AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Fri Feb 26 2021 14:16:52

Etsy Exploits Retargeting to Get Ad Fees from Sellers?

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

Etsy's Offsite Ads program is problematic for a number of reasons - a big one is its unpredictability. Sellers can be going along paying Etsy 5% commissions, and suddenly they make a sale where the commission is 17%. 

Some sellers are okay with this - if it works for their particular business model. But that leads to the second issue: Etsy Offsite Ads is mandatory for sellers making over $10,000 in gross sales on the marketplace. One-size-fits-all policies do not work across all categories for all sellers on a marketplace - why not let sellers opt in (or at least allow them to opt out)?

But it was something a seller pointed out on Twitter that is most troubling: the fact that sellers may be required to pay Etsy a 12% Offsite Ad commission fee on sales that the sellers themselves were responsible for generating.

I referenced this in my February 8th editorial when I discussed Etsy's request that sellers promote its marketplace on social media for Valentine's Day. Keep in mind that Etsy does not compensate sellers for sales they generate through their marketing efforts, nor does it give them a fee discount or referral fee in such cases.

Etsy seller @CindyLouWho_2 on Twitter warned sellers never to use social media to drive traffic to Etsy, tweeting that a buyer who clicks on a seller's post may later see an Etsy retargeting Offsite Ad - and if they purchase after clicking that ad, the seller would be charged the Offsite Ad fee. We can't confirm that's the case, but it seems quite likely.

This possible scenario hit home with me yesterday when I read a post an artist made on social media. 

I follow the artist on Instagram, and when I saw her post (not an Etsy ad), I opened up a new tab and went to her Etsy store to browse.

Today, when I opened up my browser and went to a completely different website (wiki-calendar.com), it displayed a Google AdSense ad for Etsy, and it showcased images some of their items. 

That's called "remarketing," and when I clicked one of the seller's images in the ad, it took me to their listing on Etsy. 

Immediately I wondered whether Etsy would charge the seller a 12% Offsite Ad fee on top of the standard 5% commission fee if I were to purchase the item.

I have visited the seller's Etsy shop many times over the past few years, and I've purchased some of their items in the past.

I didn't pull the trigger yesterday to make a purchase, but if I seek out the seller's shop now or in the future, will Etsy take credit for the sale and charge that 12% Offsite Ad fee since I clicked on the Google Ad? If so, is it fair to do so?

I may be making another purchase from that seller in the future - but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth that Etsy might charge them an additional 12% fee if I do.

Etsy's hybrid model of commission fee plus offsite ad fee doesn't feel fair - Etsy should pick a model and stick with it, or give sellers more control over Offsite Ads.

At the very least, Etsy should not charge fees for retargeted ads. Do you agree?



Comments (10) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Etsy Exploits Retargeting to Get Ad Fees from Sellers?   Etsy Exploits Retargeting to Get Ad Fees from Sellers?

by: Vigilant Eye On eBay This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 26 15:58:18 2021

Nothing more than seller exploitation, it wouldn't surprise me at all if eBay wound up incorporating this unearned revenue generating model in the near future.

In the past (i.e., before the venues became publicly owned corporations), sellers paid a commission for any sales that a site had directly generated for them and not for advertising that promotes the venue and its other sellers at large.

Despite any drops in the gross sales volume of products, it never ceases to amaze me how eBay and Etsy continually manage to increase their annual gross revenues through the use of both overt and covert seller fees.

Perminate Link for Etsy Exploits Retargeting to Get Ad Fees from Sellers?   Etsy Exploits Retargeting to Get Ad Fees from Sellers?

This user has validated their user name. by: MainelyVintage

Fri Feb 26 18:03:24 2021

Ina, regarding your comment:

"I have visited the seller's Etsy shop many times over the past few years, and I've purchased some of their items in the past.

"I didn't pull the trigger yesterday to make a purchase, but if I seek out the seller's shop now or in the future, will Etsy take credit for the sale and charge that 12% Offsite Ad fee since I clicked on the Google Ad? If so, is it fair to do so?

"I may be making another purchase from that seller in the future - but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth that Etsy might charge them an additional 12% fee if I do."
---------------------
If you wait a month before purchasing (without clicking on an ad) the seller will not be charged.

I have hundreds of items listed on Etsy and I am not a fan. I did raise my prices and take some other steps to cover the de facto fee increases. I have always been careful in my vintage buying, not to spend too much for inventory, so selling is still profitable.

Perminate Link for Etsy Exploits Retargeting to Get Ad Fees from Sellers?   Etsy Exploits Retargeting to Get Ad Fees from Sellers?

by: postbuster This user has validated their user name.

Sat Feb 27 00:22:45 2021

etsy is like an annex for ebay.

Two similar platforms who pull the same trick at different times, beta testing abuses to practice on society for just to build wealth for the few and undeserving.

When people cant even afford to pay their bills, hell, even shipping labels because corporations keep skimming more off of the top.
All while executives can pay any average persons annual expenses ten years in advance.

