Well, we all know what happened to THAT starting in earnest 12 months ago, when the branding frenzy began, turning Etsy into a site for all things in the distinct Etsy style, screw the sellers. Enter at your own peril, shoppers and sellers alike. Remember who’s raking in the dough (and turns a deaf ear to seller complaints with a lock and mute) while you work your asses off with so little in return. Happy holidays with no sales on Etsy! The site that makes it impossible for most sellers to sell!

MYTH #7 ETSY IS JUST A VENUE

Yes, that's what it says in the Terms of Use, but we all know it isn't true. If admin likes you, you'll be promoted left and right; if you aren't completely agreeable, you'll find your fees taken and shop brick walled. Don't try asking questions about SEO, don't worry about mistagging and flagging, and don't try rectifying shopping cart issues or nonpayments...you'll just end up on their blacklist. They're not a venue, they're a popularity contest.

30 Comments:

The Funny One said...

Adding Myth #8: There is no conflict-of-interest when employees and their relatives set up stores and sell on the site.

ummmmmmmno said...

I about spit out my coffee...as I've been saying all of this and more for the past...oh, well the entire time I've been there.
I need to see that hipster olympics clip again that I think was on here about a year ago?

oh here's another myth: Etsy is ran by mature individuals

Spot on as always said...

Bless you bitches. <3

shiny said...

Myth #3 substantiated - I was in a lovely treasury not 2 days ago that made it to the front page...without my item. Maybe it got lost on the way? :)

whatever said...

Another myth: The Christmas rush. Newbies with no sales think they are stocking up for a shelf clearing rush which is not likely to happen.

WindysDesigns said...

Myth #9: all people who complain about Etsy are just grumpy-haters with low sales and sour grapes.

While there may be some chronic complainers, and often times people immediately jump on the complain train with any change, the majority of complaints are of legitimate concerns.

geelizzie said...

Myth #999-Don't worry, sales are slow right now because:
It's right before the holidays.
It's right after the holidays.
It's spring break.
It's summer vacation.
It's back to school time.
It's right before the holidays.
It's right after the holidays.

And my personal favorite:
Jewelry is such a saturated market.

But, don't worry, keep listing and renewing and promote, promote, promote, twitter, facebook and blog and your sales will come!!

Seen every day in the etsy forums.

sick of it said...

I'd love to see a list, naming names, of admin shops (they aren't all blatantly obvious) and shop owners who are relatives ....

and then compare that list to front page appearances...

grumpy said...

"But, don't worry, keep listing and renewing and promote, promote, promote, twitter, facebook and blog and your sales will come!!"

And never, ever, for a moment consider that maybe no one is buying your stuff because it SUCKS.

BrandingConsultant said...

I do think that the QYDJ series is a full on joke. Has anyone ever done the math on these sellers? I hate to blow the cover, but if you figure out their average price point, their average monthly sales, and even a very, very slim operating margin...there is no way these people could quit their day job and live off of such little income! Especially those with families to support. NO F'IN WAY.

I do think, however, what is not said is that these are people who probably have trust fund bucks, angel investors (like, oh, mom and day, in-laws, or a wealthy friend or two), or have inherited money or property to be able to truly survive off of just an Etsy income.

And, I would truly challenge if they are only, only, ONLY living off of Etsy income. Do they do any custom work, contract work, consulting, sell on other venues/websites? Come on, they are selling their work at plenty of other places than "just" Etsy as the series seems to imply.

The myths are spot on. The QYDJ one is the one that irritates and pisses me off the most as it really, truly is luring the most gullible (and possibly financially desperate) Etsyans into a false hope that they will be able to sell tons of their crap and make so much money that they, too, can quit their day job. Creating and advertising that false hope is really pretty deplorable.

Kelly said...

I agree with just about everything you said in this post. Back when I first started I did two showcases thinking this was the way to go. I should have burned that money, at least I would have been warm for 15-20 seconds.

I also get tired of the same ole rhetoric on the front page. Although...after having seen 875,034 pasty white, malnutrioned girls on the front page wearing overpriced underwear I am starting to miss cowls. I also wonder, if you charge over 100 bucks for a pair of underwear, do they sell the ones they put on the models or actually take the loss? Scary thought.

tina said...

