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Thursday, January 27, 2011

An Example Of Etsy Favoritism

 The Following was submitted by A.A.H. and it is a tale too often told by Etsy sellers, current and former.  If you speak up about something, and Etsy doesn't like what you have to say, they WILL go after you and try to drum up some BS way to penalize you for having the audacity to A) ask questions that make Etsy admin uncomfortable.  B)  Criticize Etsy in any way.

 Mine is kind of long, sorry, and small beans comparied to most muted or slapped Etsy sellers/buyers, but it proves to me that Etsy plays favorites.

A little background to help you understand the irony of this....
I spoke out in the forums.
I emailed Etsy quite a bit with questions, twice they replied (weeks later), and all the rest of my emails to them? Etsy never bothered replying to those. Ever.
I also emailed them on several occasions pointing out resellers.

Then it got interesting....
I began to notice that when I flagged a small or new reseller, Etsy would close their shop within days. But when I flagged big resellers, nothing was ever done about them.
I thought it was weird, but still wanting to give Etsy the benefit of the doubt (I had read about Etsy’s favoritism) I thought maybe they were backlogged with reports.

So I was searching for vintage picture frames on Etsy one day. I happen to see some listed that said ‘vintage’ but they sure looked new to me. So I clicked on the listing to see what was up with that. Low and behold, the seller of these “vintage” frames is an Etsy favorite. I read through the listings for these frames:
Listed as:
* vintage “looking” (so not vintage).
* made by a local framing company (so brand new and not made by seller)
* frame only (frames are not a supply according to Etsy and can be used on it’s own so it’s against TOU to sell new, not-handcrafted frames).

So everyone says that if you question an items legality, flag it and see what Etsy does about it. So I followed their suggestion and flagged the frames. Waited a week or so. Nothing. So I flagged the shop. Waited. Nothing.

So I email Etsy, and I ask in my round about way (here is a c&p):
“If I sell art prints, but want to offer frames on their own with NO prints included, I would like to know if it is okay to sell the empty picture frames, the frames are made by some other small local company, and are apparently handmade. I see that this quite popular Etsy seller does this, so I thought it must be okay for me to do too.
Listing # XXXXXXXX


I didn’t expect Etsy to ever reply, after all, they never reply to me. I was surprised that they replied within the hour! (c&p):
This would not meet Etsy's selling criteria.”

My reply to their reply:
“Okay, thanks. I had heard though, through other Etsy members, that such popular sellers such as XXXXXXXXX, are allowed to skirt or outright break Etsy TOU's and are also 'coached' on how to make their TOU violations more acceptable. But I am sure that is just hearsay or nonsense. Those frames are beautiful even though she doesn't make them ;)  Thanks again!"

Shocker! Etsy replied yet again within an half hour! (c&p):
“We never 'coach' anybody about how to violate our policies, but we do tell people what needs to be done in order to comply.”

Exactly 10 minutes after this reply, I received another email from Etsy, telling me that my Alchemy requests that I had open were now closed by Etsy because my Alchemy requests were in violation, and I was also told that I was henceforth not allowed to post in Alchemy, that if I posted any more requests asking for custom items, my account would be closed immediately.
The TOU violations? Requesting copies or knockoffs.
What were my alchemy requests? One was for a wool coat of my own design (victorian style), no name brand mentioned or implied, with the only picture example being a black & white sketch I did of a coat on the cheesy ‘Paint’ program on my computer. The other? Black & white photograph of which the only example I gave was a portion of a decades old photograph, I also stated that I did NOT want a copy, which is why the example shown was only a portion, and I was only using this bit as an example of the tone and subject matter.

Amazing that over the years, Etsy never replies to my emails. But as soon as I question one of their favorites, they reply within the hour, even within minutes. Also amazing that at the same time, the only thing I had listed on the site were Alchemy requests, requests that were NOT breaking any TOU, but they were subsequently closed and a threatening email sent on trumped up TOU violations.
I suspect that if there was anything listed for sale in my shop, they would have muted my shop. You see, I am not a seller. I am a buyer only. You cannot tell me that they didn’t peruse my account looking for SOMETHING, anything to slap me with.

My reply to the TOU violations (c&p):
“Interesting, as I stated in that Alchemy request that I DID NOT want a copy, that I was not looking for a knockoff, that the partial photo provided was for example for general idea of what I was looking for: black and white, which I could have shown any picture to convey the style. That is not asking for a copy, especially since I said that I didn't want a copy. My alchemy request said: "I do not wish for a copy of this example". Please tell me what part of that was asking for an exact copy or a knockoff?
As an example, you mean to tell me that when a bride wants a wedding dress, she is not allowed to show a photo of a dress to give a general idea of what she is looking for? How would the dressmaker on Etsy know what the bride is looking for if not for the picture? Also, I would venture to say that the dressmaker would most likely sew an exact copy of a last seasons dress design better than a photographer would be able to exactly copy a partial photo taken 3 decades ago! Honestly, you're going to sit there and tell me that is not allowed on Alchemy? Because I see it all the time, as well as it happens a thousand times over on the Etsy site whenever a buyer convos a seller asking for a custom item and they send along a picture of what they are looking for. I cannot help but think that you singled me out for some other reason, and I already know why too."

