Thursday, February 17, 2011

Etsy’s Weather Report - Funny Numbers

Etsy just came out with its monthly statistics report in the Dorque, always a tour de force in the manipulation and presentation of numbers that look good, but what’s behind them?

As AuctionBytes points out, Etsy flubbed the year to year increase-in-sales-$, claiming that January 2011 increased 73% over January 2010, when it was actually 67%:

Auction Bytes: Etsy reported GMV (sales volume) of $33.5 million for January, up 67% from the $21.1 million reported in January 2010 (not a 73% increase from 2010's total, as reported by Etsy).

While Etsy is mainly tooting its horn about more than 1 billion page views in their January 2011 report, dig a little deeper for this:
373,376 new members joined the Etsy community in the month, down 95,438, or 20.4%, from December

New members are down, but let's get to the core of Etsy's Dorque PR fluff - what does over a billion page views really mean?

Is it hundreds of thousands of sellers clicking on:
1. Pages and pages of new security settings within their accounts?
2. Clicks on Circles and click throughs to related links?
3. Clicks on Suggested Shops without ever clicking through to BUY?
4. Clicks by sellers looking for Teams (that aren’t listed at all) after they find the Forums shrunk 75%?
5. Clicks by both sellers and buyers looking for Customer Service or Help or Contact Etsy and can’t find out how?

Over a billion page views proves one thing ---- now that Etsy’s switched from an ecommerce site to a social site with convoluted (and ever-changing) account security settings, Suggested Shops on top of suggested links, they’ve forced their sellers and visitors to spend a lot of wasted effort on clicks around the site to find they no longer recognize what Etsy is.... but they do know what Etsy isn’t, a site for buying selling handmade.


Can't Fool Me said...

The numbers aren't only funny...they're absolutely hilarious. Sneaky, lying bastards!

for the hell of it said...

And, did everyone notice that the "oh so impressive" increase in clicks produced 18% LESS sales?

Way to go Etsy!

The Funny One said...

If you've been checking out buzz behind the scenes, tons of sellers have either left Etsy or abandoned their shops because they were marginalized by the deliberate editorial bias (and changed mission) of the site.
Who does Etsy really benefit? The few sellers they promote who sell because Etsy promotes them. It can't "build a community" on disaffected ex-sellers and it can't survive by replacing listing income with forced social activity.
Page views that don't click through to actual sales and fees doesn't pay Etsy's huge overhead.

Etsy's goal is popularity built on the backs of sellers who list and never sell. Once they've wised up & gone for good, what's left?
A tiny little hipster boutique pushing trendy under $20 reseller products with a very expensive overhead of puffed up egos with not much to do.

watchingfromafar said...

Even though I left etsy well before the holidays I do still have my shop, it's just on vacation. For the past two months I've been going back about every two weeks to check on my favorited shops and delete the ones that are gone, (either empty and on vacation with a vague return message, like mine, or just plain gone). In the past two months my number of pages in my favorites has gone down from over 50 to 23!

drying my eyes on a hipster bandana said...

The 'numbers' have always been a stupid joke. They don't tell you anything actually important, and if there was anything that reflected poorly on Etsy, they just leave it out.

All of the idiots there cheering on their stat reports are like chickens clicking about how great KFC is. Wow, 30,000 new sellers! 200 million more page views! Funny how my shop has 20% LESS page views when Etsy as a whole is increasing and I know I'm not the only one. My sales results have pretty much been a downward slope from 2008, because all Etsy does EVER is try to attract more sellers. Never, ever, ever markets to buyers, EVER. It's so past time to close my shop and give them a huge finger.

Like usual, they're trying to pump up the site either for an IPO or a sale.

They can't take any more investment - they're on round E, which is pretty pathetic. It's reassuring to think that the twatty founder's stake is being diluted heavily, at least.

itdoesntaddup said...

If you Google admin Sean, I think you'll find "click-meister" next to his name.

He job appears to only make things more and more complicated, requiring more and more clicks to find that ever elusive bar of soap.

When you really add up how many new sellers arrive daily and how many are actually selling, it's less than 2 sales per month per shop.

Now that's some statistics.

nothipenough said...

Awesome, that's $8.37 per open shop in January. Don't spend that money all in one place.

The only thing that really, really sells on etsy is dreams that quickly turn into nightmares.

Well, except for the 20 hipsters who rotate hourly on the front page.

Eveline said...

Clicks are the only thing that's still important over at Etsy and is the main reason why they have made it impossible to find anything anymore. They don't care that their customers (sellers and buyers alike) can't find what they are looking for, as long as you keep on click-click-clicking!

Anonymous said...

OK I don't understand this: if Etsy wants to be more of a social networking site, WHY did they destroy the forums?!

Cheeky McTweaky said...

Fantastic post. Smoke and mirrors numbers, mutings by the bushels full, admin replaced by robots, sticky candy hearts. . .

Where am I?

Whisperia said...

@drying my eyes on a hipster bandana:
"My sales results have pretty much been a downward slope from 2008, because all Etsy does EVER is try to attract more sellers."

And that's about the long and the short of it. I'm a crafty type, but only as a hobbyist. I've never had a business and never intend to sell handmade goods. So on Etsy, I'm a buyer only and I'm completely turned off by the direction the site has taken. The current layout I find makes it difficult just to navigate a person's shop and get to a place where I can see what people have for sale. It's ridiculous.

