Sunday, November 7, 2010

How to leave Etsy

For sellers

1. Setup on a better venue.

2. Just walk away.

Results: a lot less stress, more time to actually make things

Etsy is only powerful because you give it the power of numbers. The more people who walk away, the less power they will have. They don't deserve to be the face of handmade. Give that power to a venue that treats you and your business right!

Start taking away their power by not renewing, listing new items, or relisting. Effectively go on strike!

For buyers

  • Start searching other handmade venues for items before searching on Etsy.
  • Purchase through your favorite handmade sellers other shops before resorting to their Etsy shop. You can ask them if they're on other venues, or look at their blogs or website for other shop widgets.

39 Comments:

husbandofetsyseller said...

I am shocked to see how many big sellers are leaving etsy. PalomasNest has a big new stand alone website. All her press points there. SharonMontrose put up a banner on etsy with her new website. Both former featured sellers. Gee, if they don't want to sell on etsy what's the little guy to do?

My wife keeps a list of sellers she likes from etsy and where they have gone.

headdesk2 said...

I love how etsy is partnered with Kaboodle now. Kaboodle is filled with factory crap and hand made stuff.

admin marymary works for both sites.

I wonder if the VC's invest in both companies?

I don't know where to buy stuff anymore.

Unhappyincupcakeland said...

You are right and I am going to start doing this.

I think we need a 12 Step Program, like AA, for Etsy withdrawal.

There was something else I had to learn, which was to stop going to the forums and trying to get Etsy to change. The sooner I could do this, the sooner I was free to move on, find ways to enjoy being elsewhere, and even start making money again.

I finally realized that every time I went to the forums and wrote a post begging Etsy to change, I went into a horrible negative energy spiral. I spent about five months doing this. I know now it was part of the grieving process for my shop, which suddenly "died" on March 9th.

It took me a long time to realize that Etsy was not going to change and that the person I needed to change was me. I did that by moving. I am happily at ArtFire now.

My presence on the Etsy forums is almost nil now. Once in awhile I add a comment, but I seldom go there. My last comment was an answer to a seller's question...not about Etsy and its nefarious acts, egregious stupidities, acts of blatant favoritism, unbelievable arrogance, and abusive behaviours to sellers. All that is a lost cause.

I know that only a small percentage of sellers read the forums but I am sure they will find out eventually. It is a matter of time. Really. Newbies are already upset.

What was that old quote? "You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time?" For a site that aspires to be THE social networking cyber shopping mall, Etsy has forgotten THE basic tenet of social networking, which is "Word of Mouth."

Social networking is a stupid name for "getting along with others in your community, abiding by the social contract, being honest in your dealings with others, and not being an egregious ass-hat." Etsy, as an organization, has failed social networking 101.

I don't think there is a book called "Word of Mouth and Reputation Building for Dummies." But if there were, I don't think the people at Etsy would have read it. They think they know it all already, you know.

Tired of Fools said...

I'm still at Etsy until after the holidays but gave up renewing in January unless an item expired.

I have only uploaded a couple of new holiday items to my Etsy account. I should have known better because it took two days before they finally had one pitiful view each. It seems my items are now being severely affected by their latest crap rollout of only showing some of the search results and omitting the most popular price range.

If you pay 20-cents, you should be seen. Etsy needs to be sued.

I agree, it's time to get out of Etsy.

I am so thankful for ArtFire. That is my focus now and Etsy can shove that fractured tangled mess of a site right up their plushies.

SusanA said...

Walking will save you stress and probably money. Pick well, Artfire and Zibbet are probably the next 2 biggest.
If you have had stores on them with no sales, did you ever promo it? Did you list more than 3 items?
Don't give it after only 2 weeks.

Blue Dot Shops said...

It's like I've always said "Fool me once, you're an asshole."

The co-dependancy thing boggles my mind, truly. If ya made it on Etsy, despite Etsy, FFS, you can make it anywhere.

Goat

help me please said...

I have an artfire pro account (same 140+ listings as in my etsy shop) - only 2 sales, compare to my 1800+ on etsy. How the hell do you promote your artfire shop? Only through paid advertising off-site?
I just made my 2nd sale on craftisart.
I don't want to renew on etsy endlessly, really, but it brings me sales. What is an I-am-so-sick-of-etsy girl to do? Serious Quandry.
Also - how many people are actually striking? I've been doing a craft fair for 3 days, and feel out of touch.

