Thursday, February 10, 2011

Changes at Etsy - the Online Selling Site for Handmade

Some of our readers are already aware of this as they have shops on Etsy - but there have been some recent changes at Etsy involving the site's forums which are open to all who come to the site, buyers and sellers. Many of the forums that have existed since the site opened are now gone. What remains are forums directed only at sellers - and this is a shame for the shopping public.

It was always possible before the change to announce a new item that went into a shop by using the Promotions Forum. This was a busy place. Some sellers felt that it was too busy - but it brought results. A shop could announce a new item or cleverly remind everyone of other items in the shop and buyers could go and see what was new and for sale. Discounts could be announced. Coupons could be offered. It was the only place on the site that a seller could go on their own and promote their work without paying a fee. That is now gone.

Many of my sales have come from the Promotions Forum. Many buyers have found me there and have come back as repeat customers. This was a way to get your work looked at and ultimately make a sale. Now this opportunity is gone.

There is nothing of any practical application that has taken its place. It is possible to pay to be noticed on the overall site - but why should the customer have to pay the cost for a shop to advertise - no matter what anyone will say - all expenses are reflected in the cost charged.

There is no logical reasoning offered for this change - at least not one that makes any sense to anyone selling on the site. Could the forums been revised to make them more manageable? Sure! But eliminate the ones that the general public would benefit from? No sense at all!

Several sites suddenly sprung up to take the place of the Etsy Forums and also provide a Promotions Forum. One of the most notable is UEF (Unofficial Etsy Forums). But it is too soon to see if this site has any effect on sales. And unless buyers find that site - it will do no good. Take a look at UEF. If you are looking to buy, you will find shops and new items promoted there.

7 comments:

insanemother2 said...

Thank you for this article. I also don't understand the reason etsy took away this forum. I will visit UEF to see what it is like

Judi FitzPatrick said...

Thanks for this article. It is a mystery why they would take away some of their own fees in this way.

And thanks for the heads up on the unofficial forums; I'll have to check that out.

So sad to see it go this way.
Peace, Judi

Nell said...

I am a buyer-only on Etsy and frequented the forums; found interesting sellers there.

I am on UEF now and can do the same, just that a lot of the sellers are no longer selling on Etsy. But on UEF, sellers can link to their shops wherever they are, so I can shop in those places.

CremeMagnolia said...

I too am a member of UEF but really don't find it as stimulating as the original forums. However Rome wasn't built in a day.

Since teams are now the communication "forum" method on Etsy I guess we have to make the best of it..or leave. I choose no to leave my investment. I'll simply deal and work my little store.

One good (and controversial) Team on Etsy is the Etsy Blog Team which promotes Etsy seller blogs and hopefully increases the sellers business. All are welcome.

http://www.etsy.com/teams/7789/etsy-blog-team

Thank you for a well written article!

Pyromancer said...

I think the changes will have a large impact on Etsy for both buyers and sellers. I know for the people that read and/or used the forums the consensus seems to be that it will be negative, Etsy did it for a reason though. They claim to have received a lot of communications from people that did not feel welcomed to post there for a number of reasons, perhaps they are just trying to do some crowd control and break up the "cliques" (which is not an opinion I agree with btw) to make the rest of the community feel more welcomed.

It will be interesting to see how many new sellers and buyers use the Etsy forums and how the rest of the community adapts to the changes. I wouldn't be surprised to see some smart cookies set up a new marketplace that encompasses all the good things of the ones we use now with little of the negatives, and then perhaps they will use some of the revenues to advertise to buyers, not to sellers...

CherishedHearts Vintage said...

As with many things in life, it's their ball, so their rules. I'd much rather put my energies into making the changes work for me, than worry about how things have changed. There's money to be made!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, with the changes - so far, sales are not being made and the money has stopped flowing...