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Thu Nov 16 2017 10:20:06

Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face

By: Ina Steiner

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It's refreshing to see a publication tackle some of the challenges online sellers face. Will marketplaces like Etsy ever improve search and tackle knockoffs?

Racked has a good story about Etsy that addresses some concerns from sellers on the site. It's interesting to note that some of the issues raised in the following paragraph could also be said about eBay and other online marketplaces:

"Just search for an "octopus pendant" and you'll see the problem - the same product pops up again and again. While some have been altered, and thus arguably count as handmade, others are identical to what you can find for a fraction of the price on Chinese sites like Alibaba. Figuring out the search-engine algorithm that determines if your product is on the first page or buried on the 200th is essentially impossible, says Stringer-Mowat, who agrees with Kelsey's judgement that "keeping up with the ever-changing keyword updating" is a full-time job."

An interesting read - do you agree with the sellers quoted in the piece? Will marketplaces ever find a solution to knockoffs and a way to improve search?




Comments (17) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face   Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face

by: pennyemporium This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 16 12:22:13 2017

'octopus pendant' search on etsy, yep, i took a look.  

the very first listing (that was not an artisan paid for ad) was the quoted silver-colored octopus pendant.  price $2.50 and shipping a whopping $3.98; ''Ready to ship in 1 business day FROM CHINA''.  (sounds like an ePacket delivery).  however, in the shipping details, the seller says processing is TWO days and shipping is 10-25 days.  

the photos show a variety of one to three pendants, and the title says ''1Bead Charm Big Octopus pendant Beads Antique Silver Victorian Pendants Connector Beads ----- 56mmx 58mm ----- 1Pieces 2N''.  

and yep, this octopus pendant IS listed on alibaba for 10 pieces at 3-5 cents per each.  

as my grandfather would say 'nice work if you can get it!' however, to me, it feels like cheating.  what Etsy has taught me is ''Buyer Beware''.  does Etsy REALLY want people to believe that if they shop on Etsy, they also have to check alibaba first to make sure they are not getting ripped off?  that is a sad state of affairs.....  

Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face   Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 16 12:44:50 2017

The only thing these sites have as far as skin in the game is their bottom line. LIKE MONEY, PROFITS ETC.

It will be a cold day in the hot place before these sites will do anything that will effect their bottom lines. LIKE MONEY, PROFITS ETC.

And not doing anything may be immoral but it isn't criminal

Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face   Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face

This user has validated their user name. by: BuildingMyOwnSite

Thu Nov 16 18:25:08 2017

Ina asked: “Will marketplaces ever find a solution to knockoffs and a way to improve search?”

Ina, These marketplaces are not looking for any solution to knockoffs, other than possibly lowering the decibels of the debate.  WHEN was it that any of them stood up against COUNTERFEITS?  There just is NO FINANCIAL reason for them to do so.  The opposite is probably true.   Ebay, Etsy, and Amazon don't have enough moxie between ALL THREE, to care about it for any ethical or moral reasons.

And as far as search goes, they ALL have it where THEY want it.  They neither need, nor want a solution.  It's only US FOOLS, that keep pointing out that search doesn't work.  They're not lookin' for a solution there either.........

Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face   Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face

This user has validated their user name. by: BuildingMyOwnSite

Thu Nov 16 18:29:23 2017

With  all three of these venues FLOODED with CHEAP, & KNOCKED-OFF Asian Goods.......

What would a better ''SEARCH'' look like anyway?

Have to get rid of the above CARP first......

Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face   Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face

by: Studiolines This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 16 20:06:41 2017

The almighty quest of greed has once again reared its ugly head. Money taken out of the country merely buys more US Treasury Bonds , adds a greater tax burden on Americans and the US Government as no tariff or tax is paid on it. It cost American jobs and E-Commerce businesses that employ Americans and provide for American families that DO pay taxes , who will now be additional cost to the US Government. Not to mention the cost to the postal system subsidized by us, the people, the hazards of unreliable untested metals, safety issues and lack of any safety regulations to the American public (mainly our children and grandchildren)

I have yet to figure out how making these items readily available to the American public at virtually no shipping cost, is such a great thing when you need to look at what it actually costs on the backside.

It would be like Amazon and Ebay to catch every penny regardless of the cost to those who patronized them for years, both sellers and buyers. So Etsy is participating too. I guess nothing is sacred.

Anybody up for a campaign for public awareness?

Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face   Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face

by: Clothing Seller This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 17 01:49:36 2017

@Studiolines I retweeted Ina's link (toTrump and USTradeRep) but I barely have more than 20 followers so it probably won't ever be seen.

Trump was elected on this.  He's forgotten us and the media refuses to acknowledge it.

Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face   Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 17 19:52:14 2017

''Anybody up for a campaign for public awareness?''

Interesting question, but not just because of it's intended context.  It's because, in this context, focusing on 'awareness' might be about 35 years or so too late.  And being aware is one thing, but having a care, is another, and that seems to be what's missing.

Was the public aware their insatiable consumption of overseas manufactured 'stuff' because it was 'cheaper' was contributing to trade imbalance and domestic economic disadvantage back when it started?  How could they not be?  Apathy quelled anything more than a visceral 'reaction' though. Because 'I got mine' tends to do that. And 'I saved a dime' is the antacid.

Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face   Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face

by: Studiolines This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 17 20:16:38 2017

@snapped
@clothing seller  anything helps, word is mouth is the best multiplier. Thanks

Society has become a little self centered and no longer focused on the big picture. Sadly the big picture is pretty scary and I thinks it's time for a good look see by the whole American public.  Just my opinion.

I believe trade should be kept at a fairly close balance. What is going on now is ridiculous. I believe a tariff on all trade that Exceeds the balance is the answer. That keeps it more balanced. Then we have something on the plus side of the books to offset the negative backend expense.

Wish I realistically knew more about the inner working of import / export.

Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face   Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face

by: Studiolines This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 17 20:33:44 2017

I think a good portion of our export is actually raw materials to make more import. Basically exporting our manufacturing jobs and then by way of import, exporting our currency. A double dip. Personally instead of the E-packet postal deal maybe the US Government should have invested 282 million in subsidizing manufacturing. I have heard there is also some type of UN deal as a disadvantaged Country they could revert to that is almost as lucrative.  

Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face   Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face

by: traciking This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 20 01:54:08 2017

If buyers don't care why should online marketplaces.  Buyers aren't really looking for handmade.  They are looking for cheap items they like whether they are knockoffs, handmade or just plain junk.  When buyers start complaining and stop buying online marketplaces will clean house. Until then money talks and buyers spend.  What surprises me most is that everyone blames the marketplace and no one considers the buyer as being equally responsible for the sites allowing this to happen.

Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face   Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face

by: Watching the Wheels This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 20 04:50:42 2017

I began reading this article. It was basically a rehashing of complaints that have been going on, ad nauseum for years.

Sellers NEED to embrace the adage: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.", to learn to look at venues for what they are. STOP doing free promo work for them; put down the Kool-Aid and the cupcakes, and try to do what might work for what you are selling.

When I first began selling, I tried the social media circuit. Stats said they were a waste of time. I would decline offers from others to drop links,etc because I wanted to see what the given venue was PRODUCING.

SITE TRAFFIC IS KING, followed by a steady flow of new listings. It's a waste of time to attempt to keep up with the capricious shifts that occur within the venues and the major search engines who have their crews continually tweek  algorhythms, for whatever rationales, they opt to BS the public with.

For whatever purpose, it is working for the venues to keep sellers perpetually off balance. "WE" are merely relatively risk free, pro-bono inventory to them, so they can pretend that they are a retail operation.

Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face   Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face

by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 20 07:49:09 2017

@tracking - SOME buyers still appreciate handmade. Maybe that's why this is my 3rd best year on Etsy (out of 11)?

Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face   Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face

by: epuise This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 20 12:01:18 2017

ALL these sites are guilty of INSULTING their users w/ the flood of cheap junk clogging search.

Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face   Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face

by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 20 12:03:47 2017

Whoops, sorry ... that should have been traciking. I was on my phone earlier and didn't catch the autocorrection. Sorry!  

Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face   Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Mon Nov 27 16:43:38 2017

@traciking
Fair point.  Knockoffs are rampant in collectible action figures.  Within hours of any product reveal, people are announcing that the price is too high and they'll wait for the KO.  Even if ePacket went away (and I wish it would), that attitude would still persist.

Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face   Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face

This user has validated their user name. by: NiciArt
Web Site

Mon Nov 27 21:25:42 2017

Racked is just rehashing the same debate and complaints that earn a daily thread in the Etsy forums and will continue to plague handcrafters, artists, and small business unabated unless there are changes to the demand side of the equation. Fighting supply will never be a winning strategy when there’s demand for cheap products and consumers cannot be bothered to recognize what is genuine and what is a genuine fake. If these resellers didn't sell, they would soon be relegated to the back pages of search and ultimately forced to abandon peddling their junk, but consumer demand is what drives these resellers to flock to sites like Etsy in droves. At the same time, Etsy puts a few dollars in their pocket, so what's the incentive to fight a battle you can't win.

Take a page from the war on drugs. Chasing down supply has never proven to be a successful strategy and as soon as one substance ends up on the scheduled list, the chemists and cooks are out there concocting yet another synthetic derivative far worse than the substance that scheduled. The only success story in the war on drugs is the reduction in tobacco consumption after years of reducing demand through education and changes in consumption. Cheap mass produced junk is the opiate of the masses. Quick thrills at a rock bottom price. Who cares about factory conditions, pollution, child labor, toxins, quality.. Just delivery me a little dopamine release in a nice package.

In spite of all the junk infiltrating Etsy Search, small handmade shops like mine continue to flourish by offering a unique products. Indeed, seeing all those pages of mass produced charms on chains is disappointing to say the least, but my sales are not adversely impacted in the least. Perhaps on the contrary, when someone finally lands on my items they seem to have a profound appreciation for the effort and workmanship, thereby justifying the higher price.

One major pitfall I see in Etsy is a tendency for sellers to cave into downward pressure and believe these resellers are their competition instead of standing firm and emphasizing the handmade aspects.  

Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face   Article Exposes the Challenges Online Sellers Face

by: Twiganne This user has validated their user name.

Sun Dec 10 13:16:25 2017

Ok then if you really want to bring attention to the illegal online selling venues I have have started a Twitter Feed #Crookedvenues.  Interested to see who will put their money where their mouths are!



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