Meet the man behind New York’s other billion dollar internet company. This one makes money

238 Comments

The technology industry these days has taken on the veneer of a glam-rock festival — lots of venture capitalists, founders and executives taking center stage and enjoying the bright lights — or quips on social media and hamming it up on video shows. And perhaps that’s why someone like Chad Dickerson, chief executive officer of Etsy, a Brooklyn, New York-based global marketplace for arts and crafts goods, is a breath of fresh air. A quiet man who speaks very softly, Dickerson is an unlikely success story in the razzle-dazzle world of ecommerce.

Dickerson, who started his life in the media world (he worked for Salon), and spent time at Yahoo, ended up joining Etsy in 2008 as its chief technology officer. Etsy, which was started in 2005 by Jared Tarbell and Rob Kalin, had gone through a series of management upheavals and from the outside felt like a temperamental middle child of busy parents. About two years ago, when the company was in middle of one of those upheavals and was facing stalled growth, the board (which includes Fred Wilson from Union Square Ventures) bet that Dickerson was the right man to lead the company into the future. It doesn’t matter who made that call — it was an inspired one.

Etsy has had its share of issues, but Dickerson has confronted them head on. He hasn’t hid behind a PR machine, and is open to talking to either Etsy buyers or sellers, anytime. He is unlikely to be every confused for a “internet CEO poster child.” He has shock of gray hair and is losing his battle with looming middle age. And he smiles a lot — using it as a way to put everyone at ease.

Two year turnaround

The company is on track to cross $1 billion in total annual transactions — twice as much in 2011 when Dickerson took over as CEO. It has 30 million registered users (versus 10 million when Dickerson stepped up) and by the end of 2013 will have a million sellers hocking their wares — bags, belts, hats, Siracha hot sauce and trinkets — on the Etsy platform. And if that is not enough, the company has built a global payment system to rival the likes of PayPal (s ebay) and has gone global through community-driven translations.

etsy

When I asked him why he has succeeded has as chief executive, he explained that “because I was the chief technology officer, I got to learn the entire business very intimately, from infrastructure to how we interacted with sellers and buyers.” It just so happens he completely loves the product — Dickerson does most of his shopping on Etsy — and believes in the higher purpose of Etsy.

Dickerson, who grew up in the tobacco growing part of North Carolina, was an English major in college interested in media and journalism. “I wanted to go to someplace else,” he quipped. While attending Duke University, he took math and science as minors and slowly fell in love with technology. “I am often surprised that I ended up in a tech career,” Dickerson told me a few months ago when we met for coffee in Manhattan. “I don’t think of myself as technologist but more as a student of human behavior who accidentally ended up in technology.”

Always be hustling

If anything, Dickerson is resourceful and makes the most of opportunities. As a 10-year-old kid, when he was trying to build a lawn mowing business, he tried to talk all the local realtors into giving him contracts to mow the lawns instead of trying to do one-off deals with homeowners. At one time he was helping mow 30 lawns a week — and a lot of money he made from that effort went towards his college fund. Upon leaving from college, Dickerson worked for the Raleigh News and Observer in Raleigh, N.C. and worked on its website in the early 1990s so he could hang around the newsroom.


ChadDickerson20131-2

When Dickerson speaks, he speaks softly. You have to strain hard to understand the meaning of his carefully chosen words. He truly believes in the manifest destiny of Etsy. Dickerson is unwavering in his belief that his 450-employee company can become an engine of global trade like none before.

“Etsy, technologically and culturally, is a platform that provides meaning to people, and an opportunity to validate their art, their craft,” Dickerson said

Dickerson believes that Etsy is at the forefront of the maker movement and a new way of commerce that is the polar opposite of the mass-produced industrial economic system. An increasing number of people are looking to connect with those who make their products and want to find the story behind the products. “Back in 2005 when I was at Yahoo, we would have hackathons and they would bring together people in a pretty meaningful manner,” he recalled. Etsy, is a way of hacking commerce and bringing people together.

People, not math, are the key to commerce

“Most e-commerce tries to reduce everything to math, but I refuse to think of it as a math problem,” said Dickerson. All it takes is spending time with Etsy buyers and sellers to learn that all commerce is about real human interaction. “I was talking to two Etsy sellers about my son and they sent me a book to read to my son,” he said. “You learn a lot from talking to people and not looking at data.” Dickerson, who often is the first person in company’s DUMBO office and the last one out, has a great way of describing Etsy: “At the end of every transaction, you get something real from a real person. There is an existential satisfaction to that.”

But that doesn’t mean Dickerson isn’t paying respect to the tenets of any modern internet business — cloud, mobile, social and data. A few years ago, Etsy embraced data and used it to build a more informed platform. The CTO-turned-CEO also pushed the company to a modern infrastructure that is good for Etsy’s recent growth.

