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Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Aug 26 2013 10:47:02

Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?

By: Ina Steiner
Sponsored Link
Managers of online marketplaces just can't help tinkering with policies, features and technology as they feel pressure from investors and shareholders to maintain high growth rates. We see it with eBay, and we see it with its smaller rival Etsy, and sellers often chafe against frequent changes to which they must adapt.

For anyone who doesn't get the "noise" reference in the headline, it refers to comments made by eBay CEO John Donahoe that many longtime sellers felt was dismissive of their outspoken concerns about the many changes he foisted upon them after he took over from Meg Whitman in 2008.

At the time, eBay sellers took to the comments section of articles about the company and spoke to any reporters who would listen to explain the conditions they faced as Donahoe implemented a series of moves as part of his campaign of "disruptive innovation."

Etsy sellers are going through a similar experience as the marketplace deals with growing pains. In a Friday article in which GigaOm praised Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson to the high heavens - "Dickerson is an unlikely success story in the razzle-dazzle world of ecommerce" - Etsy sellers took to the comments section to weigh in.

Sellers bemoaned the problem of resellers on the site and the difficulty of competing with mass manufacturers posing as artisans and crafters and objected to what they characterized as censorship on the Etsy boards when sellers discussed that and other problems.

Sellers report that Etsy is testing changes to its feedback systems and reviews process and worry it will eliminate PayPal in favor of its own payment processing system (see this article from today, "Etsy Suppresses PayPal - Test or Glitch?").

Before Dickerson replaced Etsy founder Rob Kalin as CEO, Etsy had been rolling out a series of "disruptive" changes in an effort to capitalize on social networking features. Dickerson brought some stability back to the site.

But he faces the challenge of taking a marketplace in which sellers must make every product themselves with no aid (in the handmade category for which it is best known) and making it scalable. One way is through international growth (only about 20% of Etsy's sales volume is from international buyers and sellers, Dickerson told GigaOm). Another is through fostering wholesalers, a slippery strategy given Etsy's handmade culture.

Will Etsy ultimately turn to larger sellers as eBay has done, or will it be able to maintain its core group of small sellers? Let us know what you think - and please indicate if you've sold on Etsy or not when commenting.



Comments (85) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?   Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?
by: vintagegoodness This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Mon Aug 26 11:42:13 2013
I've sold on Etsy in the Vintage category since 2008. Overall I am very happy with the site as a venue, and I am so thankful that when I was choosing a 2nd venue (eBay being my 1st) I went with Etsy. Of course there are problems with Etsy, as there are with any site, and they tend to be slow about addressing issues, which can be frustrating. But I think for the most part they are trying to build and improve things which should help all sellers there in the long run.

As far as scalability goes, it is inevitable that they will hit a growth wall if they continue to focus mainly on handmade and vintage items. These are very labor intensive things to sell, unlike mass produced items that can be bought at wholesale and listed by the thousands. What most people outside of Etsy don't realize is that Handmade and Vintage sellers aren't the largest sellers on Etsy - the people selling in the Supplies category consistently take home that honor. That is the section of the site that actually allows mass produced goods, because they are used by sellers to create their handmade items.

So far Etsy has grown by attracting new sellers. This type of growth can't last forever, so I fully expect at some point down the road they are going to have to figure out a way to allow mass produced items on the site, while still managing to keep that Etsy ''feel''. Some might argue that they are already doing this, by allowing some shops that are flagged as violating Etsy policy to remain open and continue selling their mass produced wares. It could be they are picking and choosing which shops to shut down rather than applying the same rules to everyone... The Handmade and Vintage sellers might not like it (I certainly don't!) but if you look at it from Etsy's standpoint, those sellers make them money, and they can keep on making them money fairly easily, because they are selling things that don't have to be created by hand or found one at a time at estate sales and flea markets...
Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?   Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?
This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford
       
Mon Aug 26 13:21:19 2013
"as they feel pressure from investors and shareholders to maintain high growth rates"

And there lies the problem.  The CEOs and upper management of these sites forget what made them a huge success in the first place in favor of the beloved shareholder and the almighty dollar.

