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Does Etsy Suck?

By October 26, 2009

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The handmade revolution has been coating the crafty attitudes and buyers intellect of Americans over the past few years. A boom in online handmade goodies has offered hope to small businesses and bloggers... but is everyone still happy with it?

With the arrival and staying power of big box stores like Walmart, it was an eventuality that the shopping pendulum would sweep the other way. As buyers have been inundated with cookie-cutter products filling anonymous linoleum aisles, they have started to seek out increasingly unique gifts from smaller retailers. Handmade goods from artisans around the country have filled the national buyer's need for the new, and Etsy was there to fill the void.

We all know that Etsy is the original handmade buying and selling hub, offering everything from hand sewn hoodies to tie-dyed paper for all your scrapbooking needs. You can find cake pops and flip-flops or earrings made from shampoo bottle plastic. The handmade revolution and Etsy go hand-in-hand, without a doubt. For this reason, tales of crafters quitting their day jobs and selling their wares full-time on the mega-site have been tempting many artisans to set up an Etsy shop and start clicking pics of their latest googly-eyed puff-ball amigurumi creations.

But in it's fourth year, Etsy is hitting the rocks and meeting up with criticism from both buyers and sellers. Sellers have concerns about fees, user interface and the ever-dubious 'Spotlight' promotions that yield shaky sales results. Buyers have their own unique set of complaints ranging from regulating product quality to site navigation. Administrator communication with Etsy users causes mass bouts of frustration, spawning mostly from the official Etsy message board.

These complaints often hit a brick wall- which happens to be the chief complaint. The Etsy message boards have become notorious as a place of non-action. Buyers and sellers are left to their own devices, often debating amongst themselves about issues that could be readily resolved with the interjection of board administrators. Complaints of technical issues are famous for going unresolved, and criticism of badly made products is a death warrant for a post.

If 'other', leave a comment instead.

Perhaps a good deal of the problem is that the concerns of users are met with silence, while Etsy keeps constant contact with you and your email box. Newsletters flood in with new information on how you can spend more to promote goods within the site, and even encouragements for sellers to advertise Etsy (of course, Etsy doesn't pay you to promote them) on other sites.

Meanwhile, 'The Storque' reports each month on just how many more users are sprouting up as your competition, and the millions of dollars (16 million in September) that you didn't make every month. To many users, this is adding up to more take than give, and the corporate attitude is clashing with the felted kitty pillows.

Etsy Community
Etsy's official photo of their community
is criticized as the company attitude
toward the individual.
Since Etsy will not maintain their own complaint department, someone else is going to fill the need. Many unrecognized complaints have given birth to sites like Etsy Bitch ('Biting the hand that feeds us') and Regretsy ('It looks like you made it with your feet'). These sites offer some fresh perspective on Etsy as a company and creative marketplace, which is a form of free speech that can't be accessed on the Etsy site itself. (Regretsy can not be discussed in the forums, as a form of 'calling out'.)

These sites are seeing a lot of user response, for the simple fact that these places are an open forum to discuss the issues with Etsy that are otherwise censored or ignored on the Etsy.com site. What do you think? Does Etsy need to turn things around, or are these simply users scorned? Click "Comments" to tell us what you think.

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October 26, 2009 at 3:29 pm
(1) Sukhmandir Kaur says:

Haven’t heard of Etsy but did see a bunch of Regretsy

October 26, 2009 at 8:22 pm
(2) Connie G. says:

I have been thinking of opening a shop on Etsy, so I am reading this information with interest. As a shopper, however, I have only had extremely positive experiences on Etsy.

October 28, 2009 at 1:30 pm
(3) Beth says:

I haven’t gone to an online store, although I’m seriously thinking about it. This just adds to my likelihood of going with Artfire!

November 3, 2009 at 5:49 pm
(4) less says:

I was an etsy seller. During the SEO crisis my sales plummeted. I was a successful seller too. In the end the BS about what was and was not happening was enoguh for me, I pulled all my items and used the Artfire importer and moved my stuff to artfire. While Artfire isn’t perfect they at least listen to my complaints and I pay for a service and I’m treated like a customer.

November 4, 2009 at 2:32 pm
(5) thebadcat says:

I left Etsy 2 months ago. I was getting great views and making sales until the SEO changes. I’m thrilled that I left because it seems to have gone from bad to worse. I’ve had friends who were interested in selling on Etsy, and I’ve steered them to other sites that are more friendly towards their sellers.

November 4, 2009 at 5:53 pm
(6) Meaghan says:

I’ve written numerous posts on my blog about the culture of craft and how Etsy is polluting the waters with not only ineffective functionality but disastrous customer service and the insulting policing of nice. I’ve e-mailed them on a few occasions with no reply about these issues. My biggest issue is not just the saturation of “Etsy darlings” in gift guides and feature posts, but that there is little diversity (race, sex, gender, sexuality, size) on the site as well. It’s a whitewashed, heteronormative mess. Approximately 3 months ago, I left Etsy as a seller because after careful consideration of the fees I was paying versus what I could pay at another service, I realized that Etsy was getting away with highway robbery. It’s not affordable, easy to use or well designed when you open yourself up to other options. Etsy Bitch and Regretsy have two separate lenses into the problems at Etsy, and I’m pleased to see SOMEONE speaking critically about their shortcomings without setting themselves up for a scolding from crafty peers. Etsy has a brand and people will voraciously and viciously support it if it is benefiting them. It’s really disappointing. They are corrupting the true meaning of community, especially as it relates to craft.

November 4, 2009 at 6:00 pm
(7) Maria says:

If you really look at the forums you will see it’s basically the same 10 people complaining over and over again. My guess is those are the same 10 people at etsybitch.

You rarely hear from satisfied sellers, they are busy running their stores.

Nothing is perfect, but the traffic on etsy and the increasing monthly sales speak for themselves.

