I debated for two days whether or not to post this on Zibbet. I figured I needed that time to clear my head before I fired off some heated words that were more emotion than fact. Here's what happened.
Saturday evening I was scheduled to moderate a forum trade event my team had organized. About fifteen minutes before I was scheduled to take over the trade event, I logged into Etsy and went directly to the forums to read a few of the pages so I'd be up to speed. I'm a team leader so it struck me as odd that at the top of each page it said, "You don't have permission to participate in this discussion." So I started clicking through my shop and when I clicked on the "listings" link I got the message:
Your account is currently suspended
Etsy has suspended your account privileges. Please check your email for more information about your account's status.
A check of my email did indeed show an email from Etsy's Marketplace Integrity Team telling me my shop had been suspended because my items didn't appear to meet their criteria. I was so totally floored by this that it took a few minutes to sink in. Of course they offered me an option to prove that my items are indeed handmade and I'm currently doing that. But I wanted to point out a couple of things.
First, I was highly upset that Etsy suspended my shop BEFORE they contacted me. I had heard other sellers say that Etsy shut them down without warning but I thought surely a site as huge as Etsy would exercise due process first. Boy, was I wrong!
Second, the item that has been flagged is clearly described as a pair of vintage earrings. I never claimed to make them. (As a matter of fact, those earrings are listed right here on Zibbet with the EXACT same description I had on Etsy). You can see them here: http://www.zibbet.com/UnexpectedTreasure/artwork?artworkId=830233
When I sent Etsy an email asking them how I could possibly submit step by step photos of me producing that item when it's a vintage item and there was no production process involved, they replied within a couple of hours and sent a photo of another item from my shop that they wanted me to reproduce with step by step photos. (I have done so.)
The inquiry process is very involved. There's a 3 part questionaire to complete and return with TONS of photographic evidence. Oh yeah, and each photo must include a piece of paper showing my username and the date. This will show Etsy that the photographs are current and taken by me.
I guess I'll wrap this up by saying that I thought my shop was my own but have since discovered that Etsy can do whatever they want with it. I'm not upset that I have to prove my stuff is handmade by me. In fact, that was the part that least concerned me. What I am upset about is that I feel Etsy should not have shut me down until AFTER I submitted whatever evidence they required and only then if they were still not satisfied my items are handmade. I always thought in our society it was "innocent until proven guilty" but, again, I guess I was wrong.
So, AFTER I get my shop reinstated, I'm saying so long to Etsy for good. I never again want to be convicted and found guilty without a fair trial. But I want my shop, and my good name, reinstated first. I've had over 1,000 sales on Etsy and not a single negative feedback. And that's the image I want to leave people with when I leave that venue.
OK, I'm done venting. :)
Hi Anna! They say that a very very few small percentage of Etsy sellers actually ever visit the forums....soooo many of them have no clue about how you could be shut down so quickly and would never believe it would happen until it Happens to them...at the same time that I think they need a REAL "program" in place to try and start policing the non-handmade items on the sight....They should NEVER NEVER Shut down a shop who is under "investigation"..but should only shut-down those who do not meet the handmade requirements...because how else if any sight wants to "police" non-hand-made....would it ever happen? They keep saying it is up to the members to "report"..but what about if the members are "wrong" or if they saw something on "Alibaba" for example that was copied from the original?....I have no problem with the reporting...as I hope that as Zibbet grows..that our members will be diligent in reporting resellers..but to me it is indeed a travesty that they shut your shop down before you had a chance to prove yourself....my hopes for Zibbet....if someone sees a reseller or an item that is not really "hand made" but is "listed" as such..that Zibbet will have some sort of the same type of "validation process" that you easily provided...but your shop should never be closed down on a "juried" opinion where a sight says that it depends upon its' members to report one another for wrong doings :(...and if you are a "collective" there...maybe whatever you do that might indeed fit their "handmade" mold for big sellers.....just not the smalls who have to provide proof?
Thanks for responding. Etsy has really gone overboard policing the little people like us while allowing the big resellers and "collectives" to flourish. My only beef with what happened to me is that they didn't allow me prove myself BEFORE shutting my shop down. If they'd done so then shutting my shop down wouldn't have been necessary.
Oh well, what's done is done. I'm here on Zibbet now and will let my listings over there expire.
Wow, that is one negative experience I will remember. I never did finish my shop on Etsy. I'm glad I didn't even though all of my jewelry is handmade by me. I have a shops on Artfire, Handmade Artists Shops and here on Zibbet. Not only is Etsy expensive to maintain (with the listing fees etc.) but over saturated and over estimated in importance.
Jewelry is very oversaturated on Etsy! I made tons of jewelry listed some and the sales didn't come. It was a waste of money for me. So (eventually) I'm going to list my jewelry here.
You're so right about the fees adding up on Etsy. It can become cost prohibitive to constantly renew and relist. Etsy is a victim of its own success. I'm just happy to be here on Zibbet. :)
I've heard a few of these stories now and they are all horrifying. It's like they went from one extreme to the other in policing resellers while doing nothing about the actual resellers.
Though I can understand why they would have someone take pictures of their process but if I or another silversmith (or other seller working with high value materials) had to "remake" a particular piece for them, that could be incredibly costly and time consuming! I often work on deadline with custom orders and that could really throw a wrench into things.
Best of luck Anna and to everyone else going through this. I have no income other than what I make from my metalsmithing right now and can empathize with the financial emotional toll this could take on a seller.
LicaLee, it's an awful experience to be put through something like that. I couldn't imagine doing it ever again. Wishing you the best here on Zibbet. :)
sad to say the closing stories are getting more and more plentiful, seems like every day we are hearing about someone being closed down over there
Laurie, it is sad. Soon Etsy's going to be just like any other big box online store.
This happened to me too in February. No warning and sounds like the same email you got from "etsy integrity" (not really sure how they can say they have any integrity though to be honest). I submitted photos as best I could and still got no explanation as to why they targeted my shop. Most of the items in my store are crochet one of a kind and all made by me. I was part of a big team in Australia who all backed me up and my team leader was in contact with etsy (or tried to be) but still didn't get the results. My shop is still closed/suspended and I am of the same opinion as you - even if they did reopen it , I wouldn't want to be any part of their business.
I have also removed all my listings at Etsy from my other store Getspooned, and moved them to Zibbet. I am not sure what their plan is but at this rate they will not have a business in the near future. There are so many sellers being pushed out without warning or reason and word is spreading , which means places like Zibbet will benefit in the long run.
I also lost all my 100%feedback and all my customers see if they try to find me now is "A stitch has gone awry. This page is temporarily down. Please check back later." !!!!!
A STITCH HAS GONE AWRY - Something has gone Awry and it is Etsy.
well said karina very well said, issues with etsy have gone way back to when I first started. one of the issues then was allowing sellers to cancel a sale and not refund the money. major issue back then
I'm so very glad I'm over here now and have told all of my etsy friends to come here as well. most of them have joined us here too!