Going public is about the worst thing that I can think of for users of these sites.
Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?   Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?
This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless
       
Mon Aug 26 14:23:16 2013
The future of the small sellers on Etsy will depend on whether Chad Dickerson is smarter than The Ho.

Can he grow the marketplace and not destroy small sellers and Etsy's soul?

Beward -- Etsy could be casting a new cauldron for frog boiling.
Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?   Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?
by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Aug 26 14:48:12 2013
I may not understand but I say KUDOS to Etsy for beginning to NOT ACCEPT PAYPAL- this is a GOOD thing right?
I would gladly use any other payment type than Paypal- even if it COSTS MORE as I absolutely DESPISE PP.
Looks like etsy is going to use ITS OWN system and I may actually try etsy out now.
If I do not understand something feel free to educate me.
Am I missing something here? We all hate PP right?
It sounds like Chad IS listening to sellers about pp.
Mass Howler
Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?   Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?
by: artbits This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Aug 26 15:34:23 2013
The problems is that Etsy sprang it on their sellers without telling them and during the weekend when there are few admin to address the issues that might arise. And there were issues. People were unable to make purchases. In addition, Etsy's system costs just a much per sale as Paypal's, but Etsy does not offer as many benefits. Etsy also does not offer customer support. They handle our money but don't take our calls.  That is one of the many imbalances with this situation. The seller has to wait a few days to get the money into their account. That means they don't get the shipping funds - or any of the funds until the order has already shipped - unless the seller chooses to wait to ship until they get the money - which is not good for customer service.  Which leads to the new feedback system Etsy is implementing. Length of time to ship might become a new factor in feedback ratings. (Is anybody getting a whiff of Etsy's control issues yet?)  Additionally, if the seller uses the paypal debit card, they will receive 1% in interest from all purchases - which makes paypal less expensive for the seller. And finally - it is a matter of respect and choice. Have the respect to tell the seller what is going on so they can tell the buyer. Have the respect to leave choices available. Perhaps some are not fond of Paypal - others are.  
Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?   Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?
by: Zojja This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Aug 26 15:36:03 2013
The reason sellers are upset about Etsy possibly taking away PayPal is because it does not allow buyers to have choices when purchasing an item.  For many buyers, that is important as it is to sellers.  I personally love PayPal.  I don't have to give out my credit card number all over the place which may lead to possible identity theft.  Choice is a good thing.  Limiting choices is bad.
Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?   Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?
This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
       Web Site
Mon Aug 26 15:54:28 2013
When I buy something on Amazon, I use Amazon’s payments system; I would not touch “PreyPal” with a forty-foot pole if any other convenient way was available; why would anyone get upset at the logical possibility of Etsy dumping its main competitor’s clunky payment system in favour of a system similar to Amazon’s? Alternatively, Dickerson could simply install a professional online payments processor like MasterCard’s “MasterPass” or Visa’s “V.me” and be done with the disruptive “PreyPal”. Go for it Chad …

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking ... http://bit.ly/YvxFEg
Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?   Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?
by: Roux Chat This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Aug 26 16:15:19 2013
I read that article and my eyes nearly popped out of my head reading what Chad was saying. Who the heck does he think he's kidding? Everything he said was in direct opposition to how Etsy treats their customers, i.e., the sellers.

I'm so fed up with them. Focusing on other venues and a stand alone website. This stuff never ends and just because Chad puts on a big smiley face and says a bunch of corporate speak does not make it so.