November 4, 2009 at 6:23 pm
(8) e. says:

There are far more than 10 dissatisfied Etsy sellers/buyers, let’s be honest, Maria. A lot of us recognized long ago that complaining to/about Etsy will always be a futile effort, falling on deaf ears, so we simply don’t bother.

November 4, 2009 at 7:43 pm
(9) Dawn says:

Believe me, there are many more than 10 sellers who have issues with etsy. I have never posted on the forums although I do lurk often. The sellers that are speaking out are the brave ones. Most don’t speak up in fear of getting reprimaned by admin in one way or another.

November 4, 2009 at 7:55 pm
(10) BetsyB says:

I agree with the previous commenter Meaghan here: My biggest issue is not just the saturation of “Etsy darlings” in gift guides and feature posts, but that there is little diversity (race, sex, gender, sexuality, size) on the site as well. It’s a whitewashed, mess. And I disagree with previous commenter Maria when she states:it’s basically the same 10 people complaining over and over again. My guess is those are the same 10 people at etsybitch. Apparently Maria cannot count.There are scores of people bringing up seller concerns in the forums everyday. Most of these people never heard of Etsy Bitch, and most of the concerns get ignored.

November 4, 2009 at 8:10 pm
(11) LKA says:

Yeah, I do think Etsy has some things to turn around. It’s been a downward spiral of favorites, lack of customer service, and just sheer child’s play. I think most of the people in power need to grow up and stop pretending to run a business.

“Maria” (hmmmm.) might want to read the forums every once in awhile. It’s not just 10, but the ones who do speak out most are the ones who have been there for awhile and know what Etsy was before the influx of big money investors. They, we, are not afraid anymore of the Etsy reprisal. It’s sad how many buyers and sellers are only lurkers and afraid to actually speak out on the mass of problems that have gone unfixed in 4 years. I sincerely doubt they can blame it on the servers any longer.

November 4, 2009 at 8:33 pm
(12) INVISIBLE says:

Etsy staffers seem to be too busy to always check the items they choose to feature: the Terms of Use are important to artisans and craftspeople who are invested in their own professionalism, and merely want it to be reflected in what the site chooses to feature and focus upon.
Handmade is special: not a ‘deal’ and not ‘cheap’. It’s different, and needs to be proud that it’s a welcome change from mass-produced tossaways and promoted as such.
A whole lot of sellers, particularly ones who have been on the site for years, do not feel the love or the respect. They feel that Etsy cares more about finding new sellers and feeding them unrealistic dreams instead of features that will actually help them realize their aspirations.

November 5, 2009 at 4:06 am
(13) oh well says:

Oh well seems there are always unhappy and happy users, whatever the website. I’m a happy one, and Etsy has given me the opportunity to meet many, many new buyers, which I am thankful for.

November 5, 2009 at 6:01 am
(14) legolandpenguin says:

I’ve been a buyer on Etsy for a couple of years now and yes, Etsy really does suck. I draw the distinction, though, between the sellers and Etsy itself. I’ve had great experiences with the sellers, and have found some truly unique and beautiful items. However, Etsy as a business…is awful. I feel like there’s a disrespect towards sellers, buyers and handmade in general. Just from my perspective – I value handmade and am willing to pay more for it. However, if I am to do this, I want some basic protection against fraud. Handmade should be handmade, and vintage should actually be vintage. Etsy should enforce this – and they clearly don’t, with how much flagging gets ignored. Better searches would be awesome – wading through tons of unrelated, mistagged stuff sucks and really tests my patience…and importantly, copyrights should be enforced. To not do this is completely disrespectful to any artist. Instead though, we have all the cutesy drawings, storque articles…things that don’t do anything for me as a buyer outside of Etsy’s determined demographic, and probably don’t do anything for that vast majority of Etsy sellers either.
So, now, I buy on Etsy only when I have to, if my favorite sellers have inexplicably not set up a shop elsewhere. Otherwise, I’m done, and I don’t see why sellers choose to stay.

November 5, 2009 at 8:43 am
(15) Censored says:

Maria is right about not that many people complaining about Etsy. Not because they’re so thrilled with Etsy and not because they don’t get listened to; people have quit speaking out because of fear of reprisals. Blackballing and banning is standard operating procedure at Etsy.

Sellers have been banned for speaking out and you can guarantee that no matter how wonderful your art/craft is, if the admins at Etsy see that you are raising too many questions or complaining too much, you’ll NEVER be a featured seller or placed in a gift guide. They have gone so far as to feature treasuries and remove the items of people they didn’t like.

I do very well at Etsy (and Artfire too), but that doesn’t mean I don’t see what goes on. And there’s no way in hell I am going to post my name or link to my shop because if I do, I know there will be retribution for it.

November 5, 2009 at 10:06 am
(16) Sarah says:

Etsy seems to be run by a small narrow-minded group of insular and petulant wannabe hipsters. I will never purchase a cowl, or anything with an owl or a deer on it, or anything that is “riding a bicycle” or beige or gray or taupe or white or pretentiously ironic, which is what their taste seems to be. After having been a member for 2 years, I am completely convinced that no one has ever even attended so much as a marketing seminar, let alone has any sort of degree… because the only products they feature (which they feature RELENTLESSLY) appeal to the smallest audience with what is actually the least spending money. It’s completely asinine. Etsy admin are completely asinine.

Users who complain or raise questions in the forums regarding etsy’s unfair practices, favoritism, or general asininity are blacklisted. Etsy only rewards thoughtless yes-men (otherwise known as cupcakes). So, there’s no point in posting in the forums. The site admin don’t listen, or they act like vengeful petulant children and “mute” or blacklist the dissenters.

Etsy needs to fire whoever is merchandising that site, whoever put up all those crappy illustrations on the sign-in page, and whoever picks the items for the front page and the etsy gift guides.

