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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.



Comments (87) | Permalink

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

by: timeaftertime This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 8 22:15:35 2019

Well, just bump your listing price up enough to cover the cost of shipping to the farthest zip code, like I'm doing this on eBay to get lower fees and better views. People are dumbing down so much they can't understand the difference between FREE and INCLUDED.

Nor do they understand that bumping up listing prices actually penalizes anyone closer than the farthest buyer -- because the seller added a flat amount to the opening price to cover shipping ''anywhere'', anybody closer is paying too much.

There is no FREE LUNCH.  ''Free'' means the cost is buried somewhere and somebody has to pay it. Which usually means passing costs along to consumers. Many of whom seem to be too dense to understand that concept and think it is really free!!!

I live in New York where the politicians are screaming FREE just about EVERYTHING to get votes from people stupid enough to believe them - college, student loans, medical costs, etc. etc. -- but of course, they don't mention where the money to provide everything free is going to come from, nor ''who'' is going to get stuck with the bills forking over that money, like us taxpayers - who are already struggling. And our governor publicly wonders ''why'' New Yorker residents are fleeing the state in greater numbers than ever.  

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.

Sun Sep 8 23:46:58 2019

The fury is spilling out all over the web. Etsy's board of directors needs to free up Josh's future.

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

by: mazelgirl This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 00:05:39 2019

Okay ETSY sellers. Stop paying them for listings --there are many other ways to sell homemade and many many other ways to sell vintage.  

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

by: MIscetal This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 00:18:37 2019

When Etsy seized upon this mania, I stopped listing new items, and stopped renewing items. I dropped out of the forums.

Etsy was once about getting handmade and vintage items sold to buyers, fulfilled by sellers. The site has been clunky for a long while - but the contemptuous attitude toward the sellers who helped build the platform's visibility, reputation, and and profit is remarkable for the damage it has done to Etsy's "shopability with flocks of ads inserted into every attempt to view a listing and "management" of even PayPal payment accounts.

They ask for input, and then ignore it


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

by: Bubbles This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 00:29:43 2019

What more would you expect from an eBay 'has been' for a CEO.
No amount of thrashing from Etsy will force us in to non existent 'free post'.
It obviously hasn't dawned on those at the top that 'free post' is just not a viable option for many, many sellers. I see a seller exodus on the horizon if sales drop due to this idiotic thought bubble!

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

by: chester This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 00:45:04 2019

I'm not sure why anyone is surprised.

Etsy has made no secret that they want all sellers to offer "free" shipping.

This is just another way for them to force sellers into free or "free over purchases of $35 or more" options.

No, I don't agree with it, and no, shipping is never actually "free", but I do wonder how many sellers changed their prices to $34.99 to get the supposed boost in visibility without actually offering free shipping.

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

by: purpleiris This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Sep 9 01:14:25 2019

When is the DOJ going to get on the ball and put a stop to these jokers? There is already a law against even claiming free shipping. So they are breaking the law and forcing sellers to break the law if they want to keep putting food on the table.

This is all about increasing their intake on FVFs and nothing more. There is NO research in the world that could possibly backup anything Etsy claims. Any survey or other test Etsy has conducted has been manipulated in some way to produce THEIR desired results -- like offering free shipping site-wide AT THEIR OWN EXPENSES during the test period to boost their claims that shoppers prefer free shipping. Yep, they actually paid for that machination. Seriously?!? Do you really think the majority of sellers are that stupid?

Anywho, I'm tired of having this conversation, so I'm just going to continue ignoring sites that pull such things. I never sold on eBay for that very reason, so I'm not about to sell on an eBay-wannabe.

BYE-BYE ETSY! I shall see myself out, thank you. No, I do not prefer another serving of dung. I shall simply take my business elsewhere and not look back -- just like I did with Bonanza.

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

by: purpleiris This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 01:17:40 2019

You know, I was just thinking...Etsy is perfectly willing to invest a LOT of money into manipulating test results, yet we have to fight for visibility due to their indifference to the success of their customers. What does that tell you about where you stand with them?

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: Fly on the Wall

Mon Sep 9 01:39:05 2019

I totally agree that this sux! That's why I'll always try to list only vintage items that are one of a kind and/or hard to find, or more common items at a lower price..That way I'll almost always be on "page one" and don't have to offer "free" shipping!  Remember, buyers are becoming more aware of how to "filter" their searches and disregarding the trickster "default" pages.

