Monday, April 12, 2010

From the Auxiliary Guild: "What happens when a CEO can’t let go"

This is a GREAT column we got sent today, specially written for EB by someone who knows what they are talking about, but who wishes to remain anonymous:

What happens when a CEO can’t let go
By "Penelope"


This December I nearly lost my breath when I found out that Rob was returning as the CEO of Etsy. Under the guise of moving forward, Etsy took a huge step backward. The return of the original founder carries a threat with it, and I’ve seen it happen too many times before. When the creator of an entity (be it a company or a publication or whatever) cannot separate him/herself from the creation, the over-identification with what has been created turns into a vortex that threatens the ability of the endeavor to stay afloat.

Take RealNetworks for example: The creator was so attached to his original idea that he lost incredible opportunities and allowed his entire project to go under. Recently, the board of a Bay Area non-profit demoted their Founder to Creative Director after he led the company within an inch of bankruptcy. He loved the mission of his project so much that he never actually paid attention to how an office should be run, how finances should be managed, how a non-profit should grow into adolescence. (sound familiar?)

Now with Rob back, Etsy is no different. A poster in the comments on EtsyBitch once put it this way, “I had no idea Etsy was in its third year of start up status.” Now we are about to start year six. If Rob cannot find a way to divorce himself from his early living-room project version of Etsy, this endeavor will be threatened with extinction. I’ve been giving a lot of thought about these ideas, and I’ve waited a bit to share them with the EtsyBitch community. Now that I’ve seen Rob play his hand with Etsy over the last few months, I’m ready to provide a diagnosis and a prognosis for the future. Here goes.

Diagnosis of the current situation:

My comments here are twofold. First, the current structure of Etsy, as many seasoned sellers know, is absolutely broken. Second, the current Google situation may have a deeper root than I’ve heard anyone mention before.

First: Etsy was created without much consideration for scaling (going from a few hundred sellers to making it global one day). The infrastructure that was put into place in the early stages of the company is mainly still in place. Buyers still need to set up member accounts to purchase, purchasing isn’t streamlined with marking items as sold . . . the list goes on and on.

I have a hunch that the base software they’ve written makes it impossible for them to give sellers the options we’ve been needing for the last couple years. Because of the inertia connected to this structure, they will not find a way to migrate the current sellers accounts fairly to a totally new structure that can support the demands sellers have been making. Instead Etsy will continue to put (or claim to put!) band-aids on a system that is hemorrhaging (both money, in terms of buyers not supporting sellers with sales, and sellers migrating to new communities/venues such as Big Cartel and ArtFire).

To name one example, the need to make buyers become “members” of the community stems from a fundamental reliance on a “forums” model. Not every buyer wants to be a part of this community, and those who do not wish to, are forced into a community they might not want to be a part of. But there is no other way to buy from Etsy. One of Rob’s many colleges had a student-run forum using the vBulletin platform. When you are in college, being a part of forums is fun. But customers aren’t students, and when you have a business to run, not every customer wants to join the club. Sometimes they just want their hand-felted drink cozy, and that’s it. Times change, markets change. Etsy needs to update this aspect of their business. But this is what happens when CEOs can’t let go. It’s impossible to see how to, when the creation is your baby.

(As an aside, they also have no incentives for fixing the system because they are making WILD profits from its brokenness. Sellers who constantly relist and engage in rabid competition for being found on the site are driving the site’s continued profits. Once we stop renewing like crazy, Etsy will have to sit and think about how it can actually make the site profitable. The only way Maria made the site profitable was to encourage more sellers to join and make them think that everyone can “Quit Your Day Job” if you sell on Etsy (link). Once new markets dry up, that bull-run will cease.

In line with this is Etsy’s reliance on sellers to do its marketing. When you are a broke start-up in 2005 of course you cannot buy ad-space. But now that they are making money, they can at least do themselves the favor of stepping above the animosity that has developed between Etsy central and its seller base and reach out as an entity to potential buyers. If the buyers don’t know how to get to the mall, how the hell are they going to shop there?)

