The Deal
Monday, October 20, 
8:32 pm

by Stacey Higginbotham
[Posted on November 9, 2007 - 3:28 PM]

Rob Kalin, the 27-year-old founder of online craft market Etsy Inc., is living proof that you no longer have to be a techie to be a technology entrepreneur.

Along with the falling cost of launching an Internet company, the need for sophisticated technical know-how has also diminished, especially for an e-commerce business such as Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Etsy. That has opened the door for Kalin, a former classics major in college and ex-carpenter, to launch an acclaimed startup that effectively translates the traditional craft fair to the Internet in the form of an eBay-style auction site.

Etsy has won critical kudos for its striking visual design and intuitive feel. The result is a charming blend of low tech and high that has attracted not only devoted buyers and sellers of handmade goods, but also investors from both coasts. Since launching in 2005, Etsy has raised almost $5 million in three rounds of funding. The startup's backers include investors noted for betting on Web 2.0 companies, which typically incorporate multimedia and aspects of social networking. They include Silicon Alley's Union Square Ventures and the founders of Flickr and, the photo-sharing and "social bookmarking" Web sites acquired by Yahoo! Inc. in 2005 for $30 million each.

Kalin first came to the attention of Flickr founders Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield when he sent them an e-mail he describes as a "love letter" praising the design and functionality of the photo site and inviting them to look at Etsy, elements of which he had modeled after Flickr. "I've always been an artist and crafter and maker myself, so I felt an instant bond with the site," Fake says of Etsy. Although she routinely gets e-mails from entrepreneurs seeking advice and funding, Kalin stood out.

"Etsy was a great site in dozens of respects--well designed and built--and it had a good sense of community," Fake says. "It was built by smart, interesting people and was in a great space. No one was doing e-commerce or marketplaces in the whole Web 2.0 thing."

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As for Kalin, Fake says he was "smart and bold and irreverent--and just cocky enough to be able to pull it off."

In June 2006, Kalin accepted $615,000 from the Flickr founder and other angel investors. In the process, he turned down funding offers from venture capital firms seeking a 20% stake in the company at a pre-money valuation of $3 million, as well as to recruit an experienced CEO. "I realized we didn't need that much money," he says. "It ruffled some egos, but I think I made the right call."

Kalin's first experience dealing with venture capitalists left a sour taste. After Etsy attracted some press coverage, he began getting phone calls around the clock from would-be investors.

Feeling under siege, he went so far as to report one especially persistent venture firm to the Federal Trade Commission for violating its "Do not call" rules, although the move was largely symbolic.

When Union Square Ventures partner and investor Fred Wilson came calling, he had to overcome some prejudice on Kalin's side. "I don't think that Rob's views about VCs are that unique," says Wilson, noting that many of his best deals are the ones that require the most persuasion.

"The stories about VCs taking over companies, cramming down founders and generally doing bad things are out there, and many entrepreneurs are nervous about VCs as a result," Wilson says.

Wilson wasn't deterred by Kalin's reluctance to bring VCs into the fold. Nor was he put off by aspects of Kalin's unorthodox background that might have turned off more conservative investors. Kalin made several attempts to graduate from various colleges, ultimately earning a degree from New York University, and is known for bluffing his way into jobs. He got his first Web design job without admitting he had no experience. (The Web site he created for Manhattan pub Acme Bar and Grill is still up today.)

Indeed, in contrast to the many entrepreneurs who have their pitch down pat, Kalin comes across as a bit of a flake. For example, he offers various explanations for the origins of Etsy's name (which rhymes with "Betsy"), usually including a reference to filmmaker Federico Fellini, but leaves one wondering if it was actually just a domain name he could grab. "Rob is not a scam artist," Wilson says. "He's a maverick and an idealist, and he's out to change the world." The admiration is mutual.

"Fred was different," Kalin says. "We clicked, and I felt we could be good partners." It didn't hurt that Wilson was willing to take an uncommonly minuscule stake in Etsy. "I told Fred, 'You get, like, 1% and that's it.' And Fred took it just to get his foot in the door."

The bond was strong enough to yield a $1 million investment in November 2006, led by Union Square Ventures. Since then, Wilson has increased his investment, leading a $3.25 million round in July of this year.

