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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) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel   Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Sun Dec 15 18:38:07 2013

I'm barely familiar with the Etsy App, and don't sell on Etsy, but I do enjoy scrolling through the ''vintage'' shops. Am I way off or are these the resellers?

Some items do seem more vintage then others. I'm over 50, so I can see something I remember from childhood as vintage but if it is from within the last 10 or so years - debatable.

Still, just in scrolling & browsing the stuff featured when the app first opens I find myself drawn to the ''Vintage'' items as opposed to the handmade. Those are the items I tend to poke with my finger to see what opens up. And it is fun to scroll through a seller's store if they sell true vintage.


BTW,  why does each title uses the word ''vintage'' - like we need to be told it is vintage - Is that an Etsy rule?  

I think the vintage resellers are what eBay likely tossed aside & a lot landed on Etsy.


I don't buy much handmade, but  if I ever find something ''handmade'' to buy on Etsy, it will probably be because I happened upon it while poking through the ''vintage''.  Could be a bright side!

Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel   Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Sun Dec 15 22:19:03 2013

---- why does each title uses the word ''vintage''

I think it's SEO, trying to make the most of Google searches.

If the Etsy admins and policy-makers are going to allow so much non-handmade merchandise, then the very least they can do is to cordon-off a section that's exclusively for handmade or custom-made items.

I can understand that they want to maximize their share of the marketplace by allowing mass-market merchandise, but they really ought to stay true to what put them on the map and show some respect to those sellers who helped to create the foundation upon which Etsy now sits.

 

Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel   Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel

by: Gina This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 16 00:03:30 2013

EtsySUX totally ASKED for this years ago when they opened their arms and pocket books to mass-manufactured goods.  OPENLY allowing them to post their non hand made goods in the Handmade category BECAUSE THE REVENUE THAT CAME TO THE SITE!  This totally destroyed my thriving business on the site!  I'm crippled and now on Welfare.  Thanks so much EtsySUX for betraying your original charter and all those of us who helped build your site!!

Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel   Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel

by: Gina This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 16 00:06:11 2013

Haha!  As I was posting that message, EtsySUX sent me a threatening letter to pay up or else!  Good thing I just finished editing the listings I renewed!  It's time I get something out of EtsySUX after I put so much into it!
And, yes, I've listed resell goods in the Handmade categories, announcing that they are just as "handmade" as 90% of the goods in the Handmade category!
Bitter?  Damn right I am!

Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel   Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel

by: AmericanRose This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 16 00:17:25 2013

Etsy defines vintage as items twenty years or older. Etsy vintage jewelry sellers are disgusted with the hypocritical ways in which Etsy has used then ignored them and given them short shrift while vintage items are drowning in foreign factory manufactured jewelry and most recently foreign manufactured counterfeit collectible vintage jewelry. Etsy then hypocritically toots its own patriotic horn loudly using its community outreach programs for the unemployed to vouch for its commitment to America. This is only one example of the doublespeak and pseudotransparency currently present.  

Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel   Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel

by: marcello This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 16 00:33:17 2013

I doubt anyone is getting duped into thinking they are buying handmade instead of mass produced. Shoppers aren't that ignorant, they know what they're buying.  The resellers have mega sales, handmade just does not generate those kind of numbers. Handmade sellers are always crying that the resellers are stealing their business, I don't know if there is any truth to that.  Things change, resellers are here to stay, as a seller you need to adapt.

Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel   Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel

by: WhoKnewIt This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 16 00:40:27 2013

" ...they really ought to stay true to what put them on the map and show some respect to those sellers who helped to create the foundation upon which Etsy now sits."

You would be hard pressed to even find a true "handmade" Seller left on Etsy.  They are purely in it for the cash now and don't care where they get it from.  You want real "handmade", visit Zibbet, we're all there now!

Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel   Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel

by: marcello This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 16 00:54:05 2013

Like ebay stayed true to their sellers?  

Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel   Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 16 03:40:37 2013

With the new rules on Etsy, Ralph Lauren and any other clothing designer could list their merchandise. They design their clothing and accessories and then have others make them by hand in factories. Maybe like Ebay they will start working on getting Coach and other major brands on their site.  

Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel   Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel

by: truehandmade This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 16 05:22:49 2013

Etsy promotes (for free)a small fave select group of sellers each year in a carefully designed system that creates sellers who turn into resellers when they outsource their production (which is accomplished almost entirely with Etsy's free mktg push)so Etsy is in the biz of making small not small. It's a very good probability that 90% or more of Etsy's paid employees not only have never seen or understood real handmade, they have no idea what handmade is nor have they had any interest in the handmade tradition.  I just finished 3 live craft events and more than 20 customers told me they shop on Etsy for handmade ONLY from those sellers they trust really do produce quality handmade.  They don't find ''new'' sellers or new handmade on Etsy because both no longer exist.  It's important to recognize that Etsy makes small sellers into mass producers which in turn has damaged the reputation and sell-ability of real handmade.  

Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel   Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel

by: Daisy909 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 16 07:06:41 2013

I am grateful to sell vintage on Etsy and stay out of the reseller mess. Though the mass sellers have cut into my business to the tune of a 25% drop in sales this year.
Vintage does have ''uneducated'' sellers who sell items that are not 20 years older or older. I used to turn them in but gave up as their items stay on Etsy which leads me to believe that Etsy is well aware and does not care.

Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel   Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel

by: used2luv2sell This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 16 09:35:01 2013

I haven't visited the Etsy site in a while.  Reading this info makes me feel that I am reading about Ebay.  CEO's are all alike; show ME MY MONEY!

Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel   Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel

by: Disgusted This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 16 09:54:13 2013

Etsy has gone the complete reversal route of when and why it started.  Mass produced items from China do NOT belong on this site.
Search engine cannot distinguish between handmade and vintage. Nor does Etsy know the difference. Tired of looking in vintage and see hand made new items.
It appears that the only thing that matters is the bottom line at any cost.   KARMA

Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel   Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel

by: Trishna This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 16 10:10:53 2013

Resellers and cheap factory items are new IN THESE NUMBERS on Etsy.  Yes, they have been there, but it used to be illegal.  It has not hurt all of the Etsy sellers, but it has hurt a few categories, and the others are not far behind.  Let me tell you HOW.

Chad decided he can make a lot of $$ off the Walmart model, selling trinkets for $5-$10 that was made by a factory that mistreats its workers, instead of the advertised model of artisans and vintage sellers that had some integrity.  NO JEWELER CAN MAKE HUNDREDS OF GOLD AND STERLING NECKLACES FOR $5-10 WITHOUT MISTREATING WORKERS.  Saying yes to these manufacturers has allowed reseller businesses run by their employees to pop into every country.  They hire 5 people to live in the USA, and all day they post trinkets on Etsy, wrapped and ready to go for $5-10.  They post under vintage, under beaded, under anything that they can be found under -- even if it is not the right word.  They annoy serious shoppers who are looking (I tried to find something on Etsy the other day and was floored by the mis-tagged trinkets I saw.)  In turn, he will lose his branding as handmade and those folks will go looking elsewhere.

I make jewelry.  If you search ON ETSY for Sterling Om Necklace (or whatever is popular right now, wishbones and elephants and birdies and initials, whatever), the pages are FLOODED with the exact same pieces, literally (not exaggerating) hundreds of them.  Sometimes they are even the same picture over and over again.  I can post one necklace (handmade) and it quickly is pushed back six pages.  But here is the worst of it.  Buyers see pages and pages of the cheap junk they can get at Walmart or Target or Walgreens.  They leave before they find me, bored out of their mind because they came to see what they used to see on Etsy -- HANDMADE PIECES.  

Buyers are not stupid, as Chad says (look it up Ina.)  Many come to Etsy to support artisans, to buy something that is not factory made so they don't participate in child labor (I get asked a lot of questions about where I get my pieces), or because they like to talk to the artisan.

