The Darker Side Of Etsy…


I think by now you would be hard pressed to find many people who know about Etsy who don’t also know about Regretsy. It has been a whirlwind sensation of bad craft & snappy remarks that has exposed some truly hideous “handmade” items & the people who make them.

I had mixed feelings about Regretsy when I first came upon it – it was funny – so funny – but it also exposed a side of Etsy I hadn’t even thought of. Since the day I first discovered Etsy I have had pipe dreams of selling something (that’s my first problem right there) & working happily in my pyjamas for cash money. I am yet to do anything about that dream, apart from brainstorm shop names & spend hours designing shop banners I’ll never use; but I have admired so many other people’s lovely shops, bought things, given hearts to this, that & the other & generally wondered at the awesomeness that is THE handmade marketplace. That’s why when Regretsy started telling me that not everyone who had an Etsy store was a classy & talented crafter, I was pretty disappointed. Call me naive (I have SO been called worse…) but I just didn’t consider the possibility of people on Etsy deliberately selling dodgey wares or being anything less than the stand up folks I’ve come to think of crafters as being.

Did you know though, that Regretsy were not the first to expose all that is weird, crappy & in bad taste on Etsy? Helen Killer has done it with style & wit, there is no doubt, but Etsy WTF were doing it earlier.

I came across Etsy WTF after reading a comment on Regretsy – something Helen had posted had previously been posted there & I went to check it out. From there I found more links that I really wish didn’t have to exist;

Etsy Puppeteers

Again I may be just super naive – but did you know that sellers on Etsy can set up fake accounts & make “treasuries” to increase their chances of their items being featured on the front page? Etsy Puppeteers seeks to find ‘Puppet’ accounts & expose them.

Etsy Call Out

Some VERY interesting reading here – have you seen, while shopping for the perfect handmade little sumpin sumpin, an item that you could have sworn you’d seen at your local $2 shop…? It may not just be your eyes playing tricks on you – people do that on Etsy folks, resell random things they’ve bought, or import, or found somewhere or other… even worse than that though are sellers stealing from others – I was reading about one seller who posted photos of another sellers items in her store… say what?

Etsy Bitch

I’d say Etsy Bitch is mostly for (or by) disgruntled & frustrated Etsy sellers who can’t have their say on the highly censored (sorry… moderated…) Etsy forums, there is a lot of bitchin’ as you would assume, but also promotion of like minded Etsy Artisans.

You Thought We Wouldn’t Notice

YTWWN isn’t just about Etsy, but you can search for ‘Etsy’ on the site to find all the relevant posts. This site is all about exposing blatant rip offs of other people’s work, art or ideas. It’s very interesting & very disappointing. The amount of people openly stealing others work & passing it off as their own is really quite disgusting. My jaw literally dropped when I saw this in particular.

I think that people who have been selling on Etsy for any amount of time will be more likely to know about all this stuff than sporadic buyers like myself, but I know that since I found all this stuff I have been looking at Etsy in a slightly different, less rosy light. I still believe that there are amazing artisans selling their wares there, and you know from my earlier post that I love to shop there, but I am a little more wary, a little more cautious & a bit more curious about who I am actually buying from.

I’d love to hear from anybody with a store on Etsy – what do you think about the sites I’ve shared here…?! Are you happy that they exist, exposing the dishonest & the dodgey, or do you think they give Etsy a bad name as a whole?

Fellow buyers – Have you had a bad Etsy experience? I have only had great buying experiences myself, knock on wood (yeouch!), but I’m sure there are horror stories out there…


  1. I am. I'm coming back to read more. Cos I can be on these sites for ages and it's the Cinderella hour. Compulsive viewing but also required in small doses - some of it can get pretty soul destroying!

  2. Very interesting. Obviously Etsy needs far stricter standards if it is to remain true to being a seller of handmade items. Yes it is disappointing to see but these articles also help the buyer to beware and possibly also save money. Thanks for the links. I sell on Madeit. Hopefully they fulfill their charter better. Cherrie

  3. Wow call me Naive too then. I had never heard about these sites. Although I was sure something like that existed...Gives me something to do online this week other then shop :P....Intersting!