Etsy now has 47 employees and half a million registered members. The company is still burning cash, generating sales of roughly $300,000 a month and expenses of $375,000. Crafts on the site range from screen-printed T-shirts to handmade toys and furniture. Typically, there are 11,000 goods on the site at any point in time, with 8,000 of those items producing sales.

Part of Etsy's appeal is its clean design. Kalin originally hired professional designers to develop the site. Unhappy with the results, however, he scrapped the design and did the job himself.

One person he did turn to was Jared Tarbell, a well-known software programmer with a specialty in Flash software, which is commonly used for online animation. Initially, the programmer was skeptical about the concept behind Etsy. "Rob asked if I wanted to work on a marketplace for handmade goods, and I remember thinking it was the stupidest idea I'd ever heard," Tarbell says.

But he changed his mind after being impressed with what he saw when the site launched. Tarbell added a number of visually arresting elements to Etsy, such as letting people shop for goods by color, allowing them to see the newest items for sale and enabling site users to participate in company presentations.

Today, with Etsy growing, Kalin is gradually moving from the role of entrepreneur to that of manager, and it remains to be seen whether he will be content with the transition. He occasionally bristles at the constraints of the business world, recently taking a last-minute vacation without bothering to check his schedule and cancel his appointments.

Still, Etsy vice president of communications Matthew Stinchcomb, a former roommate of Kalin's, maintains that Kalin is cut out for executive life. "He has a great brain and a good head for business," Stinchcomb says. "He just hates that part of it."

Wilson and Fake, too, express faith in Kalin and Etsy, adding that professional credentials are no substitute for vision in building a tech company.

"At Flickr, we never hired the engineer who had the Sysadmin certificate or the computer science degree," says Fake, admitting that she, too, once fudged her Web design experience to land a gig. "We hired the person who was the art major who built servers for himself and his friends over the weekends and built Web sites in his spare time whenever he could just because he loved it."

A description tailor-made for Kalin.

From: John S,

Etsy would be a truly great site if only it was run properly and built well. Apart from the Flash toys, the site works poorly and in particular searching and category organization is an absolute nightmare. Meanwhile, priorities include creating functionality so that members know when each other's birthdays are. Management includes banning members who have been critical of the site without explanation and shutting down any discussion of this in the site's forums.

I'm very much looking forward to Etsy being bought out by someone who has a clue.

From: Elaine E,

Etsy is a fabulous site and is a wonderful outlet for artists and sellers of handcrafted items. Etsy's administration does a wonderful job, especially with being attentive to the Seller's needs. They listen to the needs and are responsive to ideas and requests.
Etsy has thousands of visitors each day, and even more comments, critiques and tech issues to deal with 24/7, yet Etsy is continuously working on improvement and efficiency.
As a seller I have not had any complaints with this site - it is functional, easy to use and affordable. As a buyer I have found some wonderful pieces of art that will be treasured.
I strongly believe that Etsy has a very strong and prosperous future!

From: Alicia P,

Although I think Etsy has great potential, the unbusiness like behavior of the CEO/manager as well as some of the young staff make me question my presence on the site. There NEEDS to be some tech experience and some business experience running a site that has grown so explosively in so short an amount of time. Lately the improvements on the site have included cash earning opportunities for the company as opposed to serving their customers, the sellers, which will result in short term gains as opposed to long term ones. If Etsy is to continue, Kalin and others need to stop bucking the system and start embracing some of the things that have worked for others.

From: MaryKathleenFlynn,

John S., Elaine E & Alicia P,

Thanks very much for the comments on

Getting feedback from users of the web sites we report on is very valuable as we continue our coverage.

In the case of and Rob Kalin, I suspect we will be covering them for some time to come. :)

All the best,
Mary Kathleen Flynn
Senior Editor
The Deal & Tech Confidential

From: Nicole,

We'd do well to remember that Etsy is only two years old. Of course there will be some bumps in the road, but my experience there as both a seller and buyer has been fantastic.

By the way, Etsy is not an "eBay-style auction site." There are no auctions on Etsy.

From: Mandy F,

What a truly illuminating article! Although, as an end user of Etsy, I had difficulty recognising some of the aspects of the site talked about in such jubillant terms in the article (intuitive??? not bl**dy likely) a lot of what is revealed makes a lot more sense of it all now ie. the clunkiness of a lot of features, the complete disrespect with which Etsy treats its customer base, the patronising and condescending way in which concerns are dismissed. Etsy needs a huge humility-infusion at a top level or a knowledgeable buy-out.

