Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Your Etsy Bill Reality Check

Ooooooh, we just got that Etsy Bill before the month expired, and wonders never cease, Etsy says “thank you”!

Thank you for being an Etsy seller.

This is your August 2010 Etsy billing statement. This email
reflects the fees and payments for your account in August, as
well as any outstanding unpaid fees from previous months.

Etsy does not charge monthly fees.

But golly gee Etsy, how can you thank us for being an Etsy seller when we haven’t sold a damn thing on Etsy for almost a year now. In fact, no one can actually find our shop on Etsy anymore amongst the millions of items and scads of resellers that Etsy redefined as “collectives”! Cheap, yes, but we can buy that stuff down at the Dollar Store and not pay shipping!

Now we know we didn’t kiss ass and start making mustaches out of old soda pop bottles, or cowls made from chewing gum wrappers, or hundreds of $5 throwaways so adored by Etsy Admins for their FP, FS and twitter darlings. But we did make everything we listed, and we did guarantee both the quality and genuineness of our products because they are actually 100% handmade by us... oh well, Etsy doesn’t do that kind of thing anymore, does it?

True, you don’t charge monthly fees... but what would you ever base your monthly fees on, Etsy? Certainly NOT for a Customer Service Department because you don’t have one!

It would take another 5 pages to list all the things that Etsy DOES NOT PROVIDE its sellers, but the real question is:


Oh yeah, thanks a lot for being an Etsy seller... but, hmmm, hey Etsy! You’re the reason we’re NOT selling on Etsy anymore!


headdesk said...

Who sells on etsy?

People who live in Brooklyn.

People who buy from resellers.

Seriously, I send the same link every week of a "handmade" item sold by 4 different sellers who bought it from a reseller and use the same photos.

Resellers of clothing, jewelry, paintings and hair accessories.

But you see, they make the same money for etsy's investors that an artist would make.


They don't need customer service.

twig said...

A bit OT, but related to the "Fail on Fail..." post below -- a potential buyer just emailed me to say he cannot complete his purchase, so it looks like the FAIL is ongoing. Plus, I'm wondering how many other buyers had this problem and just gave up, instead of letting me know. Grrrrr....

I'm seriously thinking of referring him to my Artfire store, which probably means getting booted off etsy. But at this point, why not? It's a badge of honor, considering what they're doing with the site.

Wolf said...

Surprise, surprise, I actually had a sale today. The first in quite sometime. And of course, it was scrap fabric grab bags, not actual finished items.

Once upon a time, I had several sales a week. Now, I'm lucky to get 1-2 every 6 months, if that.

I'm doubting I'll be on Etsy after the first of the year, it hasn't been worth it for awhile to me anymore.

UgaBugaBowls said...

Ummm, I'm thrilled when there's a new post as I have a really deep schadenfreude streak in me, but I'm not seeing anything wrong on Etsy's part here. You took a standard invoice and turned it into a ranting point. The rants are valid, but the catalyst is a bit of a head scratcher.

Disillusioned Sort of Newbie said...

Thanks to discovering this blog over the weekend, I did not launch my new product on Etsy but over on Big Cartel. I've been on Etsy for 1.5 years but only really got focused on it this year, especially this summer and so I was quite naive to all that is going on. I don't hang out in the forums, etc. I had my first inkling of unhappiness in June when I realized the relisting madness and that when I do spend a lot on relisting I get in tons of treasuries and have more sales. But I do resent it very much.

Roberta said...

I have been on Etsy since May of 2008. During that time I have sold one item. Yes one thing.

My work is nice. But as you say there are so many sellers on Etsy now, I don't know how anyone sells anything. I know people do but sheesh....

There will be no quitting of the day job here.

The Righteous One said...

Uga, getting an Etsy bill thanking someone for being a seller when they find it so hard to sell on the site is a bit of a kick in the ribs - not to all, but to some (most).

Anonymous said...

Twig- no reason not to send them to your Artfire store and guess what, you save the final value fee too. If you are a pro, try making up a coupon that offers your customers a discount on AF for their first purchase or something, just to bring your customers over.

Unless Etsy finds out,there is no problem anyway. I am sick of their "it's fee avoidance to sell off Etsy but we will make it impossible for your sales to go through"

They caused this; before this cart, they still would have gotten the fee. Let them suck it up a little

HadEnough said...

