Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Peepers the Cat

So, I've already mentioned my two older cats, Loki and Razzy, but 6 months ago we became the parents of a 6 week old kitten.  My daughter's boyfriend has a friend in the service who has a Savanna female cat.  If you aren't familiar with them, they are a hybrid cross between and African serval and a Bengal.  They have a very exotic look, with spots and stripes, very slender with long legs and are supposed to have a personality akin to a dog.  Their cat wasn't fixed, so unfortunately a stray tom had his way with her and as a result, she had a litter of kittens.  Because the friend had to go back to his base without the kittens, he gave them away early.  My daughter brought one home.

She was so tiny, she fit in the palm of my hand.  She made the most pitiful peeping noises, hence, the name Peepers.  I had wanted a more exotic name for her, but nothing fit. For the first few weeks she was my baby.  I held her when she slept, and when she was hungry, she'd make that pitiful sound and run out to the kitchen to be fed.  Because of the other 2 cats and our dog Lily, I had to feed her on the kitchen table, and she would reach up with her front paws for me to pick her up.  As soon as her belly was full, she was ready to sleep and I would hold her in the crook of my arm and just gazed at her sweet face, often taking her into the bedroom, and while still holding her, taking a nap myself.
At first, the two older cats were pretty tolerant of her, Loki actually let her crawl up with him on the chair to nap together.
But that didn't last too long.  Pretty soon Peepers was tearing around the house terrorizing everyone, chasing the two older cats. Razzy is the timid one, but she manages to stand up to Peepers most of the time and Peeps will back down.  Loki, on the other hand, for all his size and demeanor as king of the house, is really a wus.  He screams, runs, hisses and huffs and heads for the door.  He's an indoor/outdoor cat and when he's had enough he's at the door yowling to be let out.

Nandy, one of my daughter's rabbits, comes out occasionally to 'play' with Peepers, however, it mostly consists of sitting patiently while Peepers mauls him.  No bunnies were hurt in the taking of these pictures:

Lily, on the other hand, has been a perfect nursmaid and playmate.  Although a little rambunctious herself, most of the time they manage to play well together. And even enjoy some naptime together.
Unfortunately, Peepers has a habit of grabbing my hand with her front paws to play bite, I've taught her "no" and usually she'll stop and then lick me, but she often gets those back paws to shredding.  My hands are full of scratches from her.  One of her favorite things to do is lay on one of the kitchen chair cushions, hidden by the table cloth and swat at you when you walk by.
I confess, I've spoiled her rotten.  She came at a time when I was very depressed and she helped me so much by giving me something else to focus on.  She sleeps with me, both for naps and at night, whether I fall asleep on the couch or I'm in bed. Often she'll crawl under the blanket to snuggle.  I love all my cats, but she is something special.
How could you not love that face?

For Christmas I bought a cat tree.  It's 6 ft high with 3 perches, and a platform with a covered condo.  Peepers uses it the most, but they all take turns lounging on it.  Usually not all at the same time though.  Just this past weekend, we had a cold but very sunny day, and the cat tree is in front of a Southern Exposure window and I found Loki and Peepers lounging on it.
Even though the platforms are a pretty good size, Loki kind of drapes over it, but he doesn't really seem to mind;

Peepers, on the other hand, reigns supreme on the top perch:
Razzy, who was not about to be left out, perched prettily on the chair observing the sunshine from a distance"
So, I think I caught up with the latest pictures now.  I will continue to add posts as time goes on, after all, I'm such a good cat mom.

Monday, January 09, 2012

What is Handmade?

Nope, not the age old debate about "my handmade is more handmade than yours", but a deeper look into what it means to me and my view on society's take on it.

Recently, the topic of 'resellers' invading the handmade artisan community has come to point where some of us feel that something needs to be done about it.

What is a reseller?  well, generally speaking, just about any store you can think of is a reseller.  They buy inventory from a wholesale source and resell it to the public.  In and of itself, it's not a bad thing.  It's the way commerce works.  From Wal-Mart to Macy's virtually everything comes from a factory of some sort and is produced in mass quantities.  Some things carry a 'handmade' label, such as embroidered slippers from Indonesia.  We're not talking a few women in their homes, we're talking whole villages of people cranking out X number of items per day. Their weekly salary is often less than our hourly minimum wage.  The conditions are not always sanitary or safe, and very often young children have to work under these conditions in order for a family to make ends meet.

I don't tell you this to get you riled up, or start a movement to boycott these products or companies, but to point out the different definitions of handmade.

Recently, within the last 5-6 years the "Handmade Movement" emerged onto the scene.  It really isn't such a new concept, lots of people have been making their own clothes and their children's for many years.  People have been raising livestock such as sheep, rabbits, llamas and alpacas for their fiber for commercial purposes for hundreds of years, many of them kept a portion for their own use to spin into fiber and then construct into garments for their friends and family and to sell to local folks.  Co-ops where groups of people grow their own fruits, vegetables, grain and meat to trade, barter or sell.

Craft shows and flea markets have been around forever, where people make and sell their own furniture, soaps, clothing, accessories, jewelry, as well as items they've collected over the years.

To those who don't belong to this segment of society, handmade is a novelty, or a completely unknown concept.  With the introduction of the internet, handmade has gotten a lot more attention, mostly by other crafters as they can now gather from across the world and converse with others who share their handmade ethos.  They can gather in virtual markets and sell their wares.  Undoubtedly, this is the largest market for handmade products, as very few can fully appreciate the time, skill and quality of handmade like another crafter or artisan.  The added exposure has increased awareness, certainly, but I think it's still a novelty or an unknown to the general masses.

Education has helped, but education is a double edged sword.  It might convert a few non cratty types to appreciate and purchase handmade products, but it also gives the do-it-yourselfer the means to try their hand at crafting and selling.  I think the crafting pool has grown larger, faster than the buying pool.  And then there's that reseller issue.  Finding a formerly untapped market, resellers begin to label their things as handmade, and due to their lower prices, sometimes lower quality, and their ability to flood the market with their mass produced goods, it is squeezing the crafters and artisans out of their market.  Now we're faced with what to do about it.

It's pretty obvious that we're never going to escape the resellers, they will encroach on every market they can, using whatever tactics they have to in order to compete with us.  It's a dilemma that handmade marketplaces are now facing.  It's not just that resellers are encroaching on our territory, but that they are misrepresenting their items as handmade when they're not, undercutting our prices, copying our pictures to represent their items and often duplicating the exact items of some handcrafters.  I think most of us can accept competition when both sides play fairly, but not when one side cheats. 