From: David P.,

Nicole says that we'd do well to remember that Etsy is only 2 years old. However, I do remember other sites being very high tech and advanced at a much younger age and with fewer employees. Ebay comes to mind, as well as many of the other booming dotcom sites.

They really need to get some staff that knows what they're doing, and that have a game plan. I've seen Jared in action, and he's very good, but his talents are wasted here.

From: Paul E.,

Etsy is a great idea. I fully support buying handmade, but when the Admin. curated front pages continuously display items that are clearly NOT, I begin to lose faith in their ability to follow through on the dream.

Also, as a former Seller on Etsy, I can tell you that their Billing system is a NIGHTMARE ! I didn't trust them with my money, credit card info etc, so I pulled out my shop and went to Mintd.

From: NowitMakessense,

Well, what an illuminating interview.

Now it all makes sense... As a buyer on Etsy, I have had the opportunity to purchase wonderful handcrafted jewelry and art and have loved/been very pleased with each and every item. BUT - the shopping process is horrid, ungainly, difficult to understand the logic behind it.

I read the forums on Etsy often, though I have never commented, and I have seen many, many instances where sellers have requested changes/upgrades to the shopping/selling system and they are dismissed outright or told they have been added to some list.

I have been waiting for the improvements and it frustrates me no end that they have not taken place yet, I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to the sellers/artists on the site who are depending on Etsy for their income through sales.

I must say, Etsy is a wonder Idea, Notion, Dream... but it does seem that even after 2 years, it could be implemented better.

Perhaps Rob will succumb to a buyout.. and some improvements will be made. In the meantime, I will continue to struggle through the site as I do love the items offered by Many, Many artists there.

From: Kristi,

I, for one, sincerely hope that Etsy is bought out by a reputable firm with a good head on their shoulders.

Etsy Admin continuously brush aside real concerns from sellers and buyers alike, offer flash toys that hold no means of creating commerce and repeatedly ignore requests for the improvement of basic functions (ie. a search feature that works, the return of Alchemy where buyers are able to request custom items, forms of seller protection, actually advertising their existence as a site, just to name a few). Etsy has literally started to become the laughing stock of many other crafting blogs, e-commerce sites and forums out there.

Etsy founders and employees would do well to remember that sellers are their paying customers, and stop treating their real concerns with disdain, condescending laughter, and literally muting and banning those paying customers who speak up on the forums about concerns in an attempt to make the Etsy community seem like a camp of happy people.

I can't wait for the day Etsy is (hopefully) bought out by someone with some business sense and experience.

From: Mark L.,

From: Nicole,

We'd do well to remember that Etsy is only two years old.

And how long will we let them use that excuse? We'll be approaching the third year shortly.

From: George,

A few comments from someone who has been selling on Etsy since the site was 7 months old....

The programmers at Etsy take great pride that the code for Etsy is hand built. Although that is a great thing for a site hawking handmade, the time to stop reinventing the wheel has come. I think it is most telling that they have been unable to attract an engineer to tackle the search funtion.

Etsy has learned somewhat concerning major new functions. During Beta, things were launched with no warning, and the site crashed. Sometimes for days.

Version 2 was a greatly needed rebuild, but it was launched in Mid-November, the busiest time of year for retailers. We survived the process, and pleaded for no major changes this holiday season.

I think that is why we are currently seeing little in the improvement of search and has been said that no changes are being made currently since it would change how sellers tag items, requiring editing of every item in their shop. Considering how few people read forums and the Storque, this type of change (without proper email notification) would ruin many sellers.

Supposedly improvements to tags and search are to come in early 2008. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that results that sort based on the similarity to your search terms are in the works, with Etsy sticking with newest items first in the results.

It does guarantee renewing revenue, but also leads to removing the value of Etsy. It isn't just 20 cents to list really need to spend about $14 a week to stay visible.

There is also the problem of non-handmade items on the site. Early in 2007, admin decided in their 'Constitution' to eliminate supplies and vintage. Due to great seller outcry ("we want to buy supplies here and support Etsy"), they were allowed to stay. Both categories are huge, and hog search results. Due to mis-tagging, it is very difficult to remove them all from searches using NOT.

There have been rumblings that supplies and vintage will move to Opt-in only status, but it looks like handmade supplies will be moving with them. Rob made a statement in a thread discussing this similar to this: "Handmade yarn and lampwork beads (etc) are not finished products, and people new to the site will not be looking for them." Considering these items usually start around $20, and are very popular as collectors items, this threatened removal of handmade supplies from the main search seems very unfortunate.

