I stopped buying from Etsy a couple years ago - I purchased my SO what I thought was a unique, interesting "handcrafted" necklace. I thought it looked a little factory-made when it arrived, but it wasn't anything too expensive so I didn't sweat it...then she found it on AliExpress for $5. I then realized the six week lead time for "hand crafting" was actually the time for international shipping and domestic re-packaging.
A few years ago, I was involved in planning and running a maker "fest". We invited makers, and artists to the festival to show off their projects, and some of them wanted to sell things.
A not-insignificant number of participants who wanted to sell things were just reselling things you could buy at Michaels, or buy online (in bulk) for cheap.
Sometimes with just a little modification, or maybe a creative recombination, or repackaging.
The problem is that you basically have to examine every single item, and then personally decide if it qualifies as art or not.
That's a lot harder than it sounds, and can quickly devolve into a judgemental mess that nobody wants to participate in (we wanted to encourage makers, not subject them to some "must be at least this cool" test, which is scary for people).
Imagine the PR fallout for etsy the first time they tell somebody that their handmade widgets look like mass produced junk.
I think they're in a really tough spot. When they weighed the options, my guess is that they realized that it would be best to let the consumers just decide what they want to buy.
...but then the problem is, what makes them better or different from any other storefront? If there's a ton of mass-produced product on Etsy, why would I want to shop there rather than on Amazon?
Brand, or...genre? I'm having a difficult time finding the word for it, but there is definitely a type of thing I go to etsy to look for. For instance, this: https://www.etsy.com/listing/159631469/aztec-death-whistle-t... (which is such a cool piece with such a cool story!).
I have no idea where else to go to even look for something like that. When I wanted one, etsy is the first thing that came to mind.
So I think that the mass produced stuff hurts browsing, but if you know what you are looking for, it's still easy to cut throgh the noise.
I couldn't disagree more.
In part if I buy something on Etsy I'm considering that most of the money I spend will get re-spent in that person's local community. In part I'm trying to encourage them in their craftmanship/art.
> Do you really think so, that people don't want, say,
> a unique piece of jewellery but just to pretend -
> through what appears to be a fraud on behalf of the
> seller - that some over-priced mass-produced jewellery is unique.
People do want an authentic, unique piece of jewelry. But they also want something affordable. Sometimes, buyers are a little willing to believe what they want to believe to accomplish both of those goals. And there is no shortage of sellers who will tell them what they want to hear (i.e. lie) to enable that.
For buyers who really do want something authentic, achieving that requires trust in the seller. That trust is something Etsy used to have in spades, and it's something that's been dwindling over time.
Price are anchored lowered by comparison with mass-produced products and artisinal goods made in countries with lower cost of living.
I know people personally who sell on Etsy but only as a side-line. To me that's where Etsy and other craft marketplaces - Folksy, NOTHS - fit best.
Are they more committed to their morals or their profit?
And hard. I wear cufflinks. Half the good ones you can buy are artisan stuff built on aliexpress basics, and very difficult to distinguish from boring artless stuff build on the same basics. You can tell by looking, but difficult for software or for a bureaucracy. I imagine there are many categories like that.
So you have to filter or supplement the user ratings/labelings/reviews using either software or inhouse people, which runs into the second problem I mentioned.
But the grandparent suggested crowdsourcing saleable articles, for the kind of articles that are meant to be (simplifying) handmade.
Cheaper than what, though? High street stores? sure. Without commenting on your specific example, the point is that much of the "hand made" stuff is just purchased from AliExpress and sold on with a markup, so it would have been cheaper for you to have bought it from AliExpress
This reminded me of Walter Benjamin's essay "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction", which was written ~80 years ago. Not sure there's any "solution" to what you or the OP are describing.
Etsy should put it in their terms that you're not allowed to resell goods there acquired from somewhere else. Then they can have a user form where people can file a tos violation with link to the original store.
