EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 3048 - April 22, 2013     3 of 5

Etsy Takes Different Tact than eBay with Digital Content

Email This Story to a Friend

Etsy announced a new feature for enabling sellers to fulfill digital orders automatically, unlike its older colleague eBay, which banned its sellers from listing digital downloads for sale on its site in 2008.

Instead of having to email a digital file after each sale, Etsy sellers can now upload a digital file to their listing once, and upon payment, Etsy sends buyers an automatic email notification with a link to a page where they can download the file.

In 2008, eBay banned digital downloads from its marketplace citing feedback manipulation as the reason for the ban. "Most items that require digital delivery, once created, can be very easily replicated. This ease of replication creates the opportunity for sellers to list thousands of the same item in an attempt to manipulate the Feedback system."

In Etsy's announcement about the new digital content feature, it used an example of a seller of intricate crocheted wire jewelry and sculptures. "While these items were receiving attention, there was also a growing interest from shoppers to learn the unique technique she used to create the pieces on their own. After much strategizing, Yael began to offer digital tutorials, and it was then that she saw her small business really take off."

Etsy advised sellers of digital content to edit their listings by selecting "Digital file" as the item type for each listing. Digital item listings may contain up to five individual files of 20MB or less each, and file names are limited to 70 characters each. In general, buyers can access a file any time on their Purchases page, provided the transaction hasn't been canceled or removed.

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

You may quote up to 50 words of any article on the condition that you attribute the article to and either link to the original article or to
All other use is prohibited.