From: George F,

Etsy will be another, lesser Ebay within a year -- a mecca for mediocrity and crap.

Anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves.

From: April S. ,

These comments are posted by the people who were banned by Etsy, most likely. Etsy is THE BEST site for buying and selling handmade. Its beautiful and has a great community base.

From: Julia,

Etsy's primary focus is and has been successful from the beginning: giving people a place and opportunity to run their own handmade business. Myself and many others, who are able to take advantage of that and make smart decisions, have been amazingly successful. The ones with unappealing products and poor marketing are not, but they have a mean jealous streak and strong sense of entitlement and they are the loudest critics.

Business is no different on line as it is in the real world: the cream will rise and the trash will sink, but it will go down screaming.

From: Carly C.,

April S., you are sadly mistaken that only someone "banned" by Etsy would make a negative comment about it. There are many of us who are sorely disappointed in not only the structure and lack of functionality of the site, but the heavy-handed manner in which Rob Kalin operates the business. There are numerous cases of blatant favouritism in the gift guides and front page featured items, not to mention who can post in the forums. The atmosphere of fear over the forums is quite pervasive, since there are rules to be followed which are unpublished and unseen. When Admin comes on and calls out individual members on the forums, there are no consequences. But please, April, you should try it and see how far you get. Maybe nothing will happen. Maybe you will be banned. Maybe you will get muted for the fourth time (even though there is a three stikes and you are out published rule). It depends on how much in favour with Admin that you are.

The recent decision to "hide" the locked threads from prying eyes (perhaps those of potential owners/investors) is just another way of sweeping legitimate concerns regarding the operation of Etsy and the functionality of the site right under the rug. (note to potential investors/buyers - look for the "closed" threads - they have the best information).

I can understand the desire to separate out supplies and vintage, but the constant need for Etsy sellers and buyers to have to flag the plethora of mass produced items on Etsy (to little or no avail!) is discouraging and dishearenting. How much longer will those scanned catalogue pages of mass produced jewellery and brand-name watches be allowed to be sold? It denigrates MY original work on Etsy, April, and it denigrates YOUR original work (assuming you are a seller).

There are so many privacy concerns I have with Etsy holding my personal information, I honestly do not know where to begin. Convos are not private, I worry about the security of my credit card information, someone is vandalising the Wiki privacy entries - it goes on and on and on.

Yes, Etsy is a good concept. It allows artists and crafters a venue to market their wares. But coming up with the idea, and having the talent and ability to grow, shape and MANAGE a business that springs from that idea, are very different skill sets. I hope Rob finds someone willing to pay him for the site and take it over in a professional and businesslike manner, leaving him free to take unplanned vacations far away from any of its operations before he destoys it completely.

From: Lew,

These comments seem to suggest that there is an extreme polarization of members: the "love it or leave it" crew vs. the "Etsy sucks big-time" set.

I disagree.

While there are definitely those who are harshly critical and angry at Etsy's 'human' and often wishy-washy approach to management and site development, and there are also those who fall all over themselves singing Etsy's praises, even when there may be precious little to be thankful for, I believe the majority of the membership lies somewhere in the middle.

What the majority want is a reliable, secure, easy-to-use site for selling and buying handmade products. They love the Etsy vision and want Rob et al to succeed. Wanting improvements doesn't mean they hate Etsy. Conversely, having respect for the admins doesn't mean things couldn't be better. They want their concerns to be heard and acted upon if/when feasible, and in a timely manner.

But lately, there has been a lot of reference in the forums to a 'disconnect' between the Etsy admins and the paying membership.

Rob and the other founders designed this site with an integral community aspect in mind. Rob has often referred to the site as a 'democracy'. Yet requests, pleas - and often desperate cries - for some of the most basic features or upgrades are ignored.

Some examples:
1)Search is a joke - and probably turns away a substantially high number of prospective buyers. A fix or overhaul has been promised for more than a year and, while no positive changes have been forthcoming, Etsy *did* remove the advanced search capabilities. Why are they moving backwards?

2)Even though Etsy has sellers and buyers worldwide, there is no USD ($) designation, either in checkout or in individual listings, to inform users, at a glance, of the currency used in transactions. Such a small thing, yet it would make a huge difference.