For one, they've always allowed some goods made by others - vintage, defined as anything 20 years old or more, and craft supplies.
Then, how much does of something has to be made by you? Taking an old suitcase and painting a bird on the side makes it just as 'handmade' as making the entire suitcase from scratch, as far as etsy could figure out.
And then, having user reports is not easy either. People may be wrong, or report their competitors. Or the store may lie about their goods.
Etsy has tried to do this already for years, anyway. They will investigate and ask store owners to send photos of their workspace.
Seems a bit unsolvable.
Unfortunately my experience is they were very inconsistent with application of their rules, and often closed stores that didn't deserve it, sometimes repeatedly, while obvious rule breakers operated for months. Sometimes they remove items, sometimes esp. in the past you just come to log in and your password doesn't work and your store is gone.
While they also had issue forming reasonable procedures and rules, much of the problems are with application of their rules, as in having enough employees and managing training them effectively.
Alibaba-resells has had a detrimental effect on Kickstarter and Indiegogo-type platforms too. Many of the things submitted to r/shittykickstarters seem to be resells. Indiegogo doesn't mind them, and Kickstarter only stops them when the negative publicity about a campaign gets high enough:
That said, there's still vibrant opportunity in the other direction, i.e. finding items off of Alibaba, claiming to not only have made those items but that they are best-in-class/first-of-its-kind, and attracting people who don't bother double-checking on Google or Amazon, nevermind Alibaba.
For every Kickstarter/Indiegogo project that's cloned by a Chinese manufacturer (e.g, Fidget Cube), there's probably at least 10 or 20 "projects" created to resell something that's already available. It's a huge issue for the credibility of both sites.
(i live in asia)
I can see how it's effectively leeching off the efforts of those entrepreneurs who are trying to get pre-orders, but, as long as they haven't started building the product, it's a relatively small amount of work lost, in setting up a kickstarter page.
Many kickstarters are made by people with no experience in actually delivering product and are almost certainly doomed to fail from the start. Another large group are established companies that have investment already, and are using it purely as marketing because it is impossible to build their product at the funding levels kickstarters reach (outside of the big ones like Pebble). There are very few kickstarters that have non-obvious markets and are run by someone I would be willing to risk money on to have made, and zero where the return is worth my risk.
I'd really love to see a common sense approach to patents.
Put a great idea on kickstarter, with the "rewards" orders at a high price point to make it more attractive for cloners, then if it succeeds fulfill rewards with rebadged knock-offs. What a gamble that could be!
Could a zero-cost kickstarter fully refund backers if the founder capitulates after finding formally succeeds? Can kickstarter fees be postponed until the funding is actually used? If that is possible, this charade could be a surprisingly light shade of grey, "we try to find manufacturing, otherwise you get your money back" would hardly qualify as a lie if the only omission is that you intend to look no further than alibaba.com .
Kickstarter for ideas, anyone, with the established crowdfunding model on the C side and open bidding for design and manufacture on the B side?
I heard about it after the Kickstarter closed, "aw chucks". A few months later I found the parent company was accepting purchases but wouldn't ship for months more, I bought one anyway (over $20!). Then a couple months later I came across knock-offs on Amazon. I forgot I ordered the authentic one, so I bought one on Amazon for $10. It arrived promptly. Then this week, I got the original cube in the mail--It took so long I totally forgot about it.
And honestly, I like the knock-off more... (granted, might just be a timing bias.)
If you die off because some Chinese seller "stole" your idea which by the way you came up with first, then you deserve it because it means you didn't execute well enough.
I think this kickstarter culture has done more harm than good for makers because it made them chase instant gratification instead of substance. If you look at what happened to all the ambitious Kickstarter hardware companies, there is not a single one I'm aware of that's on their track to wild success.
People used to actually pour in their time and money (not just a slick youtube video) and risk all their reputation to build something that matters to them. I think at some point people decided to believe that you can take the shortcut via Kickstarter, but it's increasingly becoming clear that there is no such thing as shortcut.
