EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1899 - October 20, 2008     1 of 3

With Etsy's Success Comes Growing Pains

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Etsy is experiencing the normal pains that accompany a growing ecommerce site. In an interview with the Guardian's Tech Weekly podcast, Etsy CEO Maria Thomas said the company needs to focus on a number of challenges before it can reach its potential.

Thomas told the Guardian that fraud has been a growing concern. According to the article, "In recent weeks there have been a number of accusations that unscrupulous vendors are passing off other people's handmade work as their own - an allegation that the site's community of artisans and crafters take very seriously."

Scalability is another issue the company is addressing. Etsy hired Chad Dickerson away from Yahoo over the summer, and the Chief Technology Officer has been leading Etsy's engineering team to work on infrastructure and put in place some new, more reliable, systems and processes. In fact, Etsy has a major overhaul scheduled for October 27.

Etsy remains focused on handmade items, calling itself "an online marketplace for buying & selling all things handmade." While eBay can attribute much of its early success to its antiques and collectibles category, it placed no limits on the types of items it would sell. So add to Etsy's list of challenges the issue of whether it can remain focused on handmade goods, which it must in order to keep the trust of its current community, or whether it will find itself unable to turn down other areas of ecommerce, something investors may ultimately demand.

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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