It not only hurts us by taking away business, but the deception to the customer is just as serious.  Certainly there are people who don't really care whether or not something is handmade, as long as it's what they want at the price they want to pay.  That's fine, commercial items have their place and their market.  But what about the person who wants to support handmade and they are fooled into thinking that they are purchasing a handmade item only to find out it is mass produced in another country?  How do we protect them?  How do we educate them before they make that purchase?  And if they are fooled, how do we repair the lost trust?

There aren't really any magic solutions to this problem, it will be an ongoing project for us to educate the buying public.  And there will always be those who don't care.

If I can enlighten one person, or give them pause, or encourage them to be a more informed consumer, then I have done my job.  It's more than I expect, but everything I hope for.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Artfire: A dollar and a dream?

What is Artfire you ask?  Well, up until a few monthss ago I would have said a selling platform for handmade, vintage, supplies and commercial resellers.  A fairly nice place that has some pretty cool tools, great educational discussions in the forums and lots of help on things like taking photographs, writing good listing descriptions and Search Engine Optimization.

Now? It's a bug filled selling platform whose seller populations went from 80,000 to 15,000 in just a few short months, and they are losing sellers daily.  That's a lot of sellers to lose, don't you think?  First, in August of 2011, they kicked off over 40,000 basic sellers.  Basic accounts were free for sellers, with limited tools but unlimited listings.  The idea to increase from a dozen listings to unlimited was to bring traffic to the site.  The more things you have out there on google and other search engines people use to find things, the better the chances of them finding something listed on Artfire and thereby bringing a prospective customer to the site.

Except in April when Google changed their algorithms and started to punish websites with a lot of ads and duplicate content, they decided they'd better do something about all those basic shops that were full of ads (to generate some revenue since they weren't paying anything for their studio) and mostly empty, unattended or full of stuff sellers had listed primarily on other venues.  The decision was to get rid of them.  Ostensibly, the premise behind the free basic studios was to get people to upgrade.  Artfire had offered several special deals for discounted 'for life' rates that never seemed to generate a whole lot of interest.  Except among the sellers they already had.  I had signed up at an $11.95 per month rate and when the $5.95 locked in for life special came along I snapped that up.  So did a lot of people who were paying more for their shops.  Not exactly a money maker there.

Now, fast forward.  So 40,000 + sellers are kicked off and another 20,000+ some sellers leave for whatever reason and now you have a grand total of 15,000 sellers left.  And Tony the COO announces that due to a high number of complaints and shop closures (2500 consumer complaints and 800 shop closures) they have decided to offer an 'assurance plan' for prospective buyers.  Sounds pretty reasonable, right?  they figure it will convert all those nervous shoppers who look but don't buy and along with this program they'll also promote this program with ads to make shoppers aware of it.  The premise behind it is the success of Zappos and Amazon with their liberal return policies.  Except, hello, Artfie isn't Zappos or Amazon.  Mostly in the most obvious of ways, Zappos isn't a handmade marketplace, and they have no 3rd party sellers.  Amazon, while they have 3rd party sellers you hardly notice that because it looks like you're buying from Amazon.  And they have their own payment processor whereas Artfire doesn't.  They have a 3rd party payment processor and then sellers can take additional methods like Paypal or Amazon or Google checkout or checks or money orders.  None of the payments go through Artfire at all.

Then you get to the part where when you read the fine print, you realize that the shopper is going to have to go through the seller first to resolve any complaint, and then through the payment processor before Artfire will take over and issue that refund.  guess what folks?  And, there will be exceptions to the rules as well.  That's been in place forever already, it's nothing new.  As a matter of fact, most sellers will work with you to your satisfaction because they stand behind their business and their product and they want you to come back.

Ok, so where does the dollar come in you ask?  Well, they want the sellers to fund this program. It's going to cost an additional dollar per month.  The variable rate sellers will see an automatic increase in their monthly rate come February.  Those who are locked in at a fixed rate will have the chance to opt out, but along with that comes penalties.  First, the ads that draw in buyers will go to pages with just the sellers that offer this guarantee.  They won't realize that their default for search is automatically excluding anyone who doesn't pay into this scam.  I mean scheme.  I mean program.  Then, to make sure they catch the ones coming in from the front pages, they'll have a radio button to filter their search which will be their default until they choose to end using that filter.  Pretty sneaky, eh? 

Now, some of you are thinking, 'hmmmm...all this fuss over a dollar a month?'  the answer to that is 'no, not actually'.  What most don't know is what goes on behind closed doors. The private discussions regarding the working out of the final details and the overall implication of what this really means for their sellers.  It's not simply a dollar a month more, its that Artfire is now placing itself in the midst of every seller's transactions.  If they feel the customer deserves a refund, despite the seller's policies against them, or even if Paypal sides with the seller and doesn't feel a refund is warranted, in their effort to keep the customer, Artfire will offer an appeasement refund.  Great for the customer, not so great for the seller.  In addition, the seller will gain a black mark against them for adhering to their own policies! So many black marks and you're closed down.  You can effectively be closed down because of sticking to your policies!!

Now, as if this wasn't bad enough, the forums have become a battleground.  There was a lot of opposition to this program, by sellers with legitimate concerns.  But their opposition was thwarting Tony from proceeding toward finalizing the details so this program is ready to roll out by February, so in an effort to quell the dissention, he started banning/muting paying sellers from participating in the forums discussing it.  He refused to answer questions that were asked regarding the figures he threw out as justification for this program.  Sellers wanted to know the breakdown of the 2500 complaints they received.  The site has been so buggy since August, checkout problems, cart issues, listings disappearing, corrupt picture files, in house messages not going through so communication between seller and buyer is spotty at best and a host of other problems which have been mostly denied as an Artfire problem, but rather they are browser issues, computer issues, plain old user error (as in your customers are too stupid to know how to add things to their cart or check out).  Many sellers were getting emails from prospective customers that they were having multiple issues and unable to complete their purchases.  And Artfire blew them off.

There is a group of sellers called Mavens that allegedly are used to test new features and give feedback on usability issues and such.  Most of them do a fine job and are wonderful sellers.  But a select group of the same sellers have made it their mission to squelch anyone who has a problem or issue with Artfire.  They gang up en masse to berate, mock, swear at and demean anyone who doesn't toe the party line.  And it got worse after the warnings, mutings and bannings started, yet, they were allowed to continue while their victims, one by one, got their forum privileges taken away and their shops closed down without notice.  Now that they are virtually untouchable, they have run rampant on the forums bullying and spreading their vitriol and it hit a fever pitch 2 nights ago to the point where Artfire took the whole site down.