It still sucks for them that these inventors are not rewarded for their brilliant ideas, but then again, I think if you are really serious about your product, you should invest more into it and make sure things like this don't happen.
Okay, I think I understand this idea. If somebody else can cut corners by cheaping out on materials, or skipping testing, or relaxing tolerances, and their product still sells, then clearly your own standards were simply too high.
> I think this kickstarter culture has done more harm than good for makers because it made them chase instant gratification instead of substance.
This seems in contradiction to the first statement. If you take instant gratification, you're a symptom of more harm than good. If you take your time and do it right, you deserve to die because you're not going as fast as your competitors. ?
I won't argue that copying ideas and reimplementing them cheaper/faster doesn't have upsides. But one worry is that the immediate downsides are felt by the original inventors. Sure, cheap copying is nice for the consumer and reseller, but they're dependent on original inventors being incentivized. It's not impossible for inventors to go the slow, substantive route, in which they come up with a business plan and an idea, but that limits the work of creation to those who can manage that kind of timeline.
We have to pop the fairytale bubble that some of us live in. Marketing and sales will win the day. No matter how fancy your technology is, there will be competitors and rivals, and it won't really matter who was "first". Being first can, in fact, be a substantial disadvantage, since you don't have the response/feedback from a competitor's prior attempt to gauge and reference.
MicroPython seems to have acquired a reasonable level of traction in the community too.
If you look at how hard it is to pitch products like these and raise capital, then kickstarter is certainly living up to its name.
Nope you totally missed my point if that's your takeaway.
Since, this is HN it might interest you all: the top six on https://shop57714512.world.taobao.com/ . Tripod mountable 10"-17" travel monitors.
Traditionally that sort of stuff just happens in a thread on a forum somewhere - but I have to imagine that there's a pretty significant incidence of non-paying users or organizers who get in over their heads, so perhaps there is a niche there for basically organizing private group buys as well, that are advertised through another medium apart from Massdrop's storefront.
Hot take here but since you brought them up: I think Massdrop has their own branding problems. I used to do them quite a bit but have stopped at this point because the discounts are just not good enough to justify waiting 6 weeks to get my item (and I've had some items that were delayed out to more than 3 months from drop completion to delivery). I now make it a policy to compare against Amazon or the retailer directly - and since you have to wait a month through Massdrop you might as well compare against Seeedstudio and the other source vendors directly.
Usually the discount is pretty insignificant ($5-10) so
I don't do it unless they are truly unique items that just can't be had elsewhere. And often those unique drops are limited to ridiculously low unit quantities and they're sold out before I can even order.
Not sure how quantity limits make sense on pre-orders, which is supposedly what Massdrop is doing. Is there only enough plastic left in China for 20 sets of crappy vacuum-formed keycaps or something?
It's a really nice model for Massdrop since they don't have to worry about fronting the money for inventory and waiting a month for the items to show up - their customers will gladly do that. But they're still very much taking the profit regardless of the fact that the customer is the one fronting the money - so it ends up being a terrible deal for the customer.
From the articles I've read they've done this to increase the number of sales (cheaper items = more conversions) but I think it's been slowly costing them their customer base.
Hopefully they realize this and start banning mass produced items and listening to their artisan stores feedback again.
A lot of it is driven by Chinese middlemen and get-rich-quick schemes that are more than happy to burn the marketplace to the ground if they can make a buck in the process.
The challenge is that in the beginning the revenue is good and it's hard to say no to revenue when you need to beat the street every quarter. It seems so manageable at first. But unless you've lived its very hard to wrap your head around that you've planted the seeds of your own destruction.
Add velocity controls for the IP address and you'll get a thousand sign ups from a thousand IPs. Limit it by device and you'll see a thousand devices. Flag the images using a perceptual hash and the images will come back superimposed on random pictures of food.
