Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Etsy Alternatives Update

From time to time we've done reviews of Etsy alternatives - we haven't had any in awhile because it seems that once we find one it disappears or is greatly disappointing. It's not much of an alternative if it has security issues, like we found efreeme does. A site should have a seller login to list items and not have the"edit this listing" link visible to everyone who visits the page - jus' saying'.

A somewhat disappointing note in handmade is an update to the Etsy alternative 1000Markets. This site was juried to ensure handmade products (see previous review) - but it's been bought by Bonanzle. Now, many handmade people like Bonanzle, but it isn't a handmade only place though they cater to non-mass produced stuff. Also, they are changing their name to Bonanza (if you're a seller on 1000markets, see what you have to do for the switch here). We haven't reviewed the site yet, but with a million dollar infusion a couple months ago and the purchase of one of the few juried handmade sites out there, we'll be doing one. Feel free to comment with your thoughts on your experience with the site and what impact changing the name of the site may have on sellers there.

In the past year or two a number of handmade venues have closed (mintd to name one), it is nice to see one get acquired instead. In contrast, though, Artfire has been growing exponentially - in regards to features, sales, and traffic - and is leaving beta (the look of the site has also been completely redone). This is one alternative that does not seem to be going away. For those interested, many have mentioned in our comments that they are offering a $5.95/mo group deal - if 20,000 people signup, the deal goes into effect. If you're interested in this alternative the information is here. Our original review is here, and a previous update that included previous changes at Artfire is here.

EDIT: UPDATE, Today Artfire announced that anyone who signs up before 12:00 noon PST on 10/01/10 WILL get the $5.95 price. If you were one of the many saying they were waiting to see if it was going through, it is.

Silkfair has also added some functionality, including personalized shop blog, forum, and video capabilities. The homepage also now pushes "the extraordinary" - handmade, vintage, antiques, collectibles - but the site is still open to any items despite the change in look. This change does address some of the "garage sale" comments that have been made about the homepage of that site. Our originial review is here.

If you have suggestions on Etsy alternatives we should review, leave a comment or send me an email etsyanon.righteous@gmail.com I am also open to looking into any updates to Etsy alternatives we've already reviewed in order to help you make the best decisions for your business.


A Happy Seller said...



sark said...

Yeah, I'm a cheap bastard, and I recently opened an account on Artfire, and I have one on Zibbet, which I notice your first commenter suggested.

Now, I'm a pragmatist, an asshole, a cheap bastard, and a lazy bastard. I have an account on cafe press, zazzle, and imagekind — but I'm a graphic artist. I also have an account on Big Cartel.

Now, in all honesty, the Artfire & Zibbet accounts are the newest, and I have yet to actually sell a single thing on any of these venues.

The biggest problem with all or any of them is this: I am an artist — I make stuff. I actually make stuff — I draw, I paint, I do things on the computer. This is not the same thing as placing a $300.00 order from a Fire Mountain Gems catalog and going to JoAnn's and buying ear wires and wire for $20.00 and turning your coffee table into a factory to assemble pre-made parts, which can be done while watching television & movies, while your husband goes off to work and pays the bills so you can sit in front of the television or computer all day long and try to draw customers to a venue.

My work doesn't work that way.
If none of these venues to sell things on don't do a god damned thing to draw in customers, then they are completely useless.

Cupcakes are retarded cunts. It is the responsibility of the venue (on which you are a vendor) to ADVERTISE and draw in CUSTOMERS.

The farms that sell tomatoes and green peppers to the grocery store are not responsible for ADVERTISING for the grocery store. So, until ANY of these VENUES bothers to consistently spend on ADVERTISING — they are all completely useless.

I don't have a premium account at Artfire or Zibbet or Big Cartel. Nor do I have any fucking time to sit around and try to draw customers to these venues. I never had to do that when I sold on ebay. I never even considered doing it. And yet, I actually SOLD product on ebay. Imagine that.

Now, some arrogant bastard can tell me that "I get what I pay for" — but until your venue proves to me that it actually has fucking customers, I'm not buying a god damned thing.

As little respect as I have for the etsy staff, for the very little effort I have put into "promoting" — which is very little — I do actually have sales to my name.

I don't "renew"
I don't buy showcases.
I don't comment on the Storque
I'm not Polestar and I don't smother people in the forums.

And yet, I sell things there, and I am certainly not a front page fav.

So, show me a venue that goes out of it's way to draw in customers with advertising.

Anonymous said...