So, the dollar and a dream has turned into a nightmare for many.  Many who held out hope for venue in which to sell their products with a friendly community environment, where it used to be fostered and bragged about as a community where the staff listened and interacted with the seller base has turned into a place where sellers have to tread carefully or risk being muted or booted.  The uncertainty has turned the forums into a place where this small group of mavens have the run of the place, untouched by the rules the rest have to abide by.

While I wouldn't advise anyone to not sell on a site just because of the forums, it's a good measure to see how the sellers are treated by the administration because it will touch on how they treat you as a seller in other areas.  The trust has been damaged, irreparably for many.  Too many of the promises made have gone unfulfilled and there is just too much double talk and double standards.  Add to that, something drastic has changed on Artfire since August, along with the aesthetic site changes, there has been a drastic decrease in traffic and sales for many, many sellers.

I've downgraded my shop and it will be closed by the end of January.  That is, if Artfire doesn't see fit to close it earlier.  Between the bugs, the forums and the lack of sales and traffic, it's just not a viable selling venue for me any longer.  And by the looks of things, it's not a viable selling site for many others either because sellers are jumping ship in droves.  Just in the last few days that I've gone back and reopened my Etsy shop, and started a Team, I've had over 60 sellers join.  A few will still be on Artfire because they've invested too much time and effort into their shop there to just up and leave, but you can bet your bottom dollar that they're all working on plan B so that they can eventually leave.

There are still some great sellers on Artfire, so I wouldn't ever tell someone not to shop there, but I'd advise you to check and see if they sell anywhere else.  And if you want to open a shop there, do so with extreme caution, because the changes that they've mentioned that are on the horizon will be geared toward the commercial discount mentality akin to Kmart's blue light specials where you'll need to offer deep discounts to bring in traffic.  And if you choose not to participate, you can bet your visibility will be diminished in one way or another.

Search out selling platforms carefully, read the fine print and if you're not sure, hang out in the forums and read and observe and watch for the signs.

Much success to all, wherever you sell!

It has been brought to my attention that I am spreading misinformation regarding my assessment of the site (Artfire) closing down the whole site due to the chaos in the forums.  Let's look at the facts, shall we?  Every notice in the announcement section of the forums has scheduled maintenance that has the same time for every session, that would be 11pm MST.  Now, I wasn't looking at my clock at the time the site went down because frankly, the site goes down for unscheduled maintenance all the time.  But there is your first clue, when they take the site down, it doesn't say "unscheduled maintenance" it is "scheduled maintenance".  From my best recollection it was at approx 7 or 8pm MST and went offline for approx 1 hour.  It came back afterward for approx 1 hour and then went off again for the scheduled maintenance that was announced.  I am merely drawing logical conclusion from the timeline of events, if anyone has proof that I am not accurate in my assessment, I'll be happy to retract my statements.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


I tend to compartmentalize issues and speak to them individuallyNot that my opinion would change so much, as in the recent changes Etsy has made with regard to mature listings, but that when looking at the issues leading up to this change, more people are to blame for this change than just Etsy.

Etsy is still, in my opinion, at the very bottom of this issue since it is their lack of enforcement of their own rules that caused this.  When weeding through all that led up to this action, it is clear to me that sellers pushed the envelope too far.

Since mature items have always been allowed on the site (that follow specific guidelines) and there have always been treasuries made with these items, it wasn't until recently it was viewed as a problem.

With the introduction of Suggested Shops in each Etsy user's Favorites section, supposedly based on things you mark as a favorite and those that favorite you and their favorites it has led to a flurry of discussions.  First about it all being big sellers and Etsy favorite sellers, then about the items not appealing to a given user.  Then it turned to objectionable items; ie mature.  If this feature had been thought out a little better, it would have enabled each user to, at the very least, delete shops that didn't appeal to their tastes so that new ones would replace it.  And although the feature is supposed to change daily, as it stands now, in my own list, very little has changed except for the ones I marked as a personal favorite are now not showing.  I still have the same shops, shuffled around a bit, and a couple of new ones to replace the ones I marked.

Because of the lack of an option to delete and the generally static list of shops, now users with objectionable material in theirs are not able to avoid it.  So, they go to the forums and voice their opinions, calling out mature sellers of certain items.

In retaliation, mature sellers and their supporters go to that wonderful new feature called Treasury East, where anyone can make as many treasuries as they want any time they want and they never expire.  They put up a full page of treasuries of mature items and because of the controversy, they remain on the first page due to the 'hotness' factor.

Mature objectors are now becoming more vocal in the forums, because now not only is there a link on the front page to the Treasury East but the default first page is full of 'hot' treasuries full of mature listings. Some sellers feel, and I think they have a point, that some people are going to be offended, especially if that is their first exposure to the site.

The skirmishes in the forums led to using the Treasury East as a battleground in full public view.  Despite the fact that some items did not fit the rules of the site, treasury curators used them, probably as a shock factor to make their point. Escalation was inevitable and Etsy had to jump in and try to manage some sort of damage control.

I think the childish behavior displayed by both sides of this issue forced Etsy into making a hasty decision.  As far as I'm concerned, nobody looked at the long term effect of their actions, not the objectors, not the mature sellers/supporters and certainly not Etsy.

Sellers complain all day long that Etsy doesn't vet their front page features, but for some reason fail to comprehend the treasury curators responsibility in the equation.  If they vetted their choices, it stands to reason when Admin picks a treasury for the front page, it will already be in compliance with site rules.  Because Treasury East was used as a platform to air disagreements and not the promotional tool it was intended for, it is now going to be more restrictive.

I'd love to place the full blame on Etsy, since if they just enforced their rules regarding mature listings, none of this would be an issue, certainly not of the proportions it has reached currently.  Nothing has really changed except for the Suggested Favorites addition and the Treasury East.  Logic would indicate to me, that if all other things have remained the same, the problem is likely with these two changes.  Then you would have to look at what the common problem is, which is the presence of thumbnail pictures that have the potential to offend.  That same image, by Etsy rules, should be G-rated for all audiences. Enforce compliance and this becomes a non-issue.   

All of this aside, it does not excuse the childish behavior of the sellers.  What did they think would happen when the Treasury East was used as a battleground?  Did anyone ever stop and think that their actions might bring about consequences they didn't expect?  Did anyone look beyond their own offended nose to consider what might happen?  I'm guessing not.

Keep poking the tiger and he eventually will bite you. 