Sellers are angry at Chad because he was not transparent.  He didn't come to HIS buyers (this is us, the sellers, who pay him for the site and have a contract with him) and tell us the truth about what he wanted to do, and listened to many VERY GOOD SUGGESTIONS on how to do it.  The overwhelming suggestion was a separate category for manufactured items.  Then you would have Vintage, Handmade, and Manufactured.  THAT would be a different thing, and then our customers could find us.  Redefining "Handmade" is not possible.  You can say that designing something then having it made in China but "overseeing it" and "taking responsibility for it" is handmade, but I know it when I see it, and my computer is not handmade.  

I still make sales from folks who find my page through google.  They search for a "Turquoise Shakyamuni Buddha" and find me through SEO.  But they don't find me through Etsy, by going to the site as they used to do and plugging in "buddhist jewelry."  And of the few patient shoppers that do, half comment that they had a negative experience compared to what they have seen in past, which was many pages of interesting beaded necklaces.

This year I made $500 in November, as opposed to other years where November was $1400-1600.  December is my biggest month (duh) and so far I am at $300.  Last year at this time I had brought in $1200 -- and ended with close to $2000.  When did my sales plummet?  IN SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER, when Chad gave the go-ahead to manufactured items.  It never came back, so I can't blame Congresses antics.  I don't mind competing with other artisans and losing a sale to them, but I don't want to give my $$ to a site that sells on the Walmart model.  I don't shop at Walmart.  I make choices to shop American, and that is my choice.  

I am lucky.  My $$ give us the extras.  Many artists did so well on Etsy they ran half their household on it, or quit their day jobs, or are disabled.  These people are hurting.  Etsy broke their contracts without any advance warning, in the worst time of the year.

Ina, I don't give a ratz ass what Chad says.  He is a liar.  (definition of chad: a noun.
a piece of waste material created by punching cards or tape.)  Anyone who who disagrees with him gets their sites closed or gets muted.  Numbers don't lie.  Coincidences don't exist.  Buyers have no reasons to lie.  I have been so disappointed in ecommerce's coverage of this; it has made me ignore your email flyers because frankly if you cover this poorly then probably most of your info comes from the PR Departments and not from reporting.  I have written to the B Corp to get his standing there removed.  I have moved, and in a month will no longer be on Etsy as all my items will have closed.  

So where are the artisans going?  To their own sites, to zibbet, to artifre (where they separate the manufactured items, supposedly), to storeenvy.  Artists made Etsy what it was when eBay screwed them, a great niche market for vintage and handmade.  Now they can get the shopping carts built in from Indiemade and other web-platform sites.  Etsy can compete with eBay, and apparently, from what I hear, Chad does it poorly.  

Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel   Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel

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

Mon Dec 16 11:00:48 2013

As a 35 yr business owner and a 5yr+ seller on Etsy, I can think of no other calamity worse than bashing the partner that supports you.  

Every business owner regardless of size or product line MUST ALWAYS re-invent themselves to stay fresh in the world marketplace.   When my vintage stores get sluggish on Etsy I step back... breathe... think.... and get very critical with my operations.  I am one seller among millions.  So....

What does my store look like to newcomers?
Are my products in current demand?
Do pictures need to be re-taken?
Who is looking at the shop? site?  Do I appeal to them?
How am I showing in searches?
Do I have enough invested in marketing?
When is the last time I gave the store a real overhaul - aka fresh text, content and product?  Policies still current?

Those are just a few basic questions every storekeeper must ask regularly.  When you make changes you become fresh.  When your store has ''something new'' to offer you will be seen and products will sell.

But stabbing the heart of your business partner will do nothing for you or your business.

Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel   Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel

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

Mon Dec 16 11:23:32 2013

There is where you are wrong, Another Time. I have been doing business for over 30 years, and tried out Etsy this year, only to learn that the site does not support its handmade sellers, nor does it care what kind of product is listed. I joined Etsy to use it as a secondary marketplace in the first place, and was sorely disappointed at the flood of cheap Chinese goods pushing my handmade, one of a kind pieces out of the way. So before you start handing out the old chestnut of SEO being to blame I suggest you really read the comments. We are artisans who do things by hand, and practice good business sense. To accuse us of having sour grapes over what has put main street boutiques out of business is a bad way to defend Etsy for its bad handling of what constitutes handmade.

