Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Aug 20 2013 23:08:16

Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

Etsy sellers began noticing that their listings were showing up in searches on Google - good news, right? Not exactly. Sellers say their listings are being used by a Hong Kong website as Google bait and are trying to figure out how to stop the site from allegedly stealing their intellectual property.

Clicking on certain of their listings in Google search results are bringing them to a site called EtsyStore.net instead of Etsy. Sellers have speculated that the site owners are copying Etsy listings to their site and using them as Google bait to attract shoppers, and may be making money by displaying ads served up by Google. The listings on EtsyStore.net include a "Buy on Etsy Store" button that directs shoppers to Etsy or, in some cases, to a 404 error page.

Here's a screenshot of a listing on Etsy.com.





Here's a screenshot of what appears to be the same listing but on EtsyStore.net.





A seller by the name of Carly posted about the EtsyStore.net website on an Etsy discussion board on Sunday afternoon. An Etsy moderator responded on Monday morning to say Etsy was looking into it. "If you see what appears to be infringement of your intellectual property on another site, you may want to contact that site's administrator about it (as I see that some of you have done already)."

On Tuesday, another Etsy moderator responded after a seller posted EtsyStore.net contact information obtained from the site's WhoIs domain registry, reminding users that it was against Etsy's policy to publicly post another person's private information without their explicit consent - despite the fact that the WhoIs database is a public database. The moderator came back a few hours later to reaffirm that Etsy was looking into the matter.

Carly told EcommerceBytes that while she and other sellers were initially able to get EtsyStore.net to remove their listings upon request, the site operators subsequently became "increasingly stubborn and/or elusive about having links taken down."

Another Etsy seller told EcommerceBytes that she sent a cease and desist letter to EtsyStore.net and received the following response:

hi dear,this is shopping recommend website,
The Users like goods, click on the button to enter etsy.com for purchase.
the website will recommend the best goods to customers on etsy.com.
If you don't like it, or involving infringement images, you can tell us the link address.
We will be the first time for you to delete this linknowbe

 
The seller explained, "There are over 7,000 pages of beads that my handmade beads are mingled within. They are unwilling to remove all my listings under my shop name, which is how they have it listed."

Etsy sellers have expressed several concerns about their listings and photos appearing on the EtsyStore.net site, and say:

- EtsyStore.net contains outdated information - including inactive listings and incorrect pricing.

- Google penalizes sites for duplicate content, so the duplicate lisitngs on EtsyStore.net will hurt their standings in search results.

One seller speculated about whether EtsyStore.net was using the Etsy API to power its site.

Interestingly, the site EtsyStore.net was first discovered by Etsy sellers 5 months ago in a March 16th thread titled "What is the etsystore.net?" Some sellers thought the site was meant to help drive traffic to their listings, others thought the site looked fishy, but after 7 pages of speculation and no response from Etsy moderators, the thread died out.

We sent inquiries to Etsy and Google upon finding out about the issue on Tuesday afternoon and will update the story as we learn more.

Update 8/21/13: Google has apparently expelled EtsyStore.net from its AdSense program, and the company provided EcommerceBytes with a statement; Etsy has not yet responded to our inquiry. See Thursday's Newsflash story for the latest developments.

Update 8/22/13: EtsyStore.net removed the Etsy listings from the site and pasted a copy of a cease and desist letter received from Etsy followed by this message: "But I’m just a student, making etsystore.NET is just a hoax. Really, really sorry. This domain is for sale. EMAIL:shanshandegg@126.net."




Comments (32) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?   Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?

This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles

Wed Aug 21 00:29:18 2013

I found a site doing something similar with eBay items.  

Perminate Link for Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?   Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?

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

Wed Aug 21 03:23:10 2013

I agree with elpereles.  I've seen exactly the same thing years ago but for eBay.  I believe it was basically a scrape of the description plus image and then a EPN link to the listing.  If you can somehow out SEO eBay you can get some good money from that.  I can't remember if they cracked down on that practice though since there was no added value.

Perminate Link for Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?   Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Aug 21 07:33:30 2013

The Etsy moderators clearly dropped the ball back in March.  Now this is a mess.  Good luck to Etsy getting this one resolved.  Hopefully Google can intervene.

Perminate Link for Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?   Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?

by: lemonsandlemonade This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 21 11:09:18 2013

What constitutes duplicate content:

If you have your items on ebay/etsy/ebid/etc, tweet, pin, facebook, listing service such as auctiva has an auctiva 'store' with your items that if someone happens to find that they get redirected to ebay.

Is this duplicate content or acceptable to google?

Perminate Link for Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?   Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?

by: Roux Chat This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 21 11:27:16 2013

Thank you for helping to increase awareness of this website that violates the intellectual property of others simply to make a buck.  

Perminate Link for Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?   Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?

by: csmih731 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 21 11:45:45 2013

I've tried going to EtsyStore.net to see what's going on but I keep getting an error message that the site can't be found. ?

Perminate Link for Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?   Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?

by: morethanleather.com This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Wed Aug 21 11:54:12 2013

Hope it does not do damaged to Etsy.
Seems like and up and coming place to sell.

