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.
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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's official photo of their community
is criticized as the company attitude
toward the individual.
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.