G33K GODDESS said...

Unhappyincupcakeland said...
You are right and I am going to start doing this.

I think we need a 12 Step Program, like AA, for Etsy withdrawal.
________

Good news! We have that!! http://etsyrefugeesociety.blogspot.com/ come join the support group!

The Funny One said...

Excellent points and suggestions. There isn't much time left 'til 12/24. Try an ArtFire Pro shop, even if it's for 2 months. Use the coupons (and Rapid Cart). For every sale I make, the inserted coupon generates another sale.**

It was like a light going on in my head ---- can it be this great? Oh, yeah.

**Etsy's refusal to set up coupon codes proves that Etsy isn't interested in sales, they want your listing money, and lots of it.

The Righteous One said...

helpmeplease, how long did it take for you to get those 1800 sales on Etsy? And how long have you been on the other venues?

And yes, you have to promote off-site - that's how Etsy is too! This is one of the main things Etsians don't understand and what Etsy is yelled at all the time - you have to advertise outside of Etsy. Artfire does outside advertising to bring people into Artfire, but individual sellers have to promote their shops too. Traffic has been steadily increasing on the site (I couldn't get numbers for Zibbet) so the internal traffic will increase with time, but it's the outside traffic that you want!

If a Pro/paid account is too much financially, they have free ones you can use, but you won't have access to all of the fancy features. You're effectively paying for the coupon codes, sales system, website design, etc so use them!

Tatyana said...

I've kept my shop closed for some time now because of issues at home and now I'm ready to reopen. But I don't want to go back to Etsy. I'm in the process of making a decision of where to go from here.

Can you guys give us a quick list of all the other venues you guys have reviewed over the last year or so? Or link me to a list?

Thank you!

California Girl said...

Here's an idea for a protest for buyers, sellers, watchers, etc. If you are not happy with Etsy and all their *%$#@%%, unfollow them on Twitter. If they notice a drop in their followers, they might pay a little attention. Worth a try I think.

PoorLittleCupcakes said...

It really is wild to see how Etsy is collapsing into itself.

One thing that would be great (since Etsy almost immediately erases those who link elsewhere) would be a site for buyers (and sellers) to find out where favourite Etsians have gone. If I had the time I'd set one up just to make things easier as the exodus continues.

AliciaMae said...

I have a Squidoo lens of former Etsy sellers. It really needs to be updated, but anyone can post their info in the comments and I'll add the link(s) in when I update the lens.

http://www.squidoo.com/formeretsysellers

I've pushed that lens here before so I apologize if it's spammy, but I thought it would be appropriate given the topic.

tellthetruth said...

You know, for all your bitching, and rightfully so, etsy has sellers lining up in droves. It used to be 800 a day, now it's 3000.

Nothing you say or do will change that. It simply won't.

It's why people drink COKE instead of store brand. They just do.

When you look at Alexa, etsy's traffic is 100 times more than all the other venues put together.

So no matter what you say or what you do, we lose etsy wins. It's as simple as that.

The Dangerous Mezzo said...

I have finally been muted in the fora, without receiving any contact from EtsyCorp about it. Some anonymous EtsyDrone did email me about my having a link to my artfire shop in my announcements -- funny, that link has been there for about a year, and no one has said "boo" about it.

I think it was the banner that did it :)

I feel so ... proud!

Off to change my avatar while I can :)

Anonymous said...

I love artfire and it is growing! There are so many fantastic shops, many from etsy :o) I just wish more etsy customers would take the handmade leap away from etsy!

Pistache said...

I'm done with Etsy. Once the last items in my shop expire, that's it. No more. Buh-bye!

Truthful said...

