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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2609 - August 16, 2011 - ISSN 1539-5065    1 of 4

Etsy Sellers Are Split on New Relevancy Search

By Ina Steiner
August 16, 2011

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Etsy sellers are split on how they feel about the new search the marketplace rolled out last week. Some sellers report that they have seen a dramatic increase in exposure to their listings since the change, while others report that their sales have dropped off completely.

Etsy's new CEO Chad Dickerson published a letter to users late last week with some results of the changes in which Etsy changed the default sort order from recency to relevancy. He provided statistics on performance after the default sort order had been in place for less than 48 hours, writing that "some early data that supports what we learned in testing":

  • The total number of shops with a sale was higher in the past two days than any other days this year.
  • The past two days saw more favoriting activity than any other other days this year. More individual sellers had an item favorited and more individual items were favorited than any other days in 2011.
  • Two of the four biggest overall sales days on Etsy in 2011 were the past two days.
  • Two of the four days with most individual items sold in 2011 were the past two days

Many Etsy sellers had complained that under the previous search-by-recency, they would have to renew their listings daily in order to get visibility on the site, which they could not afford. Said one commentor on Dickerson's blog post about the new default order, "Awesome change! And with this change now finally here, I will open my own Etsy shop soon as well - now, that I don't have to renew items daily to get views."

Another wrote, "I've been very critical of some Etsy policies in the past. This, however, is one of the best changes I've ever seen on the site. Anything that makes it easier for shoppers to find just the right item is a boon for the community. Thank you."

A number of commentors said they could not find their items in search. "Good to see it's working, but I'm still a little skeptical as I've had a difficult time finding my items in searches, which is discouraging. Here's to hoping it improves!"

Those sellers who had been renewing their items daily to get more exposure in search (for which they paid extra listing fees) wrote that they were not happy about the change. "Along with people who renew daily that are being made less relevant, are those of us who bust our humps to list NEW daily," wrote one commentor. "My items are mostly OOAK and so I work hard to list NEW product each day. Now I'm not found anywhere under common searches for my category....even after making many adjustments to my titles and tags."

Some people said they kept seeing the same items in search results with the new default order, and wondered how that added to the diversity of the site; one Etsy user wrote, "An issue I see and would like addressed ( would rEALLY appreciate it) is that many on the first pages of relevant search don't sell much, and so remain on the those first pages. The pages remain stagnant, and that can't be enticing to a buyer, right?"

You can see Dickerson's post along with user comments in this Etsy blog post.

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 ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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