The BEST Etsy alternative is to get your own website. You end up having to do your own marketing anyway, so why not be professional about the whole thing? Selling on any one of these sites seems a little fly-by-night anyway. The Artfire fees are just about what you'd pay for your own hosting, and you have a lot more flexibility. I could go on, but that's really not even the point. Just getting away from Etsy is a good start.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update. Artfire is really going strong.

Having your own website with a cart is an alternative but many people don't have the time or skill to build it or pay to have on built, having a good venue to sell on is really helpful.

Delight said...

Yes,the merchants at 1km got the shaft-I was there early and close my shop there yesterday.Such unfulfilled promise.I am sure the CEO walks away with a tidy sum.We had no communication from admin and the timing couldn't be worse.I have my own site and that is where I will focus now.

The Funny One said...

1K suffered from a lack of founder interest (it was the CEO's 4th startup) & its market concept made little sense to shoppers. It also limited pmts to Amazon without any reciprocal benefits (links & ads on Amazon to the site).

It also had a troubling attitude towards sellers, which is another inherited problem from Etsy.

The basic problems with most non-Etsy sites is that they use the Etsy template for low fees, little seller support, and a faulty revenue model (low fees for free seller labor without real traffic or sales) that just does not work unless you've walmarted the site to 7 million listings with no pre-screening & a devious fee structure that only benefits the site.

This high-volume, fee-to-death approach leaves sellers at the bottom of the heap. Literally. Not one of them has ever valued their sellers in any shape or form.

However, AF has broken out of the pack of lackluster Etsy-imitators for 2 major reasons: (1) their seller tools, most notably the AF FB Kiosk and RapidCart are worth the monthly fee and (2) AF sends seller emails with a list of projects and completion dates and they DO THEM. Every single one.

ZIBBET has potential because they are actively making multiple improvements to the site every month, but they just revamped a front page that looks too much like Etsy.

Will they never learn? None of these sites are going to have longevity unless they have an active relationship with sellers including pro-active seller support. Sellers are the reason they exist, yet they continue, after 5 horrible Etsy years, to treat sellers like a dime a dozen.

This is what Etsy's done to the entire concept of marketplace selling -- they forgot their sellers.

Sellers can make the site, and they can unmake the site. Move to one of these for October to December now, because chances of selling on Etsy are dim to none (if Etsy isn't down more days that it's up).

Let's move the faulty Etsy model to one where more sellers leave than join. Let's break the Etsy mold because it stinks.

trusk4u said...

Handmade Artists Shops are a great place to sell handmade only.

It continues to grow and is handmade only and will always be that way. The owners are wonderful, quick to respond to any issue,and will not allow the site to get too large so they can maintain quality.Well worth a look in my opinion.

Wolf said...

Everything I've read so far about Bananza/Bonanzle is bad, to say the least.

It was likened to a 'flea market' site, compared to eBay and indeed, even calls itself the new eBay.

I did a brief search there for the specific items I sold on 1kM, and sorry, I can't compete with mass market sellers, blatant resellers who don't even bother to try to hide it, or flea market/yard sale junk. There was even a shop on there selling magazine subscriptions, some to magazines I already have a sub to or have had one to.

It's not worth it to me. So, my 1kM shop will be shut down.

The 1kM forums already had a few threads full of users saying they were shutting down and not making the switch. I think the 1kM founder got the better deal out of this over Bonanza/Bonanzle.

Violets new Vintage said...

For anyone considering their own web site Weebly.com is great. Wonderful tools and templates! I love Weebly and its worth checking out. You can start with a free site and upgrade later if you like it.

Anonymous said...

I need a venue that...

1. a potential customer feels comfortable with
2. has kick ass SEO in place
3. can accept coupons on checkout

I just looked at Artfire and the front page has improved drastically (more Etsy like-which I don't consider bad) and I think in the end that's what they'll need to draw more peeps in.

does anybody have any tips for exporting your Etsy feedback to another site? or is a link to your feedback the only alternative?

Amenhotep IV said...

Everyone--set up your own website. I'll be done with my fully functional retail site in time for Xmas.

As for venues, I am hanging in there at ArtFire. I was in on the beginning--and haven't sold much there, but I am hoping that more disgruntled people from Etsy will find their way over there and will make it more lucrative. I have been trying to buy things on AF first, Etsy second if I can't find it on AF.

AF has the tools.

Bratty Cat said...

I like Artfire, but (no offense to anyone) I just don't think their visual appeal is slick enough. The buttons are too colorful and squishy, for instance.

And look at the bottom of their home page - there's just too much stuff jumbled in there. It needs to be much more clean.

