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Fri Sept 14 2018 22:51:03

Etsy Change Has Vintage Sellers Feeling Left Out

By: Ina Steiner

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UPDATE 9/17/18: In an email response to our inquiry, Etsy has confirmed this is a test. See below for a statement from Etsy.

Etsy sellers are concerned over a change they noticed a couple of days ago that they say gives short shrift to vintage goods. In certain cases, Etsy is displaying "Gifts" instead of "Vintage" on the navigation bar in the header that appears at the top of every page.

A reader upset with the change, said, "Etsy is comprised of sellers that are handmade artists, craft supplies, AND vintage. WHY on Earth would Etsy even THINK to take "Vintage" off the menu???"

We could see "Vintage" on the header nav bar on Etsy, but when we signed out and then went into incognito mode, "Vintage" disappeared and was replaced with "Gifts." Sometimes it appeared on the far right of the list of other categories, where Vintage usually resides, sometimes it appeared on the far left.

The reader feared the consequences of new users not seeing Vintage on the nav bar. Note that when viewing Etsy's site when not signed in, Etsy displays the following text underneath the header right above a super-sized search bar:

"If it's handcrafted, vintage, custom, or unique, it's on Etsy."

Shoppers can continue to filter by "Item type" when browsing a particular category or subcategory, with the following choices: All items; Handmade; or Vintage. "All items" was the default, though we have no way of knowing what kind of weight Etsy gives vintage items in search results when All items is selected.

We could only find one response from an Etsy moderator about the change, who jumped in to a thread to simply thank sellers for their reports and say Etsy was "currently in experiment with this."

The current discussions reminded us of an open letter we published from a reader in 2011 to incoming CEO Chad Dickerson about what the site could do to support vintage sellers. A source told us that Dickerson took the letter to heart and sent it to all employees. Seven years later, consider this an opportunity to let the new Etsy CEO Josh Silverman know how you feel about the vintage category. (We believe the constructive nature of the 2011 letter was key to being taken seriously by his predecessor.)

Let us know what do you think of the change to replace Vintage with Gifts on the header. If you're looking for a vintage scarf, for example, do you click on Clothing, or do you first click on Vintage? And what do you think of the Gifts landing page, which you can also get to directly?

We sent an inquiry to Etsy late this evening, we'll update the post as we learn more.

Update 9/17/18: An Etsy spokesperson provided us with the following statement:

"Buyers come to Etsy for items they can't find anywhere else, and one-of-a-kind vintage goods are a core part of our unique product offering. With 9.3 million vintage listings currently on the site, we believe there is still a lot of untapped opportunity in this category. We've seen a 70% year-over-year rise in searches containing the word vintage, underscoring that this category is in demand and that buyers associate Etsy with our great vintage offering. We intend to continue focusing on making Etsy a leader in the vintage category."



Comments (23) | Permalink

Readers Comments

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

Sat Sep 15 08:56:29 2018

I am not part of the test group, so I haven't seen the "Gifts" link (yet).  From what I've read in the Etsy Forums, Gifts is a curated gift guide of some sort.  What's disturbing IMO is the advice an Etsy staffer emailed in response to one of the Vintage shop owners:  add "vintage gift" as a tag to their items.  If 9.4 million items get tagged "vintage gift", how will that tag help buyers find any of those items?  

Etsy management has always disliked the use of any category structure, so it looks like they are considering dropping the appearance of a Vintage category (in reality, the Vintage category was removed circa 2012) and changing "vintage" into something like an attribute.  

The Vintage link was curated by Etsy, with 1/3 of the items shown on the first few pages being non-vintage items (either new handmade or new reseller products).  Last Thursday had a "throwback" Vintage promotion, and brand new items pretending to be "vintage" were featured.  Etsy's Vintage seller community has more issues to ask management about than just a "missing link".

I think a bunch of shop owners who sell vintage clothing, accessories and jewelry are going to be checking out Poshmark for the holiday selling season -- and Poshmark welcomes handmade fashion items, too!  Buh bye, Etsy!


