There are a zillion threads on both the Etsy and Artfire forums about this topic. I read them every so often and sort of see if there are any new ideas or arguments one way or another. I know my opinion and how it applies to my shop and this is what I believe is the essential part of my decisions. However, every once in a while there is a good argument or piece of wisdom picked up from reading the ranting and ravings of my fellow artisans.
Today, a newcomer to Artfire made some astute observations. This person has only been there a short while... and their words really did kind of hit home with me. This person isn't just ranting or raving but making rational observations. I asked and they have granted me permission to repost portions of their post here.
"I joined Artfire about a week ago.(Around the time the new logo hit the front page)
I have a few observations about this place I thought might be interesting to some.
I first looked at this site about a week ago even though I had heard of it well before.
I didn`t come sooner because Artfire had a reputation of being invisible to buyers.
No traffic, no hits, no views, no sales.
I came here last week because the buzz about Artfire on the Etsy forums had grown to a fever pitch and I simply had to see what the hell everyone was going on about.
(Remember that, word of mouth is your best friend)
I signed up immediately for a free account and started testing the waters."
I want to stop here a moment to point out how this person discovered Artfire through Etsy.... exactly the opposite of what Etsy wants. I find this painfully ironic.
"About a half hour after I signed up for the free account I signed up for a pro account because I was simply amazed at the selling tools I could get access to.
For selling abilities, sellers tools, and search function this place blows Etsy away.
I`ve never really put much effort into selling on Etsy simply because it looked like whatever effort I expended would be neutralized by Etsy admin.
I have since imported my entire Etsy inventory here and this place will be my focus.
I`m going to put everything in this basket.
The search sucked(I believe purposely).
Policy was made on a whim and changed just as soon as that whim changed.
Sellers needs were always ignored.
Admin statements were constantly contradicted by other admin statements.
I had no idea what I should do as a seller in some situations simply because admin had no idea what their policy was."
Another good stopping point. I myself have learned through online selling sites that if your shop's policies are not crystal clear, you get more trouble than it's worth. Policy is IMPORTANT in any business. And after reading this comment on the forum today, I realized that all that time I had spent maintaining a shop on Etsy, I had never once looked for a site policy. Perhaps I should have. When I moved to Artfire, the policy was right up front and simple enough to follow easily.
"It slowly dawned on me that Etsy had no interest in my or any other sellers success."
What a horrible realization to come to. And yet this was the bottom line that made me empty out my shops on Etsy as well. I maintain an account over there only to shop with... and even that is sparse. I shop on Artfire 9 times out of 10 and only go to Etsy as a last resort now. Sad but true.
This person goes on to point out flaws in Etsy that most already have known, seen or heard about. But this last part I'll share is what made me want to blog this information.
"Artfire, this place looks great, the tools rock, the community is golden,the fees are a fantasy come true. The problem with this place is the first thing I mentioned in this post.
It still has a reputation for low exposure."
This is where my fellow Artfire artisans and I need to focus our attention. Artfire already gives me the best exposure on the web I've ever had. The fact that we can be found by the google machine is awesome.... but we need to focus more on getting Artfire's name out there in the public.
So let's get to it! This blog of mine is my first step in that direction.