Etsy

And the focus for his team these days is to make mobile easier not only for buyers, but also for sellers. Etsy has embraced mobile completely, and things have picked up for the company because of it. “The reason we developed Direct Checkout (a payment system) is because we wanted to make it easy for people to not have to go to third-party websites and make payments,” Dickerson said. That is quite a painful experience. Mobile accounts for about 45 percent of company’s monthly visits and by next early next year, it will be the majority of Etsy’s traffic.

“The soul of our company is our marketplace and our community,” said Dickerson. “We succeed when we helps others succeed, and that is the core value of our company.” And that is why Etsy became a Certified B corporation (a kind of for-profit U.S. company that “considers society and the environment in addition to profit in their decision making process“) — much like Warby Parker and Patagonia. Etsy, which takes 3.5 percent of each sale on the platform, has been profitable for a few years.

The company raised $40 million in Series F funding last year(at a valuation exceeding $600 million) and is using those funds to become a global platform. (It has raised a total of $91.7 million in funds from Index Ventures, Union Square Ventures, Accel Partners, and others.)

“We are looking at international growth and hoping that in next four years, international sales will account for half of the total sales,” he said. At present, about 20 percent of Etsy’s sales volume is from international buyers and sellers.

Dickerson believes that the Etsy platform can play the role of a wholesale trade show and connect artisans to smaller/independent stores and help them growth their business. “When I started working in technology almost twenty years ago, it was about building something on the web,” he said. “It is now about building something with the web.” 

Click here for Chad Dickerson’s response to the comments

238 Comments

artbits

Yep. This thread is indicative of the crafter’s heaven that Chad and Marc and etc. Built. Where is Kalin? He wasn’t perfect but he had a vision that included the actual artisan.

aloyisius

The commentors here who are sticking up for Etsy are either terribly delusional or in such fear of what Etsy has actually become and the direction that it is going, that they think cheerleading for Etsy will save them somehow, and that Chad Dickerson and the others running Etsy actually care about them. Wake up! Etsy does not care about you, it only cares about how much money you can put in their pockets. Etsy silences anyone who disagrees with their changes or “tests”, and they get particularly miffed if someone criticizes any of the Etsy administration, like when Marc Hedlund dropped the ball in a big way by not even catching the fairly recent huge privacy/security breach as soon as it happened. When he did finally comment on it in the Etsy forums, he simply called it a “bug”. Many were silenced (muted or perma-muted) from EVER speaking in the Etsy forums again because they criticized (rightfully so) his actions (non-actions) and he did not like it. There are literally thousands of Etsians who are permanently banned from the Etsy forums….most are those who helped build Etsy, and helped the newcomers with their wisdom, knowledge and experience…now forever silenced. The Esty forums have become a terrible joke. Etsy is run like a dictatorship, there is no freedom of speech there and favoritism is rampant. Chad Dickerson and Marc Hedlund have done serious damage to Etsy with their childish “code as craft” crap. There is no customer service to speak of, and Etsy has become a haven for resellers. Etsy was built on the backs of the truly handmade and vintage sellers, but Etsy no longer cares about them.

notareseller

Curious, Mary… what kind of handmade item do you sell? Is it a saturated category? Jewelry? Vintage ? Struggling with being found among all the vintage knockoffs?

Because people are voicing areas of concern to our selling platform does NOT make them moaners/groaners… Most definately NOT ill informed. Someone’s head is too far up somewhere….

Maybe some people simply think inside the box that is provided for them and are fine with that. Don’t insult those who have a broad, open minded, vision to be better.

Excuse us,*motions aside* thank you.

Wendy

Dearest “Mary Walilko,” the “moaners and groaners” that commented on this article are not ill-informed. That is why they are speaking out because the PR spews this cotton candy rainbow interview when in fact there is a lot more that is going on behind the scenes in a negative way that the public is not aware of.

Etsy HAS NOT addressed the issue of resellers. They are crawling around Etsy like roaches and multiplying at a fast rate. Perhaps in your rainbow colored world you want to believe that Etsy has addressed these problems, but in real life, they haven’t. There have been many sellers that have reported these shops and have kept track of them to see if they’ve ever been removed. Six months, still there; one year, still there. If by some rare chance they are removed, all they have to do is reopen under a new name and they are back in business.

The real handmade artists of Etsy are constantly working on ways to improve their site, to build more business and be successful. Most are involved in teams and the community. However, when you have cheap knock-offs flooding the Etsy site, it makes being a success more difficult than ever.