My bill should have read "thank you for being a lister", since I sell next to nothing, my bill was 98% listing fees. I used to sell, but those days are long gone.

I am holding out until the first of the year then closing up. Took me three long years to finally say "enough"!

Eveline said...

Oh but you don't understand. If only your pictures were better and you did more self-promotion you'd be quitting your day-job in no time and laughing all the way to the bank.
Right, Etsy?

Word verification: 'immer', which is Dutch for 'always'.

Unhappyincupcakeland said...

I think the comment that "Etsy does not charge monthly fees" may be a feeble swipe at ArtFire. I understand the anger.

My August bill is higher than the amount I owe. I cancelled a sale from a non-paying buyer before the end of the month, but Etsy accounting apparently can't even keep up with that. I hope that I can pay what I owe rather than being sent to collection for 35cents or whatever.

As I said before, this will be my last Etsy bill, unless everything changes to what Etsy was supposed to be. And I don't see that happening.

sark said...

I've been on etsy for at least 2.8 years. I have a couple of accounts. There have been many times when I have sold about 1 item or 0 items a month from either of them.

I sold nothing from either this week.

I went a good 9 months last year without being on the front page.

I listed something today which literally got zero views.

I have a twitter account. Contrary to what some may assume, it is not filled with profanity. It is quite mundane, but probably half of my tweets are links to my etsy items with the #etsy tag.

Someone recently turned me on to this little gem:

And I noticed that while etsy follows some ridiculous amount of people, apparently, they can't be bothered to follow ETSIANS

And I don't mean personal admin accounts, I mean this:

I read some thread in the forums recently where someone was asking about some charges on their etsy bill under the heading "other"...
Holy fuck.

This is somewhat unrelated, but I am OVER-JOYED to see random, but consistent, presence of forum threads decrying front page favoritism.

HeyMichelle is an idiot, and her response that it doesn't happen was completely moronic. Oh, and her articles are total shit. Maybe if the employees at that site didn't spend so much time with their heads up their own asses promoting their own shitty personal taste — which evidently isn't selling jack shit for the vast majority of people who list outside that very narrow range — then some of us would actually be selling.

When we're not busy wrapping up things to ship is when we all start noticing that the place is run by total morons.

"Seller" - ha.

Stacey said...

I'm done giving Etsy money that they don't deserve. My shop will be closing at the end of the year and I will shift whatever product I have left (more than likely all of it) to my Cargoh shop or to my website.

I'm tired of throwing good money after bad with these people. I understand the want to be cutting edge and different, but geez... there are web standards they need to follow and common sense they need to use.


Amenhotep IV said...

I wonder what motivated them to add the "we do not charge a monthly fee" line. People complaining, thinking they're being charged a monthly fee? Or a dig at ArtFire?

Just thinking...

Violets new Vintage said...

I also added items from my Etsy shop to my web site. I get more views on my web site than I get on Etsy now and I don't twit it incessantly or do very much to publicize it at all. Since Etsy started to brand itself my items don't fit the mold although I get in seller picked treasuries often. I do like being able to use the Etsy mini until all my items are moved. I have a feeling I'll do better with my own web site now that Etsy has changed into well, I just don't know what Etsy is anymore.

Kelly Hogaboom said...

I'd never heard Word One against Etsy (from which I've purchased about 80 items) until a friend sent me this site. Snarkiness or asshole language aside, etc etc, you are doing good work to detail all of this stuff. Kudos.

I *just* opened a shop to sell my custom sewing but I realize it doesn't really make sense as I make pieces slowly and with bespoke methods... I was planning on closing up and just selling from my blog and your site only affirms that.

Thank you for your work; it's been interesting poking around here!

The Funny One said...

Violetsnewvintage hit the nail on the head. The sellers who set up shop, sold well because they had great products fell off the Etsy map at least 2 yrs ago when branding and the monthly merch rpt took over and people learned to game the Etsy system.

The site swung from a great collecton of originals to an oversaturated onslaught of Etsy-approved product-types that get old in a NYMinute. 125 paid people and not a creative bone in any of them.

If you're reading all the latest Etsy PR you know how tired and boring their whole gimmick is, so worn out that going internat'l is their only option for getting new sellers and more fees.

It's never been about gaining better quality sellers of handmade products and providing basic customer service.

Because "building seller loyalty" was never on the agenda.

Etsy needs its sellers to be gullible and keep forking over pointless listing fees; most sellers DON'T need Etsy.

