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Sun Sept 8 2019 21:12:46

Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick

By: Ina Steiner

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Etsy sellers are infuriated at a letter they received from the marketplace on Friday telling them that from now on, Etsy will reserve the first page of search results for items that offer free shipping. An excerpt of the letter follows:

"To continue improving our buying experience, now when a shopper in the US searches for an item, the first page of results - up to 48 listings* - will be reserved for items that ship free and items from shops that guarantee free shipping to US buyers on orders of $35 or more. Keep in mind that 83% of purchases from search on Etsy come from the first page.

"Because you're not currently offering free shipping to the US, you could experience a significant decrease in views to your listings. To ensure your items are eligible to appear on the first page of search, we recommend setting up a free US shipping guarantee for orders of $35 and up."

Feeling "bullied" was the reaction of many sellers posting on the Etsy seller discussion boards. 

"I got this email too and felt very threatened to do it their way or else," one seller wrote of the new policy. Was it legal given the fact sellers pay the same listing fee, they wondered? "Is Etsy going to give us a discount on our listing fee if they refuse to honor a fair place in the search?"

"It's pretty shocking and disheartening," wrote another. 

One seller explained many of their items were under $5 - "if I offer free shipping, I will virtually be giving my items away. I keep my items affordable, combine shipping on multiple items, and refund shipping overages when the calculator goes haywire," they wrote. 

Etsy announced in July it would be favoring items with free shipping in search results, but Friday's letter stating listings without some form of free shipping would be blacklisted from the first page of search results rubbed sellers the wrong way. 

One seller pointed out the impact of adding shipping costs to the item price: "I totally disagree with the idea of cheating the prices with added shipping costs and I hate the idea of messing up Etsy as price reference for the vintage market."

Many of the subset of sellers who posted their outrage at the policy online said they were seeking advice on alternative venues.

The tone of the letter grated on sellers' nerves - "Keep in mind that 83% of purchases from search on Etsy come from the first page," Etsy warned sellers.

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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick   Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick

by: HappyOne This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 07:04:06 2019

As a buyer I dislike having to click and search in a listing to find total cost. I often find items that can ship 1st class less than 16oz with 2lb+ Priority shipping. Etsy should have total cost without having to go into each listing. Hate to says this Ebay makes it easy to see total price upfront.  

Perminate Link for Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick   Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick

by: hawk This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 07:22:42 2019

it's so hard to believe that people have become so uneducated that they actually think shipping is free. how does one think the shipping companies grew their businesses into multi billion dollar companies ? for free ? give me a break !!

etsy--stop being so greedy , and under  educated to believe that it works. then--you may stay on top.

Perminate Link for Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick   Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick

by: marty This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 07:52:03 2019

I sell on Etsy. I did sign up for $35 'free' shipping. Of course I am also a buyer on mostly ebay and I am 'educated'  enough to know that there is no free shipping.

The same way some complain that the buyer is uneducated and does not understand that free postage is not free you can also complain about the buyer being uneducated for paying for example $7 for postage where the actual postage will be $3.80. That's a real 'uneducation'.

So what is preferable? Have an item offered for $10 with a promise that there will be no additional charges for postage  or to have the same item listed for $3 and $7 postage and, if you are educated , knowing that the seller is using postage to make a profit, because you know, if you are educated , that the postage will be $4 at max. I prefer the first guy not the second guy with dishonest intentions.

Perminate Link for Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick   Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick

by: Evenger This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 07:57:03 2019

I am so tired of all this "free" shipping demands from both Etsy and eBay.  Buyers do not really care about "free" shipping, they care about the total cost.  Etsy could just put the total of shipping plus product cost on the gallery page.  Also, the only time I am really comparing prices on items bought online is if they are mass produced, which was not supposed to be what Etsy (handmade and vintage items, please!  More cheap made in China crap all the time...) and eBay (once upon a time only vintage/antique...)  Another reason to not offer "free" shipping is that returns are most definitely more of a burden on the seller because original cost to ship was "free" so now the seller has to pay shipping to and from, regardless of reason for return.

Perminate Link for Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick   Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 07:58:51 2019

@Felyne:  Google Business has free websites.

Perminate Link for Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick   Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick

by: Buttons This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 08:02:01 2019

I agree with most of the previous comments but Etsy has not addressed sales of multiples which happens with me frequently. if an item is $9 and $3 shipping I'd raise my item to $12 for "free" shipping. If a customer buys 3 they're paying $36 compared to $30.50 for regular prices. ($3 plus $.25 for each additional item) So for "free" shipping the customer is paying $5.50 more...nice!

Perminate Link for Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick   Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick

by: cvsharkey This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 08:10:29 2019

I sell a niche mohair product that is purchased in multiples & many repeat customers. today I check a specific key word & only 3 of my 63 items showed up. I edited & put the exact key word into each listing. Only 37 items showed up in total and only 32 were mine. So half my listings are being suppressed.  No, I won't & can not offer free shipping. (It wouldn't be so bad if Etsy would only get the shipping correct. I refund excess shipping on every order.)

Perminate Link for Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick   Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick

by: choochoo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 08:20:25 2019

I do not offer free shipping in my Etsy shop.  I do pay for promoted listings.  I just called Etsy customer service. Etsy told me that EVEN my 'paid for' promoted listings will be pushed beyond the first page if I don't offer free shipping.  I would call that false advertising on Etsy's behalf.  They are charging me to promote my listings but they won't promote them!  This sounds illegal.

Regarding a free shipping policy, is it fair to make someone on the East Coast pay for a shipping cost for the West Coast for a 200lb. armoire?  The cost to ship is double to the West Coast. $700 to ship to the West Coast and $400 to ship to the East Coast.  