Just because the sellers here may sound negative to you, they are addressing real concerns that are not being addressed by Etsy. To have an article written on Chad that is all fluffy, one would think that this is an all handmade site filled with all real artisans selling their work only to find cheap factory made items flooding the pages. The front page of Etsy doesn’t even mention that this is a “handmade” site anymore. If that doesn’t say it all, I don’t know what will.

The bottom line is, money talks. Resellers are bringing in the bucks and that is all the investors care about. They don’t care about the original vision of Etsy being a handmade site for artisans, they care about their bucks and that is all.

notareseller

Whoa now! I beg to differ, fran. To be concerned as to where our business platform might be headed is not necessarily a bad thing, here. To progress as a whole in ANYTHING is to look at both sides of the plate…. there are ups and downs in everything. Wouldn’t it now, be a good idea to discuss, address and work on areas of concern?

Since when was it a good idea to blindly go along with everything without questions or concerns?

Someone who might personally insult these people who are raising good points about the site that could be improved isn’t a bad thing. But to turn and try and silence others or insult their concern by attacking them is not proactive. It’s actually quite childish.

To simply close your mouth and cheer on a team who again and again has failed to listen to their fans isn’t in bad spirit. Brown nosing doesn’t change anything.

Just because you may be scared to voice your own concerns, please don’t call others bitchers. You’ve missed the entire point.

Great on you, though.

Flo

Etsy is being taken over by Chinese flea market junk… don’t believe me.. just try and search for items there

fran

for all those complaining, instead of bitching, you migh as well try to make a difference in Etsy (or anywhere else): join a team, help others, make the community grow – Etsy is not perfect, is managed by humans, but still, we should only thank there’s a place like that at all.
as for myself, I’ve always got fast and precise answers from the customer service, and my business still grows despite the resellers.
sometimes the problem is YOU and what you do or DON’T DO, and not where do you sell on, or how the tool you use is managed. Yes, it’s easier to tell what’s not working and complaining, but really, go check the numbers and you might see that 1) resellers are not the majority of the shops and are not even closer 2) the mistakes (shops unfairly closed) a risible small % of the whole cases.
we are talking millions of users, millions of transactions, a global platform, and people still expect changes to happen overnight (or overmonths) and a perfection that i wonder – do they have in their lives? do they always manage their shops perfectly? and their lives?
I am grateful Etsy exists and it’s managed the way it is; and i’m even more grateful of the community that lives in it, made of caring, talented, generous sellers i wouldn’t known and met if not for Etsy.
I can truthfully say, Etsy changed my life, gave me hope and I’m very proud to be a part of it.

Obscure Claire

Any percent of unfairly closed businesses is unacceptable!!! When you say a small percentage – that makes me think you would think it is okay to accidentally close down 1 or 2% of the shops at Etsy. Jeez. This is what is scary. Etsy is not accountable to its sellers (customers) – and can close down shops whenever. That sort of thing, the instant shutting down of shops, is something I hear about all of the time. While 1 shop out of 100 shops might not be a big deal to you – or to etsy either, that is one person who might have a family that relies on income from Etsy. That is one person who just lost everything at Etsy’s whim and without notice. And part of the problem is that, much like you, Etsy does not seem to understand how insecure that makes people feel. You don’t do that to your customers, unless you don’t respect them, care for them, or need them. And that is what Etsy has been saying by their actions for too long now.

carolbabs

Fran, you might want to take your own advice. Instead of complaining and bitching about what concerned Etsians are discussing, why don’t you try to make a difference somewhere? Changes do not occur without someone saying that change is needed.

No one in this discussion has said changes are expected overnight, or that perfection is going to happen. I’m not sure where you came up with those ideas. But change is needed on Etsy, whether you believe so or not. If you choose to look the other way at inequities, it is your right to do so. It is also the rights of those who don’t look the other way, to voice their opinions.

A Au

Fran, Plenty of the muted (often for pointing out resellers or offering helpful suggestions to etsy) are already on teams. And they are making helpful suggestions. I had learned from them what not to say in the forum; that some sellers get their own admin and Etsy coaching while some of us can not be found in the search never mind browse. I had learned from these muted people how to run my business without stepping on etsy’s toes. It used to be that many of these sellers did so in the public forums till they have been muted for pointing out resellers, TVP or simply the fact that Etsy is ignoring concerns of its customers.
It might be a small percentage which is affected by Etsy’s unreasonable actions and odds are against it happening to you. But there are no guaranteed and when it happens to you I seriously doubt that the fact that you are a member of a minute minority will make you feel any better. And there being no phone number will not make a situation any better. Yes you can email. And if you are lucky they might even acknowledge your existence with a form reply not answering your question within 48 hours. That is if you are lucky.
Welcome to the best of all possible word.
I for one would like 24 hour phone support, be able to find my items in browse without spending hours trying to figure where they are hiding them behind ton of repeat pictures of resellers items.
Oh and managing more than one store from one login and/or more sections and or nested sections would be nice too.