November 5, 2009 at 1:12 pm
(17) Nothings Perfect says:

Sure, Etsy has flaws, but it’s allowed me to make a second income of over $800 a month with the added bonus of doing it all from my home.

They could use improvement in many ways, but if you accept the rules and can work within the parameters, you can be successful. Not everyone will be happy with that,but it works for me. I do think there are people who love to stir the pot, though.

Another thing no one wants to bring up is the fact that a seller may be trying to sell something no one wants. There are too many people making the same old boring jewelry, plush, or knitted hats, for example, as a thousand other shops are making.

November 5, 2009 at 1:28 pm
(18) Alicia says:

Etsy works for me too. I don’t always think the goals of etsy as a company are the same as sellers goals. Yet, it’s a business that is thriving.

I certainly wouldn’t call this unbiased reporting though. It’s obviously a piece to bring out the disgruntled ones.

Have you ever looked at those other handmade sites?
They are pitiful. Sellers love the tools, but the sites have no idea how to bring in the buyers.

I’ve never understood why etsybitch keeps bitching. Etsy clearly tells you who they are just like a politician. You go with them or you go elsewhere. Constant bitching seems a waste of time, unless time is all you’ve got.

November 5, 2009 at 3:01 pm
(19) invisible says:

1. Etsy staff take negative comments personally, and do damage. That is why I am invisible: invisible to customers, and invisible for fear of further reprisals. There are a lot of people just like me.

2. Important seller tools finally start leaking in only after the competitor gives sellers what they need. Begging for years did nothing.

3. Etsy seems to want to show that ANYONE can be successful there: they feature some of the most ridiculous, poorly made junk just to prove it. The money comes from new sellers– once they are signed up and start the renewing, Etsy’s job is done.

4. The CEO is certainly aware of where the money is coming from, but it would behoove her to check on her employees once in a while. They should be featuring items that follow the site Terms of Use, for example, and they should be treating Etsy customers with a bit of respect (the sellers ARE Etsy’s customers– our customers are unimportant to the company.)

5. If Etsy wants to encourage quality buyers, they are looking in the wrong places, which is how I came to my point #2. Young hipsters do not have the funds to buy quality hand made goods, yet the features all over the site are focused on that demographic.

6. I keep my Etsy shop for my return customers: they are at least aware of my existence. I buy from my favorite tried-and-true sellers, because I can trust them to deliver what they advertise. My goods are too expensive for kids who live in their parents’ basements.

7. It is possible to have a cuccessful shop on Etsy, but that is due to the hard work of the sellers. The advice given in the blog is bush-league stuff and fluff. If you don’t know how to package your items, you don’t know how to take decent photographs, and you don’t know how to stage and market your stuff what are you doing trying to sell it? Those articles are about the focus group: young, inexperienced hobbyists. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but they are Etsy’s meat, not the people who already know how to create quality goods and know what to do when someone buys one.

All the social networking that Etsy prominently pushes as spamming opportunities will ultimately prove my points– and already is. And that is a message that Etsy cannot control, and why I will never use my real name for fear of reprisals.

November 5, 2009 at 3:21 pm
(20) LKA says:

Did you really say that politicians clearly tell you who they are?! I was not going to post again, but I could not help myself. I don’t think politicians actually tell you who they are in a truthful way just in a good marketing spin kind of way.

And, without a certain amount of “bitching” as it has been called, women would not have the vote, African-Americans would still be enslaved, children would still be working in sweatshops in the US, and many other things. Just because that’s how it is doesn’t mean that’s how it should be.

I will now go back into the shadows and run my successful shop/business. Who knew you could have a successful shop and still have time to comment and fight against the regime?

November 5, 2009 at 5:13 pm
(21) ugh says:

There is a certain brand to Etsy and they stick to it. You can see a featured seller make a certain something, only to see another seller featured a few months later who makes the same thing. I think that Etsy has cheapened craft to the point that hard working artists who are out there doing shows and working in their communities to teach people the beauty of art and craft are getting no credit or benefit from Etsy. It actually seems to make life harder for these people.

November 5, 2009 at 5:28 pm
(22) GL says:

I do have online stores, so I know it’s hard to satisfy customers 100%. However, after repeated horrible experiences as a buyer at etsy and ignorance and insufficient help from the etsy admin, I don’t buy anything anymore on etsy. I even thought about opening up a blog titled “etsysuck” so people can actually complaint as much as their hearts desire. That’s how much I was pissed last time. I digressed though and moved on…

November 5, 2009 at 9:52 pm
(23) AlreadyLeft says:

Dear Maria (is it a coincidence that the big lady behind Etsy is called Maria too?), if you still think it’s only 10 sellers complaining about Etsy, maybe you should have a look at the current forum thread in which Etsy sellers are discussing Etsy’s latest f*ckup: Etsy is refusing to refund fees for returned items.

There are more and more sellers considering leaving Etsy, I wonder why….

November 6, 2009 at 12:28 am
(24) Annoyed says:

Maria (the CEO of Etsy) visited San Francsico this Summer (June 2009), where she said that Etsy is still in its infancy. Talk about infuriating. Other sites (eBay, Amazon, and others) had it ALL figured out long before they turned 4 years old (and eBay had survived their infamous meltdown of 2000)!

If I had to choose one thing that Etsy should improve on right away, it would be to make the listing form MUCH simpler … i.e., fewer pages/screens. eBay, for example started with a very simple form (before they offered image hosting and all the other bells and whistles). They went to a VERY long form (5 or 6 screens, if I recall correctly), and are now back to TWO screens. Etsy, meanwhile is at what … 5 screens, I think?

There is no excuse for Etsy to be sooooo behind the times with many things, nor is there an excuse for them to not take IMMEDIATE action regarding non-handmade items which are offered on their site. I am also annoyed by the constant feature of certain “Etsy darlings” but there are other things I’d rather see fixed FIRST.