Second: For the last month (or more) Etsy sellers have been livid about their disappearance from Google searches. For many sellers both their shops and listings have been obliterated from Google search and Google shopping. Etsy didn’t comment much beyond accusing Google of changing something on their end (see here and countless forum threads in “site help” in Etsy’s forums for more).

Lets get over the he said/they said and think about this issue on a higher level: Rob’s outside pet-project “Dopple” was rolled out to the Etsy community without announcement around the same time that the Google issue started to affect members of the selling community. Rob’s name choice is pretty transparent (as if they wouldn’t notice, Rob):

Dopple
Google

The problems might be as simple as this: If Dopple aimed to compete with Google (using Etsy as a guinea pig!), and if Google got wind of Rob’s ambition to out-google Google, the search giant might have made an internal decision to starve Etsy to death slowly by changing how Etsy (i.e., its sellers!) appear in Google searches. And hell would freeze over before anyone in the Etsy offices would want anyone else to know that. So all of a sudden, Etsy sellers (the people who really make money for Etsy) are being subject to a battle between Google and Rob’s Dopple ambitions. This is pure conjecture, but give it a moment’s consideration. It seems all too likely. And given Etsy’s past track record, their silence speaks volumes.

Prognosis for the future:
What Etsy doesn’t get is that the sellers will not be upset if Etsy takes its community seriously enough to explain this deeper issue of structural inertia and how they are going to fix it. Because that is what needs fixing, even if it means they have to stop gorging off the pennies of thousands of sellers’ renewal fees. There is a better way. If Rob can muster the bravery to have this real conversation, the community will embrace the depth of the communication and will most likely support Etsy’s conversion to a more seller-friendly and buyer-friendly format. If the system can be updated to work, they won’t need to continue perpetuating its brokenness.

I get the sense that although Rob WANTS to be able to have a flourishing and open community of makers (see recent WSJ article) until he trusts them with genuine honesty about what Etsy’s current challenges are, Etsy as it is will continue to deteriorate. Sellers are all too aware of these challenges, so when we hear Rob gloss over non-essential issues like site-width, it is infuriating. The problems are so much deeper than how wide the site is. But Rob started out designing the look of Etsy, so that will always remain his pet concern. Has he ever tried to use his own invention to make money like we do? I doubt it. If he did, he’d maybe finally get what we’re all upset about.

We’re ready for a real conversation about how Etsy can lead the pack that it created five years ago. We need to know how Etsy will molt its child skin and become the only place anyone would even think about going to buy handmade crafts. (Notice that I said buy them, not sell them.) Until this conversation happens, and until this progress is made, Etsy will continue to need to feed off of opening new markets to gullible sellers who aren’t aware of Etsy’s internal problems. Once those markets dry up, so will the company.

This is what happens when CEOs can’t let go.

35 Comments:

Painted Bull CrocDeli said...

Thank you for finally posting something substantial...even if it was from an Auxiliary Bitch.

However, I feel Etsy will never change, will never acknowledge there is a deeper problem. The broken wheel still works for all those newbies and cupcakes, so why change it? And like the many drops of water that make up the pool of Etsy Sellers, the continuous flow of new people who gladly fork over money for listings, relistings, multiple item listings (cause that is the new brilliant Etsy solution to the Google mess) showcases and the like... lest we forget all those who spam the hell out of Etsy with a devotion that borders on obsessive...this blind seller pool, Etsy's moneybags, will never dry up.

I really do not think there will ever be any real change for the good at Etsy. Rob has it made, because when those of us who are vocal and ask legitimate questions..who fight for some Honest Etsy Responsibility, have moved on...there will always be another sucker to take our place.

Are any of the other selling venues out there really worth it? I don't think so. I think the real solution is for those of us that are sick and tired of all this Etsy crap to grow some balls and venture out on our own. It just takes that final push off the ledge of e-commerce independence...and perhaps this last debacle over Dopple and Google will be it. I have to say that it was for me!

-Painted Bull

ummmno said...