At some point you find that your accounts are now traded as a commodity on underground markets at various prices by teams that specialize in creating accounts, aging them and selling them for x cents. Add enough restrictions to new accounts and you'll find existing shops being taken over and flooded with listings.
And do all of this while still having an "effortless" signup experience for new legitimate vendors.
Routinely (i.e. daily) I see activity that may involve 500+ unique IPs and 2000-4000 attempts. The type of activity that I see isn't close to what would be considered an extreme-worst case scenario in the industry.
Assuming the right economic incentives these groups are over time able to duplicate about any behavior that would be seen by a typical customer. For example, they can effectively remote desktop into a device and create a sleeper account and then come back to the exact same device a week later once the probation period has expired and execute a larger attack.
Also it is hard to fully understand that markets where labor isn't scarce fundamentally organize themselves differently. For example one recent attack that I'd see involved multiple attempts from multiple IP addresses and multiple devices all within seconds of each other and using the same credit card for registration. For a while I marveled at the technical skills that would be required to orchestrate such an attack until I realized that it likely was likely a dozen people in a room sharing the same credit card number and launching the attack in a coordinated fashion. Low tech, but extremely effective when labor is cheap.
Something along these lines must exist where legitimate sellers can live with it while the cost to the spammers must be unacceptable.
nobody would spend $1000 on what is essentially a gamble (since etsy is determining whether you're 'selling mass produced junk').
sellers already feel like etsy is way too buyer-friendly (at the expense of sellers).
It's not easy but you have to invest in maintaining the credibility of your platform. Machine learning helps but these problems have existed pre machine learning and can have more traditional economic solutions.
EDIT: The deposit could also depend on your prices and sale volume. This way really small players can pay in with a lower deposit. There are probably many variations but again the key is to make it a losing proposition for the spammers/dollar store guys assuming you want them off your platform. If you're only doing machine learning/filtering the cost to attack the system and try to get in is too low.
Hand made does not scale.
Besides, when the point of the site was unique handcrafted items, selling manufactured stuff undercuts the one thing that makes you different from your competitors.
I can't understand the argument you're trying to make. It's like saying that fine art doesn't scale because painters are so slow, so art galleries should postcards instead. Perhaps that would indeed be more profitable, but then you're not an art gallery any more, are you?
However they've sold a classic Silicon Valley "high growth" story to investors that they're now beholden to as a publicly traded company. That growth story can't be delivered on grandma's handicrafts.
Hence the site being slowly transformed into yet another generic online marketplace for drop-shipped junk.
It's ultimately a giant recipe for failure. The company DNA and core brand are at odds with the investor expectations around tech companies.
Less so than most - they're a B corp (is that the term?) with higher priorities than shareholder value.
It most certainly can if you have the proper equipment. You can facet two or three stones by hand on flat grinding surfaces, or you can get a rotary lap wheel and spend a day making ten stones, then you can get a mechanical precision arm for the rotary lap and now you can pump out 20-25 high-quality stones per day that sell for good money.
It all depends upon your tooling and experience.
- How do you highlight "genuine" artisan products without some laborious process to inspect the seller?
- How do you allow new sellers to build the requisite reputation to be trusted as good and legit? How do you do this in a way so they don't get drowned out by more established sellers who have been around longer?
- How do you process incoming reviews to prevent voting rings and voting abuse, while nonetheless accumulating information on the seller's performance and trustworthiness?
These are difficult, inexact problems that can't be solved from a book and to the best we know, have to be trial-and-error tuned to the particular community in question. Much more so than anything solely technical, the way these problems are solved end up being the secret sauce behind communities, and similarly often responsible for their decline.
There are definitely some legitimate artists on there.
After searching around a little, I did find this guy who makes really heavy duty sheaths:
It is a bit bulky, but it is likely to last the lifetime of the tool itself. Very good quality.
a VERY common complaint i saw while i was at etsy:
"i make bracelets and someone on aliexpress is ripping off my designs and even my photos, what do i do?"
i'm not denying that someone would do exactly what you're describing (purchase on ali and resell on etsy), but it's sometimes way more complicated than that.