  4. I can't spend much time on these sites, a little soul sucking honestly. I'm glad they are out there but, I like the denial I've cultivated for myself.
    I have an etsy shop (poor neglected thing) and it doesn't get much play. I should belong to the forums and teams and promote more but, I just don't have time right now. I have seen things that look like what I've made and I'm sure people could look at my stuff and say hey! that looks like my stuff. Just part of the process of crafting. I would hope someone would contact me personally if they had a question about my wares before broadcasting that I was a rip off artist.
    Many crafters are sincere and put their best efforts into what they sell. and some people just suck. I think strictly regulating this stuff is hard and may end up penalizing those who do good work. As in all areas of life, buyer beware.

  5. Well I never, did not know any of this. I know about Etsy of course, but have never heard of the other site.

    I have only had good experiences with Etsy, but then I have only purchased patterns, so no experience with handmade goods.

    It's a shame really.

  6. So disappointing to see the horrid etsy underbelly.... thanx for the heads up!!

  7. I usually only buy things from other craft bloggers, not just random etsy stores, so I've never had a problem.
    I suppose that I've never really worried about being ripped off as I use paypal for my purchases.

  8. Thanks everyone for your comments - I'm pretty glad that I wasn't the only one that didn't know about this stuff - it kind of restores the faith a little you know - as if the bad stuff happens but not so much that everybody knows about it.

    Lola - So ominous my dear, yet, unfortunately, sound advice 'Buyer Beware (All ye who enter Etsy here... hehe)'.

    Cam - Maybe you are happy to buy, but what about if you saw something very obviously yours, or YOUR PHOTOS in sombody else's shop?!

  9. When I first started exploring etsy I came across an article - a big chain store in America stole a floor rug design off a smaller company. The smaller company took them to court and they won. The article spoke about how these chains stores are taking ideas because they don't think the smaller/independent companys can afford to take them to court.

    I was first upset with etsy when I came across an recently listed flower made out a zipper! I thought it was great/creative... one of those I wish I had thought of that. I usually think about etsy purchases for a couple of days, during these couple of days I was in Las Vegas and went into urban outfitters (a rip off store, but it had air con and vegas was HOT). I came across these zipper flowers on the discounted table. I dont know who came up with the idea first - but some definate stealing.
    I recently had a bad etsy experince. Being in Aust. now I have to organise shipping costs, well I had been talking to this guy for a week about this banksia pendant. He put up costs for shipping, I purchased it. 3 days after payment I sent an email asking if it had been sent - he replied with his wife had sold it! He told me he had made more and he would send me photos of the weekend (it was Tuesday.. not happy). The weekend came and went, I sent another email - no reply. In the end when I said I would report him, he returned my money and said he would send one free of charge. I never got the pendant and have been planning my negative feedback ever since.
    The bad side of Etsy is also exposed in chatrooms - there are some rude and ignorant crafters out there.

  10. man o man. what a great post. i think i like to pretend that NONE of this is happening...*fingers in ears* la,la, la, la, la...(thanks for bringing it to my attention)

  11. I've had my photos used in someone elses shop without permission and I've also had some of my designs ripped off (albeit without the Jetta's Nest sparkle!).

    This sort of stuff sucks but buying online is risky. To be honest, while I think that Regretsy and other similar sites are funny, I can't look at them very often cos I find it all a little sad too.

    Like lots of other crafters, I prefer to keep it local and buy from people I know and trust.

    And that's it for me cos this topic generally leaves me feeling a little nauseated.

  12. ahh i didnt know those places existed, well a few yes, some no, i must read up.
    hmm, ive been a seller on etsy for a few years, and it is so sad to see some people who make stuff, get their things copied, ive seen it happen ALOT to people, from DIVA! which is just bullshit, they get away with it.

    ive also noticed alot of things super super similar to our things we make, by new clay selling people and it makes me so sad, but what can you do?!!

  13. Haha! Yes there is certainly more to etsy than first meets the eye. lol.

    Personally i have had nothing but wonderful (ok except a few non paying 'buyers') experiences as a buyer and seller. My friend however purchased a rather pricey leather belt with side pocket - bags (can't really describe it!) and the seller was apparently making these in Australia but it arrived with a 'made in India' tag sewn in. Not cool!

  14. That was a really interesting read, thanks Vic!


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