Friday, January 20, 2012

Here We Go Again!

Well, you may remember a year or more ago when everyone was fed up with Etsy when they were messing with the SEO of their site.  Well, we mumbled and grumbled and  moved on.  We being online sellers of Handmade Goodness.

We found a great place to sell our items.  The owners listened to the sellers, asked advised, taught us about SEO and let us help with testing.  We thought we had found the perfect place to sell.  Then something changed.

When Artfire was starting out their tag line was something like Sell For Free, Always.  Well, they recently did away with the free shops....after they lured hundreds of sellers in by telling them they could always sell for free.

Then they told us they were thinking about letting in the commercial business.  Okay, that's no big deal.  Especially since they told us that the commercial side would have to pay higher fees for special seller tools.  OK, good, they'll get extra revenue from the commercial business.

But then the announcement came.  Suddenly ArtFire decided that they wanted to offer the customer Assurance Protection against dishonest ArtFire sellers.  Well, that wasn't such a bad idea.  Artfire would first have the customer contact the seller, then if that was unsuccessful Artifire would help the customer file a complaint through Paypal.  Then if that didn't work ArtFire would refund the cost of the purchase from a fund.  A fund that would come from adding on an additional dollar to our locked in monthly rates.  And any left over funds at the end of the year would be used for marketing.  And those of us with the locked in rates could opt out of this if we chose.

Hmm, that doesn't sound too terribly bad, does it? No, I didn't think so either.  UNTIL they announced that they were going to add a button to their searches so customers could see ONLY items from the sellers who offered this assurance.  WHAT???

First of all, I offer a 100% guarantee.  No questions asked, return the item I'll return the purchase price.  No hassles, no muss no fuss.  I don't need the guarantee,  I WANT my customers to be happy.  I don't want them to have to jump through hoops and get angry.

So what ArtFire is now telling us is that if we don't opt in to the Assurance program we could be excluded from internal customer searches .

I know what you're what's the big deal.  It's only $12 a year, just pay it and live with it.  Well, if they make us pay for this feature so we can be sure to show up in searches, what will they make us pay for later, and then tell us if we don't pay we won't show up in searches?  What other fees can they tack on until we're no longer paying our guaranteed locked in rate but being charged some outrageous fees.

All I can say is that my guarantee to customers is already 10 times better then Artfires, and none of us should have to be coerced into BUYING protection with threats of not showing in searches.  Are these guys trying to start an ArtFire mob?

Many of us feel as though we've been lied to.  Their explanation is that our locked in rates were for basic selling features.  Their actions no longer represent what they were when we first signed on.  They're no longer for the small seller.  It feels like Etsy all over again.  Almost like I'm dealing with a lying cheating spouse!  I guess the honeymoon is over!

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