In many markets discovery is a challenge (how do you create visibility to all of the customers who might be interested in your product) and then operational costs when your concept is discovered.
When brainstorming things I heard an idea which I thought was pretty cool, create a "trademark" registry in these bespoke market places. It would work by sending the market maker (Etsy in this case) pictures and a description of an item you are going to sell on the site.
They would take those images and descriptions and first verify that nothing else on the site already had both the same look and application, and then they would issue you a "trademark" for the product which you could start selling and advertising. If it was popular and someone tried to make copies, they would not be allowed to sell them on Etsy because when they submitted pictures and descriptions it would be apparent they were too similar to an existing product.
It is interesting to consider what the overall effect of such a system would be, we know that it would give a strong 'first mover' advantage (+1 to the sellers) but also prevent price competition (-1 to the buyers). It would help prevent counterfeits (+1 to the buyers) and might limit a seller selling their own product because the copy had already gotten to the market first (-1 to sellers).
I put trademark in quotes because while this is exactly the role of trademarks in the US, it is too expensive to pursue trademark violations for a $10 bracelet that you sell may 20 a month of. So you need a locally implemented system that can reduce the cost to implement and as much as possible automate enforcement through policy.
the hypothetical person on aliexpress isn't really interested in selling on etsy, they're interested in copying something successful and selling it where they can maximize their profit (in this case, aliexpress).
it's basically the same problem that more established brands like ray-bans face (with cheap knockoffs), except because it's on a much smaller scale most buyers assume the worst (that the person is just buying on aliexpress and reselling on etsy).
i mean even amazon is facing this problem right now (with counterfeit goods), so one can only imagine how bad it is for a significantly smaller operation like etsy.
enforcing trademarks is difficult enough even within the US, and enforcing it globally is insanely difficult.
My SO makes a living selling hand made party supplies on Etsy, and has for years at this point. I assume she's fairly successful for an Etsy seller since she makes multiple thousands a month on hand made items (all made to order, a fair portion customized to specification). Even so, with all the work she puts in it's not significantly better than minimum wage after expenses and the time she puts into the shop. She has for a few years considered buying cheaper party supplies (plates, napkins, etc) in bulk and selling them in addition to her hand made crafts because customers generally need and so are going somewhere else to buy these items anyways. This is a case where allowing mass produces items would be a win-win, as the customers could get their custom and generic items in one order (they specifically ask if they are offered), and she could make some additional money from each order. Without the ability to resell mass produced items, you constrain this positive aspect of the system.
Its a shame to see them relaxing the standards over the years. In 2007 their blog even acknowledged the mass-produced items and the lack of support for these products 
For example: https://www.etsy.com/shop/BonjourBizarre .
I'm pretty sure you could not find any of those items on AliExpress.
The overarching issue is that Etsy doesn't appear to recognize their users and what they're actually looking for. They've allowed for too much noise over the years.
I don't think Etsy "allowed noise". It's more that becoming a stick-on-folksy tat  bazaar was infinitely more profitable than trying to be a genuine source of lovingly crafted artisanal hand-mades.
Etsy seems to have enough users who are just fine with this.
I wonder if the real story is that other sources of tat have become more competitive and more widely known. Maybe there is no mass exodus of outraged craft buyers - Etsy's customers are simply shopping for the same things elsewhere, and paying less for them by cutting out the middlesite.
Etsy's profits didn't seem unduly harmed when they opened up their market, so the exodus theory seems unlikely.
 In case "tat" isn't a thing in USian English:
I know a very wealthy woman in Thailand selling custom $400-600 handbags to New York yuppies and literally her entire business is on Facebook.
I normally don't advocate this sort of thing but their ad platform and social network are basically made for this kind of business. Custom/Handmade luxury goods for upper-middle class women over a certain age? Facebook, every time.