Etsy traffic is GREAT! Etsy sales suck BALLS! That's the truth! Little jerks hanging out on the site, playing with shop toys, and begging for people to trade their crap for yours. I can't wait til after the holidays :) All the sad faces and the sellers in tears. Oh and the crap ass noobs lining up to sell, they stink too. Those are the ones not buying product, copying from other handmade sellers and flooding the already flooded market with crap. FUCK THOSE SHEEPLE! You don't want the money they have because well they don't have any! The joke has inspired a new book called "CRAFTING FOR POOR PEOPLE". The cunt that wrote it is totally mocking etsy and what is etsy's response? INTERVIEW HER AND PROMOTE HER! Jackasses

The Funny One said...

tellthetruth is certainly right about Etsy traffic, but WHERE the traffic is being funneled by the site in its 6th year of:
1. promoting the same sellers and product types year after year
2. giving free editorial ads to those same sellers added to 8 hours of free tweets each day
3. the 50,000 cap which assures those promoted sellers will be at the top of that edited and censored group
4. many sellers are not and will never be syndicated therefore their items will never show up in any outside search
5. a broken internal search based on faulty formulas including most recently listed
6. a heavily edited front page that constantly features less than 1% of the total #sellers based on Etsy's obvious personal biases that have been the same for 6 whole years.

IF you have steady traffic and sales on Etsy in 2009 & 2010, you may continue, but most sellers who had that dropped off the Etsy map after 2008 because of the extremely narrow window of how Etsy promotes its faves. The bottleneck is shut to anyone who doesn't make what Etsy likes to promote, period.

Traffic does not equal sales!

The issue is that the underlying format on Etsy is full of shit. Sure you can open a store, but you don't get traffic or sales unless you specifically make what Etsy likes to promote.

That isn't promoting the handmade product ----- that's promoting a tiny group of pre-selected products (that are more often mass produced) that Etsy likes and never pays for up front. Through it's extremely heavy-handed method of picking faves, Etsy makes sure that only a handful of sellers actually sell.

It's a loaded crapgame, and Etsy works very hard at preventing more sellers from selling than sellers who do.

Felicia in Suburbia said...

Even better than another venue, just get your own website and spend what would have gone to fees, etc. on marketing.

If Etsy has taught me anything, it's to not invest in a venue that someone else controls. Even if you like them and trust now, they could sell out to investors next month! Etsy of course was sold out from the beginning, but that's a different story.

The Watchful One said...

About those numbers Etsy feeds to Alexa, there are ways of counting traffic, and then there are ways of counting traffic.

How many clicks does it take to get to the end of listing an item? More than licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop, for sure.

Felicia in Suburbia said...

Regarding tellthetruth's comments, that's exactly why Etsy is so arrogant and out of touch. They think they have it made, permanently.

Anything they do, there will be 20 more people to replace the 10 that left in disgust.

I don't think the well of serious crafters and shoppers is that deep, though - eventually they'll piss off 70% of everyone.

Guess what their plan is, though? Making them even more smug? To completely abandon everyone who built them up to this point, and diversify the site to include a bunch of crap that never had anything to do with it. You can hear Fred Wilson and Rob Kalin slobbering over their dream visions of piles of money right now, all the way from over here. Everything they've said in the past 6 months points to this.

SusanA said...

SEO- it seems to be a word Etsians hate. If you want to get on other craft sites and on google, your titles and descriptions have to be something someone will search for. Ooozy coozy cute thing won't get hits.
I've heard new sellers on AF complain about this, why should thay have to work at this when for 20 cents they could get views.
Tags don't count on google, they bascially don't exist. Search on Artfire is based on google's algorithm, so tags there are minimal at best.
Views on sites that don't charge for relisting are based on merit. You have to do front end work on writing good titles, descriptions

perpetual grump said...

It has been clear for quite a while that Etsy no longer remotely gives a shit - or even some consideration! - about their sellers. Unless you are clearly an Etsy "favorite" [which even still may not help you out very much at this point], you don't get seen, you don't get heard - but you DO have to put money in their pockets in exchange for virtually nothing from them now.

I understand that for some sellers that have been on Etsy for years, they may not want to break away from it that easily & risk losing customers should they move to a different venue. Simultaneously, so many sellers are left wondering why they should even bother at this point since Etsy is just swirling down the drain & in some cases is just hindering their ability to be successful, especially with all of the changes they keep putting into effect that hurt the sellers rather than help things run more smoothly.

Neither of my shops have been active for months [and I actually just changed my announcement on one of them stating that it is permanently closed], which was due to my inability to be productive at all. Once I have the motivation to get crafty again, I sure as hell will not be returning to Etsy. All that I hear lately are horror stories [unless, you know, it's an Etsy favorite gushing about being featured on the front page for the thousandth time], & it has culminated in my disinclination to ever attempt to sell there again.