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

Sat Sep 15 09:04:25 2018

Thanks for the link to the "Gift" section.  Again, how will adding a tag "vintage gift" make a one off Vintage listing more relevant than a handmade listing that has moved dozens, or hundreds, of units?  I bookmarked the Gift link, and will be checking daily to see if any Vintage items get curated in, and if so, what they are.  Thanks again for the link!

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This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Sat Sep 15 10:02:45 2018

"Etsy" aka "Josh" is a complete, unlimited edition MORON.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sat Sep 15 12:59:46 2018

Did a bunch of folks leave eBay and go to work for Etsy?

Etsy is becoming very eBay-esque.  About the worst move Etsy could make.  

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by: Jewels This user has validated their user name.

Sat Sep 15 22:27:03 2018

''Did a bunch of folks leave eBay and go to work for Etsy ? ''

YES, They are ex Ebay employees. That IS why they are trying to turn us into Ebay.
They don't know any better and obviously never worked with a Unique selling venue like what Etsy was intended to be, Vintage, Artisian Handcrafted and Supplies. Not handmade mass produced in some factory overseas.
I wrote a letter to etsy, and was basically told that they did replace the Vintage with GIFTS along with some other mumbo jumbo about how their research feels it will work better for buyers. But what an asinine idea. Who decided that people even search the word Gifts in the first place, and a Gifts category curated by an Etsy employee's personal taste which many dont even like ( including buyers ) . Everything has the potential to be a Gift.
I was also informed that basically Vintage items will be rolled in with regular items, such as a Vintage Designer Dress will be lumped in with regular dresses and they will no longer separate items by age, because it doesn't matter. Meaning... Vintage is Not Important to the new etsy. So when they continue to try and tell us they do care about Vintage Sellers, it is absolute BS. When was the last time true Vintage was promoted in any way by etsy ? They have no interest in us, only cheep , mass produced imports, and hand made items that are falsely titled Vintage or Vintage Style. The new etsy does not care. And don't even get me started on all their fee increases (even on our postage and shipping costs) and options they want us to buy into that don't even work except to put money into etsy's pockets.
How about their secretive grading system of sellers, called 'Good Citizen Rating'. Many of us feel that our shops are being manipulated  behind the scenes and our shops are being turned off from view in searches and then turned on again depending on our behavior and Citizen Rating. They definitely do manipulate buyers searches.
Most of us Sellers are Buyers too and we can't even find items in searches that we Know are listed. Whenever I need something specific I do a Google Images search, find the item, and 99% of the time when you click on the photo it takes you right back to etsy, where you can't find it in their search because etsy wants to show you something they want you to see.
It is absolutely despicable the way we have been disrespected.
Etsy seems to forget that we Vintage Sellers have been putting money in their pockets for years !

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sun Sep 16 08:06:52 2018

Jewels says "Many of us feel that our shops are being manipulated  behind the scenes "

You can take that comment to the bank Jewels.  Venues that are using algorithms are manipulating sellers' visibility.  Algorithms in the hands of amateurs are business killers.

Perminate Link for Etsy Change Has Vintage Sellers Feeling Left Out   Etsy Change Has Vintage Sellers Feeling Left Out

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sun Sep 16 11:08:10 2018

Jewels writes: "[O]ur shops are being turned off from view in searches and then turned on again...."

So Etsy is copying eBay's rolling blackouts?

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by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 16 14:03:12 2018

What is a venue to do when they make the decision to abandon the unequivocably different 'vintage' marketplace and decide to focus on the mass marketed consummable - when vintage is what made their foundation?  How does one 'break it' to their backbone?  

Spinelessly.  By ''experimenting'' their customer's livelihoods to muted and eventually unsustainable volumes one plagerized innovation at a time, denying their intended impact at each unannounced unleashing, monitizing all the way from those who remain trusting and hopeful that there must be some 'mistake'...

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by: BargainzBabylon This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 17 01:49:02 2018

I get the strong feeling that Etsy admin doesn't really know what vintage is, who its market is and what this market is looking for.  