Personally, I would like to see Etsy split into three separate sites — handmade items, supplies & destash, and vintage. While I have two shops, one for my handmade items and another for destash, I could just as easily run them on two separate sites so that wouldn’t bother me in the least!

November 6, 2009 at 12:58 am
(25) LisaLisa says:

I’m a new seller at etsy… I’ve been a determined little thing, renewing my listings, purchasing showcases. I have great pictures, product descriptions, excellent feedback, and beautiful handmade high quality products. I’ve never visited the forums because I hate being online much… but lately I have felt like I’m putting a lot of money into etsy and I can’t help noticing the same sort of products and even the same sellers up on the front page over and over and over… it is a little disheartening to feel like etsy may be playing favorites. Also, I feel quite disappointed that there isn’t a shipping calculator. Shipping internationally is quite a hassle because I have to send an additional invoice through PayPal for extra charges. So……. If not etsy, where? Any suggestions?

November 6, 2009 at 2:39 am
(26) Betsy B says:

For LisaLisa

There are many other sites where sellers get an equal platform to sell. (equal being the key word here) I like Artfire myself. EtsyBitch.blog ran a wonderful series where they reviewed different on line venues where you can sell your items. Go here:


and search back just a little and you will see reviews of many different venues. Good luck and yes, Etsy features the same sellers over and over.

November 6, 2009 at 3:18 pm
(27) Kelly says:

Unfortunately Etsy doesn’t go the extra distance to make sure every type of art is featured. They only “brand” what they like and the rest of us can be damned even if we are established crafts people with legitimate types of art.

The admins, who are mostly very young, stick to what they like and if you don’t make that you won’t get anywhere on Etsy as far as being featured. In fact my category is buried in under a heading that doesn’t even give the buyer any idea that we are there, and there are quite a few sellers in my medium. We just get no play at all. I sell well through my website and practically nothing on Etsy, so I don’t think it’s all me.

So the only answer to selling on Etsy is join the cookie cutter movement and make what they like or don’t count on Etsy for your sales.

You would be far better putting your money into your own site, advertising and promoting yourself, not them…and putting things on Etsy as an additional portfolio without relisting or promoting them at all. It’s the only way to get your 20 cents worth.

November 6, 2009 at 3:18 pm
(28) rhiannon says:

If “Maria” is the same Maria behind Etsy, then her comment about the same 10 people complaining is INCREDIBLY offensive. Shes pretty much admitting that she doesnt pay any attention to the hordes of complaints emailed to Etsy on a daily basis. This is not to mention of course the brave sellers who dare to disagree with Etsy on the forums.

Etsy is just bad business, and we need to stop rewarding them with our relisting fees! If we stop, they stop.

November 6, 2009 at 3:52 pm
(29) Cecily says:

I’ve been on Etsy since January of this year. I’ve been on Artfire since July. Etsy has made few if any noticeable changes to the sellers while Artfire has added much (even if it’s only for the pro sellers).
Etsy needs to start actually improving the interface. It’s cumbersome for listing and for searching. They need to start seeing what other handmade sites are doing (like an easier listing format, coupon codes, global editors) And stop wanting everyone to look the same!
It’s a handmade site and everyone has a different style and is looking to appeal to a different demographic.
Maria is wrong, there are more than just 10 people complaining and it’s not the same people at Etsybitch, trust me. I stay out of the forums because little comes of it except for catty fights and nothing gets done

November 6, 2009 at 4:57 pm
(30) Amanda says:

I am an avid Etsy seller, and I like that it has gotten my foot in the door with regards to starting my own handmade business, but I do agree that their are some major concerns with how Etsy is run. The fees seem a bit outrageous – why is my listing fee for a $5 item the same as someone else’s who is listing a $25 item? On top of that, the same sellers are getting promoted over and over again. Granted, they have unique products and great photos, but so do a lot of other sellers who aren’t getting recognized! I took the time to do some research on this on http://www.craftcult.com (tells you when and where you were featured on Etsy). One seller in particular was featured almost 10 times a day on the front page for almost a week straight. Certainly that means they are getting MUCH more exposure and sales than the average seller. Meanwhile, all us other sellers who make high-quality products are working our butts off and using our valuable crafting time to promote OURSELVES! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg….

November 6, 2009 at 5:41 pm
(31) Hilary Harwell says:

I just opened a shop on etsy and after reading this and some follow-up comments I’m left wondering if there is a better alternative…I’d love to know of other handmade sites that offer the ease of use of etsy!

November 6, 2009 at 5:49 pm
(32) thegrassisgreener says:

Hilary it cant hurt to have your eggs in more than one basket check artfire out its been pretty good there.

November 6, 2009 at 9:05 pm
(33) aosleather says:

Nothing is perfect and Etsy is no exception. That said, I have done well on Etsy – better by far than the other venues cited herein. Like anything, success in an Etsy shop requires work and diligence. It’s also good to have a unique product – jewelry is a very saturated category, for example, and only the most outstanding pictures and goods will get the attention a seller wants.

November 6, 2009 at 11:32 pm
(34) Censorship Sucks says:

Yes, I am writing again. I can’t resist after reading some of the comments here.

The forums at Etsy are a huge joke. Censorship is the name of the game there. All you successful Etsy sellers who are posting here had better make sure you NEVER complain publicly about Etsy or else you will suffer the fate of some other very successful Etsy sellers who dared to voice their concerns. They’re shops have been shut down, their profiles banned, their businesses ruined. It’s not a myth, it’s not sour grapes, it’s not just “the ones who couldn’t make it” or “the same ten people” who are having the problems. Sorry to burst your bubble. It COULD happen to you.

That said, there ARE many other venues out there that are run much more professionally and less like a sorority. Go online, do your homework and find the venue that works for you, if you don’t like Etsy. Etsy is not the be-all end-all of arts and crafts.

