Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I thought I graduated out of the drama

The internet has brought many wonderful things; global communication and friendships with people you'd never have the opportunity to talk to if we all lived in sod houses, opportunities to run your own small business with little overhead costs, and who can forget the piano playing cat/bacon meme.

But then there's the evil twin who lives in the attic eating fish heads.

Thanks to my blog and being able to find buyers outside of it, I've been a rather blissfully naive Etsy seller for a while now. I just assumed that everyone must read the rules and that everyone there only sells things they made themselves. They're just that much more talented than one could ever dream.

And if there are a few trouble makers every listing has a little flag so you can notify people if something is not right or misstaged.

I went around thinking that simple things like buying showcases would get me more attention so I could wade out of the drowning pool of resellers and miss-taggers (you wouldn't believe how many prints are tagged as original paintings) but then I stumbled across a website that opened my eyes a bit.

Etsy Call Out - it's been around since April there to highlight all things they find on Etsy that are either obviously resell objects and misstags.

As an example a few days they posted this counterfeit not vintage bag that was up in someones store (and they were asking a good $300 for a fake bag at that).But, why is a blog like this necessary when they have the flag system?

Maybe because that bag had been there and been getting flags since JUNE!

And if you have ever been anywhere near a Hallmark or gift shop store the fact that someone has the testicular fortitude to sell this should make your head spin. It's been getting flagged like crazy for the past few days but nothing.

Yet, if you were to go to the Etsy forums (yeah I didn't realize they had their own forum) and say something to alert an administrator or someone in power to take down the object that is deceiving any buyers into thinking that it is handmade you are called down, the thread is locked and you are kicked out, not them.

It's positively amazing; really, the cliquish it's better to pretend no one is breaking the rules than actually enforce them and welcome any help in finding problems. (Not to mention the fees they'd get if the object is sold instead of nothing if they take it down).

At first I was flabbergasted, then repulsed at how everyone was acting like 13 year olds bickering over a lip gloss, and then the realization hit. I'm associated with this site too. I signed up because of the tagline, "Your place to buy & sell everything handmade." Everyone is assured if they bought from Etsy it would be a handmade object.

Yet, Etsy couldn't give a crap if someone is trying to sell a counterfeit bag or a mass produced gift shop statue.

I'm rethinking if I should do all the work to try and move everything I've worked hard for on Etsy or if I just flag what I find that doesn't belong and hope it gets better. But in the meantime, buyer beware. If something seems off or the pictures look too good, get in contact with the seller and see if they can show that something is actually handmade.

Because; anymore, Etsy's word is about as good as a three year old who swears that pie from the backyard was made from chocolate.


Linda said...

For ever person who's honest there's a dishonest one lurking in the background. Honestly Etsy's grown so large it's more like Craigslist or Ebay now. Take everything with a huge grain of salt and try to push through the drama.

Chesney said...

thanks for the word of caution (and by the way, I don't think you ever graduate from drama...)

Anonymous said...

I had a not-so-great experience with a bad seller on Etsy, and the site was very little help at getting my issue resolved. I wasn't the only one who had problems with her, either -- when I paid her to do our invites, she had 100% positive feedback; by the time I got them, she was down to a 62% feedback rating with multiple reports of non-delivery. Her paper goods Etsy shop is gone now; I can't tell if Etsy kicked her off or if she closed it down herself to get the bad reviews off the 'net. (I do know she's still operating a second Etsy store where she sells craft supplies.)

Etsy talks a good game about its seller requirements, but seems pretty lax in enforcing them. I think it's easier for them to kick off the whistle-blowers than to enforce their rules. It's unfortunate.

Rachel said...

I've seen some of the things on Etsy and figured that out. Knick-knacks you could go buy in a store. Or vintage/antique stuff. Not that it wasn't cool looking - but it's not handmade by the seller.

But they should do a better job at policing the site. If someone gets flagged, they should at least check them out.

Anonymous said...

Whoa. I just spent some time checking out the Etsy Callout blog. Talk about drama. I'm mentally applauding you and other sensible Etsy sellers who, you know, sell stuff they actually made themselves! (Although apparently, it's OK to resell gift shop crap on Etsy if you're a stay-at-home mom, and only unfair meanies believe in enforcing the rules. Guess that makes me an unfair meanie.)