@Anonymous asking about feedback exportation -

I don't think any other venue is going to let you import feedback from another marketplace, since that would be wide open for shilling.

If you had your own website, though you could display it in a custom way (updating, using Etsy's API, or just cut and paste it there yourself and format it).

UgaBugaBowls said...

Anonymous - On Artfire, if you do a search for "scrolling widget" in the forums, you should find some instructions on how to create a widget that will scroll whatever text you want to scroll. I have the widget in my shop if you want to see what it looks like (it's below the facebook badge on the right).

You can copy and paste your Etsy feedback into a widget like this. It's kind of roundabout but it gets the job done.

Bratty Cat said...

I think the question readers of this blog should be asking ourselves and each other is, what are we going to do to make sure one other marketplace is a big success, and Etsy goes down in flames (ideally trapping Rob Kalin under the rubble)?

Personally, I'm not going to go sign up to sell on the alternative venues - I'm going to SHOP on them. Once people start getting more sales on Zibonanzfirefair, that will turn things around.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips BrattyCat and UgaBuga...

I agree BrattyCat, I am going to SHOPPING on one of those (non-etsy) sites right now.

ChristianMarie said...

Zibbet indeed. I think I remember you guys reviewing them a long time ago, but they've made many many improvements since then.

Jill at Liv'nGood Jewelry said...

I'm what you might call an early adopter of these sites (user #36 on Artfire TYVM) and was on 1kM from the very beginning. I was even a market manager for a while.

But about 6 months ago the writing on the wall began to show up. The owner/CEO started talking all excited about his new venture (Bixbe) and the forums were wiped clean "accidentally".

They had a lot of things going for them, not least of all the terrific look and style of the site, but too many flaws (amazon payments only? really?) and zero traffic.

Sad to see it go, but not surprised in the least.

Diana said...

Hey guys, just wanted to clear up something you touched upon regarding efreeme.

Although each listing does have the "Edit this Item" link available to everyone, it does not actually allow anyone to edit the item unless they know the password for that one specific item. We also don't show any sort of confidential information if someone were to click on the "Edit" button.

I could see this as maybe being more of a design issue perhaps, but definitely not a security issue.

Efreeme is just as secure as every other site (perhaps even more so than some since we actually encrypt passwords - a scary amount of sites still don't even do that!)

Since we don't have accounts, we also don't store any personal information, such as name, address, etc.

Hope this helps clear that issue up!

F.W. said...

I absolutely, totally agree with sark and am glad to see someone writing what I've been thinking all along.

I'm sick and tired of being told to "market yourself" meaning having to do mindless spamming via social networking, etc. for free when larger sites should facilitate Google searches rather than basing results on the most recent item listed. Of course we expect things to take time and require effort, but basic SEO facilitation shouldn't be this difficult.

I signed up for the Artfire deal and it's a reasonable rate. I figure it's worth a shot to have more than one venue, so that'll make Etsy, Artfire, and a website for us so far, in addition to selling in a local shop. For easy to edit templates, we use InMotion Hosting. The views on Artfire basic started out slow, but they are picking up with a few of my items having several inbound links- wow! What are those?!!! Novel concept. I can definitely see Artfire being a great location for a subset of our merchandise.

I love what sark said about being an artist and how that is different than "assembling" shit. If you dare to bring up that distinction between handmade and assembling in the Etsy forums, be prepared to duck and cover. Also loved the point about the farmers' market.

for the hell of it said...

For peeps wondering about how to display feedback, there's a site called repatoo.com. It allows you to compile a feedback profile from any of the venues that are hooked into their system.

Etsy is one of them, as is Ebay and there are others listed.It is then possible to create a widgit, and I would think that it would be easy enough to either leave a link or even just do an announcement of some nature so people had the ability to find the repatoo feedback data.

I did sign up to it awhile back and registered my Etsy feedback. It also probably functions as an inbound link, because I can gain access to my Etsy shop if I follow my feedback trail.

former1KMrefugee said...

Right now people are very upset that their 1KM shop name is directing people to Bozo's front page and not their shop on the new website (as we had been promised). They said they will fix the problem, but it's already on day two.

Luckily Zibbet's importer will be working till Oct 5th for those that need it.

post-toasty said...

craftisart allows feedback importing (it converts to their 5 star rating system).


zibbet's importer hasn't happened because etsy said "no". (?!)

natacha said...

There's an Australian one called madeit: http://madeit.com.au/

Not sure if it's opened to all or is region specific, but thought you might be interested.