3)There is an alarming glitch, or programming error, that is ongoing (and known to admins for more than a month) in which sellers are charged for services never rendered. All I can say to that is, Uh Oh...

So, yeah. There are legitimate complaints. Even from those who love Etsy. The ball is in Etsy's court, though. Either they will step up and deliver in the areas that are in dire need of attention, or they will go down in history as a visionary startup that fell short - but paved the way for other successful copycats.

From: Kristi,

From: April S. ,

These comments are posted by the people who were banned by Etsy, most likely. Etsy is THE BEST site for buying and selling handmade. Its beautiful and has a great community base.


Most likely not. I've been selling on Etsy for over two years now.

It's "beautiful" and has a "great community base" as long as you turn a blind eye to wanting to succeed on the site.

From: Sarah,

The above criticisms are valid regardless of whether they come from the Etsy 5 or not.

I am an active seller on Etsy. While the concept of Etsy is great, the administration is a mess. Never mind the fact the site functions that have been broken for over a year, and the fact we get birthday pages instead of helpful tools, too many admins act like they are playing at business instead of conducting themselves like actual professionals. Rude, belligerent comments to their own customers. Heavy-handed, unequal application of the rules. Breaking their own rules. Monitoring of customer's private websites. Attempts at censorship off Etsy (venue status? I think not) and punishment of those who criticize. Fishing expeditions in their customers on-site private messages. Tampering with the Etsy wikipedia article. Ignoring and even insulting sellers with valid complaints of copyright infringement. And so on and so on.

I only hope the buyout comes sooner rather than later.

From: Onceandfuturebuyer,

The day they're bought out is the day I re-establish my buyer account. I really miss buying from the talented designers on etsy, but I do not support the way admin is running the site.

From: John S,

I can promise you I'm not a person banned by Etsy. There are just 5 of them, while there are a huge number of disgruntled Etsians who haven't (yet) been banned. If you imagine there are just 5 people unhappy with Etsy then I can only assume you've not been paying attention.

For those of you who think Etsy is all wonderful, I'm sure most of you are relatively new and you will almost certainly eventually come to realise things really aren't so rosy. It's a pity because the site at its heart is a great idea and there are some fantastic designers represented there.

From: Blondezilla,

I am one of the " Etsy 5 " who was BANNED FROM THE FORUMS. There is a big difference in being banned from the forums and banned from the site. I left the site as a seller, because I was never given a reason for my banning from the forums, other than that I was "disrupting the community."

I never got a warning, I had never been muted for forum disruption. But I have seen SEVERAL members get temporarily muted OVER AND OVER again for fighting in the forums. The difference ?? They are not openly criticizing Etsy Administrators.

I challenge anyone wondering why I got banned ( from the forums ) to go search Etsy for any threads or comments made by me that were outrageous. You won't find any. And that's not because search is abysmal either *rolls eyes*

Oh, wait ! There was that ONE comment I made in ( was it June ) in the Forum directly to Rob Kalin for calling out a BUYER - thus breaking his own rules and PUBLICLY telling everyone his PERSONAL OPINION of said high volume buyer.

Yeah, that one made me mad enough to say something outrageous, and I suppose Rob never forgave me for sticking up for a friend who was also one of my valued customers !

From: Mandy F,

PS: Also not one of the banned 5 but one of the many frustrated, angry and patronised sellers on Etsy - just one of the members who doesn't hang up their critical thinking skills as soon as they venture into the wonderful world of KalinEtsy.

Please don't do us a disservice by dismissing our complaints as mere jealousy/poor products/sour grapes. I'm doing alright, thank you, but am continually dismayed by the favoritism rampant on the site. I don't think that Etsy is living up to its noble aims ie. helping crafters make a living from their art - I think in some ways Etsy stands in the way as a huge obstacle, with the constant need to relist or spend money on the in-house, not externally linked advertising showcases and the poor search deterring buyers as prime examples.

And I think what is saddest here is that many are posting their comments anonymously. They well remember the Etsy 5, and Rob Kalin's chilling words in his ironing board podcast about how far Etsy will monitor an individual's activity off-site in determining their "suitability" for inclusion into the Etsy community.

Do you want to be juried on your personality and your mental health prejudged at a distance?

From: Jeru,

Yes, there's plenty of problems with Etsy.
Most of them are listed above, helpfully!