So, to sell on FB, you say hey, i have this piece for $300, here's pics, I take paypal.
There are some emerging competitors such as Chairish (overpriced), AptDeco (very little worth collecting), 1stDibs (hilariously overpriced) etc. And there's still eBay. But Etsy is still beating all of them. I have also yet to come across a bad seller there. Everyone I have bought from have not only provided a superb product, but also packaged it immaculately.
The search and discovery isn't great, I admit. (It's particularly hard to browse without being deluged with kitsch -- horrific "shabby chic" pieces made to look worn, or furniture made from old metal pipes or driftwood. They are lacking a "style" dimension.)
There's definitely a market for Etsy, but the concept behind it doesn't scale enough to meet crazy startup growth expectations.
Not to mention the fact that Etsy has done nothing to improve the sellers experience in years. Sure, they put out some new way to design your store front with something more custom, but practically speaking, it lacks critical features. She literally sent a customer to the store to pay for the bag via Etsy, and the customer couldn't find the PayPal button to pay because they didn't offer PayPal through the custom storefront.
It's really bad when your store prevents a legitimate customer from making a purchase, and that's literally what you are selling. Seriously.
Disclaimer: no relation, just a satisfied user.
And there is a VERY GOOD information what happens with all this great 'do not eveil', do not harm, only for the consumer' startups the moment they have investors:
“The company’s historical pattern of ill-advised spending has completely obfuscated the extremely attractive underlying marketplace business model,” said by external activist investor in addition to: “We are fully prepared to take any actions we believe are necessary to protect the best interests of all Etsy shareholders.”
I mean, maybe you can figure it out for the AliExpress case—but what about when it becomes one local "artisan" supplier supplying slightly-customized variants to each of its thousand Etsy-shop customers?
Or, beyond that, what about the case where something is 99% a pre-fab vendor good "base", and then 1% (or less) original work? Would an Etsy seller's signature on a store-bought mug make it "their" work?
The downside, I guess, is how to enforce it.
I was on the verge of setting up an Etsy shop (I have a bad habit of going to local auctions and buying china tableware for offensively low prices), but with this sort of thing going on, I'm conflicted.
Even if it's just a really effective store front, it works better for me than the huge retailers do. I'm gonna guess it depends heavily on what you're looking for.
They aren't seeds originally found in China, they were just obtained elsewhere and then grown there cheaply and put on AliExpress, I assume.
As to worries about seed contamination from stray seeds from other countries like China, where do you think all the seeds in your seed catalog come from?
"It's safe to say, a fair amount of what we purchase from distributors probably was grown in China." -Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (rareseeds.com)
"depending on the seed variety and specific lot, we may have seed that was sourced from China." -GrowOrganic.com (aka Peaceful Valley)
I explicitly seek out exotic seeds to see how they will behave in my climate. Diversity is good. This whole 'native first' (or rather, 'native only') needs to die already.
For some examples from more recent times, the US timber industry has spent tens of millions of dollars fighting the Asian long-horned beetle, the citrus industry has an extensive quarantine program in place fighting Asian Citrus Psyllid, invasive varroa mite are part of the reason for the strong decline in honeybee populations, etc.
Now you may say, "but I'm not importing mosquitos, just seeds", but really with Chinese seed suppliers with unknown QA and no knowledge of the ecosystem in your region, you run a real risk of introducing fungi, bacteria, insects etc. that can spread and do serious damage. Do us all a favour and buy seeds in your own country, where at least some QA and vetting for big risk factors has been performed.
Please tell which fungi, bacteria and insects spread through the vector you propose. Where do you think the seed you buy in your local garden center comes from?
The second one of those estimates the economic damage caused by invasive species in the US as $97 billion during the 20th century.
If you would rather like something written for the general public, here is an info page from the Australian government -
or you could just try taking your imported seeds with you in your hand luggage when flying into Sydney, and see how well that goes.
