Thursday, November 20, 2008

Handmade Twitter Wars Part Two

The gloves are off and Etsy has thrown down for the first time since Artfire became a real contender. Kind of. 

Etsy has added the word Artfire to it's Google Ads causing a sponsored link for Etsy to pop up when you search the word Artfire. In the normal course of online business this move would be expected but for Etsy, a company that has found itself a happy handmade island in cyber space, this move is one of the first indications that it's even aware the island is being invaded. The discovery caused a minor ripple over Twitter and some high fives from Etsy's toughest critics but the move was soon dwarfed by the unveiling of Etsy's new front page layout.

From the moment Etsy uploaded their new design, visiting the front page has been a feast for the eyes. Every collection of "Handpicked Items" has been color coordinated and arranged so beautifully it's hard to imagine that Etsy is a home for things like diaper cakes and quilted fanny packs. The front page is slick, modern and inviting, which is exactly the sort of first impression Etsy needs to give. After all, the first step to changing the image of buying handmade is to um, change the image. In this way, the front page is a success and not a moment to soon, as we head into Black Friday, the official start of holiday shopping. Hopefully this sophisticated look will carry through to Etsy's advertising at some point as well.

The critical angle with Etsy's new look is that Etsy is perhaps, simply applying a fresh coat of paint over what should be a much deeper renovation of the site. Sellers who have been waiting for some of the more basic site functions to be revamped, like search, find the front page an unwelcome distraction from more important site issues. These sellers are starting to find a satisfying home on Artfire, where new and desired selling features are rolled out on a weekly basis. Artfire may not have the sleek appearance that Etsy has but it may end up having the functions that everyone wants. In the end, the venue that can successfully incorporate both, at the lowest price, will end up with the lion share.

Click Here to view Handmade Twitter Wars Part One


Anonymous said...

I actually wrote about the Google AdWords thing at my blog due to some immature things that were posted on ArtFire's Twitter. The CEO replied in the comments. To me, so far, ArtFire seems to be really negative and appears to just be a different choice rather than a better one.

Thanks for posting about this, I like getting different people's takes on the sites.

CraftDiner said...

I saw those tweets and I will check out your blog.

The behind the scenes scoop is that Etsy Bitch and Etsy seller VeryBigJen is consulting on this project. It is good news in that Artfire has someone qualified on board to point out where Etsy has gone wrong but not so good news if they come off disrespectful as a result. Artfire cannot sustain itself on disgruntled Etsians alone, so it is in their best interests to stay neutral when addressing Etsy customers on Twitter for sure.