F.W. said...

I just can't figure out why views have dropped like a rock. Going to the forums is useless- all you are told is the same set of advice: 1. better photos (oh, are photos readable by search engines these days?); 2. better keywords (gee, I was born yesterday and don't know to call a tote bag "tote bag"); 3. use social media (oh, so I can provide good incoming links to Etsy! got it.); 4. re-list (relisting helps in the search engines, really?)
Those of us who sell genuine handmade items on Etsy do not need this kind of advice. We need to be seen on Google but that doesn't seem to be a priority. I can see why relisting is seen as a good tip because the $$ goes right to Etsy.

Violets new Vintage said...

Thank you Funny One. Unfortunately what you say is true. If you have been selling on Etsy for over three years (me; four years) You can study the changes and see how/if the branding changed your potentially successful shop into an invisible shop. (I remember posting here around two years ago and commenting how the Etsy front page was starting to look like Macy's) What I did was use the Greasemonkey hacks to go back and look at the sales and activity I had in 2008. It was so much better then and my pictures and descriptions were not as good as they are now AND I didn't have to constantly pull people in via 'social networking' The site did change its image and many original creations are now and will probably continue to be ignored. Hindsight is 20 20.

F.W. said...

The forums are getting even worse. Right now there's a thread about someone saying that the person who invented renewing should get a bonus. You have got to be kidding me. A few sellers suggested that greater search engine visibility would be nice, and they were shot down. The OP even went as far as saying that the older system of using the right keywords was 'unfair' while renewing is fair.
I'm sorry, but the older system meant your items could actually be seen by someone outside of Etsy-land!

Anonymous said...

Old school Etsian here, shop #201. I can tell you newer folks that even from the VERY beginning of Etsy, if you didn't self-promote incessantly, you got no sales. The only time I got sales was when I hung out in the forums constantly. I just don't have time for that anymore. Even then sales were low. I have amazing pictures and uber high-quality products. My own website gets more sales even when I do NO self-promoting. I guess that's because people can find it!

I haven't paid my Etsy bill from the last time I sold something.... back in 2007 maybe? Its been $4.19 for the last 3+ years and you can believe I'm not in any hurry to pay it. My shop has been in vacation mode for a year now, and I try not to even remember that Etsy exists.

The Funny One said...

Ya know, when you brought up Renewing, it's been knocking around in my head about why Etsy is such a disaster for sellers -- renewing is meant to keep the cash registers full at EtsyCorp, but it just stinks up the whole site. "Just Listed" and "Most Recent" is the worse way to format an ecommerce site with more than 5 millions listings--the sheer size (without any limits whatsoever) has negated the original premise.

Relisting has absolutely no seller-value (except to EtsyCorp where its pure profit for no effort).

It's also conditioned site visitors to look at Page One, maybe Page Two of any click-through or Search, and then move on and out.

It's filled Etsy's pockets, but it's created an undercurrent of seller-disastisfaction and created a visiting audience who got so fed up they lost interest.

Etsy's whole structure and format is headed for one big implosion, and I will be clapping on the sidelines!

Somebody keeps making a LOT of money on Etsy and it isn't the sellers!

thisshtisbananas said...

I am very tired of my Etsy bill. and constantly renewing with no recognition for the money spent advertising on Etsy! I decided to set up on another shop site today and think it will be a better fit for Fine Art. Hipster crap is sooo uninspiring and depressing. Being an artist, emotions run high...! I felt like I had invested so much time that I couldn't quit, but after almost no sales in August for the money and time spent and no fp coverage, it's time to leave!

Aunt Onery said...

I wonder if any of the people hired right after Rokali came back have jumped ship by now. It's pretty unbelievable that EVERYONE on the Etsy payroll has no personal ethics.

(Music from Crossroads playing in the background...)

Roberto said...

Today I had a look, thinking hmm why has it been weeks since I have had a sale? At first glance, oh! They've cleaned up the front page. This is good. And then... waitaminit. Vintage eyeglasses... fondue pot? Great, now I get to compete with every antique shop and yard sale reseller in the country, and therefore every factory and retail store for the last century, for views. So much for the value of handmade... apparently I'm paying to show in a junk shop.

Disgusted said...

I don't have the time nor the inclination to read Etsy's forums, so maybe this has been answered there but...