Oh…and as for the person who said this piece was “biased reporting”…it is no more or less biased than an article written to praise Etsy to the heavens and tell people it is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I guess the deal is that if you write an article that encourages praise, people are fine with that, but if someone writes an article that perhaps exposes an unpleasant truth…well, that’s just biased reporting. Do I have that right?

Perhaps we should turn the tables here and say it’s just the same front page favorites writing all the _good_ comments. How about that? I mean, because it’s simply not possible that more than ten people could be unhappy with how Etsy is run, right? Let’s all have a rousing cheer for invalidating and dismissing people’s complaints. Maria, if you really ARE the CEO of Etsy, I can now understand why they hired you.

November 7, 2009 at 2:28 am
(35) Diana says:

I think that the poll should have more than the two options – I don’t think Etsy sucks COMPLETELY and the absolutism puts me off.

Etsy has problems. It also has issues with too many cooks dedicated to some of the wrong areas, and it’s obvious to me that there still needs to be someone with a more pragmatic and less “big picture” eye in the office itself rather than on the road. The staff needs some rearranging, and they desperately need a customer service department that’s empowered to actually help people.

November 10, 2009 at 7:12 am
(36) PussDaddy says:

Are you aware that the Etsy Bitches were given free lifetime shops on ArtFire to write articles for HandmadeNews? Here is a blog post of mine about it where a couple of Etsy Bitches confirm this in the comment section of another blog post on my blog. How can they have any credibility when they are basically in the pocket of ArtFire and their mission is to hate on Etsy and sing ArtFire’s praises?


November 10, 2009 at 7:18 am
(37) PussDaddy says:

Also, I think it is important to get a fair and balanced perspective on things. One cannot give a fair and balanced perspective on one venue when one is being compensated by another venue with a free lifetime shop. And in the interest of fairness I am going to post on my own blog that I posted this here, so that it stays here, in the interest of being fair and balanced. Thank you,


November 10, 2009 at 8:22 am
(38) PussDaddy says:

Also, no one needs an Etsy Bitch to fill any gap as far as providing a platform for people to bitch about Etsy. Anyone is free to start their own blog and bitch, and they can do it in another name, or anonymously, and allow anonymous posters to post there. So what the heck does anyone need Etsy Bitch for? I’m not saying that Etsy doesn’t have problems buyer and seller wise, I am just saying that Etsy Bitch was basically in the pocket of ArtFire, provided with free shops for life to do HandMadeNews articles, and to bash Etsy and make ArtFire look like Saints, and once this business venture went south, now you see they hate ArtFire now as well.
No one needs paid mouthpieces like Etsy Bitch to do a damn thing.


November 11, 2009 at 1:19 am
(39) Betsy B says:

The EB’s provide a service to Etsy sellers by wading through the mire of Etsy boloney and providing information. Visit the Etsy forums and see how ‘happy’ the Etsy sellers about the ugly pink, slap the sellers in the face, gift guide link. None of those sellers in the forums are there because they got a shop on Artfire or anywhere else. Furthermore, when a serious business owner has spent money promoted their Etsy shop they are not able to just throw away their business cards and ads and efforts and go somewhere else.

November 11, 2009 at 12:23 am
(40) Summer says:

I was on Etsy for six months. I went into the forums, what a mistake! There are horrible sellers on there harassing people. I was harassed almost weekly. I e-mailed Etsy, they did not respond back. I find they have favoritism among sellers. They do not even follow their own TOU. They allow sellers to resell off of E-bay. You “Flag” for months. Etsy does not care as long as they make their profit. Etsy picks and chooses who stays on Etsy and the Shops that are shut down. If you dare speak against Etsy in the forums the threads are closed and your shops is deactivated!


November 11, 2009 at 1:17 pm
(41) Jennifer-Ann says:

Does Etsy Suck?

YES, Big Time!

A “Lawsuit” should be brought against them.

November 11, 2009 at 3:58 pm
(42) Carrie says:

Etsy needs to change. They allow reselling. Etsy does not even follow their own TOU. You can Flag all month everyday and Etsy does nothing to deactivate the resellers accounts. They will deactivate “YOU” if you dare mention this in any forum thread or stand up for yourself. They show favoritism towards some sellers. People are being harassed in Etsy forums.


Shall I say more. Look it up yourself.

November 15, 2009 at 10:33 am
(43) hmmmm says:

The article and comments have surely been an interesting read and Pussdaddy what an eye opener you added. About the time I hit your post I was thinking “who” are these people who are posting? While just starting to get sucked into all the shocking comments both for and against etsy, and figuring out truth, justice and the international way, I was beginning to question opinions.

I think there are 3 basic main issues at etsy and 2 don’t have anything to do with etsy. The economy sucks so all sales are off, you just may not have something people care to buy in your shop (I’m not a huge seller, myself) and etsy will promote trend (and yes they are a young group so no suprise trendy for the under-40 group) because they are a profit making business.

I believe (from experience in the forums myself) the majority of sellers on etsy have no earthly clue about running, maintaining and marketing a business and are looking to etsy to assure their success. When an OP asks in the forum, “what should I do when the buyer hasn’t paid yet?” or “how do I deposit a check with my business name and bank says no”, this is what buyers and etsy are dealing with. The 20¢-only listing fee means anyone and everyone with a camera can list on etsy. That is more scary to me than etsy admin. And those who are talented AND business savvy compete with those who are talented but haven’t a clue what the hell they are doing. If nothing else, a lot of the inexperienced don’t even bother to take the time to research the tons of etsy help that is provided right on site, or at the very least do a forum seach because the problem has surely been discussed to death before. As much empathy as I have for new business people, the approach taken by many is unbelievable. Why isn’t that seller asking their BANK that question?

The bottom line is take care of yourself. Etsy provides an uber cheap listing venue, yes along with 100,000s of other sellers. It’s your responsibilty to take your deck of cards and deal your own hand. If you believe there are etsy fav sellers they like to promote and it really bothers you, there are choices—-> leave or find a work around.

