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i've been talking a lot about Etsy lately. it's a website i depend on to put a roof over my head -- although over and over, they poke holes in it with the many changes they make to the site, and now, the unpredictable future that accompanies their stock offering. (which motivated me to relaunch my online store on my website)

you can hear me (and more importantly, an journalist from WSJ who has been writing about Etsy) talk about what these changes might mean on this podcast: Etsy: DIY to IPO



maybe you'll also hear a quiver in my voice because speaking about the Etsy experience comes with a sort of looming threat they've established over the years that they can close your business and shut you down, maybe even if they just don't like what you've said.

i really feel the majority of serious Etsy sellers live in a perpetual state of fear: fear of constant changes Etsy makes to the site that cause their sales to spike and plummet unpredictably and without recourse, fear of negative feedback, fear of being copied, fear of an uncertain future with a website who has all but hidden and locked down the branding and customer base of each of their shops… this list can go on. and i'm writing this post in the middle of the night because worry about Etsy literally has kept me up at night. because instead of listening and actively responding and making changes that serve rather than alienate their sellers, they could just shut me down.

artists like me on Etsy should feel utterly supported by and heard by this platform -- we drive Etsy and make it special (and, according to this podcast, account for 97% of their revenue) but there is such an imbalance here. years ago, Etsy straight up broke their search function so only an SEO guru - not a crafter - can be found. they removed the very idea of a homepage and turned it into a feed of their marketing team's picks. most recently, they've made some really damaging and scary changes to their etsy app, and even to their accounting reports.

and their marketing team's "picks" -- what they face out to their millions of members -- are NOT reflective of the Etsy / craft community i know, built by real artists, movers and shakers. Etsy's marketing team defines and highlights "popular shops" differently, too.

but here's the thing: Etsy has been - and sometimes still is - an awesome website with wonderful potential to support and sustain artists (real artists, not resellers of Alibaba stuff). they certainly have done this in the past. and I know amazing people (or at least one really amazing person) who works there who has helped me understand changes on Etsy during some of my darkest hours with Etsy.

but Etsy is making some decisions lately that really hurt and scare individuals like me who've knit their businesses together with a changing marketplace and no longer can trust what might lie ahead or what it means for their businesses.

thanks to Julie Sabatier for the interview and for asking all the right questions and for this thoughtful podcast. for more info about this episode & her podcast – Rendered Radio – go here.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
lorigami
Apr. 21st, 2015 03:31 pm (UTC)
I didn't know you were writing again, but it popped up on my home page. Thank you for saying this. I've been on Etsy since January of 2006, and I just don't even know what to do with the mess I see happening now. Like you, it puts a roof over my head, and I feel like I can't even say anything publicly.
I've had so many comments deleted in the forums lately, and they weren't against the TOU or anything at all bad. (for instance, my google search results showed my shop, but clicking the link was taking you to porn sites.)
iwouldloveto
Apr. 21st, 2015 04:09 pm (UTC)

When I read such well written, and emotionally charged things about a community thst supported my income for many years, it makes me so sad. But what you have written here, Susie, is important. Because Etsy is not what it once was, its the antithesis of what it was intended to be. It was sold as one kind of service, and then baited and switched to be exactly what it was against at its very core. Bravo to you, for being awesome, and business/brand minded and for saying whay you need to, despite the fear and worry it causes.

aprettybinding
Apr. 21st, 2015 08:05 pm (UTC)
It's incredibly scary and worrying and I feel stuck there and I hate it. But it's where people go to buy my prints, and it's led to many big opportunities just dropping in my lap. So I stay and let it all eat at me. =/
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

About Me

Hey, I'm Susie. I'm a painter, illustrator, crafter, musician, keeper of various pets and proprietor of the website boygirlparty.com

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