Resellers and associated teeth gnashing

Reseller.

Innocuous word, right? But oh so rife with connotation and negativity. At least in the online selling venues I am most familiar.

Much angst, gnashing of teeth, and arguing is occurring right now with at least two of these venues. And not just heated discussion with venue owners. Much, much heated discussions among the venue’s sellers as well.

So what is a reseller? And why the angst? There are a myriad of definitions, but in the simplest Kristy terms, a reseller is someone who sells a manufactured finished product online. The bone of contention for artists is that many of these sellers also have the audacity to state that these are artisan handmade goods. These resellers then sell them on venues in which, supposedly, they are not allowed to do so, by that venue’s own usage terms. These resellers lie to unsuspecting buyers about the good’s origins and their makers. They state that these artisan goods are handmade by the seller herself. Failing to inform buyers that these goods are indeed created in a factory or by sweat shop workers.

The gnashing of teeth

Both venues that I have the most knowledge about (Etsy and Artfire) utilize a Terms Of Service (or Terms of Use) document to outline what is and what is not permissible activity within the site. This document outlines what kinds of items can be sold and what are not permitted. On both venues, generally accepted saleable items include handmade (and the definition of what, exactly, is handmade, is long), antique/vintage, and supplies. Supplies are defined as items used in the making of other items, but not finished items per se.

An interesting difference between the venue’s handling, or mishandling as the case may be, of the situation is occurring with Etsy and Artfire right now. Etsy has a myriad of resellers. These sellers blatantly violate TOU and are brought to administration attention time and time again. Etsy does little to police its own site nor does it seem to want to change the TOU to incorporate them. Instead, Etsy administration’s inaction and lip service about the issue to angry sellers continues infuriatingly unabated. Just read example after example listed on the blog called Etsy Call Out . Or the dozens of threads that have been closed by Admin when the topic has come up on Etsy’s forums at the Etsy Closed Threads blog.  Is the inaction because each of those reseller stores generates needed revenue for Etsy? Is it due to mismanagement? Is Etsy’s plan really to incorporate these resellers soon but doesn’t have a solid communication plan to articulate it? One thing is sure; inaction isn’t helping the situation any and neither is it placating these angry sellers continually pointing out the ongoing situation to Etsy administration.

Artfire has similar issues with resellers. They exist on the site and their numbers are growing. The difference? Artfire is admitting it has a problem, and asking it’s sellers to help develop the solution. Will everyone be happy with whatever is determined to be the next course of action? Do pigs fly? I don’t expect a solution in the short term. This baby needs to gestate for months at least before all nuances are advanced and practical aspects are considered.

Finding THE perfect solution isn’t the thing, for me. It’s the fact that a dialogue is occurring. It’s the fact that the Artfire team has acknowledged the issue instead of remaining in their ivory tower of ownership. The solution discussion has been ongoing and vehement among sellers, but it’s not only the Seller’s gnashing teeth. Artfire’s staff has enjoyed a bit of gnashing themselves, and I suspect it will continue for a while until some sort of solution is discovered.

I’ll be curious to see how it shakes out next year at this time. Could be an interesting ride.

What do you think?

Posted by Kristy of Simply Shiny


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Comments

  1. Not good to say it will be “interesting”, but I do agree, but I am definitely going to be around for the ride.

  2. Although my items are often mistaken for mass produced items, they are all handmade. The reseller is my biggest competition, so yes, I’d like to see rules enforced.

  3. Norma, it’s frustrating isn’t it? Either enforce the existing rules or change them and communicate to the sellers. It’s really not that hard, you’d think.

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