I have for several months now felt that Etsy admin have a suspend account button on their desks...which they fire off on random shops without telling the shop owner. My shop has been in no sale land for over three months now, with this last weekend finally seeing a spike in sales for the first time and some real views. How did this happen? I actually went to Intuit and paid 14.99 a month to have my keywords work on google..yep...I had to pay, but its working so far. this is something etsy should be doing for us..but apparently, if we really want to make a go of it we either have to pay an outside source for this service or we have to leave etsy all together.

Honestly I would leave Etsy altogether if it was not the one place where people who have brick and mortar shops have found me. Its a broken system, and everything this author said in her email to you couldn't of been said better.

whimsicle fuckery said...

Yeah, as if Rob could create Google's doppelgänger.

Only if it was a Flash based search engine that only registered members could search, and every search returned the identical complete database dump of results.

Thank you for this insightful article. Maybe if the journalists at WSJ & others did a little better investigative journalism instead of yet another fluffy pud-tugging to stroke Rokali's ego, he might get motivated to sell the company to some real business people who know how to manage an eCommerce platform.

YouRight said...

This article makes So Much Sense.
However: a sucker is born every minute and there are so many already that I figure Etsy will continue to make profits based on the $.20 hit whether they sell their stuff or not.

Maria helped Etsy be a draw for the mundane, hokey, and debatable by appealing to every idiot's belief that she can truly sell whatever junk she has because others do. Well, others list, but suckers don't pay attention to anything beyond that.
Etsy draws those types more and more, making it the last place I will ever tell anyone about or advertise to because I am embarrassed by the company and the neighbors there.
My stuff is there for the random exposure; my return customers know how to buy from me without using Etsy, and I make it worth their while to do so.
Drek draws drek.

MonkFish said...

Wow, this is a load of off-base garbage. Google blacklisting Etsy because one of Rob's pet projects shares some of the same letters as "google"?

I always knew this site was filled with conspiracy nuts, but this is getting ridiculous

FantasyClay said...

Sums it perfectly.

The Righteous One said...

MonkFish, read again. Google won't help a competitor rise was the point, the spelling was just something pointed out about Rob's intentions. The two ideas were not directly related in the writer's summation.

WebJunkie said...

Don't worry, anyone with an open mind got the gist.
paintedbull: you gotta do your own thing. It's a pain in the ass and costs more time than money, but website or blog is the way to go.

$4.99 to get seen on Google is cheap, but there are other ways to do it that are free. You just gotta have your site or blog and work it!
that's where my customers come from, and I am making money without paying Etsy anything but the random twenty cents. They are not getting any more of my profits.

goingtogiveupsoon said...

What's going to happen when/if Etsy goes public? Are they going public, or was that just a bunch of bull crap too?
And what IS the alternative? I've sold 2 things on smashingdarling, nothing anywhere else, and I opened shop everywhere. None of the other places get the traffic that etsy does, still. And the only time I make sales is when I renew, or do my own paid advertising.
I loved the idea of ONE DAY of NO renewing, as someone in the forums suggested.
I think we need an etsy union. Where's Norma Rae?

Everyone Has a Secret said...

This is very well written and makes a lot of valid points that my business partner and I have suspected for quite some time now.

Fed Up With Fools said...

An excellent summation of the "brokenness" of Etsy. Very insightful and informative.

Maybe should be sent to the reporter at WSJ as an anonymous "Here's what is really happening at Etsy" email.

I've been on Etsy since early '06 and still keep hoping it will grow up, and catch up to the rest of the web community, but I'm pretty certain that it's not going to happen.

Instead of all the temporary bandaides, they should shut down the site for a week or two, get rid of all the old original outdated crap, and simply start fresh with a new data base minus the patches.

I'm not a computer savvy person, so I don't know if that would be feasible, but common sense (which is an unknown quality in Brooklyn) says it's the only way to do it right.

The Funny One said...

Etsy is broken, but I also think there's a new level of negativity on the site from the front page to the forum threads since Rokali returned.

A biz whose profits are based almost entirely on listing fees has always meant that selling isn't nearly as important.