Check out their "New Kids on the Block" spam. Looks like a bunch of shops copying the Older Kids on the Block! Yikes!

life-during-wartime said...

These myths are pretty typical of a multi-shop venue that considers itself 'a community'. I've been on so many (I think 8?) and most of these myths apply, including 8, 9. and The Calendar That Explains Why Sales Are Slow.

I hoped that Etsy would turn out to be the exception, but that didn't happen.

SS, DV. Same stuff, different venue.

RRobin said...

Another myth might be that there really is a market for:
- cowls
- fingerless gloves
- footless socks (a/k/a "spats")
- knitted cuffs for paper cups
- knitted jackets for apples
- mustaches on a stick
- vinyl wall decals of chandelier silhouettes

marcelly said...

i agree with all of these, and the addition of myth number 9!
So true, many, many sellers (and ex sellers) who have been successful at etsy are miffed with the site, not just those who cannot make a sale.
In fact, i think that the more successful ones are likely to notice the flaws even more, due to experience.

I was in the top 100 at etsywiki.
I got fed up with being a competing statistic. I remembered once upon a time i was actually an artist aiming to sell my wares at an affordable price.

Yet we are all different, with varying degrees of etsy experience. Some may find it difficult to leave the site, or have fears about taking the plunge. I lost many customers (initially) when i made the move to my own site (they eventually found me!) so why did i ultimately do it if i was selling very well?

The answer is simple - I didnt like the atmosphere, the fear of unreasonable feedback, the lack of admin support, the sameness, the over-saturation of non handmade, reseller guff. But most of all, i did not want my work to be associated with what i feel has become a less than admirable website.

Interesting fact - the term grumpy hater comfortably covers up what many are loathe to admit. It reminds me of a similar type of persecution where a man will call a woman insane merely because she will not go to bed with him. It must be her fault, her flaw, not his. Interesting stuff.

The Righteous One said...

sick of it, we actually do have a list of all admin usernames. It's linked to the left sidebar of the blog, but there's also going to be an update on the list coming next week (I've been doing a lot of work on tracking down new hires, fires, unknown usernames, etc).

whyohwhy said...

Thank's for the good reading... again.

I make sales every day but now I totally ignore Etsy itself. I've made my almost 6,000 sales without Etsy's help whatsoever.

Rarely shop there now too. I find all it's immature behaviour annoying and dishearting. Frankly, the Etsy popularity club is not worth my time. I'd rather come here to get my news and then Regrestry for fun.

The majority of my shoppers come from every place but Etsy so I could really jump off. And maybe I will very soon.

And if it works well, I'll be the first to let you all know!

The Cranky One said...

We have a post we have put up some time ago and do try to maintain with all the staff accounts and their relatives and spouses.

It's on our etsy links section on the left sidebar:

"Comprehensive list of Etsy Admin stores and accounts (disclosed or not)"

http://etsybitch.blogspot.com/2008/08/lets-play-game-of-find-admin.html

The Funny One said...

Lots of sellers thought something was wrong with Etsy when the mutes, bans, brick walls and blatant favoritism started, but no one knew Etsy was going to brand most sellers off the site (by making it impossible for them to sell) and turn itself into a clique-y new york brat house. No one knew Etsy was going to sacrifice 100% handmade to the almighty dollar, and no one knew they were going to design a site that pushes both sellers and shoppers away, and do it in such an aggressive manner.

It's just a wonder that more sellers didn't take their dollars elsewhere, sooner. They will in January.

Combustion Glassworks said...

Myth #1000

Emailing @Abuse and thinking they will totally, clearly, without a doubt, remove a retaliatory negative feedback from a Non Paying Buyer who lied through her teeth.

nope.. go KAMU and fuck yourself.

( I didnt and let my bullshit negs stay there just on pricinple.)

DeadGirlPoseur said...

I'm not surprised Etsy went the way it did. LOOK at the people who run it. Etsy, for them, was an opportunity to reinvent themselves into legends in their own minds. They wield this power to pick and choose who they believe are just like them!
They are not creative, artistically inclined. They cover that up with their hip new vocabulary.
They know they suck!!!
As far as them caving into the almighty dollar, not surprised. These trendy idiots are ad-driven and consumer-driven. Madison Avenue is their puppeteer!
Look at the new additions to the staff! They were schooled to "only" know how to make more and more money.(They have no knowledge of the Arts, it's so evident! Which is usually done at the expense of others...us) Fuck them all!

sark said...

