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Sun Dec 15 2013 13:51:08

Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sellers

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
I just had to write because I am so disappointed that you just post the Etsy company line without doing any investigation of your own. The site is flooded with resellers, filled with junk pieces and overrun with shops that sell nothing handmade.

The site was established as a handmade site, broadened to include anything that remotely resembles handmade, changed to allow manufactured items and now it opening promotes resellers.

Of course, Etsy says that is not true, but you if would spend some time searching on that site and looking at who they feature, you would quickly find out that Etsy doesn't resembles anything like a handmade site. In fact, handmade sellers are hard to find, because the site is overrun by mass produced, resold junk that is listed as handmade. There is no separate category for this junk. Etsy says it would be too hard to separate, so they allow all of it to be listed under handmade while legitimate handmade sellers are buried in the search.

I feel sorry not only for sellers, but for buyers who trust Etsy at its word, that it is a handmade, unique site where the items you purchase are not easily found elsewhere. Well, I beg to differ, all that junk can be found anywhere and everywhere.

Please Ina, before you print another positive story from the mouth of Etsy via Chad, please do some of your own research. When I read your site, I hope to find the truth, not a fantasy proposed by a CEO who only dreams about making himself, the board and all the investors rich at any cost.
Harriet

Comments (43) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

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by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 16 16:17:09 2013

Bag Lady, I think Etsy just greased the skids for you. You are exactly what Etsy has agreed to accomodate recently. But there should be a clear distinction between original design and HAND CRAFTED. I sell vintage & antique jewelry there. Etsy won't grow very fast on hand crafted goods. This same thing happened in brick & mortar craft co-ops.  

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by: Garcia This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 16 23:59:45 2013

Yes, we have to be willing to accept Etsy's idea of expansion, but it would be nice and more honest, if Etsy tried to work with handmade and vintage sellers, to make sure they are not buried in the sea of manufactured and resold items.  The refusal to make separate categories, police the site, close the shops that violate what Etsy claims to be their rules on what can be sold, and create an environment where buyers know exactly what they are purchasing.  As it stands now it is definitely buyer beware.

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by: Terri This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 17 00:08:08 2013

As a seller of fashion jewelry (on sites other than etsy), I can tell you all for a fact that there are sellers on etsy that are selling the same exact jewelry items that I PURCHASE from my wholesalers. These etsy sellers are claiming they are making these jewelry items. The reason I know this is because the sellers selling the jewelry I purchase from my wholesalers are using the same exact pictures that my wholesalers have on their sites! I've not reported any of them to etsy, because I don't think etsy would do a thing about it. It really angers me that some etsy sellers are getting away with this!  

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by: BargainzBabylon This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 17 00:29:39 2013

Carolbabs has it right. I've been on Etsy as a buyer from the beginning. Using their screw-top search is tough enough, but now I'm significantly slowed in my browsing by having to vet each and every item to make sure it isn't just mass produced junk.

I'm speaking as a buyer. I've been around the buy and sell business for a long time and have a pretty good eye, but a lot of people cannot tell until they have the item in hand that they've been ripped off by mass produced junk masquerading as hand made.  They go to Etsy because they feel greater trust that they will not be ripped off. They trust that what they are looking at is artisan or small shop made. A successful business survives because of trust. If trust is lost, so is the buyer. With P2P it's even more critical.

Pretending that somehow some canned coping strategy is going to deal with these problems, or pretending that these changes are inevitable just because the voice of Authority is touting them, isn't going to restore trust.  And once that trust is lost - good bye.  

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by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 17 00:31:26 2013

Etsy sellers don't just stay and complain - leave!  You will stay snd stay just like the ebay sellers and things will just keep on deteriorating!  Etsy wpould be no great loss to me.  For the most part you have to be one of the " clique" in order to make decent sales and for the life of me i have no idea on how anybody's wares get found!  Its a mess far worse than ebay ever was.

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by: KatyWorkshop This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 17 00:38:31 2013

You know, I quit selling on Etsy a few years ago, when they started allowing really disgusting things (like cat toys in the shape of a penis) to be sold without being under an adults-only category of some kind. It was under cat toys for anyone to see. Similar vulgar items were in abundance, and I decided it just wasn't for me any more.

To those who have handmade things getting lost in the shuffle of commercial garbage, I saw you liked Zibbet. I've been through there, and I saw very little actual handmade items there either - mostly craft supplies.

I hope some folks will still consider Atomic Mall for their items. I've been very happy there pretty much since they opened. I've not put in the time I SHOULD be putting in, because, quite frankly, online selling is not as much fun as it used to be. People either don't have as much disposable income to spend online, or they have been conditioned by eBay to expect garage sale pricing on everything.