LifeDuringWartime

Etsy is becoming a retail version of AliExpress where you can buy the same factory made merchandise one piece at a time instead of in wholesale lots. Oh, the true handmade crafts, art, vintage, and crafting supplies, are still around. But the reseller junk always seems to be stuck to the top pages in Etsy’s Browse feature (semi-curated filtered categories), like scum floating on a stagnant pond. Etsy actually showcases items which, according to the site’s rules, aren’t supposed to be for sale there.

Mary Walilko

I have been buying on Etsy since 2006 and opened my first shop in 2008. There have been a lot of changes over all these years. Some of the changes have been very difficult to adapt to but all have turned out to be good. Maybe I can see this since I have been working in IT and in other parts of the business world for over 40 years. I can appreciate the vision and talent that it takes to grow a company to this size from fewer than 50 employees in 2008.

There are many Etsy sellers who have a much better attitude than the moaners and groaners that have made so many posts here in response to this very well written article. (No, I am not “brown nosing”). I am sorry to see that so many negative and ill-informed people are venting their frustrations here. They should be finding ways to make their Etsy shop a success instead of looking for something else and someone else to blame for their own lack of success.

Etsy has addressed the problem of the so called resellers and has put systems into place to identify the Fake Handmade shops much faster than in the past. I have seen the progress in this area and it has made a tremendous difference.

Anunhappycamper

Mary – I do not see how you can say they have addressed the problem with the resellers. They close one down, and a week later, they open up under a new name. Out of the 45+ shops I and others have reported, not one single one has been closed. The reseller problem is not getting better, it’s getting worse!

DisgruntledRNotAMinority

Very true! Obviously Mary does not sell handmade jewelry or she would be aware of the millions of pieces of unaltered, mass produced, made in China crap that is being passed off as handmade on Etsy.
Resellers are a huge problem on Etsy but aren’t being shut down because Etsy gets their percentage of the sale.

carolbabs

Mary, I have to respectfully disagree with your post. I am a buyer on Etsy, a former teacher, and have a BS, an MS, and all classes for a PhD. I just need to finish my thesis. I am definitely not ill-informed. In fact, I make it my business to do research on sites before I purchase. I have found that what Etsy states as their policies vs the way the site actually runs are very different animals.

I love the actual handmade sellers, the actual vintage sellers, and the supply sellers. As a buyer it is becoming increasingly difficult to wade through the supposedly illegal shops on Etsy – the resellers, the copyright/trademark infringers, and the “collectives.” It is also becoming increasingly difficult to ferret out actual handmade items. The “collectives” and resellers state their items are handmade. But they are obviously machine made, or made by possible sweatshops. Etsy MUST do a better job of policing their site. They have not addressed the reseller problem. If they have put systems in place, they are not working and need to be replaced. Etsy is not being fair to the buyers on the site that think they are buying handmade merchandise from the seller listed as the shop owner.

To say that sellers should be finding ways to make their shop a success instead of looking for someone to blame their lack of success on, is unfair, unkind, and untrue. I know many sellers that are very successful that dislike the way that Etsy is run and what it has become. They are not just interested in their own shop, but are interested in Etsy as the venue that they sell on. The integrity of Etsy as a whole is at stake, and this problem is only getting worse, in my opinion.

Ms. Informed

“They should be finding ways to make their Etsy shop a success instead of looking for something else and someone else to blame for their own lack of success. ”

Like, say for instance, buying a How-to guide for SEO and such? This sounds like a plug for what you sell, Mary. Shameful you can’t empathize with users who are frustrated but I do understand that not a lot of resellers are selling guides to the internet these days.

For me, it has nothing to do with whether my own shop is successful but I do feel etsy is misrepresenting the site as handmade, vintage and supplies when it’s not so. The resellers and fake vintage are taking money from unsuspecting buyers who have trusted etsy and that is unconscionable.

Wolf SilverOak

You have seriously deluded yourself if you truly believe that what is being posted here is merely ‘moaners and groaners’.

Yes, you are brown nosing. You are as bad as many of the sycophants in the now doubly gutted, farcical forums.

For the record- I’ve been on Etsy since Feb of 2006.It is by no means my only online shop for a reason. Nor is it my most successful selling spot.

I’ve been through the site wide blackout of Version 2. I’ve seen the forums be gutted into ‘Teams’. I’ve been through Coralgate, Storquegate and several other -gates. I’ve watched as resellers have slowly taken over many of the catagories with no effort from Etsy to stop them- they claim all those bubble necklaces are handmade, for cryin’ out loud! I’ve been harrassed in convos with no effort from Etsy to stop it.