Etsy can flog their 50-100 favorite stores year after year and eat caviar on what they take in on listing fees, so why bother making the effort to improve the site or spend some money on advertising?

The list of broken parts is too long, but the motivation to change or improve won't be found at Etsy. They're making too much money to care.

If it burns itself out, which is a distinct possibility, the only legacy they'll leave behind is what NOT to do when setting up a marketplace platform for handmade.

Making everything "personal" was their first huge mistake, and a biz run on personalities ran out of steam somewhere mid-2008.

WindysDesigns said...

Very interesting perspective proposed.

I'm not so sure that Rob's return will be the demise of Etsy. As astute as some of the observations made and the progression based on the conjectures, I think the whole scenario goes a lot deeper than that.

Awhile back I recall reading a tech blog article about RK's return to the helm at Etsy and in it, it was mentioned that Fred Wilson had 'decisively' removed Kalin from the CEO position previously. It didn't go into detail, but it left me feeling that it was the board, or Fred Wilson, to be exact, that decided that Kalin was no longer an asset to the growth and prosperity of the company, likely because of his attachment to Etsy as described in this OP.

I then went on to discover a few things, and as I was clicking and searching and reading, I lost a few of the pages to provide as proof, but it appears that the exit of Chris and Haim was due to dissention between them and Kalin. I will try to go back and find the links to back up my statements in a future post.

Anyway, I then happened upon this article: http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2008/08/the-human-piece.html from Fred Wilson's blog regarding whether or not a founding CEO should leave or stay and the part particular board members play in 'forcing' that decision. He gives examples, including Etsy, that I find interesting to ponder.

I also happened upon a youtube interview with Fred Wilson discussing Kalin's return as CEO of Etsy and in it a passing mention of something I believe harbors a much larger scenario than the statement appears. He mentions Etsy as a place to buy handmade, supplies and vintage, but he also mentions that there is 'room for more'. Not a direct quote, but if you listen to it and pick up on it, it sounds to me like handmade may just not be the focus it once was and that a distinct and profound change is coming over the next few years.

All of this to say, that while I believe the short term views of this blog post could most certainly happen, I am of the belief that the 'behind the scenes' actions of certain board members may have a plan none of us can foresee.

I wouldn't be surprised if that many engineers (what is it, 70?) are really actually working on a totally new Etsy while a handful are just trying to keep the current site going, adding patches and bandaids and gratuitous features as they can to keep people coming back and hoping for more.

Of course, I can't back up my feelings with any more proof than the author of this blog post can back up hers, however, the presence of venture capitalists and especially one who is so involved as Fred Wilson, I just don't see them investing this much time and energy into Etsy just to let it fall apart.

Ok, rather than have a separate post for links, I'll just backtrack my search and give you links that I read that I drew my conclusions from.

http://www.excitingcommerce.com/2008/08/social-commerce.html

http://blog.verbela.com/2010/02/fred-wilson-blows-the-social-commerce-horn/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FM66PgLbBQ

Violette said...

Ah, legacy code. I know it well. As a software developer, I've seen many systems that evolved from poorly designed individual components that end up hacked and manipulated into giant hairballs of code that don't play well with other code. That comes from a lack of thought and design in the beginning -- something that is eschewed by many of the new software development methodologies, like extreme programming and agile design. Even if you use these methods (and they can be used, if managed properly), you still need to design with a big picture view so that all your pieces integrate with each other and can scale gracefully. It sounds like the staff is made up of "cool kids" who hop on these new coding fads and focus on the pretty and flashy bits, paying no attention to the "boring" details of system design, QA, documentation, maintainability, or load testing. It's just bad design, (like a lot of the weird crap that shows up on the front page :-)

Unhappyincupcakeland said...

Excellent post. The minute I heard Rokali was returning, I got a stomach-ache. I had feeling that something awful was going to happen...and it did, not long after he showed up. I believe that your Dopple theory might be correct.

