EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 382 - September 13, 2015 - ISSN 1528-6703     6 of 6

EcommerceBytes Soundoff: Letters to the Editor - September 13, 2015

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In every issue, readers soundoff about issues important to them. From shipping issues to payment processing, from fees to online marketplace policies, EcommerceBytes Soundoff gives you a chance to air your views.


Dear Ina,
eBay informed sellers that bidders would be able to file a request through eBay and obtain the sellers name and contact information. Sellers complained about the policy and practice long and hard but was met with the typical eBay disregard for sellers concerns.

Once again, eBay imposed their questionable will on sellers and compromised sellers privacy.

It never ceases to amaze me.... when the media seizes on the company's questionable practice and shines light on questionable corporate policy, the company suddenly decides to change course and will reverse their ill-conceived policy with a dismissive declaration that they are choosing to reverse themselves "due to the low usage of this functionality..."

Once again we see the disdain with which eBay treats their sellers in the form of a questionable practice that took exposure by a major media outlet to be corrected.

One wonders why eBay management finds it necessary to act against the interests of their sellers when common sense dictated this was a very bad decision from day one.

If eBay had listened to their sellers in the first place, they would not find their poor policies and practices exposed by the media to the embarrassment of a company that should have known better.

See this EcommerceBytes blog post for more information.


Dear Ina,
After almost 18 years as an eBay seller and always 100% positive feedback, eBay kicked me off for a week for a duplicate listing.

One eBay person when called began to lecture me about my listing problem. I quickly stopped that crap reminding him I am a disabled vet at 74 years old.

So, eBay suspends a seller for a week and they lose fees from auctions teaching me a lesson. I'll be on AMAZON FOR THE NEXT WEEK.


Hello Ina,
I just wanted to drop you a line that I received a note from PayPal that they would be dropping the high volume discount that is offered to those merchants who do a large amount of transactions. I figured you might think this is newsworthy, I just received it.

This is a real bummer. What I dislike the most is that these companies (eBay and PayPal) pad the negative news and fee increases with so much bluster, trying to make it seem as if it is a positive thing and a well thought out gift that customers deserve and should be thrilled about.

Why can't they just be honest with customers and say that operating costs inevitably go up without the patronizing "complement sandwich"? Guess the millions and billions just aren't enough.

It came via email with the subject line "PayPal Pricing Change".

See more information in this EcommerceBytes news story from late August.


Dear Ina,
The great thing about internet town hall is that you cannot erase them. I invite every person who reads this letter to WATCH the ETSY town hall video and see for yourself what was actually going on !!!

Here is the link to the actual town hall video recording (October 1st 2013) where all of the lies are apparent if you compare today and that day and the promises from Etsy.

It amazes me when I watch this video, and I wonder how much of it was either the 4 other panelists being just naive or if they suspected that Chad was blowing smoke up their skirts as well.

Had they been given the same sales pitch or did they know all of the long term changes that were going to happen and why? The entire premise that they were responding the the FLOODS of shop owners begging to hire manufacturers to help make their products because their shops were so busy they could not keep up was absurd and preposterous.

Chad knew he was opening the gates to Chinese manufacturers so he could attract VC (venture capital investors) then they would have the funds to go public. This was a very thought out long term concept.

The purpose of redefining handmade was to allow the manufacturers a way of labeling their items as handmade, it was not for our benefit as current shop owners on Oct 1st. 2013.

The reason that there would NEVER be a handmade division or a separate section for factory made items was that the concept was, keep the "handmade" tag on Etsy brand name and use the current sellers as "camouflage". It's like having a forest that looks dense and lush but the further you go into the forest the more you realize that many of the trees are fake trees, you won't know there are fake trees and plastic foliage until you spend some time inside the forest.

I am also surprised that they did not delete the records of the town hall but if they did there are LOTS of people out their who have copies of the broadcast and deleting it would just show how deceitful that the current Etsy board members really are !!!

I would LOVE to do an open discussion on the ETSY forums examining the real agenda of Etsy and Chad at the time of the town hall, explaining bullet point by bullet point what was said... what was truth and WHY it was done.

Point 1.....Why change the definition of handmade??

Answer from admin: Because we found that there was so much gray area (how much effort made it handmade, if you bought a mold for a ceramic piece was it still handmade if you did not make the mold?) so we decided to broaden its definition.

TRUTH: We knew that in order to go public we would need venture capitalists which had already told us that we were not a big enough company to go public, so we needed more shops .....LOTS of more shops.

Where would we find thousands upon thousands of artists who handmade their own items in such a short time? (Remember... They no longer cared if the items were handmade or were produced on an assembly line by 10 year old slaves paid 5 dollars a day..)

Answer: THEY COULDN"T so they decided to redefine handmade to include manufactured items so that they could then say manufactured items were within Etsy's new guidelines and VOILA..... thousand of new shops in China appeared.

And then the VC money started rolling in. What could possibly go wrong???

Oh well, maybe when the many it went public and investors purchased stock in a company that was masquerading as "The world's biggest venue of handmade goods" upon further inspection reveals thousands of Chinese sweatshop goods and unlicensed counterfeit items being sold as handmade and not by accident, by design of the restructuring that started in Oct 2013.

I guess they thought that there was no one big enough to open a venue in direct competition with them

WRONG ...... Helloooooo Amazon !!!! What now ????

The smart thing would be replace the CEO who dreamed up this nightmare and concentrate on cleaning up this junkyard that was once a paradise of handmade items.

But we all know that Etsy will never admit they made a serious error in judgement. It is their preferred pattern of behavior to punish offenders like the red queen yelling "off with their heads", so maybe their solution will be to throw a big temper tantrum and permamute every shop owner who posts the word "Amazon" like they did every poster who mentioned "China" in a forum post in 2012 and 2013 and then next expel every shop owner who opens an Amazon shop.

Not smart business solutions but very predictable Etsy admin and Etsy boardroom behavior.
Not a happy camper.


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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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