Suppose for example that your local art gallery started selling nothing but reproductions and posters, instead of the actual art? You would stop going, wouldn't you? because the artwork is cheapened. The artist is no longer involved in the craft at that point. It is the same with Etsy. I did not go into business to sell cheap knockoffs and mass quantities. I want to express myself and support myself by selling what I make. I can't do that when the prices of goods flooding that market undercut my costs to create every time, and I paid Etsy for the "privilege" of sitting there are waiting for sales.

Etsy has failed in its core mission. As a long time business person, you should have seen that long ago.

Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel   Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel

by: carolbabs This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 16 13:13:53 2013

Marcello and AnotherTime:  You are both missing the point.  As a former long time (over 2 1/2 years, over 350 purchases) buyer on Etsy, I have decided to shop elsewhere.  These sellers aren't bashing Etsy, they are telling it like it is!  And it is totally Etsy's fault.  Allowing non-handmade into the handmade category is deceptive, pure and simple.  Someone commented earlier that buyers know what they are buying.  That is sometimes true.  However, a site that touts itself as handmade, has a handmade category that allows "designed" goods in, and does little to nothing to police its own site for sellers claiming an item is handmade when it obviously isn't, is going to have many buyers being scammed.  Many of the handmade categories are filled with page after page of goods that are manufactured.  Some defenders of Etsy say that buyers should just look harder, read About pages, compare, etc., etc.  BS!  That should be the site's job to weed out the many manufacturers/resellers!

As I said, I used to purchase a lot on Etsy.  No more.  I am not a seller, don't personally know any sellers (other than in teams).  My dog in this race is for the deception that is being perpetrated on unsuspecting buyers.

Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel   Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel

by: Watching the Wheels This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 16 14:34:26 2013

I believe that a very real problem is the staff's inate fear of the investors.

I see clues that support my hypothothis ALL THE TIME.

All of you need to take your concerns to the REAL decision makers, IF you EVER have any hopes of being heard.

The staff doesn't have the skills to do as the board directs and to maintain credibility, too. Unfortunately, Etsy's staff just IS NOT top shelf. <--- There's the real problem.

One of the sellers pointed me to the FTC website. One of the REAL nasty problems, at least in the states, is that the country has outsourced for so long, that most items cannot legally class themselves as handmade, due to all the pre made and imported supply items.

Kalin CHOSE to bring in investors. If "I" had fronted beaucoup $$$$$$ to kids, I'd be expecting a return on that, too.

Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel   Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel

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

Mon Dec 16 15:20:48 2013

Hello All, Merry Christmas

Well I have been in business since 1975 hand making handbags, shoulder bags, coin purses and more.

I was banded from Etsy. Because they said that I do not make my products and wanted me to prove it to them. Well guess what. They can go pound sand. Why, because I employ individuals to do my sewing. I design, create and make these items.

Yes, I will agree that I do not make the materials to make these items, such as satin,
velvet, cotton, thread, needles, or what have you. But, I do make these items.

Etsy, Grow Up.
Why don't you just have different sites for different categories. Or is that to much work?  

The Bag Lady Since 1975

Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel   Etsy Flooded with Resellers Posing as Handmade Sel

This user has validated their user name. by: Bad Hair Day

Mon Dec 16 15:47:21 2013

@Skip
''Why don't you just have different sites for different categories.''

Because the PARASITES (the re-sellers) need a HOST the (True Artisans) in order to thrive.And since Etsy is in what I term a 'symbiotic relationship' with the re-sellers, they will never purge them from the site. They need and ENCOURAGE the re-sellers to thrive in order to increase their profits at the expense of the 'True Artisans'. I said it here before and I'll say it again. Their coveted, curated front page is nothing more than eye candy for the re-sellers to 'Piggy Back' off of. One could just as easily curate a front page with the same look and feel on say eBay for that matter :) It's all smoke and mirrors.

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