A kid who happens to have a great idea which happens to work is not qualified to run a huge company like Etsy. Nothing against Rob, but he was simply at the right place, with the right people at the right time and realized an opportunity that others may have passed by. That's all to his credit, but he really needs to step down and give a CEO carte blanch to professionalize the place.

I don't feel honesty from Rokali now is going to make a difference. It's too little, too late. Many of us who are good solid sellers have ceased to believe him.

Rob did say he plans on going public next year, so all he has to do is nurse Etsy along, keep up the happy talk to the cupcakes, keep shucking and jiving the media, and eventually he will have an IPO with all kinds of suckahs lined up to invest.

With this scenario in mind, I sincerely doubt that much of anything we complain about will change.

GAGging. said...

"Violette" totally hits my frustration with Etsy overall, to the T!

Joke of a forum platform, Seller Tools that will never materialize. And laughable priorities placed on things like "widening the site."

When a website's community tells you that deleting a forum post causes hours of lag on the site, you have to connect your face to the desk.

Etsy might just be the living example of how "kool kid" caffiene(CEOs) can stunt growth.

The Funny One said...

Isn't it Fred Wilson who preaches the "make Etsy into a farmer's market-kind-of-social-gathering-place" that launched Rokali's return to Etsy because he intially agreed to preach this particular naive view of ecommerce while continuing to blatantly ignore sellers for 5+years?

sillygirl said...

Unless we all try to start a class action lawsuit against etsy to show that they have highhandedly ruined the term "handmade" for generations to come, well, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Money = power and etsy has all the power. Take away their $$$. No power.

All I can do is not get their e-mails, not renew, not promote etsy. When my "real" community (not some watered down community of 2 million sellers) ask me about etsy, I tell them they are the devil. Evil geniuses. The tag line of 'all things handmade' doesn't exist anymore. No one seems to notice.

Doc Martins and old wooden spoons have replaced handmade on the front page. Room for more... Room for more crap.

watchand wait said...

While an interesting post, it is reactionary and the author does not really understand anything that is going on behind the scenes.

I think what Windy's Designs post implied is more the point. What will etsy become? Caterina Fake and Fred Wilson know how to run companies. Etsy is not run like the firms they manage.

The etsy of the present will not be the etsy of the future. What people in the forums decry as resellers, for the most part, will be the new core of etsy. Designed by few, produced by many. That model will not only be encouraged, but profitable.

Etsy is not sustainble simply as handmade wth some supplies and vintage. There will always be an illusion of community, but it will grow into a giant force to be reckoned with. No little start up like Art Fire or Zibbet will touch it.

And just like the March weather report yesterday Etsy continues to grow. It's really just too bad if your shop is left in the dust. This is business.

By the way, the admins who tell you to put handmade in your tags or how to fix your SEO...they are placeholders for the new etsy. They have no clue what is in store.

Wether you like the way things are run or not, the board is a talented bunch and etsy will be a mega corporation, soon. You will not hear from Rob is a folksy way again.

tired etsian said...

Windys,

I too can only hope that behind the scenes the bulk of the engineering staff is busy at work on V3 which will be scalable and have the features that have been promised for the past few years.

Hope doesn't pay the bills though so I'll be working elsewhere for now.

FantasyClay said...

Watched the youtube video, never saw any one as Fred Wilson in that video. Said Rob originally left because he couldn't handle issues about it running as a business with other workers, employees wanted to keep it as it was and Rob couldn't say no to them.

Fred looked so nervous and hand twisting when he said he thought Rob would work out but never said why Rob was a good choice.

They still seem to want to be a buddies hanging together. Duh- it is a big business and there is nothing wrong with that.

They get their listing fees. I've Etsians saw Af with monthly flat has less interest in getting sales because it already has your money. But Etsy urges you to pay it over and over, they're getting their fees, why bother? They're making money, why should they care if you get sales?

EtsyBitch Reader said...

Google is not mad that Rob is "trying" to out google google.

Rob is NOT the only guy/company out there trying to out do google and google is not going to cut people/companies from search just because of that.