Reminds me of the infamous pig and lipstick.
Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?   Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?
This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
       Web Site
Mon Aug 26 16:23:34 2013
The material point on Etsy’s possible attitude to “PreyPal” should be, “payments” is a profit center. As is the case with Amazon Payments or “PreyPal”, they are little more than “merchant account” operators with their own retail banker; if you are a big enough “merchant account” operator you can negotiate a low discount fee, from which you make your profit. Why would Etsy, or anyone else, let a major competitor (eBay) profit from their business? Merchant account, MasterPass, V.me, whatever—don’t feed the eBay beast! Go for it Chad …

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking ... http://bit.ly/YvxFEg
Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?   Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?
by: artbits This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Aug 26 16:53:52 2013
Yes, Chad is going for it. While approving puff articles that paint him to be the patron saint and helper of crafters. While painting etsy to be something higher than the money hungry machine it is becoming. And, regardless of what those crafty minions have to say:  https://www.etsy.com/teams/7722/discussions/discuss/12892060/pag
e/21
Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?   Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?
This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless
       
Mon Aug 26 18:47:40 2013
Dickerson would be wise to always remember what the "noise" did to ebay.

Hundreds of thousands of great sellers have left since early 2008 and took many of their customers with them.

Many thousands of remaining sellers simply use ebay to mine new customers and channel business to their own websites.

Many of both groups of sellers might have been perfectly happy to remain on ebay had ebay treated them fairly, not lied to them, stolen their money, not faciliated seller fraud by ignoring rampant organized shill bidding rings, and developed and promoted an e shoplifting program in order to retain buyers.

Dickerson would be grossly negligent and unfit to run Etsy if he thinks Etsy sellers will tolerate the ebayification of Etsy one anti seller policy at a time or with swift, broad policy changes.

As for the possible elimination of PayPal on Etsy? Etsy will do what's profitable for Etsy, not necessarily what sellers ask for, and what would be profitable for Etsy is to force users to use the Etsy payment program.

Conversely, the timing needs to right. Would Etsy lose business by eliminating PayPal and requiring buyers to sign up and for another program?

The solution would be to make Etsy payments more attractive than PayPal just as PayPal did to ebay's greedy Billpoint before ebay gobbled up PayPal and transformed it into a corporate greed machine.

Then once the payment platform is known as more user friendly Do unto PayPal as ebay did unto Google payments.

Google Payments simply weren't "safe," doncha know.

Neither is PayPal. PayPal is hazardous to sellers' health and should come with a warning from the Surgeon General on every transaction.
Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?   Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?
by: amystreasures This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Aug 26 18:53:00 2013
Etsy has many problems, resellers, trademark violators and copyright infringes are just to name a few.  Many of us have been permamuted in the forums for speaking up against the all mighty etsy.  They remove posts by us that call out violators who call themselves out.  They knowingly allow those violators while they make it impossible for the handmade artists that play by the rules.  These violations are in direct violation to etsy's own TOU, yet they keep those shops open.  Why?  Simply because they bring in the money that we don't.  Yet if they would get rid of them and make it easier for buyers to find us, then we'd actually make money on there.  

I have been on etsy since 2007, had gotten frustrated with their game of renewing to ''advertise'' our items, which is nothing more than giving etsy more money and bumping our items in search, before they finally change search from recent to relevant.  Then there's the game of what search terms will the hipsters that run etsy, use to search for items.  Oh and as if all of that isn't bad enough, your pictures have to be white, beige, gray, dull and lifeless in order to be featured by etsy, either on the front page or in an email, or browse.  Yes, that's right people, browse is curated.  It is NOT a complete picture of what is on etsy.  What is you ask?  Well don't expect to find that via search, because etsy screwed that up to the point where they only show you x number of items, of the thousands upon thousands of items on their site.  