Do I agree with Etsy's choice in how to handle mature items?  No, I do not.  I'd much prefer they enforce their rules.  Do I think sellers got what they deserved?  Yes I do, unfortunately. I think they pushed too far in this instance and it backfired on them.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


It never fails, the minute I defend Etsy on one count, they do something so utterly stupid and illogical I wonder why I even bother.  Today they announced this, apparently in response to several forum threads regarding the new Treasury East and a number of treasuries depicting mature items.  

So now, those sellers who don't bother to follow the rules regarding mature listings have now ruined it for the ones that do.

So, for Etsy site search you can 'opt out' of mature listings in your results, but in treasuries you have to 'opt in'.  But if you're not following the rules and don't tag mature, your item won't be filtered out and if you also haven't modified your thumbnail to be appropriate, then voila, your item appears to exactly the person who conscientiously tried to filter you out, opting in doesn't really make sense because they'd be there anyway.  But the default would exclude them.......again, only if they follow the listing criteria.

Etsy, you have literally just endorsed not complying with the mature listing rules, did you know that?  If someone following the rules is punished because of the rule breakers and nothing is done to those who break the rules, what do you think the end result of that is going to be?

Take down the listings and treasuries that break the rules!  You made the rules regarding mature listings, why don't you just enforce them instead of a useless filter that anyone can bypass??????????  Punish the rule breakers for once and not the ones following the rules.

Big Fat Etsy Fail!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

When You Let Everyone Play...Nobody Wins


As if the reseller problems aren't bad enough, Etsy's claim that 'hand assembled' equals 'handmade' has hit an all time low.

I understand the reasoning behind allowing the assemblage of commercially made products under the definition of handmade, but it is my belief that in doing so, it has opened the doors to so much abuse, that when looking at Etsy, it's difficult for the truly handmade to stand out.

Every time I see that Ladders commercial, with everyone running out of the stands onto the tennis court, I automatically think of Etsy.  "If everyone is allowed to play then nobody wins".

By Etsy lowering the bar on what constitutes handmade,  they have diluted (and polluted) the pool.

When someone who buys mass produced knitted or crocheted hats and clips or glues on a mass produced embellishment is considered to be just as handmade as someone's hand knitted or crocheted hat with handmade embellishments, then something is seriously wrong.

Just today I ran across commercial Pandora Beads on commercial Pandora Bracelets listed under handmade jewelry.  Apparently, because someone put those beads on that bracelet  with their hands, it is now deemed handmade according to Etsy standards.  Pretty low standards if you ask me.

I've been saying since the tagline 'Your Place to Buy and Sell All Things Handmade' was removed (under the guise of it not being inclusive of Vintage and commercial supplies) that it was a bad omen.  Etsy is no longer the place for handmade, and though it has never been officially noted, it appears that it's new tag line is more along the lines of a 'global marketplace'.

It was once argued that handmade was not in competition with big box companies.  That we are not Walmart, but guess again because big box is selling right along side you now with Etsy's blessings.

Many will argue that it's difficult to draw the line.  I say hogwash.  If integrity and handmade ethos were important enough to Etsy, they would draw that line and enforce it.  It's much easier to change the tag line to be all inclusive of what now is on Etsy than it would be to raise their standards and weed out what does not belong.

Too bad, so sad for those of us that joined years ago believing that Etsy was the Holy Grail for handmade artisans and crafters.

I could rant on forever, but the Ladders commercial really says it all.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


From Meatloaf's song lyrics Life is a Lemon and I Want My Money Back
 (certain liberties have been taken by this author)

I want my money back
Say it like you mean it
I want my money back
I'm gonna rock your world

(chorus - hey - hu - hey)

It's all or nothing
And nothing's all I ever get
Everytime I turn it on
I burn it up and burn it out

It's always something
There's always something going wrong
That's the only guarantee
That's what this is all about

It's a never ending attack (ha)
Everything's a lie and that's a fact
Etsy is a lemon and I want my money back!

And all the Admins
And all the techies with their  stats
They're the ones who make the rules
It's not a game it's just a rout

There's desperation (there's desperation)
There's desperation in the air
It leaves a stain on all your clothes
And no detergent gets it out

And we're always slipping thru the cracks (slipping)
Then the movie's over fade to black
Etsy's a lemon and I want my money...

I want my money back
(Etsy's a lemon) what
(Etsy's a lemon) what about it
I want my money back
(Etsy's a lemon)

What about the site?
It's Defective!
It's always breaking in half

What about categories?
It's Defective!
It's never built to really last

What about search?
It's Defective!
All the batteries are shot

What about tags?
They're Defective!
All the parts are out of stock

What about SEO?
It's Defective!
It's corroded and decayed

What about faith?
It's Defective!
It's tattered and it's frayed

What about your Admins?
They're Defective!
They forgot the warranty

What about your shop?
It's Defective!
It's a dead end street to me

What about your answers?
It's Defective!
It's a pack of useless lies

What about your work?
It's Defective!
It's a crock and then you die

What about your sales history?
It's Defective!
It's dead and buried in the past

What about your future?
It's Defective!
You can shove it up your ass!!!

It's all or nothing
And nothing's all I ever get
Every time I turn it on
I burn it up and burn it out

It's a never ending attack
Everything's a lie and that's a fact
Etsy's a lemon and I want my money...

Etsy's a lemon and I want my money back
Etsy's a lemon and I want my money back
Etsy's a lemon and I want my money back
Etsy's a lemon (and I want) and I want (and I want) and I want my money back

Etsy's a lemon and I want my money back
Etsy's a lemon and I want my money back
Etsy's a lemon and I want my money back
Etsy's a lemon
And I want
And I want
And I want
And I want my money back!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Recently I've been in contact with a number of old classmates (Yeah Sweethome Class of 74'!!) who, upon noticing my Etsy Shop, have asked me about selling there.

After nearly 4 years on the site, what do I tell them?  Without going into the gory details, the struggles, and all the hard work, I've decided to come up with a list of things to keep in mind if you want to sell on Etsy.

1.  Look around the site, particularly the categories you want to list in.  Read the rules regarding what is allowed on the site.  I would recommend staying away from the forums.  It is a huge time suck, and 99% of the questions you may have can be answered by reading the FAQ's.  If you can't find an answer to your question and you know someone else on the site with a shop, send them a message.  You can also send an email to support#etsy.com, though the wait time on answers can be long. 

2.  Etsy is a place to buy handmade, vintage and supplies.  Understand that handmade encompasses everything from obtaining your own raw materials and processing them yourself into a finished product to commercially, mass produced items 'put together' to form a finished product.  Vintage is anything (and I mean anything) that is 20 years old, or older.  Supplies can either be commercially made, or handmade.  This is the only place that mass produced items belong, as long as they are a craft supply that is used in the making of a finished product.

