Before I found Etsy, I used to enjoy selling vintage items on eBay. It was so much fun that I even made my own CRM platform that would keep a database of my loot and post items automatically to eBay using what you kids now call APIs, AJAX and XMLHttpRequest. In 2000, long before Ebay upgraded it’s first generation posting process, it saved me a lot of time. Before long I had a finished product and paying subscribers!
Now I sell on Etsy because my creations are better suited to the artisan/crafter site and they allow me to sell vintage things as well. I also buy stuff on Etsy because I think it is full of magical items I could never find elsewhere. There are also some absolutely talented artists on the site.
I have noticed that a lot of people are starting to sell crap on Etsy. I don’t mean crappy art or crafts, that’s perfectly legit! What I mean is that Etsy is becoming a marketplace used by Chinese resellers of crap. I have purchased crap from such resellers on Ebay before and I was quite happy 75% of the time. However, Etsy is specifically NOT a place for such crap. In the past year the hilarious website Regretsy has taken to documenting this trend and trying to get Etsy to remove such sellers. Basically, Etsy is not enforcing the definition of their site. (Now please stay with me before you stop laughing at Regretsy and realize you have lost 2 hours of your life!!)
In order to understand this trend a bit more, I decided to order a bracelet for my daughter while we were browsing Etsy for Hunger Game themed bracelets. I fully knew that I was buying low quality mass market bracelet not from an artisan but from a factory in China. In fact, we spent a lot of time deciding between 12 slightly different bracelets from the same source sold through as many different Etsy sellers. I paid what I thought was a fair price for it and it arrived rather quickly in its cheap bonus gift box.
While my daughter loved the bracelet, it broke immediately. Seeing as how the chain it came with was of such low quality, I changed the setup to a fancy magnet closure. So far it has stayed put. I had expected to recycle the center charm when fashion dictates but the whole bracelet is glued limiting my options! I was very disappointed that the quality of the metal-like material they now use to make costume jewelry in China has yet again decreased. It is metal because it attracts the magnet but I wish I knew what it was made of.
Anyhow, I left a matter of fact negative comment to the seller and waited a few weeks to see how other people would appraise their purchase from this seller.
I got what looks like the angriest Etsy comment I have ever read, pertaining to a replacement or refund I never requested, categorized as a negative and an offer in return!
But the answer to this feedback is too easy, simply search for a Hunger Game bracelet on Etsy and you will find a lot of fly by night sellers offering exactly the same bracelets from various shops. Now I suspect these sellers come in, flood the system with listing, sell a few dozen items in a month and vanish when the feedbacks start to come in. It’s a good gimmick!
And an opportunity for other sites to grab a piece of Etsy’s still expanding market. I would complain to Etsy by email but I shall wait until I run into them in person… Are you going to Social Media Week in NYC? Ping me! We could hang out!