I’ve watched longtime, great sellers be muted for daring to speak up and out, no matter how politely they did it. I’ve watched sucessful sellers who dared to disagree with things Etsy was doing, have their shops literally disappear from search, browse, relevency, etc- I know because it happened to ME and Matt Quirk admitted it.

So you can try and claim that what is being posted here about the real face of Etsy is simply venting from dissastisfied sellers, but you know what? It’s all true, no matter what sort of spin you try to put on it or how much you try to convince yourself and you know it.

Sandi Bahr

I for one was an Etsy success story but then came Chad Dickerson and with all his changes my shop is slowly dying.

My sales have been cut in half since the introduction of the “Browse” feature. I’m losing about $5,000 to $8000 a month in sales and my Etsy fees were once $1,500 to $2,000 a month are now about $400 to $500 a month. How can a reduction of fees paid to Etsy in that amount every month from just one seller be good for them? Probably because they have opened up the floodgates for mass produced crap to be sold on the site.

I’ve always said that we need to be careful of what we ask for because what we get is not always better than what we had. This is from someone that has been muted by Rob White in the forum for speaking my mind.

elizasususweet

Please do not let etsy mute and remove the facts here like they do in the forums.

Ms. Informed

Hey Mr. Chad,

How would you like some artisan created, hand made, Thomas Kincaid prints, direct from the wholesaler in China?

Yeah? Okay, here ya go:

1. https://www.etsy.com/listing/153885555/holiday-oil-painting-the-good-life-fine?ref=col_view

2. https://www.etsy.com/listing/159889406/sunset-lure-of-the-wilderness-landscape?ref=col_view

3. https://www.etsy.com/listing/153875006/landscape-oil-painting-fine-art-giclee?ref=col_view

4. https://www.etsy.com/listing/157626463/deer-waterwheel-trees-rivers-forests?ref=col_view

That’s considered handmade, right?

How about some vintage cake stands for your next party? Here are some I found on etsy:

1. https://www.etsy.com/listing/159731762/milk-glass-jadeite-10-pedestal-cake?ref=col_view

2. https://www.etsy.com/listing/159732072/milk-glass-jadeite-9-pedestal-cake-plate?ref=col_view

3. https://www.etsy.com/listing/158533902/milk-glass-jadeite-12-pedestal-cake?ref=col_view

4. https://www.etsy.com/listing/121069578/6-jadeite-cake-stand?ref=col_view

All from the these new wholesale websites:

http://www.sears.com/mosser-glass-10inch-butter-cream-color-glass-cake/p-SPM1964719714?prdNo=12

http://www.bellacor.com/results.cfm?Ntt=cake%20stand&Ns=P_hvhmIndex&Nso=0

http://www.bellacor.com/productdetail/mosser-glass-234cpcob-cobalt-square-cake-plate-445706.htm?partid=googlePLA-

DataFeed-Serveware-445706

http://www.bellacor.com/productdetail/mosser-glass-234cphg-10-inch-hunter-green-square-cake-plate-463631.htm?

partid=googlePLA-DataFeed-Serveware-463631

http://glasswareunlimited.com/Glass%20Cake%20Plates.htm

http://www.vermontcountrystore.com/store/jump/productDetail/For_The_Home/Kitchen_&_Dining/Dishes_&_Glasses/Mosser_9

%22_Pedestal_Cake_Plate/53539

http://www.distinctive-decor.com/mosser-glass-pedestal-cake-plates.html

http://www.broadwaypanhandler.com/broadway/product.asp?s_id=0&pf_id=mosser_cake_stand

http://www.mosserglass.com/html/what_s_new.htm

http://www.fishseddy.com/browse.htm?VIEW=ALL&catid=180&step=2

SilverLining

Chad Dickerson should be absolutely ashamed of himself for opening Etsy’s floodgates to cheap, factory-made goods while blatantly lying about it in puffy PR pieces such as this.

He has squandered Etsy’s cache as a brilliant little gem of a site where buyers could find beautiful handmade goods from all over the world. All that’s left is the ghost of what once was and a gullible public that hasn’t yet caught on to the fact that Etsy’s “handmade” credo is nothing more than window dressing. Once they catch on, Mr. Dickerson will be seen as the huckster he really is.

jake

These people are all telling the truth. Lots of them have been with Etsy since it’s inception. They were a part of the hand made dream. They are watching Chad turn his back as that dream unravels. Etsy doesn’t care. Etsy is now about money. Little artisans do not make a lot of money but the resellers do. This is why those who have opposed this change are no longer allowed an Etsy voice in the forums. Each voice which speaks up asking why….
..why no attention paid to resellers?
…why shut down a store that knits booties because the artist did not take good photos of her process to prove she is not a reseller when you can search the word bubble necklace and see thousands of resellers ….all making Etsy thousands of dollars each day?
that voice is then permanently muted/silenced.