What I want to know from Etsy is why I'm now seeing Google search results for their CATEGORY pages. Not only do those grab the #1 spot on the SERP but they show up with pictures.

So essentially, Etsy is screwing me twice for not playing their relisting game... not only are my items buried in their internal search pages but now they're (potentially) hijacking any external shoppers I might otherwise have brought in to MY Etsy shop via MY SEO efforts.

To me, this is utterly unconscionable.

Goat said...

The longer you stay away from All Things Etsy the more you detox, the more fucked up you realise it is when you visit.

Between the quibbling on the forum, Lisa June's gross misconduct and the myriad of other woes, it easy to regret not having left sooner.

As long as Etsy has everyone back biting at each other, the longer they can go on with whatever it is that passes for business, as usual.

The same problems have been the same problems since 2006, really, just now there's a whole lot more people. Thinking the problems three years from now will be any different is foolish.

The idea that it was ok to roll out that tax debacle was a HUGE last nail on top of many in the Etsy coffin.

That lack of worth ethic is par for the course. Why continue to invest time, energy or money?

Traffic? That 'traffic' is sellers, Soylent Green. Etsy eats itself. That's not traffic, that's a cult.

It's a great hand crafted pyramid scheme. FFS, all these other sites need to generate Etsy's kind of traffic is more sellers and a busy forum.

To have a forum that is largely brought and bonded together by what is WRONG with Etsy should be a huge flashing 'Get Out While You Can!' signal to anyone who stumbles on it.

Cosmic Yuk said...

Interesting comment from Fred Wilson to an Etsy Seller on his blog:

RRobin said...

Interesting video clip on that VC site that Cosmic Yuk mentioned.

Which is more likely:

A) Kalin is conversant enough with ancient Greek to assert that Aristotle is mistranslated? (Who knew?)

B) Kalin is appropriating someone else's idea without giving proper credit? (Is that a first for anyone from Etsy?)

Oh, and the idea that Etsy is still not profitable because it "only" charges 3% commission? Obviously, listing fees are not considered income!

Cat Power said...

Fred Wilson seems to talk the talk that is expected of a person in his position, but when he says he knows Etsy and what is going on, methinks he is simply referring to the $$$$ that he has invested and what is coming in to justify that investment.

His reply to the Etsy Seller was rather empty and in that, showed how unaware he is of the whole seller side of the issues he so cavalierly mentioned and summarily dismissed.

He obviously is in it just for the $$$, and IMHO doesn't give a crap about the people who work to make those numbers go up.

Him referring to Kalin's original objective in such glowing terms, shows that he's as taken in by the unicorns and rainbows as all the other Esty Corp folk are.

And to openly say that they have 60 tech people working on the site just shows me that they are probably the rejects from other companies, and are totally inept at their jobs. Hell, 5 talented tech people could program circles around those 60 twits!

It would really do my heart good to see the whole garbage dump go up in flames! Not referring to the great artisan made goods, real vintage, and supplies people, but all the other crap that has infiltrated the site.

End of rant..sorry, but I just couldn't help myself. People with overblown egos irritate the hell out of me.

Baffled said...

In the comments of that article, Fred Wilson says that on his return Kalin through a mug into the air, let the thing smash into pieces and left it there while reading a book on investments? Wha? It was inspiring. Yeah, it would inspire me that my boss was crazy and I should start sending out my resume.

sofaraway said...

First a fact check, public record says that Fred Wilson hasn't purchased anything on etsy since July 2008.

More facts. When you have that much VC tied up in a company what do you expect him to say?

I don't care if there are 60 engineers. There is contempt and disrespect for the sellers except for the chosen few. There still is no customer service after 5 years.

Of course the other commenters on that blog are only interested in etsy's growing valuation. What with resellers by the thousands who list hundreds of paintings, jewelry items, quilts, pottery and clothing, of course sales are up.
Those people don't need customer service either.

Etsy is thriving, but hand made is dying.

Should I ever come to the states I will tell them to their faces.

60 engineers and still no check out that works, coupon codes, batch editing, but by damn we have a treasury.

Janine --- Foxtail Creek Studio said...

Baffled: I was wondering about that mug-smashing bit too. The statement that the mug was "probably made by an Etsy seller" made it even more odd...what exactly was that supposed to signify?

Aunt Onery said...