If you search on google, you will often find results that link to yahoo and even bing... BING!

Bing being Microsoft's google wanna be and yet it shows up on google. Google are not that childish and I think they have bigger fish to fry as far as competition goes.

What seems is that Etsy changed SEO to make sure the word ETSY is on every single listing on Etsy so in google terms, making it spam.
And google does not like spam!

http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6186413&page=1

http://considerations.ning.com/forum/topics/urgent-if-your-etsy-shop-has?xg_source=activity

I think better reseach and less conspiracy theories from the OP and Etsybitch would inform the readers better.

But some good points WAS made by the OP I had to say!

I refuse to sell or buy on Etsy. I closed my account in early 2009 and I will never go back.

StopHandingMeCrap said...

Wow, wow, and WOW!!!

An insightful, honest, and validating article. Everything I have felt about Etsy is stated in this article. Those of us in the forum trenches feel this and we also see that Rokali doesn't give a shit.

I have stopped renewing. I haven't listed, renewed or re-listed (no sales so can't relist) since March 23. My sales and views have been in the toilet since January 2010 and getting worse every day.

I'm focusing my efforts on other venues and my own website. If I am going to have to work so hard tweeting, slapping my face, and blogging to get sales, then I'm going to do it and point my efforts toward my own website not a sinking ship.

Rokali needs to realize that life is a two-way street. You cannot continue to take without giving.

Sellers need to wake up and smell the coffee - and that coffee is not Google Caffeine.

Thanks for printing this. I finally feel validated.

Sincerely,

No Longer an Etsy Fan

SK said...

SEO is one of those things that I just read and my eyes glaze over.

I know how to title my descriptions with keywords.
I know how to write my descriptions with keywords.
I know how to tag my items for the correct categories & with keywords.

The other half of SEO is page coding, and that's what etsy controls. I have no say over that unless I cease to list period.

Lisajune, RobWhite, or any other generic etsy employee / forum moderator cannot actually provide any substantive explanations on the matter. Only engineering employees are (theoretically) capable of doing that.

So, until the rest of my items show up in google or they change the page code — really all I can do is throw up my hands and arrange wholesale orders & drastically reduce my prices for the wholesale orders — which my contacts know that I will.

It's funny that I can sell things to people who own actual stores who have utterly no problem selling my items (and I am not a supply seller, I'm an illustrator for fuck's sake)... and yet my items are lost on etsy.

Every time I think I'm going to throw in the towel — I get a wholesale order...

WindysDesigns said...

All I can say is, if you haven't already, wean yourself off the Etsy Tit.

Far too many are way too dependent on Etsy. When someone comes to the forums because of an Etsy problem and begs and pleads for an answer or a fix because they won't be able to pay bills or eat, it's either hyperbole or even scarier, it's the truth.

There is no guarantee that Etsy will be here tomorrow, next week or next year. All it would take is someone on the board to convince the others that Etsy is just not worth the effort and *poof* goodbye Etsy. And it's not whether or not any particular scenario is feasible, it's that no one knows what the future holds. What will some of you do then? Do you have a backup plan?

The Etsy tit is drying up. Some of you may still be eeking out a little sustenance, but don't let it fool you into thinking you won't ever have to learn to feed yourself.

AgainOrStill said...

Is this etsy-first-in-your-listing-name shit an SSDD from last summer??????
A sucker is born ever minute, so they don't have to wait a year to screw the pooch the same old way: it will be news to the suckers. The sucker turnover is what gets EtsyCo it's $$.

The Funny One said...

The recent avalanche of "announcements" about SEO and URL tweaks reminds me that Etsy is all about Etsy slapping its brand name on all the products listed on their site without paying for them up front.
No matter what Etsy does next week, they've already branded products they don't own, and charged the owner a fee for slapping their brand name on your work.
Your listing may (or most likely may not) show up on a google search, but the word "Etsy" precedes your biz and product name and you paid Etsy to do it.

confused said...