Are you really truly ready to hear that this beautiful corporation has so much ugliness just under it’s surface?
Can you hear it? Or will you be just one more person who got a good interview and walked on?

Alivation

Well Mr Malik, I have never visted Etsy. i was going to after reading your article but then I read the comments. Sir, are you going to at least reply to the general drift of the comments posted here ?

Do you intend to do a proper follow up article like a true investigative journalist, probing into the claims made by the obviously angry sellers who posted here ?

I see only one positive comment posted by someone who sounds like they have never visted the site. This looks like it could be a real story that has a chance of making a difference to the artisan sellers dependant on Etsy for their livelyhood. How about arranging another interview with Dickerson and put the concerns raised here to him and report on his responses? Here’s a chance to be a real journalist Mr. Malik.

Om Malik

Alivation

Thanks for you comment. I am going to do my work and do it the way I know it – as a professional.

A Seller

If Mr. Malik is a “professional” and does his homework he will discover that he is not being trolled. Even though Etsy deletes and edits their forum it still speaks for its’ self. By the way, you should run your work through spell check before you post it Mr. Malik.

Anunhappycamper

I can see a lot of deceit going on. Looks like Chad was deceived by the dribble the PR person wrote for that interview. You, Om, have been deceived by all the smoke and mirrors. The worst deceit of all is that on the buyers who believe they are buying handmade or vintage items, only to discover they bought junk they could have bought at a local flea market.

Things are not what they appear at Etsy. Handmade items and the artisans that create them, the reason Etsy exists today, are no longer their focus for the future. They have turned a blind eye and seem to have embraced all the resellers that are continually reported, yet they allow to remain. They believe a single picture of someone sitting in a break room table with a bunch of supplies is part of a collective and is assembling the item. While in the background you can see out the window they are in an industrial complex. I forget to mention they are even so bold now as to state they are factories. You can give a link to their company’s web site where it says they have 500+ employees and are in a 10,000 sq ft building. Yet they make a housewife disassemble a true handmade item, and take dozens of photos to prove their item is handmade. This is WRONG!

Vintage sellers are competing with resellers who just throw the word “vintage” into the title and description of new items. Even with proof from links to the manufacturer’s online store showing it’s a current item and the seller is using the site’s photos, Etsy does nothing. Shall we also talk about those selling private label items as homemade?

There was a max exodus in 2008 from eBay thanks to their new feedback system and the introduction of the big box stores. eBay is now filled with resellers, dropshippers, and large companies. The small seller doesn’t stand a chance. If Etsy keeps going the way it is, history will repeat itself on yet another site and will be eBay’s poor cousin.

Tracy

You could do everyone on Etsy a favor and write the truth about what has happened since Mr. Dickerson became the head. If he made Etsy what it is today, a reseller site, then he should be ashamed of himself destroying a great marketplace for handmade, vintage and supplies. It is now a marketplace for resellers. Do your homework Mr.Malik and tell it like it is. You will be doing all the buyers and legitimate seller a big favor.

Jay

one last thing

Does the world know yet how many people you have permamuted in your public forums?

over 5,000 people yes… that is FIVE THOUSAND REAL PEOPLE YOU REMOVED FOR SPEAKING OUT!!!

Jay

Can you imagine the real stats on Etsy?

add these two factors:

1) shops with closed signs, multi shop same owner, shops with 1-5 items

2) resellers… illegal resellers.. yes etsy depends on their stats

compensate for these two factors and etsy site is down 50%

Om Malik

Jay

Can you elaborate and if there are stats, please do share with us. I would love to know more details. Thanks

Dickies

Om, the fact that the comments on this post are carbon copies of one another should be indication of one thing: this is a vocal, noisy minority of sellers.

bleu3000

Dickies – First, I’ve seen no “carbon copies” of replies. Yes, there are people posting about the same issues, but that just means that more than one person sees the issue. These people didn’t just decide to take a little break and bash Etsy around the water cooler.

Second, when you say “this is a vocal, noisy minority of sellers”, do you mean that a minority should not be heard? …that a minority should never speak up? …that a minority opinion is of less value? What, exactly, do you have against minorities?

Third, and last, do you work for Etsy?

Beth McCormack

Wrong. Take a little trip into the forum sometime, Dickie.