3.  Etsy has a hard time enforcing their own rules.  The handmade ethos has kind of flown out the window.  You can still find wonderful handmade products by talented artisans, but the site is also overrun with resellers selling mass produced clothing, jewelry and handbags (among other things) so this has tainted many a seller and buyer's experience.

4.  Etsy has it's own idea of what is popular.  Etsy has a reputation for being 'hipster'.  That's ok folks, I never heard of that term before either.  Consequently, the shops that have that cool, edgy, urban vibe tend to be the ones that get face time on Etsy.

5.  Etsy plays favorites.  Because of this tendency toward favoring a certain look and feel, there is a lot of repetition with front page features and blog articles of the same people and the same items.  Some people have made the front page hundreds of times, often multiple times daily and weekly.

6.  Etsy is clunky,  From the listing process, to search, to checkout.  It takes 5 pages to list an item.  If you don't hit 'finish' you lose your listing to the inactive section.  Choosing categories and tags is difficult because the category system setup is illogical.  Tags are subjective so tag abuse is rampant which messes up the search.  Paypal is your only option for credit card payments and is not integrated with Etsy, so people can 'buy' an item and take it out of your shop (goes into sold section) without actually paying for it.  Sure, you can relist the item and cancel the transaction to get a refund on your listing and final value fees and try and hunt your customer down to try and find out if they just changed their mind or they can't figure out how to pay.

7.  Etsy does no outside advertising.  Etsy has always espoused the 'viral marketing' concept.  You tell two friends and they tell two friends and so on and so on.  Etsy sellers are expected to advertise for themselves which in turn brings more customers to Etsy.  Most of the articles written about Etsy and features done by people such as Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray and The View have emphasized the selling aspect more than the buying aspect and as a result, there are over 200,000 shops on Etsy and more than 5 million listings.  While Etsy may have a measure of built in foot traffic, don't count on it as a way to make consistent sales.  Especially if you're not one of the 'chosen few' that Etsy likes to feature.

8.  Etsy is not really cheap.  Sure, each listing is .20 for 4 months.  Sounds like a bargain, doesn't it?  Until you realize that sellers have learned to game the system by renewing listings daily, at a cost of .20 per renewal.  Why would people do that if a listing lasts 4 months?  Because Etsy search is based on recency and not on relevancy.  So prepare to absorb or tack on an extra dollar or two to each item you list so that you can renew items often.  Just remember, thousands of other sellers are also renewing all the time so it's constant pile on that you're never on top of for more than a few seconds.  The final value fee is 3.5% of the selling price.  Pretty reasonable until you read #9.

9.  Etsy has no tools for you to offer sales, discounts, gift certificates or coupon codes.  Sure, you can work around most of these things by having the customer send you a convo before purchasing so you can adjust a listing to reflect a discount, but that is tedious and time consuming and really deters those impulse purchases.  You can refund them the amount of the discount price via Paypal, but you will still pay the final value fee on the sold price, not the discounted price.

10.  Etsy does not 'care' about you.  There is a common misconception that Etsy is a community of sellers who support each other and that Etsy is our friend.  While up to a point it may be true, Etsy is first and foremost a business and their first priority is to make money and be profitable.  They have investors and venture capital.  This means that at some point, these investors want to see a return on their investment.  It also means that at some point Etsy will go public.  They will do what they have to to continue to make money, even if those of us who use Etsy disagree with their choices.  We can suggest and request for the things we want, but ultimately Etsy will decide if and when they will implement any given suggestion.  This is logical for most, but for others it has been a bitter pill to swallow to realize that Etsy is not their 'friend'.

Does that mean that I don't recommend Etsy?  no, not at all.  If you can accept it for what it is, keep your expectations reasonable, diversify so that you have other outlets in which to sell and realize that selling anywhere, regardless of how much foot traffic they have, requires work on your part then you should have minimal frustrations with Etsy.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I was waiting for the March weather report to confirm my suspicions regarding the 'low view, low sales' threads that have been overtaking the Etsy forums for the last month or so.  I don 't doubt that some are experiencing a drop in sales and/or views, and that Etsy and/or Google may have changed something that had an effect on this.  The fact is, sales have remained steady with a slight increase, so this tells me that while some shops are definitely noticing a loss, others are noting an increase.

The thing is, I'm betting the ones who have seen an increase in sales and views have no need to come to the forums to find out why.  I think that it's natural for someone to open a shop and expect sales to increase over time.  People come to the forums to either connect with others or to report a problem of some sort, so I feel like this issue is being blown way out of proportion.  Again, not saying that those complaining about a change for the worse are making it up or exaggerating, or that something hasn't changed, simply that the issue isn't as dire overall as the forums would indicate.

An overall observation of the forums shows multiple threads with shops reporting drastic drops in views and sales starting on specific dates in March.  Most, if not all, of the threads contain the same people reporting the same information, but as they drag on, newer sellers are jumping on the bandwagon to report similar findings, some long standing sellers coming to the forums looking for a correlation to their observations of a sudden drop in views and sales, and a fair number of sellers with no real history or data chiming in just in case the reason their listings aren't seeing the kind of views they'd expect or they aren't selling like they thought they would might be the same.

Then you have Rokali announcing that they made no changes on the specific dates in March, and that Google is introducing a change to their algorithm called 'Caffeine' that may or may not be affecting all of this.

Then you have pandemonium again because now all these people who are 'complaining' are just 'whiners' and 'need to take better pictures, write better titles and descriptions and/or go elsewhere'.

Then, LisaJune opens a thread asking for sellers to post if they've experienced this phenomenal drop in sales and views originating on those specific dates in March so that the engineers can look into it.  She get's to 1000 posts and the thread is closed.  Of course, you have that same mix as in the other threads, some with data, some without, and plenty of twitching, head-desking and shiny distraction innuendo.

Then you have a thread started several days after LisaJune's thread was closed.  Wanting to know what the results were from that thread.  Nothing impatient about THIS crowd.  One poor engineer reported that after looking at 20 shops in that list, only 2 showed any drop  one showed a significant enough drop to mention.  Of course, then you have people demanding to know what criteria was used to evaluate this, because we all know that Etsy will just skew the numbers in their favor or even outright lie about it.

Just another day in the forums, there's a problem, people demand answers, they speculate and form conspiracy theories because they don't get answered fast enough, and when they do get an answer they still aren't satisfied because it isn't what they wanted to hear.  And laced throughout it all, like weaving random golden threads in a tapestry, you have your sighing, twitching, drinking, popcorn, pennies, pebbles and snide remarks about Etsy admin's maturity, hipness, intelligence, age and experience.