I by inept or crazy or greedy. All of the above. This weekend had a variety of fun & sincerity amongst the "independant thinkers" plus great satire, tellit like it is posts. Each day there are more people sharing tutorials and links regarding personal website how-tos and lots of encouragement to go for it...don't be afraid of trying new things.

I mean, what's to lose? Etsy is a liability, not a venue. And all the ignorant admin "replies to ongoing issues" are showing a dazed rather desparate flavor these days.

I truly hope everyone that is willing to leave Etsy can find the info they need for transitioning into new starts and I wish success to all who think for themselves!

Ella said...

LOL re: that Fred Wilson exchange. An elderly relative dabbled in investments and various other financial instruments back in the day. No doubt they'd call special projects like EtsyCorp "investment vehicles" for VCs who extract money this way. Investment vehicles they are because they're designed to drive off with your money.

The Funny One said...

Reading that VC blog (go back to previous posts circa Kalin's return) and see the (1) rationale for Kalin's return and (2) intractable, underlying lack of concern for sellers (except the few faves) (3) an unrealistic fixation on Etsy-is-a- farmer's-market where everyone chats up their buds once a week but forgets to spend any money, and you'll start to see where Etsy fell off the rails.

The wizard(s) (ah-hem) behind the curtain have been cut off from reality for 5 yrs and counting. The only thing that works for Etsy is that there are 100's of thousands of gullible sellers who keep racking up those monthly listing fees............and pay them!

thisisnotamug said...

and the shards of a handmade dream go flying all over the etsy HQ floor. If the mug was made in china maybe they'd be aggressively strangling resellers instead of their handmade community...Didn't you guys post something about rokali's return being ominous?

Former Seller said...

I put my shop in vacation mode a year and a half ago because I was burnt out and fed up. I did promote on my own, but quite frankly I got sick of having to do Etsy's job for them. Nobody outside of the etsy staff and the online craft community knows what etsy is. It was my place to promote my business, but it wasn't my place to promote etsy because Little Robby is too cheap and lazy to do it himself. People who I've mentioned etsy to have always thought it was a place like ebay. Eventually I just stopped correcting them. Today, I tell them the ebay crap is exactly what you'll find.

Sorry real crafters.....but that IS the majority of what etsy is. I also tell them to be sure they better like mustaches, bikes, and oversized cowls because that's pretty much all they will see because etsy makes sure they hide all the good stuff. My friends are doubtful about that until they go around themselves.

A while back, I finally had enough. When it became clear that etsy was never going to fix any of the stuff we've asked for 4 years for and worst yet the site is going more downhill, I had enough. I hadn't sold in forever, but I sure wasn't going to stay as a buyer and still be giving etsy my money.

Sorry again real crafters. I miss buying from you, but when I know shopping from you is putting more money in Little Robby's pocket, well, you're going to lose just like he is. I hate doing that to people, but I truly think the only way that is ever going to make things change is for etsy to have enough buyers stop coming and enough sellers smart enough to stop believing that "renew and bring in your own customers and it will magically happen" lie that the etsy staff keeps hoping you'll buy.

Really sad that when the site started, it looked like it had so much potential and yet poor management decisions has beat the brand into the ground in such a short time.

Fed Up said...

I love Fred Wilson's statement in his blog of Aug. 19, 2008, when talking about the young and inexperienced startup teams like Kalin & the Etsy admins:

"And of course, they don’t know why they are going to fail so they “just do it”

Hit the nail on the head there, Freddie. Unfortunately, it's us sellers who they're just doing it to, over and over again.

april said...

etsy coaches resellers to change their descriptions so that they aren't quite as obvious that they are resellers, when they are flagged. i've seen it happen to things i've flagged, and can give examples.

etsy is a resale site. it's just how it is and something i'm working on coming to terms with. it hasn't been handmade for quite a while and it won't ever really be handmade again.

F.W. said...

I'm just troubled by attitudes I've seen in the Etsy forums toward those of us who are loud and proud about our love and appreciation of handmade. We've been told the following by forum regulars:
1. That handmade doesn't matter and quit talking about it (usually followed by bragging and lecturing on how their own shops are run, that their customers don't care about handmade, etc.)
2. That the reselling thing isn't going to change so quit complaining and "work on your own shop"
3. Anytime someone asks about a lack of showing up on general Google searches, silence!
4. That handmade sellers are narrow minded.
5. To not use handmade in marketing your shop.
I guess the term "handmade" makes forum folks nervous?