Jay

Etsy was created by the sellers- Etsy will be destroyed by the sellers. Etsy thinks they created themselves.. LOL

Truthteller

Mr. Malik – before you go getting all starry eyed, perhaps you should read these tidbits:

http://www.metafilter.com/115181/Can-you-buy-plausible-deniability-anywhere-online-now-that-Etsys-run-completely-out-of-it

http://www.dailydot.com/news/etsy-defends-accused-reseller-ecologica-malibu/

http://consumerist.com/2012/04/25/etsy-says-controversial-shop-isnt-a-re-seller-but-a-collective/

http://www.dailydot.com/news/resellers-etsy-chad-dickerson-mits/

Or just have a look for yourself. http://www.etsy.com/search?q=j%20crew%20bubble%20necklace

If this man cared about his site, the focus of his team would be site integrity. When it gets so blatent that even the BUYERS are complaining, it might be time to stop tooting your own horn and pay attention to the people who made the site what it is.

A Au

The society Etsy considers reminds me alternately of animal farm where some sellers are more equal than others. And I keep wondering if the fact that some features sellers have been asking for for years such as managing multiple stores from one account or more sections are intentionally not implemented in order for us to open more account and inflate the number of users. And the blind eye to resellers and redefinition of the term handmade indicates that Mr Dickerson might not listen to his own message.

notareseller

I really, truly hope you are listening to your sellers, Chad and Etsy…

The number one reason why you became what you are was because of the unique handcrafted items from artists, crafters, metalsmiths, quilters, sewers, stone setters…..the originality of the site. HANDMADE, VINTAGE, SUPPLIES…. no where in there was mentioned RESELLERS.

It’s terrible to see resellers and manufacterers being pushed in handmade artisians’ eyes by the hundreds and thousands, pushing those who ARE going along with the original intention of the site. Time and time again it has been mentioned, questioned, brought up, but there it is…on the front pages, treasuries, listings, circling around and around.

Instead of “fixing” feedback, can we please work on resellers? you’re going to turn into every other site online. such a very sad thing indeed. You really had a vision.

…then again, I suppose that’s the idea, right? The new testing of the front page doesn’t indicate Handmade ANYWHERE. Where are the categories? Where IS the Etsy difference?

I really really hope you are listening, sir.

Disenchanted

Sure, it’s easy to make $$ hand over fist when you allow and even encourage rampant reselling and copyright infringement. But sellers don’t dare complain in the public forums, or they will be roundly slapped down and forbidden to post ever again. Silencing those who point out the very large elephant in Etsy’s room does not make the problem go away, Chad.

bubblenecklacehater

“Etsy, technologically and culturally, is a platform that provides meaning to people, and an opportunity to validate their art, their craft.”

Really? Then why is the site over-run with resellers? Go ahead search for a bubble necklace and see what you find.

Chad Dickerson is as far removed from this site as a “leader” could be. He has no idea what is really going on, and if he does – well shame on him. And neither does most of the administrators on the top level.

Chad Dickerson is NOT the man behind Etsy. The thousands of sellers that are crying out for change are the men and women behind Etsy. Without us – Chad would be nothing more than a fart in the wind. And he hasn’t listened to “the people” in years. We don’t even have a valid shipping upgrade option to offer our customers!!

Oh and by the way – the “your place to buy all things handmade” motto? It doesn’t exist any more. They do NOT in any way advertise or bring attention to specifically handmade products any more. They are embracing reseller goods. You might as well shop on Alibaba and save money.

Rob Kalin probably cries himself to sleep every night knowing what his site, and his vision has become. It doesn’t matter what “alphabet letter” you put on it, I call Bullsh*t.

carolbabs

As a buyer who loves the original concept of Etsy, and the truly handmade, authentic vintage and the great supply sellers that sell on Etsy, I am aghast and saddened at what Etsy has become.

The site is overrun with resellers, and copyright/trademark infringers. Etsy does not police its site, they expect the sellers and buyers on the site to do that for them. More and more I am seeing and hearing of buyers purchasing goods that they thought were handmade because Etsy touts itself as a venue for handmade, the resellers lie and say their goods are handmade, so the goods must be handmade right? Wrong! Etsy has Terms of Use but does not enforce them. Buyers are being duped, and the honest Etsy small business are being hurt by the lies and deceit. Many speculate that Etsy turns a blind eye to this problem because they make money from the resellers and infringers.

Etsy makes up its own definitions for handmade, collectives, and vintage, and they are much different than the commonly used definitions of the words. Most buyers, and many sellers, are unaware of what they are actually buying when they buy “handmade” on Etsy. Don’t get me wrong, there are many actual handmade shops and truly vintage shops on Etsy but they are becoming harder to find, and harder to discern the real thing from the factory made.