A few brave souls try to hang on to any kind of positivity they can and share it with the rest and they are shot down like AKA-47s firing on a colorful hot air balloon.  They aren't having any of THAT!  No sireee, there is "A PROBLEM" and there will be no one allowed to look for silver linings and God Forbid that someone else may not be sharing this problem.  Stomp those out immediately, because they are dismissing the concerns of massive hordes of sellers who KNOW SOMETHING IS WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Etsy Dream

When I joined Etsy in June 06' it was touted as THE place to buy and sell handmade.  It advertised itself as a hand-built site and stressed the fact that it was different than anything else out there.  Indeed. 

Although I wasn't there from the very beginning, I think I came on board early enough to watch and grow along with the site.  And boy has it grown.  I was there when they moved from a beta site and grit my teeth along with everyone else with the bugs, setbacks, outages, slowdowns, revisions and rollouts.  I knew (and still know) very little about how a site integrates with search engines, but I have come to realize that different isn't always better.

As I learn more about SEO (search engine optimization) I've come to understand that Etsy wasn't really built with that in mind.  In short, if a search engine such as Google can't find you, no one using that search engine looking for products like you have will find you.

Etsy has supported odd tactics that are not used on other selling sites.  And as they start to realize that this has the potential to do more harm than good, they are scrambling to become more mainstream.  The problem is, people who got used to the 'old ways' and especially the ones who were successful are now starting to feel the sting.

They created a listing for .20 that lasts 4 months, yet they have a search based on most recently listed.  This is fundamentally illogical.  If search had always been based on relevancy, what someone was actually looking for, instead of what is most recent (and often not relevant) then the constant renewing of the same products over and over again wouldn't be necessary.  Unfortunately, it was a practice that caught on and likely produces significant income for Etsy and I'm sure they're loathe to change it.  I don't doubt for a minute that sellers found this advantageous and now don't want to see it changed, but it never should have started in the first place.

The main focus had always been on handmade.  It has veered from that dramatically as the number of vintage and commercial supply sellers has increased.  I understand their inclusion as true vintage items are usually rare and unique, and certainly a site where people craft is a built in customer base for the supply sellers.  However, the increase in these two categories has forced Etsy to re-evaluate their tagline from 'your place to buy and sell all things handmade' to.......who knows?  This is another factor in the disillusionment many of us are facing.

Being unique is probably not a viable choice for Etsy and somewhere along the line they had to decide if they wanted to make money and grow or stay small and remain a haven for truly handmade, knowing that every seller and every buyer is there because they truly support and appreciate the handmade concept.

The recent problems we've seen, I believe, are just the tip of the iceberg.  Etsy has to change it's very foundation and work it's way from the bottom up.  The Etsy I joined nearly 4 years ago is very different from the Etsy today, and I have a feeling it will be unrecognizable as a 'handmade' site in another 4 years.

This realization saddens me, as I bought into the Etsy dream and vision.  I had a loyalty to Etsy in the beginning, and though I was often critical and didn't always agree with the way things were done, I was always hopeful that the changes would benefit the handmade community.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


Here is what wire I use for which project, again, nothing is written in stone, my main considerations are what will fit through the bead hole, and if the wire size is in balance with the size of the stones or beads used.

For earring hooks, I generally use 20ga HH (half hard).  That seems to be an all around good size for everyone's ear holes.  18ga seems a little bit of an overkill and can be too thick for piercings, and 22ga just seems to flimsy, even if you hammer it.  I have used it in a pinch, especially with more delicate earrings, but it isn't my preference.  Some wire resources offer 21ga which is also a good choice, but in all my years of wire working I've never purchased 21ga wire.

For beaded links, where you link beads together to make a bracelet or necklace, I generally use 22ga (HH) wire.  If my beads are between, say 4mm and 8mm I think this is a good choice.  Sometimes I like the look of a b it heavier wire with 8mm beads and might go up to 20ga (HH) if the bead hole allows it.  The highest I have gone for linking beads is 18ga (DS) dead soft, and usually use that size for chunky, larger beads where I want a substantial silver look to it, otherwise I stick with 20ga (HH).  So all in all, for bead linking I use 22ga and 20ga (HH) the most.

For fishhook/shepherd's hook clasps  I pretty much use either the 18 or 16ga because I hammer them to harden them to keep their shape.  I will use 20ga half hard on more delicate pieces and hammer them well to harden them, and that seems to work very well too, but I would not go any smaller than that for a clasp.  You might be better off using a commercial spring ring clasp (which I will use myself).

For wrapping briolettes I try to use the largest wire that will go through the holes.  Generally, gemstone holes are poorly drilled,   26 and 24ga wire are usually the best wires of choice.  It's thin and can become brittle and break if overworked, so I usually recommend using DS.  These are also great knitting and coiling wires, so I always have a few oz of each in my inventory.  Pearls also have notoriously small holes, but I have been fortunate to be able to get 24ga wire through them without having to enlarge the hole.  This is much easier to do than to try to enlarge gemstone holes and a topic I will cover later.

For headpins, again my rule of thumb is pretty much whatever will fit through the hole.  Headpins should always be HH.  Length is also a consideration, I don't like using short headpins, they should be at least 2" in length and longer.  If you want to fit more than one bead on it you need to leave enough room to be able to make a loop and have enough 'tail' to wrap around a couple of times to make a secure wrapped loop.  You can make a simple loop as shown in the beginning of this link:  http://www.howtodothings.com/video/how-to-make-a-wrapped-loop-bead-tutorial   but I personally never, ever use that type of open link.  It's way too easy for the loop to pull apart and have your jewelry break.  You can probably get away with it for earrings, since there really isn't any tension on it, but I'd never use it to link beads together in a necklace or bracelet.

Well, that's all I can think of for now about the basic uses of wire.  I will end here by telling you what I normally stock in my inventory so I have what I need at the ready.  I will highlight in red the wire that I think you, as a beginner, should start out with and you can add more as you expand in your wirework.

26ga round DS
24ga round DS & HH
22ga round DS & HH
22ga square DS
20ga round HH
18ga round HH - this one isn't an absolute necessity and you can leave it off if you don't think you'll use it for the purposes I"ve outlined above, but I personally think it's nice to have some on hand.
18ga 1/2 round DS
16ga round DS or HH (some places only have the DS but because of the thickness of the wire, DS is pretty strong and easier to work with and you can hammer it in some cases to harden it further).