StillOnTheFence said...

@TellTheTruth: how many of those sellers lining up are resellers of cheap factory-made goods from China? Enough to skew the numbers, I'd bet. :-(

notacopier said...

Totellthetruth is right about the amount of views and people opening new shops every day and there are probably tens of thousands of sellers who just don't know or have the time to care because they're too busy promoting their shops to get their two or three sales a month, but The Funny One makes a very valid point in response to this and reinforces my feelings that I have to participate in this cause of opening peoples eyes to what bad business practices etsy follows!
Again I suggest we all write letters to HGTV sharing our thoughts on etsy and the serious amounts of non-handmade being sold there under the guise of handmade. I think is safe to assume that a nice chunk of estys traffic comes from the major exposure they've had and still get via these avenues.

Anonymous said...

"How To Leave Etsy"? I was given a slap for emailing Etsy questioning the items not handmade by a popular seller. Learned my lesson. Never question Etsy or it's darlings. That's all I needed to push me out the door of cupcakeland.
I've opened shop someplace else. No sales yet, but you know what, that's okay, it took a while to get sales or even be seen on Etsy.

Amenhotep IV said...

Someone said earlier in this thread, or in several threads, that it's impossible to get Etsy to change. That there's just no point in raising concerns any more in the forums.

I agree.

And I also suspect you do better there if you don't even set foot in the forums at all. Much less likely to get permabanned, at least.

when I think back about the prominent forum-hitters in 2006 and 2007, few of them post in the forums anymore, if at all. Maybe they learned (or left).

The Funny One said...

We agree on all the Etsy broken parts which somehow makes them a lot of money every single day, but if we can point the finger at one major flaw, Etsy is a complete puke-athon---- they pay people to ferret out sellers they don't like for any number of infractions that they personally take personally and go after them with mutes, bans, and brick walls.

What other online business does that? The little Etsy fiefdom of people weilding unethical (and possibly illegal) power over people they have aggressively INVITED to open stores on Etsy is the most anti-seller, anti-business, anti-human behavior I have ever seen from any online company.

There is no excuse for this despicable behavior and practice.

Even more alarming, Etsy has more paid people today going after more and more of their very own sellers to spank them in public! (With very clear warnings to every seller on the site.) How the hell they get away with it is one big m-f-ing mystery to me.

Stifler's Mom said...

I have an artfire pro account (same 140+ listings as in my etsy shop) - only 2 sales, compare to my 1800+ on etsy. How the hell do you promote your artfire shop?

-----------------------

Artfire works DIFFERENTLY than Etsy. So many people don't get this and don't understand why duplicating their Etsy store on AF doesn't bring instant results.

If I were you, I'd hold on to my Etsy account through the holidays. In the meantime, read all the help guides on Artfire, especially the 45-Day success guide, tweet and Facebook your AF store, direct your domain name to your AF store.

If you can succeed on Etsy, no reason why you can't succeed on other sites too.

Stifler's Mom said...

You know, for all your bitching, and rightfully so, etsy has sellers lining up in droves. It used to be 800 a day, now it's 3000.

Nothing you say or do will change that. It simply won't.

---------------------------

Probably not. But that doesn't mean that sellers can't find other venues where they will eventually be just as successful AND feel respected.

Lolcattus said...

You know I have wondered for some time about all those Etsy employees they have and what they do all day. I have to think that the DO spend a lot of time trolling the internet looking for anti etsy screeds and punishing those that twitter ect about it.

I ALSO firmly believe that they post in the forum as users without revealing they are admins and complain about the negativity and talk about how wonderful etsy is. If that dosn't work they do random crap to get a negative thread closed. Sometimes I see comments from way left feild and bam! Thread locked. They must be lurking in the forums waiting to comment, for example I saw the first two posts in "Whats with all the bugs lately" were both posts that said, "What bugs everything is wonderful!?" essentially.

I know it makes me sound a little paranoid that they are using their own rah rah sock puppets, but it has been happening for years on gamer forums, and what else do they do with all those employees? They sure don't do customer service or write good code . . .
We still don't have that complete list of admin stores do we? Doubt we ever will.

Simone said...

