Friday, December 4, 2009

Etsy expanding to Germany

There have been rumors for the past couple months, since it was slipped in the forums that Etsy admin Matt would be leaving the U.S. to visit Germany on Etsy business, that he might be moving there (first people were afraid he was leaving Etsy, but he denied that). Well, according to sellers in Berlin who met with admin they are expanding Etsy to Germany, with Matt moving there in the coming few weeks.

An Etsy office in Germany, to compete with Dawanda perhaps?

They can't even manage their one office in Brooklyn, what the fuck are they doing expanding? Does this mean they'll finally have 24-hour 800 number perhaps? And why haven't they announced this?

Putting the horse before the cart again it seems.


WindysDesigns said...

They haven't announced it to us, it's sellers because the response would be predictable. A. Four thousand 'way to go's' and 'yippee's' and B. Four hundred thousand complaints of why they didn't do x, y or z first because it's more important.

I say big friggin' deal.

RRobin said...

German engineering is legendary for its excellence. Thus, I see Etsy's technical operation there going one of two ways:

1 - German engineers will improve Etsy's overall functioning, with the domino effect that the US site will finally come into the 20th century, and maybe even the 21st.

2 - The Germans will have no patience with the ineptitude that is the hallmark of Etsy, and the site will fail miserably.

My money is on #2. Germany is also a very democratic country, and I doubt the artisans there will tolerate Etsy's favoritism.

eclipse said...

It sounds like it will be a small office, not like the size of the Brooklyn one. Probably mainly focused on the foreign language blogs they are going to add.
I don't think it would affect the customer service department one way or the other. That will probably stay in the Brooklyn office.

Anonymous said...

I personally do not care what the motherfuckers do. Whatever it is never seems to benefit sellers.
Maybe they will replace some of these people who work in B'lyn- now that would be great. Clean house.

BUT the only reason has to be bottom line. Maybe they can hire cheaper there. Hopefully, they will also hire competent: what a change that would be!

geelizzie said...

What eclipse says. It sounds to me like they are just going to concentrate on blogging, pretty much what they do anyway. I don't see this having much effect on sellers.

BackOff said...

Personally, and this is going to be rude, I think they need not concentrate on Germany or whatever else but perhaps Maria should concentrate on controlling her staff who are up to things I doubt she knows about. Things I wish I could talk about.

No offense to anyone here. I just can't take it anymore. I can't take the childish attitudes of Etsy staff, the lack of response, the fact they hide behind the original belief in Etsy....

I know said...

It is just easier to move to Germany and meet with the sellers personally to see what they are selling, than to do a search for them on etsy's search engine.

RRobin said...

Quoting BackOff...

"...Things I wish I could talk about..."


So you're just going to leave us hanging?

eclipse said...

I figured it out! It's all Leonard Cohen's fault.

I thank you for those items that you sent me
The sock monkey and the plywood violin
I practiced every night , now I am ready
first we take Manhattan , then we take Berlin

pshaw said...

I don't think it would affect the customer service department one way or the other.

Etsy has customer service?

Eveline said...

I think this is Etsy's 'look what we do for you foreign sellers, isn't it amazing' song and dance. Now that they are opening an office in Europe, European sellers can't complain anymore that Etsy doesn't see or hear them.

Wish Etsy could get their mess in Brooklyn sorted before expanding to other countries. France will be next!

The Funny One said...

Etsy operates in an alternate universe, but with so much money to spend, why not cater to the personal whims of one of the founding employees? Etsy's arrogance knows no bounds, so why not spread it around? It will, hopefully, lead to a quicker Etsy demise than we can hope for at this stage, and when we all jump ship in January, we can help spread the word.

Etsy destroyed handmade in 4.5 years, I bet there are enough swindled sellers to bring that about for Etsy in less time. Let's pull the same switcheroo on Etsy that Etsy did when they branded handmade down the toilet. They won't know what hit 'em. Here today, gone tomorrow.

Someone's making a LOT of money on Etsy, and it ain't the sellers.

Peikkonen said...

Expanding? How do you expand an already worlwide site? If the German crafters know about DaWanda, they know about Etsy too... Or will they make a translated user interface available to German users? If they do that, who's going to provide support (tech, content, abuse, general) to the German service?