November 15, 2009 at 3:36 pm
(44) Susan A says:

I was an etsy seller for almost 2 years. When the SEO mess hit this spring, I finally took a look around and tried Artfire- they’re not perfect but at least they try and not too badly.

I got tired of Admins ignoring issues, ignoring requests that have been going on since forever, I just got sick of it. Etsy has used the excuse of “it’s run by artist in Brooklyn” too long and it’s just not true.

Some users will always be loyal to Etsy, that’s their choice, This last week buyers haven’t been able to pay because Etsy times out before check- it’s been aweek- like always zippo from admin. I’m glad I closed my shop there.

November 22, 2009 at 7:13 pm
(45) Rana says:

People should know that Puss Daddy’s been in a feud with Etsy Bitch for a good while now. I’m not saying that PD doesn’t have a point, but that people should know this.

For full disclosure – I began looking for other sites when it was clear that the only way to succeed on Etsy was to sell things that matched the “Etsy brand” – and it was doing that which led Etsy to close my shop. So if you’re a seller who’s looking around for options – be discreet! Even mentioning the existence of another shop, even without links, can get your shop shuttered.

There are some wonderful sellers on Etsy, but Etsy itself is focused on Etsy’s bottom line, not those of sellers – it gets paid even if your items never sell. (Which is why Etsy admin like to encourage relisting before the listing has expired as a way to “advertise” your shop.)

November 28, 2009 at 9:30 am
(46) Robin says:

If Etsy had been designed properly in the beginning, there would be many less problems and complaints. It was started as a lark and four years later, they are still making policy, fumbling around all thumbs. This is why so many core apps are being implimented too late for many people.
Essentially, Etsy is run by a bunch of kids who have no idea what they are doing. Of course they take criticism personally! They are children!
BTW. Ebay was the first handmade venue. NONE of the complaining and sabotaging that happens on Etsy would be tolerated for two seconds on Ebay! This is why it is still the biggest and most powerful of e-commerce sites.
For what it is, a poorly constructed and shortsighted monster, Etsy does fabulously well. It is a sink of swim proposition selling on Etsy and the old saw works: if you don’t like it, LEAVE! Go somewhere else! Go to Ebay and see how long you last with the smart remarks etc.
The main thing is to take action. Etsy is what it is because of the administration being ridiculously unprepared to support the kind of success it could mean for so many people.

December 5, 2009 at 3:59 pm
(47) Kim says:

I truly have had only positive experiences with Etsy. With that said, I sell on 1000markets.com which I think is a better fit for me.

December 5, 2009 at 4:15 pm
(48) GetTheResellerOut says:

With average $2400 a month, I guess I am doing ok on Etsy. However, I am not thrilled with their administration at all. Not only did I not see any promotion done by their part, they even fail to keep the environment somewhat clean for their well behaved customers who are the key for Etsy to succeed and grow. Way too many resellers on the site, and Etsy performs poorly on taking control on this issue. We often see sellers selling mass produced items as handmade items, and not only Etsy failed to spot them, they even fail to take action after many complaints and flags (Etsy’s report system) have been made. Yes, Etsy sucks, but the sad thing is there are no other online venues that are able to generate as much traffic as Etsy does now, that is the only reason many of us still stay with Etsy, regardless how poor the customer service is. However, many of us are keeping our options open by investing in Artfire, once Artfire shows improvement in traffic, I will dump Etsy in seconds.

December 5, 2009 at 5:28 pm
(49) Humored says:

Etsy’s not perfect, but no place is. Anyone who touts ArtFire as the place to be obviously missed their recent fiasco when the COO went off his rocker in the forums threatening, muting, and banning users. That wasn’t fun.

In the end, it’s up to us to learn how to make our shops successful. A little less favoritism at Etsy would be nice, and quicker removal of resellers… However, if your shop fails, I doubt those will be the reasons why.

December 5, 2009 at 7:15 pm
(50) Sheila says:

I sell on Etsy, and I highly recommend it. Sure, there are issues, but nothing so bad as to garner all the complaining I’ve seen here. It’s far better than other sites, more traffic, better customers and so on. And go ahead and put up your own site if you have the time – writing your own code, taking and editing pictures and setting up a Shopping Cart is frustrating.

December 5, 2009 at 7:52 pm
(51) belle.starr says:

I think Etsy does listen to their sellers more than many sites do, but they do play favorites and double standards run rampant. There are a couple of vintage sellers I’ve noticed who are featured about five times a week on the front page, and one of these sellers in particular is constantly breaking Etsy’s own rules by padding her tags with too many words. But she’s an Etsy Darling so it’s okay for HER to break the rules and get featured time after time after time…

There are many things about Etsy that DO really suck, such as buyers being able to register with false addresses, and buyers being able to take items out of a shop without ever paying. How hard could it be to implement a check-out system that allows sellers to leave the items IN THEIR STORES until said items are actually paid for? Especially if the seller takes PayPal exclusively!!

I do think Etsy’s administration is quite immature at times. It’s obvious most of them are in their 20′s and have a LOT to learn.

I also get tired of seeing white females picked as the featured seller. There is VERY little diversity on Etsy, as a previous poster mentioned. I get tired of seeing the same old neutral beiges, grays, and cream colors on the front page too. It’s like Etsy has got itself stuck and can’t get out its rut.

December 5, 2009 at 8:14 pm
(52) Sheila says:

“Lawsuit”? For what? Some people have no sense and post just to see themselves pot.

If you have been to Etsy and don’t like it, don’t go there. If you haven’t, check it out and make your own judgement. There are plenty of places out there to sell, and Etsy may or may not be the place for you. The point is, make up your own mind, don’t go by what someone else says.

December 5, 2009 at 8:26 pm
(53) etsyland says:

First and foremost, the best part of etsy, besides all the lovely handmade products, is the community and etsy cannot take any credit for that. The people are great, helpful and supportive. That’s where I feel the love.