Ok, not professing to be an expert by any means, just passing along information that has served me well in my years of making jewelry.  There are several levels of wirework, from simply needing to link beads together to the more intricate coiling or knitting and crochet work.  Understanding the terms used for gauges of wires and tempers is the first step and creates the foundation on which to build to whatever level you wish to attain.

Gauges:  AWG is the American standard of measuring wire, it uses numbers such as 22ga, 20ga etc.  SWG is the actual measurement of the wire diameter using the decimal system and commonly used in Europe.  There are plenty of places you can Google for conversion tables so I won't go into specifics, but for the sake of what I am comfortable using, I will be using the AWG standard.

In AWG the higher the number, the smaller the diameter of wire.  For example, 22ga is smaller (thinner) than 16 ga wire.

Temper:  Wire comes in 3 basic degrees of hardness; dead soft, half hard and full hard.  IN my experience, dead soft is good to use when you will be manipulating the wire a lot, as in wire sculpture.  Half hard is good for making wrapped loops, findings such as headpins or clasps.  I have never used full hard wire, although if you were making something such as a pin (broach) it would well because it would hold it's shape and has a strong 'spring back'.  Think of a safety pin and how securely it's held closed because of the force of the sharp end tries to 'spring back' against the part that holds it closed.   Also, try and manipulate a safety pin, it's not easy to bed is it?  It's not really a wire for a novice and in my experience even for an advanced wire worker, it really has very limited and specific uses.

Dead soft wire will harden somewhat as you continue to manipulate it, this is called 'work hardening', so the finished product will hold it's shape.  I personally do not recommend using dead soft for simple projects such as wrapped bead links, I find the links easily bend out of shape and tend to look sloppy.  There is something you can do to harden dead soft wire if that is all you have to work with.  My method requires a pair of pliers and a hand drill.  I cut a length of wire and close one end in the chuck of the drill, hold the other end of the wire in my pliers, hold it taut and twist the wire until it breaks (usually at one end) or  just before it breaks.  You get pretty good at guestimating after you've done it a few times.  I probably wouldn't use this method on wire thinner than 22ga because it can become brittle.

You can also harden it for things like hook clasps or earring hooks by hammering it with a rubber mallet.  The rubber mallet will harden without flattening the wire, but you can also use a chasing hammer (or hardware store regular old hammer) which will flatten the wire as well as harden it.

Wire shapes:  round, square and 1/2 round.  Round is probably the most commonly used wire, I normally carry round wire in 26, 24, 22, 20, 18 and 16ga.  It is ideal for making wrapped links, findings, coiling.  I use square wire when sculpting because it usually requires two or more wires together and square wire allows the wires to lay flush side by side and are much easier to bind together with the 1/2 round wire.  You can also twist square wire to get that lovely twisted/faceted effect.  Half round is exactly what it sounds like, domed on one side and flat on the other, and is most commonly used to bind other wires together

Although you can Google wrapped loop tutorials and find tons of them, Here is one for you to begin with: http://www.howtodothings.com/video/how-to-make-a-wrapped-loop-bead-tutorial  I would like to add after viewing this video one more tip.  Chances are the loop will be off to one side, so just slide your round nosed pliers into the loop and gently straighten the loop so it sits more evenly above the wrapped part.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


As you advance in your wire work you will be adding many more tools to your collection, but for beginners, these are the things that I think are basic necessities.  My first pliers set I got from a flea market and it served me well for years.  I then upgraded to a mid priced set of pliers.  I mostly look for ergonomic handles as this reduces the stress on your hands.  I would recommend starting off with an inexpensive set and use it for awhile to find out what qualities are important to you and upgrade as necessary.  Just be sure wherever you get your pliers that none of them have the gripping grooves in them, some of the hardware sets will have chain nose pliers with those grooves and they mark your wire terribly.  So look for a set specifically for jewelers and you should avoid this problem.  You can google them all day, and I hesitate to recommend one over another, but I have bought my tools from Urban Maille as Aislyn is a friend of mine, so I am linking you to her tool page.  I can say her prices are probably the lowest you will find for the brands, and that her standards are very high so I know even her cheapest tools are quality.  http://urbanmaille.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=6

Round nosed pliers:
Chain nosed pliers:
Bent Nosed Pliers:
Flat Nosed Pliers

Chasing Hammer:  A new household hammer will work, I stress new because the hammering part will not be marked up thereby marking your wire.
Rubber Mallet:  Again, hardware store mallet will suffice.  However, my hubby picked up this set of mini hammer with changeable heads for me and I use it all the time!  And it's cheap!  http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=99895

Rawhide Hammer:  I did finally invest in one of these, but my dog got ahold of it and chewed it to shreds.  Although it is often recommended, I don't find it a necessity so it's up to you.

Anvil:  A lot of jewelers recommend a bench block, but I find my small jewelers anvil quite adequate for my purposes and cheaper as well.  Here is the one I have: http://www.widgetsupply.com/page/WS/PROD/jeweler-anvil/SAA2-51RJ 

Steel ring mandrel:  Not a necessity, again, it depends on how far you want to go with your wire work, but making simple rings is fun and expands your repertoire a little bit more.  I recommend steel as opposed to the cheaper aluminum or wooden ones, simply because you can hammer to harden your ring shanks on the steel without marking or denting it.

Tumbler with Stainless Steel Shot:  This is probably the most expensive beginner investment, but worthwhile.  It is amazing the amount of shine tumbling finished jewelry will give.  It really brings that finished piece to a whole new level.  I bought a Lortone single barrel tumbler and have used it for years with the same belt and no problems.  I do have a backup tumbler I got from HarborFreight which is cheaper but I've heard mixed reviews on it.  It is a good starter tumbler though.

I cannot stress enough about using stainless steel shot as opposed to just steel shot.  Stainless steel shot requires no upkeep, and will not rust, the steel shot is very high maintenance and will rust even with the best of care.  Oh, and I cannot forget the strainer.  I use an old tupperware strainer that is dedicated to my jewelry making, you can just dump the contents of your tumbler container right into it, rinse it and pick out your jewelry to lay it out to dry.

I will add tools to future posts for those who might want to move on in their wire working, but for now, I think this covers the basics.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I'm about 1/4 the way through this discussion.  My first thought is people really need to learn the art of discussion and debate and stop getting offended by someone elses opinion.  Why do so many people personalize any sort of criticism?  Granted, the original post could have been worded better, a little less critical and a little more helpful, but some of the responses would like to dismiss the whole subject because of the 'tone' rather than looking past it to actually find the message within.

A few other people have come along later in the thread to relay the message in a more pleasing tone, but it appears that some are still stuck on the original post and totally miss the points made.