This is madness.  Sellers have built these websites and turned them into greedy, uncaring monsters.  It's called biting the hand that feeds you.  

Perminate Link for Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick   Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick

by: cvsharkey This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 08:41:28 2019

I posted earlier, but just discovered that my Etsy shop listings are no longer on any Google search. I've always been on them.

tick-tock Etsy.....

Perminate Link for Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick   Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick

by: SammyCat This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 08:49:47 2019

The problem is that there are way too many 'keyboard warriors' who think that venting is going to make a difference relating to Etsy as well as social / political crap that's going on.

The only thing that MIGHT make a difference is if many people file a complaint with the New York Attorney Generals Office and have them investigate Etsy and see how they're cooking their books and breaking  ethics rules.

This is ILLEGAL to do and Etsy knows it.  They also know that there is a psychology of  people not doing much of anything except complain.  

We need to take collective action against these thieves who are BULLYING and PUSHING for people to break the damn law,   threatening them with reduced visibility whilst taking their money.

They can't just do whatever the hell they want, but, they've gotten away with it for so long that they really need a reality check.

NO you can't punish people for not being willing to 1) break the law, or, 2) lie to their customers, or 3) artificially inflate the price of goods across the internet (most especially relating to antique and vintage)

YES, a company gets to make its own rules, but, when those rules are demanding that tens of thousands, possibly millions of people around the world break the law, well that's another thing all together.  

Perminate Link for Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick   Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick

by: Judy F This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 08:57:10 2019

It seems to me that ecommerce is spoiling the consumers, who demand speedy and "FREE" shipping.  As has already been noted, many of these buyers have been dumbed down and can't or won't notice price hikes that cover that "FREE" shipping.  I will offer free shipping, but the only items I will attempt to sell on Etsy or anywhere online now will be very lightweight and cost will be based on the shipping cost to the other side of the US, as I cannot control the location of the buyers.  When Etsy begins to require that I ship internationally and for free, unless these are digital products that are delivered free to email, that will be the end of it for me.

Perminate Link for Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick   Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick

by: HappyPicker This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 09:35:35 2019

I would think the sellers who received this letter from Etsy should file a complaint with the FTC in mass.  I don't currently sell on Etsy (and don't plan on going back) and I'm not a lawyer, but it sure looks like they are in violation of the Code of Federal Regulations > Title 16. Commercial Practices > Chapter 1. Federal Trade Commission > Subchapter B. Guides and Trade Practice Rules > Part 251. Guide concerning use of the word ''Free'' and similar representations > Section 251.1 The guide.
You can check it out here for yourselves:

https://gov.ecfr.io/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=ea9edb22e5
cd6dd8270d9226902a0833&mc=true&node=pt16.1.251&rgn=div5

Perminate Link for Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick   Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick

by: spooky This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 09:52:05 2019

The one thing I personally despise about this is how it applies to heavier items. For example I listed a 40 pound tube radio last week and shipping to CA. was over $70 but shipping to east coast was around $25. How is that fair if I do flat rate or free shipping to buyers who live close to me?

Perminate Link for Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick   Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick

by: choochoo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 09:55:15 2019

I agree with SammyCat.  I just filled out a complaint form with the New York Attorney General.  It took me about 10 minutes.  You'll need this info:
Etsy, Inc.
55 Washington Street, Suite 512
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 855-7955
support@etsy.com

Perminate Link for Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick   Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick

This user has validated their user name. by: Life During Wartime

Mon Sep 9 10:02:38 2019

There are a bunch of Etsy searches I do at least weekly (some daily) for my call out blog.  Using search results based on ''relevance'' is pretty much useless if there are more than a dozen pages of listings.  Unless you switch to viewing the results by ''Most Recent'' the view barely changes from week to week.

The 80+% (so sez Etsy without proof to back it up) of purchases made from page 1 of search results seem likely to be made by girls 14-24 who are seeking trendy, cheap, items to use/wear a few times and then toss.  They were never my customers when I had Etsy shops.  

Perminate Link for Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick   Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick

This user has validated their user name. by: Life During Wartime

Mon Sep 9 10:05:02 2019

Oh, forgot to add:  Etsy could just add an option to the drop down menu of ways to display search results that says "items with FREE shipping".  

Perminate Link for Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick   Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick

by: choochoo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 10:05:53 2019

I also took Happy Picker's advice and contacted the Federal Trade Commission.  Their form only took 5 minutes to fill out.  It's definitely worth doing.  

Perminate Link for Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick   Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick

by: Writings on the Wall This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 10:12:46 2019

The "free shipping" fiasco (adding shipping costs to item price) is a cheap ploy to artificially inflate GMS (gross merchandise sales) for stockholders. Etsy could not meet Wall Street expectations at last earnings call, causing stock price to drop drastically. They are trying to mitigate this.

Perminate Link for Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick   Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick

by: Disgusted This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 10:18:26 2019

All about the money.  More revenue for etsy.  If you add in the shipping from coast to coast, then the item cost more than going just 100 miles or so.  
I also found that the guarantee free shipping for orders over 35.00 get preference over just free shipping with no dollar amount added on.  This way etsy wants the buyer to spend more-at least 35.00.   I cannot figure out what the ''guarantee'' part is on free shipping. It is either free or not free.

Perminate Link for Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick   Sellers Infuriated as Etsy Brings out the Big Stick

by: Disgusted This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 10:21:28 2019

9/9  - Etsy stock just went up this morning.  All about money.  What they told wall street is bs as usual.  Force higher price which is revenue and the etsy board and stock owners make money.

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