Since I found Etsy and started shopping there, I did always have a slight suspicion that the site wasn't really constructed for buyers, but was targeted at drawing sellers in (an impression I mostly got from the few times I visited the forums and mostly found it to be a seller's playground). But it's more than just a slight suspicion now. They almost seem hell bent on driving me and people like me away. It's been quite some time since I bought anything on Etsy. I do still go browse around now and then, but less and less often all the time, and I find the navigation on the site increasingly difficult and unintuitive. I can't really imagine any new buyers who haven't been around for a while getting drawn in and finding the experience of shopping there appealing. It makes me wonder what the long term plan is. If it is their intention to abandon the e-commerce aspect of the site and shift into some sort of Facebook for artsy hipsters, then mission accomplished, I say. I'm sure not spending any money there these days.

Lyn at 3 Cedars Jewelry said...

I'm glad I wasn't the only one who looked at those numbers and thought something was fishy. More clicks but less sales? That is NOTHING to celebrate my lil cupcakes.

Tula said...

Etsy is eBay all over again. Take a business model that works and instead of enhancing it, "innovate" it out of existence. Etsy just has the neo-hipster dimwit twist on it instead of the spreadsheet-driven MBA net promoter afficianadoes at eBay. If the people running either company actually ever used their sites, things might actually be different.

blueditty said...

Etsy wants clicks (nom, nom) and they simply are no longer getting mine.

sark said...

Regarding what Whisperia said...

I want to make a distinction. I am an art school graduate, and I make art and I sell art. There are a lot of types of artists in this world, just as there are many types of people in this world.

However, there is a difference between the people who are employed at etsy who are crushing your hopes and dreams and the assholes that they love to feature so much.

The clique of favorites are not hipsters, not in the least bit. The clique of favorites are basically the second tier of popular kids from high school. They're not THE popular kids, but the social strata beneath them. They never quite had the trendiest clothes or the most hunky boyfriends or the best cars; they were just average.

Hipsters, on the other hand, actually consist of the 2nd lowest social strata of your high school. They're right above the druggies and the kids that you know are going to prison.

So, watching one social strata (the hipsters) bend over backwards to cow tow to the 2nd tier of popular kids is amusing to say the least.

Fortunately, neither group seems to have a soul. And neither seems to possess any talent either. So, they're perfect for each other.

As far as page clicks are concerned - it largely stems from usernames linking to profiles instead of shops. It just makes an additional click thru to a meaningless page of crap that you'll probably get lost on. I make treasuries, so, believe me, I know how fucking annoying it is to have to click thru to get to someone's shop, particularly when you're making a "team" treasury.

My sales have dwindled, and I've started to notice a lot of the people with hundreds of listings in their shop (who were partially thriving through market saturation) are suddenly putting things on sale like there's no tomorrow.

Etsy's not selling anything for the vast majority of us, and it's been interesting to watch that notion sink in on the people who used to benefit from the broken system.

The only things that have been transpiring on Etsy recently have involved a loss of goodwill and a loss of faith. When the foundation under that 2nd tier of popular kids starts to crumble (because it was actually made up of the middle-ers like myself) then the whole thing crumbles.

**On a side note my word verification is "horprex" which sounds like something a doctor would prescribe for a case of hipsteritis.

PyramidScheme said...

Whisperia has got it down. The only #s that Etsy is concerned about is their own bottom line. The rest of the numbers, like all statistics, can be fucked with.

The site makes plenty of dough with those $.20 listings, and renewings ad nauseum. It works for them, so they have followed that channel.
If you want to sell, Etsy is not going to be the place to do it because it is not geared to US it is geared to ETSY.
(that, and the hipsters who want to hold onto their cushy jobs in any way possible since they are experienced in and qualified for ZIP)

Libby at Picklevalentine said...

As everyone else said, no wonder there are clicks. There are a couple of sellers whom I still purchase from. It's a good thing that I am not a new buyer because I would be totally confused by having to go through their profiles into their shops and might never be able to figure out how to actually purchase something. Add that to all of the breadcrumbs that can take a buyer out of a shop, it's amazing anything gets purchased.

I am also a multiple purchaser and it's a pain to get back to their main pages. I leave several tabs open, but if I forget to have backtracking in readiness, I am back in their profile pages again. It's become a real bore.

You bet there are more clicks. Even from me. Buying on Etsy was never a smooth process, but this is insane.

By the way, my word verification is "Rammbead" and it couldn't be more appropriate.

Buh-Bye Etsy said...

You know, when I first muted and then booted, my heart was broken.

I guess my head was up my ass for a long time or maybe I just didn't want to believe anything sinister or backhanded was really happening.

Well, I believe it now. All of it. They have done terrible things to me and gladly taken my fees.

Well, the spell is broken. I no longer check Etsy at all, which is a shame (I am a big handmade person and buy a lot).

I buy what I need from Artfire or individual websites of the sellers I know and love. I email the rest and buy directly.

I've been talking to them about Etsy and they most definitely do not have positive feelings for it, just like TheFunnyOne said.

Etsy no longer has heart or soul. It's empty feeling. You can just see it.

Jewelry on the Rocks said...

The amping up of clicks goes beyond the ability to get lost in profiles, the entire site has always been set up to magnify the number of onsite clicks. The 5 page listing process alone adds up to a lot of the clicks. So does the limited number of search results per page. I suppose we shouldn't discuss the way search defaults to the entire handmade category from the listings pages.

My capcha is "spitions".

DancingWindDesigns said...

A friend who left etsy a long while back had told me about how the clicks and page views were counted. Made sense they they could and would skewer their numbers that way. Meanwhile, they continue to pass the cupcakes and the kool-aid to all who will partake in it.

Libby at Picklevalentine said...

I came back to see if there were any additional posts and found this word verification. Capcha must know something about And it picked a ripe one...doosperm. Don't get that stuff on your shoe.

Honestly,wasn't going to post but the doosperm made me do it.

Jewelry on the Rocks said...

Libby, I was just going to read too but your post made me look at my capcha, it's "shrillm". Weird word but it works in a weird kind of way.