But etsy, the company, is a different matter all together. They pretend like they’re hip and cool and want our interaction ans opinions.

My biggest gripe of all is actually two parts.
Part 1 is they (etsy corp) have got a real deal going on by making the poor sellers bring in all the business. Many of the sellers are brainwashed and chant the same mantra over and over to any newbie who complains about the inordinate amount of time needed to promote which is “Etsy provides you with a storefront. It’s your job to bring in your buyers.”

Everyone bitches about ebay, but I like it. You never need to promote. Ebay spends mucho $$ advertising. Etsy does not. They use their sellers to fulfill this.

Part 2 Etsy corp also uses the sellers as policemen. They expect sellers to do all the flagging for resellers, copyright infringement, non-vintage sold as vintage, etc. This saves etsy a hell of a lot of money by depending on sellers to do this for free.

Other than that, I am not keen on the vintage and supply sellers. If you check out who the top sellers are, you will see the majority of them are jewelry supply sellers and vintage sellers probably come a close second. All the crafters and artists really don’t make that many sales. There is just too much competition for that. Because of this, the prices for goods have artificially been driven down. There is no place where you could buy homemade goods (not made in a sweatshop) so cheaply as at etsy. The prices are downright shameful and it is really not the fault of the artists and crafters. Etsy really should limit the size and number of sellers.

December 5, 2009 at 9:49 pm
(54) miss b says:

I’m a fairly successful seller on Etsy. I make enough to stay fed and still buy extra shoes. My items are fairly priced, well made, and I make fair profit on my products after all the overhead. But I also offer a very high quality item, that has it’s own distinction. I’m not selling in over saturated sections.

I have a laundry list of complaints. Gave up on voicing them a year ago.

I’m working on moving elsewhere, but, Etsy seems to corner the market for my visibility. I can sell off it, but, about 60% of my customers find me through Etsy. Even if they end up buying something I don’t offer on there.

I look forward to the day sites like Artfire and Zibbet lap them in views and sales.

December 5, 2009 at 10:46 pm
(55) Not A. Malcontent says:

I suspect what happened with/to Etsy was that the site got too big too quickly for the people who started it, and they’ve been digging their way out ever since. I agree that the problems might have been avoided if the site had been designed differently in the first place, but I don’t know many ventures that get everything right on their first try. I think they might have made more headway in dealing with needed changes (for instance, engineering a less chaotic transition through the search engine optimization process) if they’d postponed or put more thought into some of the decisions that have been made since the site opened. In my opinion, there should have been a plan for incorporating Vintage into Etsy, because there clearly wasn’t. Etsy started out to promote people who were out there making things, and I don’t think there was enough thought given to the consequences before expanding that. I see a lot of dissension from sellers of vintage items (of which I am one, BTW) and supplies about unequal treatment (taxation without representation, i.e. “Etsy = Handmade” with little or no acknowledgment of those other areas.) I recognize that as a problem, but I don’t think it’s greed — let’s get all those listing and sale fees for the vintage stuff and screw anyone who complains that we don’t equally promote vintage — I think it’s poor planning in the first place, and then an inability to regroup and cope with the consequences due to the massive structure of the site. Frankly, I’m less concerned with the money Etsy’s making from sellers than I am with clueless or dishonest sellers listing masses of dollar store import junk as “vintage” without a clue when or where it was made. But I don’t know if it’s possible to police that with the current set-up.

I think some transparency would go a long way toward easing the frustrations of sellers – like how many people work on monitoring shops for appropriate content, vs. how many work on the technology of the site, or promotion of the Etsy “brand”? And how about some insights into how items are selected to be featured. Is it done by one person? A group? An individual, but on a rotating basis, so different tastes come into it?

It must be a massive task by this point to oversee the entire thing; unfortunately, we can’t know what their obstacles and priorities are, unless they tell us. Knowing what they’re doing or planning to do to address concerns from their customers – primarily those who sell, because we’re the ones who are around every day experiencing the frustration level – would ease my mind considerably.

December 6, 2009 at 7:55 pm
(56) Salacious Royale says:

Etsy does, pretty much, suck. I sold there for years, but between the increasing trend towards having every valuable on-site marketing slot curated by the lazy hipsters running the place, and the repeated cock ups (stats, SEO, search) I have been selling my work elsewhere.

Etsy seems to exist to give some otherwise unemployable people jobs (all the people who work on the oddly-named blog, The Storque, for example) and to encourage artists and craftspeople to undercut each other and sell at a loss. Bargain basement ain’t my thing. I didn’t train as an artist for 20 years to have Maria and her creepy minions tell me to make cheap owl crap.

December 7, 2009 at 9:13 am
(57) Rain Blanken says:

As a reminder, the ‘COMMENTS’ section on this post are opinions that are not a representation of the opinions of the author.

In a recent Etsy forum post, an opinion listed here in the ‘comments’ (#16) was misrepresented as part of the blog post. The blog does not state any opinions about personal taste in handmade fashion.

If your opinion can not be expressed by the poll given, simply leave a comment, as directed in the blog post.

December 7, 2009 at 4:02 pm
(58) E. S. says:

I have been very sucessful with etsy (over 4500 sales over 3 years). All my sales are hard earned with no support from etsy admin. I totally agree with your assessment…it does come off harsh, but you summed up etsy pretty well.

There are the same sellers, products and want-to-be styles on the front page. The fees are fair, but you get zero support for it. I am more likely to see Big Foot, then get a response from the Etsy employees….unless someone in Brooklyn (etsy location) complains about you/shop/items, then you get a smug email about how you violated the etsy policies and you have been caught and branded as an etsy offender, never to grace the front page!

I, at times, wonder into the forums…..there are many comments telling people how to sell and why you need to listen to them (they know!!), but honestly, most forum posters have crappy sales and big mouths. It seems more like people who want their 15 minutes of fame, then substance.