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by: traciking This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 17 02:15:03 2018

Etsy has never really supported vintage.  They allow it and as far as Etsy is concerned that is more than they feel they should do.  The site is supposed to be handmade, vintage and supplies.  Etsy promotes it as handmade but a lot of it is resell merchandises brand new and not made by anyone who owns an Etsy shop.  That Etsy promotes.

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by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 17 04:41:54 2018

Just wait until the china sellers start labeling Everything "Vintage", just like they do at ebay, the keyword word vintage will be meaningless

We are also noticing these rolling blackouts, at etsy it's quite obvious, they are manipulating

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 17 05:33:07 2018

There have been several NYT articles that state collectibles, antiques (and vintage) are not selling well because the NEW generation does not buy it.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Sep 17 06:13:45 2018

"There have been several NYT articles that state collectibles, antiques (and vintage) are not selling well because the NEW generation does not buy it."

And yet Etsy just reported that fanny packs sales (including vintage ones) are selling like hot cakes.  

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by: choochoo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 17 06:19:11 2018

Why doesn't Etsy have an antiques category?

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by: rover This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 17 06:22:45 2018

Etsy long ago abandoned its international sellers who number about one third of total sellers.

They subjected them to sleazy manipulations which hid their items in search from US buyers, claiming that ''buyers have told us they prefer to buy from their own countries''.

Which buyers and when? Im a buyer and no one asked my opinion.

More recently international sellers (who have per se higher shipping costs) have been disproportionately penalized when Etsy made their dishonest and greedy 5% grab at shipping costs.

Now this kick in the teeth for vendors who sell TRUE vintage - as opposed to the shops filled with fake vintage and cheap knockoffs from AliExpress.

People - there are a few sites which sell vintage and ONLY vintage - not handmade, or supplies. There is also a large thriving vintage category on Ebay. Dont keep all your eggs on one basket.

Smell the coffee and diversify.

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by: epuise This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 17 10:03:50 2018

VINTAGE IS selling WELL to the 19 to 55 crowd...
at Flea Markets, Antiques Shops, Shows, & Social Media Groups... it's the online 'venues' that don't get it...
VINTAGE is BETTER MADE unlike cheap new Made In China... the younger crowd is NOT stupid.

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by: funkygrrl This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 17 12:50:52 2018

This isn't the first time Etsy has done this. Right after Chad Dickerson "took the letter to heart" about vintage sellers, he removed Vintage altogether as a category on Etsy. It eventually reappeared, but by then I had left to sell on Ebay where my category wasn't being hidden and the sales were much better. (Not that I'm a huge cheerleader for Ebay, but that's how it was back in 2013.)

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by: fern This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 17 13:39:00 2018

I have three shops on Etsy, selling true antiques & vintage, and do pretty well. The lack of long standing categories in the antique community, shows that Etsy doesn't know what they are doing re vintage & antiques. are are really missing the boat. Lots of dealers point this out to them in the forums. My favorite user friendly place is Bonanza, but for some reason don't make many sales.

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by: urbananthro This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 17 18:17:20 2018

I attended the inaugural (and maybe only) "Etsy up" sellers conference in NYC 2016. There was only one session devoted to vintage out of two full days of programming. It was billed as a roundtable or some sort of panel. when I got there it was a room full of vintage sellers, and one Etsy staffer who told us to "network and talk amongst ourselves". I couldn't believe it. Everyone in that room received the message loud and clear. Zero effort, thought, attention, resources or shits given to the vintage market on Etsy.  

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by: rover This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 17 18:32:38 2018

I will never be a cheerleader for Ebay but stuff can sell well in their vintage categories whether by auction or buy it now. There are at least half a dozen categories on Ebay where I can place my items to get them in front of buyers. On the whole prices are lower and fees higher than on Etsy. But its better to sell steadily at lower prices and higher fees than to sell NOTHING because your true vintage items are hidden from the USA market by sleazy tactics.

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