Let me start off today by pointing out that I have no business education or experience beyond a stint in retail management. I also have no 'in' with Etsy, real or imagined. Everything that follows is pure conjecture based on simple observation.
Now a little background, yesterday Etsy implemented a few changes. The most obvious of which was a front page face lift which had the temporary effect of a gift guide taking up the entire right side of the screen. While this glitch went away with a simple refresh and was in reality a small two picture box in the top corner it caused quite an uproar in the massive chat room that is twitter. Folks who have been vocal about their dislike of gift guides on the site were livid and the change just enhanced their argument.
Now for my analysis. First of all Etsy sellers, the front page, yeah, it's not there for you. Nope, not even a little bit. The front page is the face of Etsy the company, it is all about the buyers. It is there to set the bait for them, to entice them to shop. That is it's only purpose and as such it is in the best interest of the company to make that face pretty, interesting and above all to make people want to shop there. The shopper doesn't care if a seller is on the cover all the time or if a seller has never been featured, the buyer doesn't care about the perceived inequality of the gift guides, they just want to get a handmade gift for their sister and they want to get it fast and easy.
Etsy uses that front page to create an image that appeals to its core demographic, it uses gift guides to help people start shopping and really clicking through to items. It is the bait, you as a seller must set your own traps.
There is plenty that Etsy does for the seller. It creates a simple and inexpensive way to list items, it maintains forums, chat rooms, hosts tutorials and writes help articles. I know that there are plenty of other things that seller wish they would do like stats and a more efficient search system, but seriously, they appear to working their backsides off and there is just no way to please hundreds of thousands of people. I'm not trying to be an Etsy cheerleader, but I think that there are just so many people who don't 'get' it. Sure, Etsy started as a way for people to make a living selling handmade items and along the way they've had to compromise a bit of that to make a living themselves. Do I miss the old Etsy? Sometimes, but I'm more excited to see them grow and I understand why they have done the things they have, even if I sometimes disagree with them.
Well, I think I got that all out of my system. I've got a whole bunch of pieces to make right now and I'm getting a little nervous about the impending holiday season. The fog has started rolling in here in the Central Valley and even though it's still in the 70's, it won't be long until Christmas overtakes us all. Deep breath...here it comes.