Etsy was a great sight for handmade, but now vintage is the main interest of etsy gift guides and your right, the dreaded Cowls, Owls and fingerless gloves. It is still my site of choice to sell, but each day it is with a bitter heart. Sadly, etsy may be way to cool for ETSY.

December 7, 2009 at 4:39 pm
(59) Ms. J says:

I was sad to read so many comments here about how etsy ignores people. Sad, but true. Shops must keep speaking up.

I am not happy that the sellers police each other. I find a lot of angry people, who pretend to help, but are really out to get the competition. I agree with the ‘crappy shops with big mouths’ comment. When I am in the forums, I now check shop sales before I take their comments serious.

Vintage (maybe supplies) has no business on a handmade site. It is just etsy pretending to be a revolution and taking $ under the bathroom stall.

Thanks you for writing this, we are with you

December 7, 2009 at 9:59 pm
(60) Annabelle says:

I was on Etsy for almost a year. I left due to the abuse. Yes there are people in the forums who have BIG mouths. Some just sit all day searching for “resellers” to call out. Why should they even care, if ETSY does not even bother to care. The TOU is a joke!

December 7, 2009 at 10:08 pm
(61) Abigail says:

I read Etsy was being sold in the near future. We shall see how that goes. If so, hopefully things will be better for us sellers.

December 9, 2009 at 10:44 am
(62) Outspoken says:

I ‘was’ going to be mature and NOT write anything here. Temptation proved to get the better of me.

I am one of the potentially more outspoken “10 complainers”. I have NEVER been censored or even received a warning concerning some of my numerous, on the verge of completely losing it posts. And, considering some of what I’ve written, is a constant surprise to me. I do not tend to pull punches.

The claims of censorship are overblown.

Ms. J, I also sell vintage within the site and belong there as much as you do. Possibly one of the unspoken rationales for having us within the site is for our value withn SEO. maybe, YOU should be thanking us.

According to http://www.alexa.com Etsy gets an average of roughly 10% of its traffic from search engines.

I, on the other hand have averaged 41.14% of my traffic directly from search engines according to Google Analytics. This number is based upon a full year’s average.

You will note that my percentages are much higher than the entirety of the site. It does seem to me that if all the vintage sellers were gone, that even less people would probably discover the site via traditional search engines. This potential loss might have an adverse affect on your sales, since if someone does purchase one of my items it is necessary for this person to become a member before doing so.

Did you ever pause to think that there might have been viable reasons for Etsy, the entity, to include vintage items?

The supply sellers get even less public acclaim within the site than the vintage sellers. We, collectively generate substantial moneys to a site that supports handcrafted. I prefer to view the supply and vintage sellers as “ART PATRONS”, or sponsers.

We pay the same fees as the artisans and by and large have additional barriers placed before us, as far as generating sales. Who’s to say? Maybe your listing fee is still at the very reasonable level of 20 cents due to the ongoing efforts of both the supply and vintage sellers.

December 9, 2009 at 11:47 am
(63) SAD says:

First, I love vintage goods and I even love etsy. I have been a shopper since the beginning and I have a small shop.

Outspoken said — we should thank Vintage for their SEO help, but honestly, vintage belongs on ebay or a sister site of etsy. I am sorry, but vintage is old-hat. Handmade is the new BLACK! Your vintage goods are not needed in a handmade movement.

I love vintage, but on the front page of etsy (trademark no less) it says ‘a place to buy & sell all things handmade’. It does not say ‘buy & sell all things VINTAGE’.

December 9, 2009 at 12:05 pm
(64) Vintage shop says:

I sell handmade, supplies and vintage. I realize that vintage is not a perfect fit on etsy. I would love the see a site as well done as etsy for vintage. Ebay is a bit to ‘garage sale’ and etsy probably should be handmade. I think etsy could do an amazing vintage, and even, a supply site.

December 10, 2009 at 7:17 am
(65) Outspoken says:

It appears the Etsy has made their decision, and apparantly the site wants to have vintage as a product line.

“All things handmade” doe not mean the same thing as “only handmade”

Ebay also has handcrafted lines, it seems as though there is equal opportunity within Ebay for all.

There are sites that DO offer exclusively handmade items. Maybe they don’t have the traffic because they don’t offer the vintage to help get people to the site. Seems to me that there are actually more sites that cater to strictly cfrated items.

I realise that not all of the vintage is quality, but some of the crafted leaves a bit to be desired also. Don’t believe me? :) Check out http://www.regretsy.com

December 10, 2009 at 3:21 pm
(66) VintageBetty says:

‘outspoken’, I sell vintage too, but I think you are busy defending and not seeing that a tasteful site like etsy would be better for vintage shops. I want a site devoted to quality vintage. We would be featured on the FP, in Gift Guides and other promos.

December 10, 2009 at 3:26 pm
(67) HAHA etsy says:

It feels like I am in the etsy forums with Outspoken here (that was not a compliment)

December 12, 2009 at 10:22 am
(68) Outspoken says:

:) Ha Ha, I take it, that you’re in the cupcake camp?

Ask me if I care.

December 13, 2009 at 2:14 pm
(69) Michelle says:

I agree with this article. I hope etsy admin reads it. There was a thread on etsy with this posted and I can no longer find it, etsy censorship I fear!

We need to keep our eye on the ball, ‘EYSY Change’ and not argue about sill things. The etsy concept is amazing, most products are unique and wonderful. It makes me sad to see the problems/fustrations of etsy come out here. This can and should be a place that we express our concerns without fear of etsy punishment. Perhaps a little less anger and more problem solving.

January 30, 2010 at 9:02 pm
(70) Gen says:

I agree with the no vintage on etsy unless it is an actual supply. I love my vintage, but I shop at etsy for handmade. It is difficult to sift through all the handmade shops and vintage is just to much for us shoppers. I think the idea of an etsy vintage is fantastic. It would sure help the shopper.

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