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Fri Aug 19 2011 11:30:01

Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising

By: Ina Steiner

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Etsy sellers were abuzz over the possibility that the online marketplace will launch a seller ad program. Speculation began when Etsy released a landing page and video with the message: "In the coming weeks, we're launching an easy and affordable new way for you to promote your listings on Etsy search pages. Be the first to know."

In response to our inquiry, Etsy spokesperson Adam Brown said, "All I can say for now is, in the coming weeks, we're launching an easy and affordable new way for sellers to promote their listings on Etsy search pages. So, yes, I can confirm that we will be launching a new promotional tool, but, sorry, I can't provide any details beyond that."

Prior to Etsy changing the default search results to show in order of relevancy, the results were displayed by recency. This encouraged Etsy sellers (who could afford to) to relist items daily, for which they paid a relisting fee - and in return, they got more exposure and generally increased sales.

It would appear Etsy is looking to make up for reduced listing fee revenue through ad revenue, while at the same time satisfying those sellers who were willing to pay for better exposure for their listings.

An Etsy administrator wrote on a discussion board thread that the new promotional tool would be available only to Etsy shops - "this is not about outside companies advertising here," she wrote, and explained:

"Many sellers choose to promote by relisting items. This is a promotional tactic that was discovered by Etsy sellers long ago. Many sellers don't like this though- it feels kind of like rolling the dice because you don't know the effectiveness of it, and as Etsy has gotten bigger, there's no guarantee of where your item will appear. (The new promotional tool) is designed to address these issues."

Etsy is one of the few major online marketplaces that does not accept advertising on its site. But it appears Etsy is mindful of its arts and crafts image, so expect it to roll out any ads or fee-based promotional features carefully. "This will look classy and in keeping with the Etsy look," the forum administrator told users.

The teaser message about Etsy.com/Surprise was written by Frank Harris, who worked on user interface at the Washington Post, and was most recently Senior User Experience Designer at Google. His title is now Product Manager, Search at Etsy. According to his personal website, "Previously, I was a Sr. UX Designer at Google for nearly 5 years, focusing on payments and commerce with previous stints in News, Finance, Blog Search, Book Search and Transit."

What's surprising here is the way in which Etsy released the news, perhaps hoping for a viral marketing boost. Some sellers said they received the email teaser, others did not, and no one is sure exactly what the program will entail. As a result, many sellers expressed concern over how this could affect them. (After all, many rely on Etsy to make part of their living.)

Said one user, "I always go back to them saying there would be no major changes going into the holiday season this year. We all knew there would be, there always is, and this is all pretty major!" Another wrote, "Oh great...so those of us who are poor are once again going to buried. Dunno if I can afford ad space..."

Update 8/19/11: Etsy has since posted on its blog a message from CEO Chad Dickerson in which he mentions the new feature. Adam has also reached out to explain that Etsy did not send out a teaser email. "Since search relevancy was launched, many sellers felt that they had lost some control over being able promote their listings. Michelle addressed this in her post in the forums. Many of those sellers wrote to our Support team to inquire about this. In response, we sent them a link to etsy.com/surprise. So, sellers who received that link got in direct response." He said Etsy did not send an email to users, but did posd the link to Etsy.com/Surprise on Twitter, Facebook, and in the Etsy Success newsletter.




Comments (20) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising   Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising

by: Maintain the Vision

Fri Aug 19 12:03:05 2011

"It would appear Etsy is looking to make up for reduced listing fee revenue through ad revenue"

So instead of increasing the total number of buyers to the site, they will be charging sellers (who have already paid for their listings) extra to get special exposure to the same buyer pool.

So the entire purpose is to squeeze $$ more out of the existing sellers.

Not exactly a site improvement.

..and what's with the silly video of people running antiquated printing machines and rubber stamping paper? Is to show how "creative" they are, or is it to show how much they need more money?

:-)

Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising   Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising

by: anyone out there yet

Fri Aug 19 12:12:55 2011

Is anyone sure that Fleecebay doesn't have a interest in Etsy.

Advertising for sellers soon to be open to all advertisers.

Beginning to look like Fleecebay everyday.

Maybe Fleecebay is on to something with all these SMALL sites following step by step.

Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising   Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising

by: Rich(y)

Fri Aug 19 12:41:14 2011

"All I can say for now is, in the coming weeks, we're launching an easy and affordable new way for sellers to promote their listings"

Make me not laugh. They never have incorporated a (FREE)Google Shopping feed for their sellers.If they did, update me...

Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising   Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising

by: Mitzi
Web Site

Fri Aug 19 13:16:10 2011

I'm imagining it will be something similar to Google Adwords, except exclusive to Etsy sellers. They will integrate it into the search results somehow, maybe in a sidebar. It will help them replace the lost renewing fees, and give those folks who relied on renewing an option for extra exposure. Hopefully they have it designed well and it will be a win-win for everyone involved - time will tell I guess!

Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising   Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising

by: Susan Ferreira
Web Site

Fri Aug 19 14:39:45 2011

Etsy should do more for its participants....we're hard-working artisans and shouldn't have to PAY for advertising; it should be built-in to our product pages, etc. Am I wrong??? Hard enough to find buyers, sick of paying out, paying out, paying out.....

Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising   Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising

by: Susan
Web Site

Fri Aug 19 15:35:56 2011

Gee Etsians loved to say Etsy would never turn to advertising and just as AF got rid of it Etsy is adding it. They have to have someone of getting money from the sellers. They get(got) their money from renewals, now they need to find a different way. Pay us more and we'll charge more to do what you were doing before

Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising   Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising

by: summer in the city

Fri Aug 19 21:07:29 2011

The Etsy forums are swarming with sellers whose sales have disappeared along with shop views that have plummeted. They're shell-shocked, panicky and wondering what to do. These are longtime sellers who make their livings on Etsy: the type of people who Etsy encouraged to ''quit your day job.''

So: we have a pool of established sellers who have been sunk into nonexistence by the new Relevancy search. So who will be first in line to pay up for the new seller ad program? This is sheer genius: Etsy starves its best sellers and then thoughtfully provides a new paid ad program to help them regain the sales that, up until a week ago when Relevancy started, they already had.

Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising   Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising

by: Rich(y)

Sat Aug 20 12:12:33 2011

"Etsy should do more for its participants..."

Like a Google feed?

Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising   Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising

by:

Sat Aug 20 18:02:51 2011

I'm sure the re-sellers are breathing a sigh of relief now, and will welcome this change. No wonder they've been given widespread amnesty and allowed to continue flooding Etsy with manufactured junk, under the guise of "handmade".

Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising   Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising

by: MR ME

Sat Aug 20 22:55:17 2011

I have had some good luck selling vintage items on Etsy, friendly people, kind of like ebay of old, lets hope that Etsy doesn't grow too big for its britches and screw things up.

Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising   Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising

by: etsy kills successful sellers

Sun Aug 21 08:30:17 2011

Etsy is in panic mode. The switch to relevancy while it is allowing smaller shops more exposure is literally KILLING long-standing, full-time businesses that have made Etsy the success it is today. Not naming names, but one of the most prominent and successful Etsy sellers is now starting their own website in response to this. After 6 years with only Etsy as their shop they will be going elsewhere and I (5+years on Etsy "as my day job") will be joining them. Etsy is the most poorly run online site I have ever come across.

Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising   Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising

by:

Sun Aug 21 10:59:30 2011

Smaller shops have made Etsy a success along with larger-volume sellers. Every 20 cents renewal revenue they get from a smaller shop is just the same as your 20 cents and deserves a 20-cent look from buyers the same as your 20-cent look.

Those who sell more volume hate competition and are the ones complaining the loudest, because now BUYERS may see better quality in front of them, and have more choices, rather than the same old tired fare that bought its way to the top (and which turns buyers off looking for choice).

This elitist, corporate entitlement mentality of wanting to be the king of the hill and stay on top of the hill because "I make more sales and spend more money than you do" crap, deserves one answer: Good luck with that new web site, and don't let the door hit ya in the ass!

Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising   Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising

by: etsy kills successful sellers

Sun Aug 21 11:33:21 2011

Oh the door definitely won't be hitting me in the ass...but it will hit yours once all of the talented sellers leave the site, taking their Etsy revenue with them leaving a bunch of tired, untalented imitators who take photos with a flash camera and stock their shops once a month. Etsy will be more like Craigslist by this time next year...

Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising   Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising

by: Tiffee Jasso

Tue Aug 23 01:10:01 2011

I personally think that Etsy in the collectible area will expand as more and more sellers move their heavier items off Ebay, due to the new 11% surcharge fee on shipping costs. Etsy may become the best site in the future, to buy that piece of vintage glass, silver or teddy bear that you have been wanting.

Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising   Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising

by: watching the Wheels

Tue Aug 23 06:38:24 2011

@ "a summer in the city" AND etsy kills the successful summer",

Well, for starters, Etsy has ALWAYS encouraged their sellers to do all sorts of things that benefit ETSY, ... no one else. And while there is a part of me that DOES have sympathy for what you ar going through, it would have been nice had THAT sympathy been a bit more apparant when there were those of us protesting changes that began in 2009 that impacted OUR VISIBILITY, and tanked OUR SALES. I had good numbers until the fall of 2009. Holiday sales were not what they should have been, that year, and I was one of the official 700 whose traffic tanked after whatever they did in the spring of 2010.

Alot of us were systematically muted, based upon being reported to the site via the forum thread's "report this post".

Maybe the real problem is the quality of your pictures.

I do agree that Etsy is the most poorly business that I have also encountered, but possibly for differing reasons. Every single "improvement?", has been poorly implemented and far to easy to game.

Who's to say, maybe relevency will prove to be a bit of an equalizor for ALL sellers, but, ... if not, ...

"If y'all don't like it, leave.

OR

Pay for the ad space with your renewal budget.

Brace for the potential muting that follows being critical of the immature group running the site, and here, it might be best to give some thought to the addage, that concerns itself with meeting the same people as you DESCEND the ladder as were met on its acsension.

But, threatening to leave??? Ineffective. just track down some of the PAST highly successful sellers who have already moved on. Complaints are met with deaf ears within Etsy.

Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising   Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising

by: Good Grief

Tue Aug 23 09:54:49 2011

Sounds like a big cat fight to me.
What I find more interesting is what is usually found on the first page - Resellers. It's so obvious, I'm not talking about China resellers, but sellers in the US.
Buy on ebay - resell on etsy at 10 times the cost crap 'cause I really made it all by myself'. Take a stroll through Urban Outfitters while you're at it. Your widgets are Cheaper there.

I'd make a bet that those are the sellers that are complaining.

Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising   Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising

by: Pied Piper This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 29 14:45:57 2011

Sounds as if many many ways, Etsy is almost a carbon copy of Bonanza (Blah-nanza).

Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising   Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising

by: relevant recent poster

Wed Aug 31 14:38:19 2011

I think Etsy has shot itself in the foot. Relevancy stinks! At least with recency. even small sellers like myself, had some control and could highlight unique items for 20 cents.

Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising   Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising

by: Buyer Point

Thu Sep 1 04:44:05 2011

As a buyer, I prefer from far the new relevancy search being implemented. I get to discover unique one-of-a-kind items that were never coming up in searches. It's very exciting.

I strongly believe this is a smart move from Etsy and it could attract collectible and vintage mega sellers from eBay, which in turn will bring more new buyers to Etsy.

Great move Etsy!

Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising   Etsy to Open Site to Some Form of Advertising

by: Relevant = No Sales

Tue Sep 13 12:25:59 2011

As a long time E-bay seller, I left E-bay for Etsy's green pastures, after hearing great things.

I am in the saturated category of handcrafted jewelry. I have only been on Etsy a few months. But in a very short time I was making sales, and even told my husband that Etsy was the place for me. I noticed site issues and frequent downtimes, but I was willing to overlook bad site performance because my sales were still doing great during uptimes.

From the exact DAY they made the switch my sales, views, and favorites, TANKED. I am relevant in many popular searches, priced competitively, my pics are great, and I know my pieces are sale-able because before the switch I WAS MAKING SALES. Now - Crickets.

I am going back to E-bay. My items might sell for a lower price, but at least I know I WILL BE MAKING SALES. And in my world, SOME sales are better than waiting for Etsy to ''surprise'' me with something that may or may not be a good thing. Seasonal sales should be happening NOW.



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