|Mon May 5 2014 22:50:35|
Etsy Sellers Object to Amazon Copycat Drop-Shippers
By: Ina Steiner
As I wrote in an article for Tuesday's EcommerceBytes newsletter, some online sellers are allegedly lifting listings from Etsy and copying them for sale on Amazon, profiting by marking up the items for sale. The presumption is that upon receiving an order on Amazon, the seller would then order the item from the Etsy seller and either have it shipped to themselves or directly to the customer.
As you might imagine, Etsy sellers were dismayed over the practice. There were several issues that gall artisan sellers beyond whether they agree to whether an unauthorized party has the right to sell their items.
- Intellectual property issues - sellers were particularly angry that their photographs were published without their permission.
- Reputation / brand protection - if the third-party Amazon seller provides bad buyer experiences, Etsy sellers worried it could reflect poorly on them.
- Scale - it's a time-consuming process to photograph and describe products and upload them to Etsy, and third-party sellers seem to be able to reproduce their listings on other marketplaces with relative ease.
Debbie Pearson, owner of Creative Chics on Etsy, said she first became aware of a seller selling her goods on Amazon from a customer who notified her they recognized her aprons on the Amazon store - "they were listed at 3-4 times our price," she said.
"The images are copyright protected and definitely my apron images. We use a mannequin in all our photos with the same set of pearls on her for this exact purpose as this is not the first time we have had this happen with an Amazon seller. You can also see from our store our photos are all similar in style and many of our aprons are one of a kind aprons which means another seller trying to make them would be hard pressed to do so."
She also said she couldn't understand the Amazon seller's business model of trying to sell the same item for 3-4 times the fee that she sells them for - "It is possible that this Amazon seller would receive an order then purchase the apron from us and have us ship directly to the buyer," she said.
"The most disconcerting item about this whole situation is that it appears they were able to take all of our images and text and import them into Amazon. The only feasible way I see this was possible is they used the Etsy API to pull our store data. I find this quite alarming as well as all the other sellers who have had their images and text duplicated straight from their Etsy stores."
She added, "even if it isn't the Etsy API being used, I would hope Etsy would step up and be spearheading a solution with Amazon to eliminate this type of online scammer behavior. I would also expect that Etsy would be providing some information or even reassurance to the Etsy online community about the security of the Etsy systems."
You can read more about this in the accompanying article in EcommerceBytes.
What do you think of this "drop-shipping" model, and what should Etsy or Amazon do when a case like this is brought to their attention?