The seeds you buy at your local garden center are subject to national and international laws, regulations and agreements specifically written based on work of hundreds of scientists to prevent as much as possible the introduction of diseases and other bad things that don't exist where you live. The garden center has to follow these regulations (and document compliance) or they get fined. When you buy seeds on eBay or AliExpress or wherever, there simply are no regulations on the sellers. Do you dispute this simple fact?
Sorta like humans, except in plant/other animal form.
If you think that's a "naturalistic fallacy" perhaps you need to brush up on your economics.
there is a reason why certain things are native- I would suggest a more humble approach!
I recently made my first purchase on Etsy for mother's day for my wife. Her father recently passed and I got his fingerprint on a necklace from https://etsy.com/shop/RachelRothJewelry I received terrific customer service, the shop owner went way out of her way to edit the fingerprint which was basically a blob. I received the print a couple days ago and for about 1/5 of what the funeral home would have charged for the same thing, even after editing. So there are definitely some great shops on etsy but I did have to look around a lot to find a shop which could deliver this in under 2 weeks.
When I finally got back home and put the desk together, I noticed that there were items missing and some things had not been packaged well so they were damaged/scuffed in shipping. Most of the issues were minor and I decided to not make a stink about it with the seller as I could easily work around and fix the problems. I did however want to leave a review of my experience for the seller to be made aware and future buyers to be warned.
Etsy's policy was however to deny me to review an item outside of a certain time window. I emailed Etsy's customer service to petition that I should be allowed to leave a review even though my window had passed given that the seller could not deliver in the time he/she had promised. Etsy's replies and refusal to allow this left a permanent impression on me and I will never spend another dollar there as a result of this ordeal.
For example if they were to allow indefinite periods for reviews, then customers could hold off on reviewing for a year, then leverage it to get the seller to provide out-of-warranty service.
Not sure what their time limit is, this is the case for it. In any case, good customer service still means a human reviewing and deciding if it's appropriate at the edge cases of policy.
i mean even if you look at major alternatives to etsy (like shopify), they still are "centralized" in that regard.
buyers also need some sort of discovery platform - even if it's just google, then google becomes the centralized platform, no?
These platforms exist in all sorts of places outside of marketplaces. Pinterest is essentially bookmarks for shopping. Ditto Wanelo (and other similar sites for different demographics/verticals). Certain Instagram networks are all about products. Babylist is to baby showers what The Knot is to bridal showers. And these are just what I can think of off the top of my head.
Greenhorn merchants love marketplaces b/c they want to market themselves at any cost. But I'm close with several former Etsy sellers who, once they achieved traction with their products, decided to build their brands on their own and not compete toe-to-toe with copycat sellers (which drove them bezerk, btw). Shopify + Facebook ads + Instagram can go a very long way.
except they're trying to capitalize on the marketplace part too: https://about.pinterest.com/en/shopping-pinterest
> Certain Instagram networks are all about products
> former Etsy sellers who, once they achieved traction with their products, decided to build their brands on their own and not compete toe-to-toe with copycat sellers
yeah, this is etsy's real problem - they do a bad job of keeping top sellers on the platform. i haven't seen much attrition because of copycats, but more that etsy is just a really bad platform for managing a big shop. the fact that your sellers went to shopify is, to me, just evidence of that.
I don't like it, but saying that anything centralized is on the way out is just wishful thinking.
Here is the bracelet I bought as a gift, $52
Here is the same fucking thing, on AliExpress for $6.52 a piece, or you can buy them in lots of 6 for $20.
I actually go out and mine 95% of my material, refine it myself, and make it myself. I teach lapidary classes for California's oldest mineralogical society.
lots of reasons, but around that time etsy invested heavily in infrastructure and tools like statsd resulted from it.
the last few years the focus has been mostly on product, and product teams usually don't produce the kind of significant technology contributions you're talking about (huge generalization there obviously).
this is more of a personal opinion, but my experience was that the last few years etsy has focused less on technical solutions to problems and more on "people solutions" - if something is inefficient they look for non-technical solutions to that problem, sometimes fruitlessly. as you can imagine in that environment, things like statsd don't get made.