Interestingly after their quick replies about the frame seller and my Alchemy Requests, Etsy went silent.
I did email the seller of those frames. I came right out and asked if they made them, or if someone they share their shop with made them, part of a collective. Their reply was that no, the new frames were made by a local framing store. I then told them that Etsy said I could not sell these as they were against Etsy policy. The seller replied stating that they now understand why I was originally asking about the frames. That’s it. That’s all they said. And they still sell those frames; Etsy still will not reply to me about the Alchemy requests; And I still have not posted anything in Alchemy since.


  1. Well, now that Etsy is doing away with Alchemy altogether (at least as we know it) we're all going to be in the same boat, huh?

  2. Wow. They really are out of control. It's like Etsy is being run by a clique of sixth-graders. Doesn't *anyone* in that place have a shred of customer service know-how or, hell, even any common sense?

  3. 1. The site is ugly - unless your into minimalist / colorless / mind numbing / tastless "urban hip" (I'm not ...I like my Urban nice an honest - see durn near anywhere in Detroit for an example. It takes years of neglect to get stuff that f'd up....etsy of course want to shortcut by making goofy owls/foxes/whatever get their picture taken agaist a really in-need of a tuck-point wall)

    2. The management is a bunch of air-headed children with a napoleon complex the size of a Texas Bar-B-Q.

    3. Cupcakes - It's getting to where I don't even want on on my birthday....

    4. Wonky search - you've a better chance of finding one of Willy's golden tickets in your next candybar then finding anything you actively are looking for.....

    5. Oh wait the search is intentionally f'd ....

    6. 'cause you're 'possed to renew renew renew

    7. CRM = Cram Rottenness Massively - there......yes elsewhere else it is "Customer Relationship Management" -refer to number 2. if you need an explination.....refer to snowballs chance in hell if you actually require customer service.

    8. No offsite linking - huh ...

    9. Crappy SEO - Oh wait only successful sellers that were there prior to 2010 and actually built the place have ever heard of that....

    10. Did I mention cupcakes ......


  4. DancingWindDesignsJanuary 31, 2011 at 7:20 PM

    Just goes to show that etsy is anti truth regarding the entire site.

  5. Etsy DEFINITELY plays favoritism. One of their "Integrity team" people named Corinne literally blocked my friend's shop without even giving them enough time to reply (He replied within two hours). So we decided to do an experiment, we flagged one seller who definitely doesnt make his items (He CLEARLY states that he imports them on his profile!) and NOTHING happened!
    Definitely run by a bunch of sixth graders who have no idea what costumer service means.

  6. I was an etsy seller for 3 years. I had over 1k in sales. They recently banned me for something extremly childish. Etsy has gotten out of hand from banning sellers and buyers. I am soon going to make a video about etsy and push artists to make their own sites because etsy has gone from bad to worse.

  7. ETSY is like any other business. They're going to cater to those that bring in money. I'm sorry to say that most of the stuff on ETSY is pure trash. "Artists" that were lied to their whole lives by people that couldn't tell them that their stuff really sucks. Seriously, you guys are fools if you don't understand this. Successful artists have a good amount of sales. Resellers bring in a lot more sales than good artists. This translates into more money for ETSY. NO way is a company going to get rid of a high yield producer in favor of the "artist" that makes 200 sales over 3 years. The reseller did that in less than a week. THIS IS WHY YOU GET IGNORED!!!

    This will happen every single time. The reason OP was treated as they were is because it was obvious that they were trying to bait ETSY into admitting that they are allowing a reseller to sell on their site.

    If I were ETSY I'd do the same thing because YOU don't make any money for me, but the reseller makes me a lot of money. The other sellers can go pound sand, the buyers are paying and I get the FVF from that. Since the buyers could care less about hand made or reseller when it comes to those items, I'd let the reseller stay, regardless of policy. If you had a problem with it you could leave, I wouldn't even notice because you bring in NOTHING as far as revenue goes.

    In short, you are nothing but noise. It's all about money. You want to make money on ETSY? Their message IS clear, pretend to be home made but be a reseller.

    It is against their own policies, but it's all about the money and I can't blame them. I'd do the same thing since they buyers don't give a damn at all and they keep buying.

  8. immorality will be their undoing.