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

by: BargainzBabylon This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 02:20:20 2019

Fly on the wall - I do the same thing. Doesn't help. I'm selling out the rest of my vintage and kicking Etsy to the curb. I don't need it.  

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: Marie

Mon Sep 9 02:32:01 2019

@purpleiris

They aren't doing anything illegal, so why would the DOJ get involved?

FVFs are going up do to this.  Even if you offer free shipping and roll the costs into your product price.  You are still paying the same amount in FVFs.  We currently pay FVFs on shipping, so it is just moving it to the FVFs on the product instead of paying it as a separate FVF.

But I'm certainly with you on Etsy doing this to the searches.  I don't like it either.

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

by: Flying Childers This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 03:25:13 2019

Etsy has millions of sellers, yet can only show a tiny small percentage of items on the first few pages.  Who do they think they’re kidding with their strong arm tactics?

Sellers are quickly finding out that no matter what you do, whether phony free shipping or equally phony advertising, nothing helps.  Etsy is nothing but a landlord and a greedy one at that.  

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 05:02:10 2019

It's funny about that free shipping.  I guess the heads of Etsy noticed something about free shipping sales vs. paid shipping.  Maybe that they got more sales with free shipping.  Because on other sites, like Poshmark you must pay shipping.  Even AMZ FBM, it's shipping added.  And customer have no problem paying for items that they WANT.  As a buyer, I have no problem paying shipping WITHIN reason.

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

by: SellerGirl This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 05:11:12 2019

No, it's worse than you think. It didn't say "offer free shipping" it said, "guarantee free shipping on all orders over $35." So if someone buy 5 $7 coffee mugs that weigh 1# each when packed for shipping, you have to ship all of them for free, even if it costs you more than you can get for the cups.

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

by: SellerGirl This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 05:15:16 2019

Remember when Etsy announced a program called Etsy Plus or something like that and they sent out the same strong-arm letter, "Pay us $15 a month for Etsy Plus or you'll never sell on our site again"? That whole program failed badly. Sellers got NOTHING for their $15 because none of the features of Etsy Plus actually worked. Now they are treating us like employees again by bullying us into conforming through email threats.

Buyers don't expect free shipping on small orders, which is the average sale on Etsy. They want free shipping on sofas and mattresses, neither of which are things you look for on Etsy.

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

by: rover This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 05:17:19 2019

When all online sites are offering ''free'' shipping by raising their prices to cover it what will buyers want next?

For sellers to pay THEM for buying from them?

Consumers have too much power. Time they were put back into their box.

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

by: SellerGirl This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 05:19:32 2019

And last of all, if offering free shipping were getting Etsy sellers more business, they wouldn't have to strong arm us into handing out free shipping, we'd all want to do it to earn more money!

I've listed identical items in the past, one with free shipping but a higher price tag and one without. Free shipping does not increase my sales at all.  People want honest prices, not ones laden with hidden upcharges.

Anyway, apparently Etsy sellers aren't signing up for guaranteed free shipping and that's why they have to bully us.

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 05:20:57 2019

@SellerGirl, the pressure must be on hard for these sites to please their stockholders.  Get those sales up.  It seems they don't realize they wouldn't have inventory to sell if it wasn't for sellers.

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

by: felyne This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 06:58:08 2019

Desperation. They've sent the letter b/c sellers didn't jump on the free shipping in the first place. I won't and will never. It was the decline of ebay and still is. I can't find my sellers on eBay anymore no matter how i search for them. Luckily, i had their emails. The solution is  very easy, just don't go along with it, post on social media and warn ur customers what they're doing. Sellers still hold the power. And u can always go to Zibbet, ArtFire, etc, but eventually, they will prob sell and the same will happen. Your own site is the best way to go. I've already let my jewelry store on Etsy lapse, which was doing well. I just have my fine art store. Free shipping will never happen with paintings, some are very expensive to ship and with the new postage rates, I wouldn't know how much to add to the prices. Could be anywhere from $25 to $100 per large canvas. And I don't believe the 83% line. Etsy, go scratch. No desperation here.  

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

by: felyne This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 9 07:03:54 2019

Sellers, unionized. Wouldn't that be a kicker. A new type of union for a digital age.  

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