Perminate Link for Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?   Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?

by: Aunt Onery This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 21 12:09:59 2013

Etsy did NOT previously want this ad sense site to stop and is NOT NOW going to actively pursue a solution to this issue either.

Why not????

Well here's the real reason folks. For them it's not a SEO problem. (The knock off site doesn't actually sell your stuff...they sell ads on your item pages for revenue and depending on which of my items I look at, there can be anywhere from 2 to 5 ads.) Plus hundreds of thumbnails of other stolen listings.

Yes, when you've clicked a listing, you'll see a *Buy on Etsystore.net* twice with your item....but NOTE that their buy button takes you NOT to YOUR SHOP page item, but instead to the front page of Etsy.  Etsy front page gets all the traffic and transaction fees from any resulting buyers....uh huh!

One seller commented, "OMG IMAGINE HOW MUCH STUFF THOSE FRONT PAGE PETS ARE SELLING NOW.
*throws up*"

Me too! Etsy.com stated that the overall health of the site is healthy to the many complaining sellers who are wondering why their views have fallen off the cliff.

Pass the barf bag please.

Perminate Link for Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?   Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?

This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles

Wed Aug 21 12:14:58 2013

I was checking the site using eBay items. It was working some weeks ago and now is gone. It looks like eBay policy anyone that is trying to make profit without paying for it.

"Is this duplicate content or acceptable to google?"

I have some duplicates items in different sites. As far I saw from Google Organic Search. In some searches gives focus to eBay items then the rest.  

Perminate Link for Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?   Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed Aug 21 12:25:34 2013

To add to what lemonsandlemonade states, I find eBay listings on the strangest sites. I was searching for a particular doll on Google organic, and one of the results returned was for a site which sells hydroponics supplies, but right in the middle of the page was all of these eBay listings for the doll I wanted. And I've seen that type of thing before. So I'm assuming that once you post something to the internet, it goes everywhere. When I list something on eCrater, there always seems to be three views of the item almost immediately. So I doubt Google counts all of that as being a "duplicate."

Perminate Link for Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?   Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?

This user has validated their user name. by: David Steiner

Wed Aug 21 12:31:03 2013

@csmih731

The site in question doesn't have their domains wildcarded, so you'll have to type www. in front of the url to reach it.

Perminate Link for Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?   Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?

by: csmih731 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 21 12:34:25 2013

@David Steiner

Thanks, I'll try that. :)

Perminate Link for Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?   Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?

by: Roux Chat This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 21 12:36:37 2013

@Aunt Onery: Exactly. You can bet if anyone dared open a website venue using the Etsy name and started selling our items, Etsy would slam them shut so fast. Etsy was asked for help in March about this but chose to ignore it because they were profiting by increased views and quite possibly increased revenue, as well.

Perminate Link for Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?   Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?

by: Roux Chat This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 21 12:40:03 2013

@ David Steiner: People are now reporting in a thread on Etsy forums that they are getting viruses from viewing this website. I just ran a virus scan on my computer and I'm clean. Just want to let folks know to be careful.

Perminate Link for Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?   Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?

by: csmih731 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 21 12:47:24 2013

Thanks for that info! Going to run a scan since I just found the website. :(

Perminate Link for Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?   Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?

This user has validated their user name. by: David Steiner

Wed Aug 21 12:53:54 2013

@Roux Chat

Thanks, sites such as these should always be viewed suspiciously. Different members of our staff have viewed these pages without any issues.

Perminate Link for Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?   Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?

by: Noneya This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 21 12:58:33 2013

Yes, PLEASE keep us posted. Etsy has not responded to sellers inquiries and concerns about this site as of yet. As sellers we are told to avoid paying for Ad sites due to Google duplicate content issues, yet this site is ok?  Etsy sellers generally receive no response to inquiries or serious concerns posted in the forums until a story is posted in ecommercebytes.

If it is hurting sellers due to duplicate content, many families will be feeling the financial impact from lost sales.  

Perminate Link for Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?   Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?

by: sewingnut This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 21 15:31:44 2013

I doubt that Etsy admin will do anything, afterall they would have to stop petting their unicorns and put down their glitter.  Everything must be all lightness and fairytales. We don't have a business forum anymore, and any perceived ''negative'' posts are removed as not constructive Chitchat is what is important, like ''what is your favorite suntan lotion?'', ''how old are you'', ''does your cat like spagetti or lasagna?''  Group hugs are what is really important to keep us from noticing any real problems. UGH!

Perminate Link for Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?   Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?

by: sewingnut This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 21 15:43:49 2013

 Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?
by: sewingnut
       

I doubt that Etsy admin will do anything, afterall they would have to stop petting their unicorns and put down their glitter.  Everything must be all lightness and fairytales. We don't have a business forum anymore, and any perceived "negative" posts are removed as not constructive Chitchat is what is important, like "what is your favorite suntan lotion?", "how old are you", "does your cat like spagetti or lasagna?"  Group hugs are what is really important to keep us from noticing any real problems. UGH!

Perminate Link for Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?   Google Rewards Site that Steals Traffic from Etsy?

by: Roux Chat This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 21 17:23:35 2013

@ Sewingnut: Etsy benefits from those clicks so I'm not holding my breath for them to do a thing.

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