They run the gamut from technical issues, to poor site policy enforcement, poor communication from staff, a deceptively simple/actually cumbersome design, immature employees, poor planning and testing of new features, tech staff with severe 'not invented here' syndrome that leaves them writing everything from scratch (with far form perfect results), tech staff who create site functions and leave them in place for over a year without fixing glaring bugs, very mixed customer service, to all sorts of things. Really, though, they come down to one thing: Poor management. Maybe his ex-roommate things Kalin is cut out for 'executive life', but my impression was that executives have at least the most remote grasp of management skills.

I don't really think anyone is 'in charge' at Etsy. There is no clear hierarchy, from the outside. Have a complaint? Theres no 'escalation'. There's no real recourse, other than to talk on the forums, and I agree with the statements here about a strange air hanging over the forums, like ... there are somethings you dare not say. Like, what I'm saying here.

Their priorities are shockingly skewed. I daresay if they fixed the obvious problems with the site, it would fix their financial issues a lot quicker than whatever silly projects are actually underway. I was in love with Etsy when we first met, and have been quite disillusioned!

From: nowitMakessense,

From: April S. ,
These comments are posted by the people who were banned by Etsy, most likely. Etsy is THE BEST site for buying and selling handmade. Its beautiful and has a great community base.

Posted on: December 7, 2007 11:11 AM

Dear, you are sadly mistaken, and a bit out of line to suggest such a thing in such a place. Seriously, what were you thinking?

I am still on Etsy, who would think that anyone who has a suggestion or criticism of the site was *banned*? That is quite insular.

From: Joey S.,

Don't mind the trolls, they're just hungry because haven't been fed since being banned from the Etsy forums!!!!

From: Alicia P again,

Although some have a love affair with Etsy, and I admit I did at first as well and I still have my eye on the Etsy ideal of handmade, that does not discount the valid complaints of other members.

From a business perspective there are many issues for Etsy to deal with, including disgruntled customers - the sellers - who are promised certain services that are never delivered.

It is unfortunate that such potential has been overshadowed by mismanagement, naivety, and immature business practices.

I feel sympathy for anyone who buys out Etsy, they would be inheriting many many problems from customer service to site performance.

The name calling towards those who have issues is unprofessional. The discussion of how a business can be better is not a condemnation, it's business!

From: Sarah S.,

These comments read like an Etsy Forum! Maybe admin doesn't operate like a traditional business. It doesn't hand hold or patronize its customers, and it deals with sellers who are deeply and personally committed to the website and its success, giving them unique dilemmas.

I'm a loyal Etsy buyer and close with Etsy sellers. The site has revolutionized the handmade movement. But I don't discourage this negative feedback, its the only way to make things better.

From: jeru,

Joey S. - "Don't mind the trolls, they're just hungry because haven't been fed since being banned from the Etsy forums!!!!"

Please, sir... I think YOU are the 'troll' here. I wonder where you get your venom from.

There is plenty of criticism of Etsy, and I think I made my case. For the record, I have never been banned from any forum.

From: VACreations,

Seems I've gotten here a bit late....reading all of these comments makes me sad. Not because they are critical of Etsy, but because they are the same concerns about the direction of the site spoken over and over and over again in the forums by a vast number of members whom Admin just chooses to ignore while wasting their time worrying about "gift guides" and flash toys on the site rather than fixing all of the bugs present.

From: VACreations,

Oh..and I really really hope that Etsy sells out as soon as possible so that something positive can still come out of Etsy rather than it being a joke like it is now.

Ps--I'm not one of the Etsy 5 or banned, or ever been muted, I'm a buyer-only and have been for 8 months now.

From: ipaintdaily,

I sell fulltime on etsy a two other sites and could easily just go with etsy financially. In a few short months I have over 1500 sales and not one complaint from customers confused on how to complete payment.
As a seller much like any other venue the site truly is what you make of it. I've had no problem working around the bumps and growing a business.

I'm constantly amazed at the beautiful work found on the site.
All in all I look forward to growing with the company.

From: Jane,

For those interested in learning more about what it means to be a seller on Etsy and what it can do to your business, read here:

From: Recently Banned,

As someone who was recently banned for complaining about the large amount of cheap imported goods that are flooding Etsy at the moment, I just want to say that I seriously hope that someone buys that site soon before it gets completely run into the ground.