This is the kind of research that our fees have been paying for.
It far beyond cruel and negligent behavior.  
It resembles the kind of treatment from places like North Korea.

Soulless children abusing the system that supports them.

Perminate Link for Etsy Exploits Retargeting to Get Ad Fees from Sellers?   Etsy Exploits Retargeting to Get Ad Fees from Sellers?

by: pennyemporium This user has validated their user name.

Sat Feb 27 21:42:04 2021

@Ina,
''Immediately I wondered whether Etsy would charge the seller a 12% Offsite Ad fee on top of the standard 5% commission fee if I were to purchase the item.''

YES, the seller WILL be charged that ''success fee'' of an extra 12%.  you are absolutely correct.  

ANY item you select from that shop, no matter if you buy the original linked-item or not.... ANY item in that shop within 30 days will be charged the ''success fee''.  even if you buy 500 items in the 30 days... ALL will be slapped with the fee.  

Perminate Link for Etsy Exploits Retargeting to Get Ad Fees from Sellers?   Etsy Exploits Retargeting to Get Ad Fees from Sellers?

by: plcombs This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 28 14:51:25 2021

If a buyer clears their History-cookies from the browser and then buys something afterwards, the Google Cookie should be gone and ETSY earns no extra commission.

Etsy, should not be doing this of course without a seller agreeing to it beforehand, i's a fee scam, plain and simple. Or at least opting in as part of their own pricing and marketing strategy.

Google Remarketing is a fairly cheap way to generate traffic and nowhere near the extra 12% in most cases...

Perminate Link for Etsy Exploits Retargeting to Get Ad Fees from Sellers?   Etsy Exploits Retargeting to Get Ad Fees from Sellers?

This user has validated their user name. by: Carl

Sun Feb 28 15:08:44 2021

@plcombs
Unfortunately, the potential buyers IP address is likely to be logged on the Etsy servers once they click the ad.
It will look for the same IP addresses buying the item for a match within those 30 days.
Etsy know people will clear out their cookies..etc.
They would stand to lose too much money if not done via IP.

Perminate Link for Etsy Exploits Retargeting to Get Ad Fees from Sellers?   Etsy Exploits Retargeting to Get Ad Fees from Sellers?

by: acertainblue This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 1 00:28:34 2021

This is terrible. Once I got wind of it, I opted out of Offsite Ads (my shop easily makes less than 10,000/year). I had stayed in it to see if it would help sales. Interestingly, after a rather dead 5-6 days or so, there was a flurry of sales, although those could be down to people getting funds near the beginning of the month, or down to cycling. I can feel that my shop is being cycled on/off for the last month, especially. All most discouraging. But no, I'm not giving Etsy 17% & a bite of shipping fees, etc. Highway robbery.

Perminate Link for Etsy Exploits Retargeting to Get Ad Fees from Sellers?   Etsy Exploits Retargeting to Get Ad Fees from Sellers?

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 1 05:08:18 2021

Some smart platform will see all these Etsy complaints and figure out it's time to start an "Etsy v. 2.0".  AMZ has handmades, but it's dead in the water from what I read.  I doubt anyone knows how to find that category.  Poshmark would be perfect for a handmades category or separate site.

Perminate Link for Etsy Exploits Retargeting to Get Ad Fees from Sellers?   Etsy Exploits Retargeting to Get Ad Fees from Sellers?

by: pennyemporium This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 1 13:31:03 2021

@acertainblue:  yes, the sellers in Etsy have all seen the Ebay tricks migrate slowly over to Etsy.  those ''lights on, lights off'' periods are simply recycled Ebay ''rolling blackouts''.  i get it too, ''lights off''; a week with no views or sales, ''lights on''; a sudden flurry for 2-3 days of lots of sales.  

not related to rolling blackouts, but another casualty to the ''opting out of the offsite ads'' choice, is that your Etsy items will deliberately NOT be fed to google for display on their google shopping pages.  (this is different that being found in the organic search).  if you are not paying Etsy for the ''success fee'', then they will punish you by not allowing your listings to be shown on google shopping.

nice business partner we have, isn't it?

Perminate Link for Etsy Exploits Retargeting to Get Ad Fees from Sellers?   Etsy Exploits Retargeting to Get Ad Fees from Sellers?

by: treasurehunter777 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 2 12:42:31 2021

It is one thing to charge for a service and another not to get what you pay for. I found my items not being promoted on Google search even though I am being charged 22% final fees on items I sell. Everything was great until February 2021 then no more promoting of my goods. I listed a new vintage rare scarce never before item and even after 8 days it still did not show up on Google when use to be items would show up in a day or two. My daily views and visits dropped by 90 %.  Needless to say I am very disappointed. I turned OFF Etsy off site ads and I am going to start cutting my inventory on Etsy.  You would think Etsy knows, when I sell Etsy makes money.  I am a long time Etsy seller and played by all their rules including Free Shipping on all my items.  



Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.