I am phasing out my craft supplies business and will be moving on to my latent-and-ignored passion of art quilting. Meanwhile, I continue to like Atomic better than any of the other online places. No, I don't get commission. You need an opening deposit of ten bucks, stores and up to 2000 listings are free. You only pay if/when something sells, and then it is around 7%FVF, still a far cry from eBay's 10% across the board. My items were NEVER found on Etsy - just buried among the thousands of other items there, with no way to distinguish my earrings from others. I hope the ones who are unhappy at Etsy will at least look around Atomic and consider it.

Sad that Etsy COULD have stuck to its original purpose, but the move to open it up just made it messy and undesirable.  Just my two or three cents.

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by: KathleenJohnson This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 17 00:48:37 2013

Reality: Etsy changed their "brand".

Those, still selling "handmade" are collateral damage in a business model focused on volume without a "factory size" throttle.

Its over with and when the customer, who wants hand made, figures it out - they will be looking for another model akin the the Etsy of olde.

Its all about the bottom line - money. Complain all you want - Etsy is not going to re-direct. The die is cast.  

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by: sundance This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 17 01:52:23 2013

As a buyer I get so lost on Etsy, trying to wade through all the resellers, no matter what I put in the search for handmade and vintage.

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by: RealHandmadeGal This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 17 02:21:32 2013

Etsy isn’t going to change it’s course now. It will soon be known as a website for factory made junk that you can find at any low-end store. Artisan work is already buried in search and browse by reseller crap and it’s only going to get worse.

I don’t care what lies Chad and Etsy administration says, you the buyer, can see for yourself what’s going on. Run searches for these items and tell me what you see: bubble necklace, infinity ring, owl necklace, cell phone case, Disney, Harry Potter (most any copyright or trademark protected name).

It’s painfully obvious these items are mass-produced. They’re being sold by resellers who purchase them wholesale from factories selling on Alibaba and Aliexpress and the factories themselves pose as small shops.

What may be worse is the way Etsy treats some of its sellers and buyers - yes I said buyers. When Etsy doesn’t like what you have to say about them in their forums, they will mute you. This means you’re banned from posting in the Etsy forums for a period of time or forever. What kind of company permanently bans people from speaking their mind? These muted people weren’t using foul language or telling lies. They simply spoke the truth, often sharing important information about Etsy screw-ups in payment processing systems or when personal information is divulged about members.

I could go on, but instead I direct you to a place where people have time to investigate the lie that is Etsy and share it with the world:

http://rusetsy.wordpress.com/

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by: cayenna This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 17 03:12:39 2013

I have been selling online for a long time, incl on etsy since 2007. I have reported sellers till I was blue in the face and still nothing's been done. I have included the manufacturers of their items that the sellers claim to make and it does not matter they are still thriving. Some of the sellers stole my description info and even used the exact titles! Still nothing. Same thing happened to me on eBay only pictures also of mine were stolen and used there and eBay did nothing. I have many trademarks as I make everything but apparently that doesn't matter even with proof. Apparently no one can be held accountable these days when they have a platform for people to sell on; otherwise I believe something would be done about all of these things that keep happening. It would also be nice if a person could actually get a hold of someone for help. It takes forever to hear back from anyone and if you do nothing's usually done. When I do searches for supplies very little of what I am actually needing shows up in the searches. I can definitely see all of the products that are not Artisan made. One time I had a buyer tell me she was a Designer for Liz Claiborne. She said they and other large Designers search the web for designs. Really? And she was there looking at mine! Apparently this is not new and we will never be able to protect our designs no matter what. They say the item they are copying has to be different more than 14% for it to be considered their own; oh how wonderful. Perhaps the percentage has changed now...And what does that do for me? There's nothing fair we will always have to deal with all of these things no matter where we go. So all we can do is the best we can. I have 6 places I sell online because I do not put all of my eggs in one basket. Just make sure the listings are not identical or they won't show up in search engines. As far as mass produced stuff, I agree Etsy is no longer true to their word and genuine Artisans. I also believe that eBay has now affected etsy; I see MANY similarities from both especially related to how feedback and the contact system has been implemented. Before you know it what we know of etsy will also be gone. I use what I can, where I can, to sell as much as I can, of my handmade creations and that's the best it's going to get.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Tue Dec 17 07:25:36 2013

LOL - I'd wondered about SEO as a possibility on the word ''vintage'' but it was so uniform in frequency and where it was placed that I thought surely it was a rule that must be obeyed!  

Reminded me of the sidebar ads that appeared on eBay searches for a while. No matter what kind of clothing you searched for, the ads for that item from asia located sellers would appear - with the first word in the title bar being ''sexy''. So you might get ''sexy ear muffs'', ''sexy turtleneck'' , ''sexy cotton socks'' etc…


Back to etsy - I like the suggested idea for separate handmade, vintage, and manufactured categories. I used to like to browse through Artfire, but then it started having a lot of junk. It had to be mass produced.

One thing Etsy did right was develop an app. I have looked for Artfire and eCrater apps but did not find any?  I do a lot of browsing while waiting in the car for Mr. Basset while he roams the aisles of home improvement mega-stores.