I had gone 4 months this year without a single sale in my handmade shop, only had one $3 sale in my destash shop.  Then got a few sales in May, in my handmade shop and that was it!  Not a single sale more!  The upside to those meager sales is that they paid for my start up costs to running my new Jockey Person to Person business.  I hate giving up my handmade business because it was an outlet for my creativity, but I can't go on thinking etsy will change for the better, so that I will start making money off that site.  It's not worth the stress.  
Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?   Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?
by: SoundInfinite This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Aug 26 19:06:55 2013
Etsy sellers ARE making noise. Here is a 43 page discussion of the new feedback system announced today:
https://www.etsy.com/teams/7722/discussions/discuss/12890729
/page/43

Another
thread questioning the sincerity of Chad Dickerson's interview with GigOm:
https://www.etsy.com/teams/7722/discussions/discuss/12888761
/page/19

Sellers
are coming out of the woodwork with questions. Most are expressing major concerns of how disruptive infrastructure changes have been to their customer base. Ongoing site bugs are frustrating both buyers and sellers.
Canned responses from Etsy Administrators are reminiscent of a high school chat room.

As a customer I have to wade through a ton of crap before I even get to genuine handmade or vintage goodies.
To make matters worse, Etsy blatantly features mass produced items as the hottest trends.
I have now returned to buying from E-bay and Amazon.
Nothing unique about Etsy except their ability to believe their own hype!
Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?   Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?
by: artbits This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Aug 26 19:27:21 2013
And many Etsy sellers are returning to selling on Ebay too. If we are going to sell the Ebay way - we might as well go to the original.
Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?   Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?
by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Aug 26 20:18:40 2013
For the few sales a year I make on Etsy, I could care less.  I can take my stuff off there tomorrow and never miss them.....from what I'm hearing, a lot of sellers are thinking the same.  Instead of working on making the site friendlier and making it easier for items to be found...they're messing around with payment?  Stupid is as stupid does (shrug)
Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?   Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?
by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Mon Aug 26 20:25:49 2013
Into that ebid.net are still owned by the two original shareholders.
And they hardly ever make any changes.

If you seriously don't like ebay or etsy, then you should list on ebid.net.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?   Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?
by: amystreasures This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Aug 26 21:02:04 2013
Keep in mind, there are hundreds of sellers that are permamuted and have either left etsy, or hang out in etc, which is a team, not a forum (which is why we still have posting privileges).  
Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?   Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?
by: amystreasures This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Aug 26 21:03:49 2013
I've never heard of ebid before
Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?   Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?
This user has validated their user name. by: The End
       
Mon Aug 26 21:45:18 2013
Direct Checkout INSURES that ETSY or whatever entity ....will NEVER be faced with the Death Nell of the IPO option, as the small percentage they take keeps the business healthy and independent. Staying totally off the stock market insures a long prosperous life for all parties involved (skin in the game) BEGINNING with the guys on the bottom (doing all the work on the selling side), as it should be here in America.
PayPal is the "Powdered Stuff in the envelope" used to make the "Koolaid" that poisons the retail environment. (Google PAYPALSUCKS.com & justsaynotopaypal.com )
Only AMERICAN ways of doing business will prevail. PayPal is not. PayPal is also NOT LICENSED to operate in New York, as well as other states.
Personal / business checks, Postal Money Orders and in house charge card systems pass muster here in AMERICA.
Paypal is nothing more than a siphon used to steal money from the Deserving and line the pockets of the UNdeserving.
PayPal should be BANISHED from America permanently.
If you're too lazy to Google PAYPALSUCKS.com & justsaynotopaypal.com, then you're an ostrich with its head buried in the sand between the rails of the live train tracks...that also killed 39-year-old Eric Salvatierra, vice president of PayPal.
Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?   Etsy Sellers Make Noise, Is CEO Chad Dickerson Listening?
by: amystreasures This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Aug 26 22:09:57 2013
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of folks on etsy that refuse to go near direct checkout because etsy REFUSES to get a frickin' phone!  When there is an issue, they tell us to tweet them.  Our other option is to post in bugs, or contact them via one of their email addresses.  But chances are pretty good, you won't actually hear back from them, and if you do, it's the same canned crap line.  

I'd much rather stick with paypal because when I've had a problem I was able to CALL them and get it squared away in a matter of minutes.  It didn't take days for a response and it was kept PRIVATE.  That's not the case with etsy since there is NO phone support.

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