I love the idea of Etsy, I love making things and I love buying handmade, supplies and vintage items. What makes me sad is the sheer incompetence of Admin, the disregard for sellers wishes, the favoritism and the inconsistent application of site rules. There is so much potential here, but they are systematically driving away buyers and sellers alike.

If they don't get some new ownership soon, I'm letting all of my listings expire. I sell 10 times more on Ebay than I do on Etsy anyway, and often for higher prices. It would be great if Ebay were to buy Etsy and get the site functional. I'd pay higher listing fees with no problem if people could actually find my work!

From: jeru,

Yes, please, dear God!
Let these petty, sulky children, graced with far more luck than competence, sell their site to someone with at least half a clue.

From: Izzyh,

I'm actually very disappointed with what ETSY is turning into.

I purchase many items from really great sellers. I am upset by the fact that ETSY is allowing many sellers to list and sell MASS PRODUCED ITEMS. The community I belong to has sent many messages to ETSY and they continue to let certain sellers violate ETSY's own rules. Why is this? MONEY!

Etsy's feedback system also sucks! They allow mailicious negative feedback to stand and wont allow users to respond to negs or defned the negs.


From: Rose,

I sell my handmade stuff on Etsy, and I have not had any problems with transactions and such. I am also a seller on eBay, and though I've run through a few rough spots, I haven't had any real problems with transactions. However, in Etsy, according to its own rules, is a site for handmade goods. I've seen far too many mass produced items that are overwhelming when a search is done. I recently put up 5 items, but by the next day, my stuff was pages away from the beginning of the search due to a large number of listings selling mass produced items. Since what I sell is a fairly small market, this is fairly ridiculous.

From: Mandy F again,

... and there's been another round of censoring behaviour in the Etsy community. A number of sellers have been muted since the big cash infusion though surprisingly a large number of site improvements, clamoured for over a number of months/years, have also been rapidly rushed in. Unfortunately admin still allegedly run rampant in their dealings with sellers who dare to vocalise any anti-etsy thoughts, with at least one seller reporting harrassment and bullying by a member of admin through the Etsy in-house convo system, culminating in threats being made about the status of the seller's shop. These strong arm tactics are even taking place off site forcing current sellers to post anonymously offsite in an attempt to avoid being singled out for treatment by certain members of etsy admin.

Community? pls

From: Sal,

Amazing. I just did a google search, because there is rumor of an ebay buyout. Is it true? I came to read this article, and see ALL these disgruntled people here. Is it because Etsy is like Big Brother? Favoritism is insanely rampant - from who is on the front page to who is banned, the list goes on and on.
Sad. Because Etsy has great potential.

From: B*,

I'm a soon to be ex-customer. I found etsy, was overjoyed to find a marketplace of handmade goods. I became an avid patron, purchasing several hundred dollars of goods before making multiple item purchase from a non-delivering seller.

I've completed hundreds of transactions on ebay and hit a few bad apples there, but the resounding difference is that ebay actively pursues justice and will shut down a seller who doesn't deliver. Not so at esty - as a buyer, you'll get a terse autoreply upon complaining that "an etsy admin will respond shortly" and then.........absolutely nothing.

Second,third,fourth, fifth requests for assistance and still............nothing.

They don't give a damn.

Can't recommend the site. I'll still buy (DIRECT) from the sellers I did enjoy before this latest adventure but I think it's back to ebay and my local artists. I can take being ripped off by the seller (I'll live) but I'm voting with my $$$ and taking them to another marketplace where management pays more than lip service.


From: bgg,

Etsy is way too clique-ish.
I'll be leaving very soon. I've only been on there a few weeks, but I can tell already it's a very cold atmosphere, now I know why after reading the article. It seems to be run like a high school project.

From: ilona,

What a huge disappointment. The customer service is just not there. And there is a strange atmosphere of secrecy and the inability to discuss important issues. The rating system is ridiculous. Everyone is 100 percent. Posted items to seem to show up when you go looking for your items. I was sold an item so different from what I ordered I attempt to involve etsy and they avoided the issue and ignored all the supporting paperwork they asked for. You have to chit-chat in the rooms and constantly be listing. And people do the most ridiculous things with impunity.
I agree with so many of the comments above. It is unprofessional and does seem like it is run by a flake.

From: Parlophone,

I was considering using ETSY to sell my underpants, but this thread has been quite an eye opener...

Posted on: May 5, 2008 1:13 AM

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