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by: Trishna This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 17 09:00:41 2013

Omigod Ina, You do not get it.  You have drunk Chad's koolaid.  "To the layman, this presents an image of a crafter working on a piece of jewelry or a woven basket with a hands-on, one at a time process.  But artisans of old eventually craved better means of production. Making more items meant earning more income. Advances in technology helped such creators produce their goods on a larger scale."

This is not about artisans hand-stitching a quilt versus using a sewing machine or having to weave the fabric (Chad tried that tired argument.)  This is not about an artisan enlisting her sister to help her cut material for dresses to keep up with demand.  

This is the difference between that same person drawing a line on paper, sending it to a manufacturing plant in China, where 200 women and CHILDREN sit for hours with no breaks in a factory with no rights sewing garments.  Or stamping hundreds of tiny elephants from sterling, then sitting with no face gear polishing in a room with no ventilation.

Artisans use innovations.  But once they move to having it done elsewhere, by others, it is no longer handmade.  It is factory made.  Then, it is up to me what type of factory I want to support.  I personally do what I can NOT to support what Chad wants to support to make a buck and undermine Etsy, use child salve labor, betray the sellers who may NOT know the difference, especially if they are lied to.

Ina you lost me.  I thought perhaps you didn't get it, and had not done the research.  But you have drunk the koolaid and become another one of Chad's cupcakes.  

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by: tired This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 17 09:02:38 2013

If the Adm at Etsy wanted to be honest and transparent, they would have a catagory for resellers/factory made items instead of calling them handmade....

the word 'handmade' has a reputation as being well made, something desirable in an item.  'Handmade' will pull in customers for junky stuff.

Etsy has a status report monthly.  One can look from one month to another and see that the books have been cooked...When shops are counted, they include closed, out-of-business and multiple shops owned by one person.

Etsy makes inventory arranging and product sections so that one has to have multiple shops to sort out the items.

This looks so good on the monthly stats....but honest????

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by: Trishna This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 17 09:24:40 2013

Absolutely brilliant!  It graphically says it all.  Ina, dawling, must go see!  http://rusetsy.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/the-twelve-days-of-an-et
sy-christmas-4/comment-page-1/#comment-524

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by: mrsc5inla This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 17 10:04:12 2013

And to add insult to injury - I sell embroidery blanks
Etsy denies my listings and states they are mass produced and can not be listed, but yet they permit all the other sellers to continue to sell non handmade items and blanks.  They are turning into eBay

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by: Gina This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 17 10:24:46 2013

EtsySUX opened the floodgates years ago, FULLY WELCOMING WITH OPEN ARMS AND POCKETBOOKS mass-manufactured goods to be listed WITH FULL PERMISSION in their "handmade" category.  NOW they complain?!!  They made their bed and destroyed thousands of legitimate home businesses in the MAD DASH FOR MORE AND MORE MONEY, now they lie in their own feces!  May their website die as suredly as they destroyed mine, and many more like mine!  Though three-times crippled, I had a self-sufficient business when Etsy was following it's handmade charter, I'm now on Welfare hoping I die before I'm 67 because "pension" is half what I now scrape by on!

Perminate Link for Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel   Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel

by: cayenna This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 17 12:29:08 2013

Hi 'Tired', Please tell me how I can access etsy's monthly status reports I can't find it.
I would like to see the info you mention... Thanks!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Dec 17 12:48:16 2013

Etsy, like eBay, have forgotten their roots and who made them successful.

Typical corporate mindset.  All about the dollars.

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by: Baubles This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 17 16:09:31 2013

Unfortunately, I don't see this changing any time soon.  Etsy wants more revenue and to grow the company.

Look at what happened with flea markets - originally, lots of great, one of a kind, used, household/vintage items...then the glut of Chinese junk arrived.  This happened ton ebay too.  All those great one of a kind items were replaced with millions of the same Chinese junk.  I don't mind competition, but what I do mind is the lying that takes place by those Chinese manufacturers.  14kt gold and sterling silver glutting the marketplaces that is fake, vintage items that are newly made.

Unfortunately, once a customer gets burned by buying one of those "one-of-a-kind necklaces" from a Chinese manufacture that produced millions of those items, he/she won't come back to Etsy to purchase anything else.  

The way of doing things in China is quite different than in the US.  I have learned a great deal about the Chinese culture over the years.

One of the top rules when making a purchase in China is to 'satisfy yourself'.  That means you don't buy something unless you are convinced that the item is real, and it is what you are looking for.  Once you purchase it, you're on your own.  No refunds, no returns.  Buyer Beware in full force!

Perminate Link for Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel   Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel

by: DingDong This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 18 09:44:14 2013

You want only a handmade artisian place to sell. Go to
HandmadeArtists. com

You have zibbet. com to place items there, too.

It's like Bonanza, everything but the ordinary and then the Bonz Boyz tinkled on the base sellers that got them going.  

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