But I just don't understand why? I realize that etsy is still making money off of the listing fees but they'd make so much more if they actually helped sellers make sales. So why are they doing this, are etsy admin really this stupid or is there some diabolical plan for the future of etsy that includes forcing a lot of their original sellers away in disgust?

Melvin Pineapple said...

I agree that Rob Kalin coming back is a really bad sign, and much of this is on point.

And, agreed with EtsyBitch Reader above... The idea that Google gives a flying hoot about 'dopple' is a bit unrealistic, though. The internet is a hell f a lot bigger than that. How exactly is he challenging them, again? With analytics? There are already 20 different GA-like analytics platforms out there. If you have a good one, no, Google won't artificially penalize your other sites in search rankings. They'll buy you, like they did feedburner (or Urchin, aka google analytics).

Etsy doesn't know what they're are doing, STILL, and every single thing they roll out misses the point... still. It's weird but they are just as incompetent, clueless, sheltered and arrogant as they were in 2007.

HiMichelle said...

HeyMichelle says:
Hi,

While there are some things in this thread that qualify as good discussion, there are quite a few posts that I find unacceptable. The purpose of these forums is to foster a discussion between members of the community and admins. Constructive criticism is fine and even useful, however the tone that I have seen used by some over the past several months is unacceptable. Please keep posts respectful, or do not post at all. Thank you.
Posted at 10:16 am, April 1 2010 EST - Report this post

(Hi! Slap me, oooh that feels SO GOOD! Tell me I am a bad girl. Where are those spurs??)

ooops said...

Oh no---I think I'm one of those suckers...I'm not even officially open and I've just lost all my enthusiasm. I've been sewing some really great, unique stuff all winter. Maybe I'm too gullible, but anyone have any advice for me at this point?

goat said...

I decided E and I were thorugh a few weeks ago. I didn't want to be the girl who is always complaining about her BF and never breaks up with him.

There were things I could tolerate when views were good, but no views, no sales and my toleration lever drops dramatically.

I'm also very concerned about Mr. Wilson's commentary in regard to Etsy's future. And I'm just really disgusted in general.

So I got my own site, I'll let my listings expire and that's it. Etsy won't miss me, but I sure feel better having finally cut the damn cord.

I think Etsy as we wanted it to be, that is over. Something big is on the horizon. And I don't think it's something I want to be part of anymore. I mean, they dont' even advertise, fcol.

I think one day you just realise that they ain't ever gonna listen and for everyone who lives there's another dewy eyed suckers lining up to take thier place.

silverlining said...

What's putting a smile on my face for real? Watching PD's blog dry up.

I guess she's gonna hafta fnd a whole new group to rabidly rave and rant about. WHich, give her propensity to make things up to suit her, should be pretty easy.

So for that, Etsy, I thank you.

Violette said...

All of this seems eerily similar to what's been happening on eBay during the past few years. Over there, they tinkered with search endlessly, inserted themselves deeper and deeper into transactions, and generally made it harder and harder for sellers to do business. Page views and sell-through are way down and sellers are leaving in droves. I see hints of the same now on Etsy. About the only good thing is that alternative venues like Atomic Mall (my personal favorite), Bonanzle, Amazon, Ruby Lane, and eBid have gained more traffic while eBay loses it. eBay has done the same kind mis-targeted focus on "fixing" things. Instead of working on the nuts and bolts to make it faster and easier for sellers to list items and actually make sales, they focus on the bells & whistles to the exclusion of the parts that actually need the attention (like fraud prevention, shopping carts, easier checkout, etc.) And when was the last time you saw an eBay ad? It's sad, since Etsy has such promise...

Karin said...

Wow. I'm really pissed off about this, but not surprised. I've been on Etsy since January and feel like relisting is akin to playing the slot machines in the casino. Put your quarter in and hope you'll make some money. Just keep putting those quarters in...

Then in the last month, views just died. From the beginning, it seemed kind of weird that I was working my tail off for every sale and doing my own production and shipping, while paying Etsy a fee for nothing. It all makes sense now. I'm starting to look into setting up my own website with paypal capability. Why not? I'm doing all the work on my own anyway.