In times of stress I look for validation and solidarity and never was that more so than with Etsy right now. You can go to the forums for most of it, but Youtube is also a great place to go for perspective and clear information.
I recently found this video which, for those of you who are not sellers on Etsy or have never heard of it, is a very clear laying out of the problems we have been facing as sellers this year. In particular, the free shipping debarcle:
For those sellers with multiple outlets, this is an annoying niggle that will have some effect on sales. For those that have been relying on Etsy, some since its dawn, it will be catastrophic.
Aside from the coersive tactics being used to push sellers into enabling Etsy to profit more as a company, there are moral, ethical and legal concerns which have unsettled sellers, many of whom now have to decide where their allegiance lies. A second post here explains this with references to the FTC, from a US perspective:
It’s something that has also been discussed at length on the forums and has been perceived by some as a ‘loophole’ open to interpretation. Many however, just don’t like it. And buyers shouldn’t either. This coupled with Etsy’s drastic changes to priority placement and how search works, means that many sellers are shutting up shop. Many more predict that this is the beginning of the end for Etsy. Even more have steadfastly refused to give in and do what Etsy wants them to do – no advertising, no free shipping.
You might think that this would affect their sales, but those who have caved to free shipping and promoted listings have not found it to be the magic solution to their problems and have often reverted back to charging with the result that Etsy’s last financial report suggested profits were down.
As someone pointed out, the reason for a sales platform is for the platform to make money, not the seller, so the profit aspects will always be geared towards the host. Where does that leave small sellers who don’t have an advantage in setting up their own website, or find markets and craft stands unworkable? Are they destined to become nothing more than word of mouth hobbyist crafters making pin money, or is there a future after Etsy?
After all, Etsy is just falling into line with other online sellers. It’s demise therefore, in its current form, is inevitable.