Code as Craft was one of my favorite blogs back when I was a junior dev.
It's not unfeasible.
It would be a scenario that could explain both portfolio degradation and community leave, and not too uncommon. Of course, it could be unrelated and this is just speculation.
that was not my experience at all. officially, open source was encouraged because it raised etsy's stock in the tech community, which was beneficial for hiring.
unofficially, middle managers discouraged it because it detracted from shipping quickly (which made them look good to upper management).
obviously the CTO/etc. could've just been paying the engineers lip service about open source, but they seemed to genuinely support and encourage open source contributions. they certainly celebrated when open source contributions actually happened.
It did show a lack of appreciation for traffic on their end they were so willing to let us go without a fight. No room to budge on rates or even suggest a alternative- Not sure if that was management or department based decision but it was certainly enlightening.
They tell me there are three major problems that are all interconnected: 1) search is poor, 2) cheap knockoffs swamp the search results, 3) there's no obvious way to emphasize truly handcraft items.
All the sellers are experimenting with alternate platforms, such as Shopify, Wordpress, Wix, etc.
Here are some new problems that are driving more sellers off Etsy:
4) October 2013: Etsy redefines "handcrafted" and allows Etsy sellers to get "help" with making and shipping their items. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/12/opinion/etsys-industrial-r...
5) September 2015: Etsy openly embraces mass manufacturing https://www.wired.com/2015/09/etsy-embraces-mass-manufacturi...
6) October 2016: Etsy forces sellers to enroll in Google Shopping ads and spend their own money promoting their items. On the surface it looks innocent enough but most sellers are not sophisticated enough to run their own ad campaigns. They expected Etsy to provide that service as a marketplace. With no traffic coming in from Google any more, sales have tanked. https://blog.etsy.com/news/2016/introducing-google-shopping-...
7) April 2017: Etsy forces sellers to direct all revenue to Etsy's own bank account (no more Paypal), or the seller can't sell on Etsy any more. https://www.etsy.com/teams/7716/announcements/discuss/183258... The deadline to comply is May 17 so expect many shops to die on May 18 because shop owners are loath to turn over their bank account information and personal identity proof to Etsy. https://www.etsy.com/teams/7722/discussions/discuss/18322006...
I can confirm that I know at least one seller who set up their shop on Shopify in January this year.
Here are some current Etsy forum threads discussing the situation from the point of view of the buyer as well as the seller:
Josh Silverman, Here's What You need to Know from Sellers
Out of curiosity... reasons you won't buy from etsy stores?
This at least appears to be the case for a friend that is selling his handcrafted stuff in Etsy. And at least his experience seems to be that Etsy has done very little to curb this behavior even when reported to them.
(* caveat emptor - hearsay
I wasn't too impressed :)
They started as "people above profits" but in reality it was all resellers because that's what did volume. They turned the other cheek and allowed them to take over. They eventually changed policies and alienated a lot of real artisans. That strategy boosted revenue of course but removed their core differentiator.
It's hard to turn down revenue and growth, even moreso when investors are involved. But like most empires, you eventually fall from overextension.
If that means burning down the house (e.g. selling a company in bits and pieces, or pushing certain strategic changes) then they will.
Apple has plenty of cash on their books. If an activist shareholder could somehow force them to spend all that cash on buybacks (-> significant share price increase), they can make a nice buck that way. That's actually what Carl Icahn did, over the last few years.
What exactly are they insinuating?
Years of best practices in product/engineering in blogs (DevOps, I also remember their endless scrolling A/B tests!), youtube, conferences, then product doesn't work, company fires people.
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14251703 and marked it off-topic.