What I got from it is that there are a few fonts that are overused and misused.  I have absolutely no graphic design background and couldn't tell the difference between  arial and zippedy doo da.  What I do know is that on a subconscious level I do associate certain attributes to certain fonts.  Just like the signage I see on brick and mortar stores gives certain impressions about the content within.  Not that a fancy sign necessarily means that the stuff inside is fancy or of good quality, but to put forward that impression might at least get a customer through the door and possibly purchase something.  I can't speak for anyone else, but if there were two dress shops with exactly the same merchandise inside and one had a fancy, professional looking sign and the other had a hand painted posterboard sign, I'd probably be more inclined to go into the first store because I would feel a little more confidence.

I think it's just another part of an overall look you are trying to achieve.  Like your photos.  Blurry pictures, poorly lit pictures, pictures taken at a distance and don't allow for any view of the details are usually a put off.  While it may not be a reflection of the quality of the merchandise, it gives the impression of poor quality.  What is that saying about first impressions?  When you go on a job interview, you try to present yourself in the best light possible.  If you are one of a hundred applicants, and your qualifications are all pretty much the same, then the choice will depend on other things.  Personality, presentation and someone who gives the impression of being a good fit for the position.  They can't really know for sure, so they go with the candidate that best fits their aesthetic.

Someone mentioned that anyone could buy a professional banner so it's not really a reflection of the quality of the merchandise in a shop.  A crappy crafter could buy a really impressive banner, but it doesn't improve the quality of their stuff.  Very true.  Just like a crappy crafter can hire a professional photographer to take their product shots and make them look like a million bucks.  But truth be told, which will you be more likely to look at, the poorly lit, blurry picture of something that could be of great quality or the fabulous, artful shot of something that is (not so obviously) poorly crafted?  the whole point about signage is to get people through the door.  The merchandise then has to meet the customer's satisfaction.  It's just window dressing, but it is a proven fact that the more attractive the outside, the better your chance of enticing the customer in through the door.

So, what does this mean on Etsy?  If the site was set up in such a way that storefronts were the first thing that was visible to a shopper, then this might be an extremely important aspect.  If you were able to meander down a virtual street lined with shops, the signage would probably be of utmost importance.  But Etsy is more focused on the product shots than anything else.  I know as a shopper on Etsy myself, I barely look at banners, much less notice what font they use.  If I am drawn into a shop by a product they carry, my next focus is to see what else they have that I might like as much or better, or if they carry (in the case of supplies) other things I can combine to stretch my shipping dollars.  Is this to say that banners aren't important?  Not at all.  They definitely have their place as a part of a cohesive, overall look, but I'm inclined to think that it's not on the top of the list when judging whether or not to purchase from a particular shop.

My ex-husband is a musician.  We couldn't go to a concert, whether it was a symphony orchestra or local bar band that he wouldn't at some point start critiquing the music.  It drove me nuts that he couldn't just sit and listen and enjoy (or not) in silence.  It dawned on me later that this type of behavior is inherent in one who is intimately familiar with a subject.  I, as a maker of jewelry, find myself looking at other makers of jewelry and noticing things that would probably not be on the layperson's radar.  Such is the case of banner fonts.  Those with graphic backgrounds or backgrounds where fonts play an integral part of their craft will always look at that aspect of a shop much closer and more critically than a layperson.  I believe any perspective they can offer should be considered, and assessed and used as readily as product photography advice, or any other advice offered as a way to improve your shop.

Does that mean that everyone should change their banner text because they are using Papyrus or Comic Sans?  Of course not.  But, if it got you thinking about whether or not your banner text is portraying the look you are trying to achieve, then that is a good thing.  If it expands your knowledge base on something you formerly had no clue about, that is also a good thing.  Push your delicate sensibilities aside for a few moments and actually look at the information presented.  You can take it or leave it, but do it based on the actual information presented and not the 'tone' you think it's presented in.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Ok, I needed a break, and went through my bookmarks looking for that hilarious lip syncing dude.  Seriously, this guy makes me smile every time I watch him.


This is the second Thursday that Etsy is tweaking the search feature and making 'relevancy' the default, as opposed to the usual search by recently listed.  The first Thursday was pretty eventful and the forums were filled with both opposition and support and pleas to give more information so people could figure out how to get their items in the top of the search.

As I expected, not much information was forthcoming, as I expect Etsy had to use that first test as groundwork to figure out what exactly they were going to do.  I found a few threads that had this quote in it by one of the engineers (?), though I can't seem to find which thread it originated in.

"jasondavis says:

Hi all. Sorry for taking so long to answer some of your questions. We've been working super hard to address some of the concerns everyone has brought up here. On Thursday you should notice several improvements over last week - I'll mention a couple of big ones here:

1) Penalizing extra-long titles: some of you noticed that some of the search results had very long titles. Titles with 5 or 10 words are fine. If your titles are much longer than this, the search will penalize them slightly (or more, if they're much longer than this).

2) More recency weight: We'll be incorporating more emphasis on item listing recency, something which many of you asked for. This will help promote your newer, more recently listed items over older ones."

It's good to see that they noted the excessive titles and are attempting to address them.  People are still claiming to see them in the first pages of their search so I'm not sure how this works.  I suspect that similar to google, while you may have excessively long titles, the search only actually picks up on the first 70 or so characters, so regardless of the title length if the first 70 contain keywords associated with that search they will still show up.  This is just a guess on my part.  I don't think that Etsy search would just automatically kick out excessive titles, but only use a portion of them, which would explain why they still show up.

As for weighting recency more in the search algorithm, I am totally against this.  My personal feeling is that when something is listed has no bearing on what I am looking for, it should not even be a factor used in that search.  A search based on listing dates already exists, if you weigh listing dates in a relevancy search, how are the searches going to differ from each other?  One's a little more recent, ones a little more targeted?  That makes no sense whatsoever.

I really resent the move to cave on this, I really do.  I was really hoping that Etsy was looking to actually improve the search capability of the site, not cater to the ones who are used to renewing and are now crying because relevance eliminates that tactic.

If all you were really going to do was make the current search a little more targeted to what a buyer is searching for then you should have said so in the first place.  Some of us actually thought you cared about what buyers want.

I will say again, recency has no place in a search based on relevancy.  At. All.  The date something was listed on has no bearing on anything I am looking for.  If it was listed 2 minutes ago, a week ago or 3 months ago, if it fits the search criteria, it should show up.

Perhaps if Etsy did take recency completely out of the relevancy search algorithm they could focus on making more folks relevant to the search queries.