I stopped seeing Etsy as my primary sales venue a few years ago and I've never looked back. I run my own independent shop using Shopify, but for many Big Cartel will work just as well (Shopify has better functionality, but it costs more).

I really think that all sellers should start out by having an independent shop in mind. Even if they start selling only via a venue, they should always promote a web address under a domain they own which they can ultimately turn into their own shop URL down the track. That way all of the work you've put into promoting your address across the web will still count towards promoting you wherever you're selling later on.

Venues are great to start out in and to test the waters - and I still make sales through venues even now - but having an independent shop under your own domain name gives you complete control over your business. Nobody will kick you off, there is no company which might close and kill your business, your competitors aren't being promoted in the same space, your reputation isn't welded to that of another business, etc..

Marketing can be more difficult (although it's so hard to be found on Etsy especially anyway, so it's not much different really!), but the more of us selling like this and helping to promote each other and get the word out, the better off we'll all be!

So look around and find independent sellers you like who you can promote to the world in general - or just encourage people you know to look further afield when buying handmade.

As for buying, if I find something I want to buy which is for sale on Etsy I always Google the seller and see if they have another shop before making the purchase - often they don't, but it only takes a few seconds to check. I'm not going to refuse to buy from people just because they're selling on Etsy, but I'd rather buy from them elsewhere if I can.

poletwunt said...

All the numbers we know are numbers we have been told by Etsy. For all we know most may simply be creative accounting.

The more of us who list items on the other venues, the more likely we are to be found in google and the faster those sites will grow.

At least open a shop on other places to give the other venues a growing presence! As many say, we made Etsy, and we can make other places too!

G33K GODDESS said...

The Funny One said...
We agree on all the Etsy broken parts which somehow makes them a lot of money every single day, but if we can point the finger at one major flaw, Etsy is a complete puke-athon---- they pay people to ferret out sellers they don't like for any number of infractions that they personally take personally and go after them with mutes, bans, and brick walls.

What other online business does that? The little Etsy fiefdom of people weilding unethical (and possibly illegal) power over people they have aggressively INVITED to open stores on Etsy is the most anti-seller, anti-business, anti-human behavior I have ever seen from any online company.

There is no excuse for this despicable behavior and practice.

Even more alarming, Etsy has more paid people today going after more and more of their very own sellers to spank them in public! (With very clear warnings to every seller on the site.) How the hell they get away with it is one big m-f-ing mystery to me.
_____________________________________

Omg, soooo true. It's almost a form of psychological abuse to use that kind of intimidation. It's like I always say, Etsy is run like a 3rd world dictatorship. Why the heck did I pay to be a part of that, again?

F.W. said...

I heartily endorse the notion of phasing out Etsy. We have a shop on ArtFire and while what are considered "views" are lower, we've sold two big ticket items- something that would have never happened on the dollar store that is Etsy. I also like seeing incoming URLs because the ArtFire philosophy is relevancy, not the renewing crap. It forces former Etsy sellers used to depending on 20 cent renewing fees to actually have to study up on good keyword usage and clear item descriptions. Also, the ArtFire community is a lot more diverse in terms of their artwork and crafts so you don't see the same manufactured look like you do at Etsy. The crafters come from all backgrounds and not just the hipster types. I'd rather have fewer sales and take longer to build up a reliable web presence than a flash in the pan experience that Etsy offers for just a few to begin with. Of course, I'm speaking as someone with a day job- I know it is difficult to make a living from art/craft items and can certainly understand people's frustration with Etsy and low views.

California Girl said...

Since they changed the search limits, many sellers have had few sales - myself included. The ones I have had, for the most part, have been repeat purchases from people who have already bought from me. Sure, people are lining up to sell on Etsy now that they let the resellers on. You can't be found in a search anymore because of the limit and the fact that the search is flooded with factory made items.
I enclose a card with my new Artfire shop in any purchases with a note saying that I will not be at Etsy too much longer. Since the shop names differ (my Ebay name, which I use everywhere else was not available on Etsy). I am also considering making up a "grand opening" mailing and sending it out to my former customers once the move is complete.

WildGift said...

I'm letting my listings expire and then closing up shop (gotta get what I think is my money's worth). I've found a local venue, which is pretty OK. I've really appreciated your blog and it has been really helpful in saving me money by not allowing me to renew when Etsy was pushing nothing but RENEW down my throat. Cheers.