Simone said...

"Maybe they can hire cheaper there"

Wages in Germany would be much, much higher than in the US - on average wages in the US are low compared to probably most western nations and especially those in Europe. Which makes it all the more puzzling!

I'm sure I read/heard something about them setting up some sort of blog over there rather than a fully-fledged site? Either way it seems kind of ridiculous with so much needing to be done on still.

Perhaps they're aiming to be the Starbucks of the handmade world or something!

broke said...

Germany? Wow. If the purpose is just foreign language blogging, surely they can find people in NEW YORK that are multilingual. How much do you want to bet Etsy is planning to buy Dwanda? That would make the move to Germany make some kind of sense. Maybe. Not really. But does anything makes sense in Etsy land?

Margaret said...

RRobin said...
1 - German engineers will improve Etsy's overall functioning, with the domino effect that the US site will finally come into the 20th century, and maybe even the 21st.

I really doubt if they're going to be hiring German programmers. maybe translators.

broke said...

(...) How much do you want to bet Etsy is planning to buy Dwanda?

The stingiest company on earth, buying another company? Seems unlikely. They'd rather just try to do it themselves.

I think they want to internationalize the home page. Doesn't make much sense to me since Etsy is already international... it will only isolate international sellers more, actually.

Good for Matt, great have a nice adventure in Germany. Maybe this means they'll put someone who knows anything at ALL ABOUT MARKETING in charge of marketing.

Oh well, leave it to Etsy to always pick the stupidest directions to go in. Like, working on some features that nobody wants and everyone hates instead of the little, significant things that people ask about for years (delete from damned expired, inactive, search sold items, etc god damned etc.)

Confused said...

Well, I can't say I saw this one coming. And I really don't understand it.

I agree that they should really sort out their main operations before going global, whether they create a separate site or just a translated version of the original one. There are so many product improvements that can be made as it is, and this isn't going to address those. I really wonder what is going on in their heads sometimes!

As for how they might run things with a Berlin office, I highly doubt that this would change much with the site. My bet is that they'd make the product decisions in the US and then just carry them over to the German site, translated of course.

Very weird.

RRobin said...

Some top Etsy admin has a wife/husband/SO or close relative in Germany, or promised some German person a job in exchange for a cowl-job, or just thought it would be cool to move there.

I'm sure the decision was based solely on a personal whim, just like every other decision Etsy makes, and not any sort of business strategy.

So if you are trying to decipher the business plan behind it, you are wasting your time. There is none. It's just Etsy doing business as usual, creating policy on the basis of a half-educated, libido-driven, ADD/ADHD-afflicted Brooklyn hipster's momentary whim.

foxaz said...

The beer is much better in Germany.

Dawanda defector said...

Well, I'm leaving Dawanda after the holidays because I have to deal with the Euros and most of their buyers are German and want to use bank transfers. If Etsy does the same, I doubt many Americans will want to sell in that section of Etsy. Yeah, Etsy needs to get THIS house in order before building another one.

The Funny One said...

My thoughts exactly, RRobin, or maybe the staffer moving to Germany sees the writing on the wall and wants to get what he can before the ship sinks.

Shall we make a list of all the broken Etsy parts he can take with him?

EyesOpen said...

Isn't Matt's wife German? And a founding member or in charge of Burda? or is that someone else?

And, why would they want to let you delete expired items when Jim and Walmart could peruse them?

Don't think a lot of things aren't done to benefit the investors in ways that aren't just paying them back.

Oh dear... said...

Etsy destroyed handmade in 4.5 years

I love EB and I love you, Funny One, especially, but I have to disagree here. Other crafters have helped "destroy" handmade and Etsy can't take all the blame.

I just finished up my Christmas craft sales, six weekends of my Mom and I selling my artwork and her knit goods. When other crafters are charging $1.50 for dishclothes when the cotton costs $1.69, that is a problem. People turn up their nose at Mom's price of $2.50. If vendors charged what something is worth, people would come to expect it everywhere. If every crafter treated themselves as a business, I think customers would treat them with more respect.

