Etsy in trouble?

Yesterday my wife pointed out a change that Etsy made to how their search listings are displayed, and apparently it’s made some people mad. Marissa Lee Swinghammer, a Boston printmaker who’s been pretty successful selling her work with the service, is giving up on Etsy until they get their act together.

Etsy is a great idea but has terrible management. The company seems to be bent on purist policies that snub their own users, without which they would cease to exist. I’ve always been convinced that the website is a very inexpensive way to maintain a nice looking store, but you have to market it yourself. You can’t remotely rely on the website’s own traffic for sales.

Marissa is switching to Art Fire for the time being, which she’s already used some and likes pretty well. The following is one of her mixed media prints listed on Art Fire, titled Dream World.


On a similar note, my friend Joel Armstrong just called me to say that Art Bistro‘s terms and conditions include (in number eight) a clause that gives the Bistro all rights to work you post or list with that website. I’ve registered for Art Bistro but have yet to figure out what the website is actually for. Joel was right to point that out though; among artists, a statement like that won’t be popular. Since I personally work almost exclusively in three-dimensions, it applies less to me than painters and illustrators whose work can much more easily reproduced. For sculptors like me, if the Bistro wants to use images I upload of my own work I’d probably be thrilled at the free marketing!

Update: Etsy has reversed the change mentioned above according to my wife, after a mere week of outcry from users.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

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