RRobin — testify!
I'd like to add
$80.00 cat perches
flimsy cloth shoes
1982-style ruffle dresses
owls owls owls owls and more owls
$400.00 coffees tables made out of circles...
faux bois anything

The QYDJ thing is a hoot.
I've read enough of them to see that the vast majority are either SAHMs or simply married women. In other words, the day job that they quit was the thing they were doing for play money, cause Hubby pays the bills anyway, because he's the one who has a real job. They should re-title it quit your meaningless play money job and spend more time making cheap shit while your spouse brings home the bacon and pays the bills.

But hey, etsy's being criticized, so now they're rampantly cramming beige crap and ruffle dresses and cat perches on the front page again like there's no tomorrow! Which is actually ironic, in that anyone unfamiliar with etsy who were to read the criticisms and then go there would then be barraged with concrete examples of everything that's wrong and retarded about the site.

Really, whoever ultimately owns etsy needs to fire their current crop of merchandisers and start fresh.

Oh, and for the love of God, someone get Lisajune a grammar book.

still drinkin the koolaid said...

About the admin treasuries,have you noticed the length of them?

Admin treasuries are up for 1 hour, member treasuries up for 1/2 a hour on average. So that make admin controlling them at least 2/3rd of the time. You can see the start times on craftcult's vault to see what I mean.

Hardly seems fair to all the members who work so hard to design and get a treasury. ADMIN, please give back the FP treasuries to the members!

RRobin said...

There should be no curating of FP Treasuries at all, because even when done by members, the same sellers are highlighted. Treasury makers have learned to always include at least one or two "famous" sellers in order to get their Treasuries chosen for the FP. And why should sellers do the unpaid labor of making Treasuries anyway? And why should Etsy staffers get paid for the silly task?

Let a random generator pick items for the FP based on color or keyword -- the way they are supposedly chosen now -- and program the generator so there are no repeats by sellers until all other possibilities have been exhausted.

To those who miss the "creative" aspect of making Treasuries -- get a blog.

Betsy B. said...

still drinkin the koolaid said...

About the admin treasuries,have you noticed the length of them?

Admin treasuries are up for 1 hour, member treasuries up for 1/2 a hour on average. So that make admin controlling them at least 2/3rd of the time. You can see the start times on craftcult's vault to see what I mean.

I don't look at treasuries but I'm not surprised to learn that the treasuries reflect the favoritism/conflict of interests that runs rampant throughout the site.

The Righteous One said...

RRobin, speaking of treasuries, byhand.me has a spotlight feature where users can curate treasuries (called spotlights there) of handmade items from various venues, including Etsy, Artfire, Dawanda, 1000markets, silkfair, zibbet, icraft.ca, etc by entering the item id # and choosing the venue it comes from in a dropdown menu in each item slot. Etsians don't even need to be limited to Etsy items anymore if they enjoy making treasuries (and then they can share them on blogs)

LaughandCry said...

Ya'll bitch the truth, and it hurts. Must. Unshackle. Self. Now...

K9 said...

i turned off the feed of every "friend" who uploads etsy shite on facebook. some do it multiple times a day. i never tell anyone i am on etsy anymore. im embarrassed. and every artist i talked to at a recent art fair said the cheapness of etsy had hurt them -the buyer wants impossible deals. i hate etsy.

Arizona Skies said...

Someone on the forums posted your list of sellers on the GG and I went and checked toybreaker (with 7 gift guide entries) on the Flickr front page site. You should see that Etsy adm include them in treasuries almost every day. I seldom see the front page, go directly to my shop, but had heard about the favoritism and am still shocked about Etsy admin's love affair with toybreaker.

so true so true said...

it has been so frustrating lately to see the same sellers' shops and treasuries promoted constantly,not only on Etsy but on Craftcult as well. What about the rest of us that do good work and want so badly to be seen? What do we do? What if your work doesn't fit into the Etsy mold? I refuse to change my style to conform but I also need sales!