Similarly, I have heard Etsy accused of "mass made handmade". Some items have been ubiquitous at craft sales for years - such as pen flowers, dishcloths, slippers and hats - so your mass made handmade label existed long, long, before Etsy.

heh said...

Etsy may be didn't destroy it singlehandedly, sure, but providing a venue (Alchemy) for people to ask for bargain basement prices isn't helping either. Alchemy should just be retitled to Dollar Tree.

The Funny One said...

I actually agree with you "Oh dear said" but you missed my point. The immense size of Etsy, where anyone can still open a store no matter what the product is, and because they encourage sellers to make multuples priced $14 and under has DEFLATED prices for handmade about 5000 times quicker than usual.

I've been in the biz a long time too, and the product I sold 8 years ago would NEVER sell for the same price, but 40-50% less because everyone expects a bargain. I know because I've had to LOWER my prices every year for 8 years.

Walmart made underpricing their hallmark, and Etsy's done that to handmade-----and I bet shoppers think handmade is so ubiqitous that they expect bottom of the barrel prices just like they do at Walmart.

Etsy's taken the handmade out of handmade, and their push to brand openly encourages sellers to make all the same stuff at all the same low prices, often below cost. THIS PUTS IMMENSE PRICE PRESSURES ON ALL SELLERS, like it or not.

That is the wholesaling of handmade. The difference is, Walmart PAYS their suppliers up front, Etsy does not.

All the bad effects of big boxing consumer goods has happened at Etsy, and they damaged the quality, value, reputation and pricing along with it.

I really wonder why people who want to sell real 100% handmade put up with it. The negative effects of Etsy will be with us a lot longer than Etsy.

Eveline said...

Thankfully EB and 'the same ten people who complain' are the only ppl. who question this move to Germany. Everyone else seems perfectly fine with it....


The Righteous One said...

Eveline, interesting thread. The idea of setting up another office just to handle blogs that will be done remotely anyway is a waste of money. They're not going to be adding any support for international sellers, so why the need to be there. It's like opening a second store on the other side of the country when everything will be shipped from the current one still.

WindysDesigns said...

This is how it went down:

Matt: My wife and I are thinking of moving to Germany. I'd sure hate to lose my cushy job at Etsy, I wonder if we can set up something so I can work from there.

Maria: Matt, come here under my money tarp, it's where I go to get ideas for Etsy to raise money. *Matt joins Maria under the money tarp*

Maria: I have it! You can run a small "office" and blog about stuff from Germany. WE'll call it Yavoltsy. And if you don't know any German, you can enlist German Etsy sellers to write articles for you. It'll be great! Then you can enlist the German shop owners to make suggestions for your daily Yavoltsy finds!

Matt: that's cool, so I'll do as much work there as I do here. I sure hope that they don't send saurbraten instead of cupcakes though.


Eveline said...

But Righteous One, don't you understand, you have to physically BE in the place you blog about. You can't possibly blog about anything happening in Europe if you are in the US, or vise versa. And Americans don't speak any other language, not even the people that recently moved to the US from say... oohhh... Germany... So you neeeeeed to move to Germany in order to get a decent translation done. Why people don't understand this I will never know..


As I said in the thread, I live in the UK yet I work for a Dutch organisation, and keep a Dutch blog. And guess what... I have absolutely no problem doing so. Long live the internet!
But what do I know, right?

(glad to see the 'Etsy is still young' excuse is still going strong!)

Anonymous said...

Windy that was my thought too, Matt wants to move, still have a job, gets them to open an office where he can hide away from the wife.
Will any work get done, no but then none gets done in Brooklyn either.

eclipse said...


Is that some phonetic version of jawohl?

WindysDesigns said...

eclipse said...


Is that some phonetic version of jawohl?

Haha! Yep, I learned all my German from Hogan's Heroes.

eclipse said...

I can hear a few million German people cringing.

TooHipToLive said...

I am sure there are few Germans who give a rat's ass.

FUCKED said...

If I worked for a company run the way this one is, and had to work every day with dipshits, I'd want to get as far away as I could, too.

Or maybe just get another job.

loverrr said...

Maybe it has something to do with DaWanda? They are based out of Germany. Maybe some mega merger??