Scotch Jameson

This is a nice tribute to Chad Dickerson. Online stores are so much friendlier than brick-and-mortar stores nowadays, whose “customer service reps” actually seem to have stepped up the meanness even as their core customer base declines. They just don’t get it. And Etsy has been able to bring great art and crafts to us that snobby corner stores never could. What a brilliant guy. He earns the “erson” in Dick, when most people in the retail industry just keep to being Dicks. Thanks for the profile.

elizasususweet

I agree – this is a tribute piece on one man who is doing everything he can to get credit for 1000s and 1000s of crafters that he is taking credit for at the same time he is ruining their livelihood.

AoS LeatherWorks

I’ve been a seller on Etsy since 2008 and I’ve seen it go through a lot of changes and growing pains.
Though there are certainly problems and issues, I feel that some of the criticisms here are overly harsh.
The truth, as i see it, is that Etsy is an amazing platform that has allowed many artists, artisans and crafters, as well as vintage-goods vendors, to reach a global market.
I’ve been plying my trade for over 40 years – until Etsy cam along I had NEVER sold to anyone on the other side of the world. Now my sales map has pins all over the planet!
They’ve made the market accessible. Though there are sometimes issues and miscommunications (as with any enterprise that involves more than one person) and glitches (as with any internet site), Etsy stands alone in its field and I, for one, am a truly grateful user! – Kathy F, aosLeather

bestetsy

If only they had, you know, a PHONE NUMBER to call when problems arise. Billion-dollar income and no customer service.

J

This article paints a rosy picture, but there’s a deep undercurrent of discontent in Etsy’s *legitimate* sellers – meaning, its customers – the sellers of handmade, supplies, and vintage. The number of shops that aren’t supposed to be there (resellers) grows daily and Etsy does little to nothing to stop it. They are aware of the problem and pay lip service to fixing it, but the reality is that the resellers make them money so they look the other way.

Basically, Etsy is alienating its user base and slowly, willfully killing what it was originally intended to be.

ladokha

yea, it’s all good unless you are a seller on their site and need to get in touch with their customer service – nowhere to be found. they haphazardly close well running stores without any explanation, don’t reply emails and push well meaning clients away .. may be it’s just their NY way.

Erin

Like when a sellers account got hacked a couple weeks ago, and Etsy was no where to be found! I don’t think that is a NY thing…I think it’s a a** thing

Annie

Too bad he is not being careful about letting in so many factory made goods, because he is ruining it for the real artists, crafters, vintage curators and supply sellers. And the buyers who want genuine handmade, not Chinese sweatshop knockoffs.

It’s fast becoming like that wonderful craft show that let in factory made stuff. After a short while the buyers get disenchanted and go elsewhere. Which leaves us who truly do handmade, sadly, watching our livelihoods evaporate.

Sandi

Etsy is moving from craft show to flea market. There are so many re-sellers on the site it’s ridiculous.

David

I just read: “Etsy, technologically and culturally, is a platform that provides meaning to people, and an opportunity to validate their art, their craft,” Dickerson said.

Now I read all of your comments and see how PR crafting can sway public opinion. it sounded like a bed of roses, after reading comments of good people like you, Annie, I see I was misled myself. Seems it does not smell of roses, Etsy just stinks.

Fred

The truth is Chad basically ignores the sellers. Customer service is non existent. If you say anything even remotely close to anything they dont like, they shut you up and even close your shop. If you point out the massive amount of problems, they shut you up, the resellers, the blatant copyright infringement that is allowed to exist ( yes they profit from it) they shut you up while those who continue to sell and break rules and laws are allowed to go along their merry way. If you e mail them for help or a problem (you cant call, no phone number exists that you can talk to someone) you are either ignored or wait days and even weeks for a response. They do absolutely NOTHING to promote the site. The sellers do all the work. Chad did not make Etsy what it is, its all the hard working sellers promoting and crafting that made the site what it is. Admin and Chad treat the sellers like trash.

elizasususweet

True Fred. I sell on Etsy and am making moves to go out on my own. Etsy constantly changes their rules and has absolutely no consideration for the seller. No customer service. They should be ashamed of what they do on the forums. If a seller says something they don’t like about etsy, Etsy cuts them out of the forums. If a seller has their own website, Etsy does not allow the seller to let buyers know that.I get disgusted every time Dickerson says Etsy is a people company. That is a lie, unless the people he talks about are him, his ego and a handful of people on Etsy’s staff.

Barry

I totally agree. They just blast anyone off the forum who doesn’t like what they do and there are many of them. There is no worthwhile customer service from etsy, the sellers do it on the forums when they are allowed to.

Erin

Agreed! I have two shops on Etsy, and will be making the move out very soon! What made Etsy great is that is supported the little handmade companies. Companies with one person running the show. Now there are resellers from all over the world who have factory workers. Etsy doesn’t care at all about what made them great! Good job idiot, you sold out for all the money those resellers bring you. You can find us “real” seller on Zibbet and Craftstar.

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