Etsy versus eBay

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Forum topic by pashley posted 12-15-2010 02:52 PM 3567 views 1 time favorited 32 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1043 posts in 3718 days

12-15-2010 02:52 PM

Topic tags/keywords: etsy ebay

I’d like to post my thoughts about Etsy, and contrast it to eBay, and would like to know your experiences as well.

If you’re not aware of, you should be. Basically, it’s an online craft show, but with much better stuff. Even the photography is usually good to excellent. It’s community driven, and you can interact with the artists. You just get that real connection with people; you’re not typing in a credit card to It’s not cold and lifeless.

It’s also cheap. Listing one item is only 20 cents. They don’t take a final cut of your sales price. They have almost 7 million registered buyers.

But etsy isn’t for every artisan, in my experience. You’re primary customer is the same as you’d find at a craft show – women who want to spend about $20. That’s not to say you can’t sell higher end items – I’ve sold a few of my $495 clocks there – but the primary customer model is what you’d find at a craft show.

Now eBay.

I find myself growing increasingly hostile to eBay, and here’s why – they are too damn expensive.

In my experience, for multi-hundred dollar items, like my clocks, they end up taking, when it’s all said and done, about 20%. They have an insertion fee, and the killer final value fee. Along the way, you’ve picture fees, and premium placement fees. Using Paypal? eBay owns that too, and get a cut of that payment.

But eBay is huge, and has worldwide recognition; you can sell the most esoteric things, from a manual to an old toy from the 60’s, to an image of the Virgin Mary on toast.

My feeling with eBay is it’s not really suited to the artisans like us; it’s more for people looking for a deal. I’m not here to give you a deal, I’m here to sell you a piece you’re heirs will fight over. Go to Wal-mart for a deal.

So my verdict for people like us? Etsy. And Etsy is growing, and it will be a big player next year, in my opinion.

-- Have a blessed day!

32 replies so far

View nate22's profile


475 posts in 2876 days

#1 posted 12-15-2010 02:59 PM

I agree with you on that one. I have a etsy account and it is a lot cheaper and a lot better to deal with. To my concern ebay is alright if your buying something but it’s not good if your selling. And I agree with you that if they want a deal they need to go to wal-mart.

-- Gracie's wooden signs. Middlebury, In.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2851 days

#2 posted 12-15-2010 06:15 PM

The financial picture is vitally important in this; thank you for rolling that out.

Available customers, likewise.

Now the thing that is so difficult to assess: searchability.

Finding a half inch forstner bit on ebay is cake.

But how does one make her/his woodworking pieces findable on etsy?

Background: I have sold lots of stuff on ebay, emphasis on stuff (ask me about the golf club shafts some time). I have two steampunk items on etsy and the number of views is rather underwhelming.

I am looking forward to this discussion.

-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3304 days

#3 posted 12-15-2010 06:42 PM

so far my experience with etsy has been disappointing, i posted about 10 really nice candle holder items…made from heart pine and walnut…and not to pat myself on the back or not being realistic but they were nice items…i had them priced fairly i thought…25 to maybe 60 bucks for the bigger ones…and i just didnt get that many views and i never sold a thing…im going to try again with some different items and try to be patient…and i will also try to make sure i take good photos, as i have found that to be an important thing…but i would rather sell on etsy …ive thought about e bay…but i just dont feel the motivation to post there…and now learning more about these other fees, that pretty much seals the im planning on selling some items that are a bit higher priced…time will tell..a good topic here….

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View YoungestSon's profile


93 posts in 3057 days

#4 posted 12-15-2010 07:15 PM

I have only been thinking about selling products on either Ebay or Etsy. I have heard of Etsy and have poked around the web site a few times but not bought anything there yet.

Thanks for beginning the discussion since I am interested in what everyone has to say.

-- Don - Rochester, NY

View TexCoats's profile


21 posts in 3298 days

#5 posted 12-15-2010 09:00 PM

You could put up your own store online usig for free. Make it look like you want (they have a pretty easy interface, no programming skills needed). Then you could either use that sitename or go get a domain name and point it to your web site (it is pretty easy to do with

If you want to set up something, PM me and I will try to help. If it takes very much time, I will charge, but a pretty low consulting rate, but remember this is a sideline to help you, not my main business. The outcome is to have you have a site you can maintain. I am no artist, just an old computer geek and I would rather you do it yourself or get the teenager next door to help! :) But I am willing to talk about it a little for free anyway.

One of the problems with your own site rather than etsy or eBay, is you need to drive interested traffic to it. But on your own site you can have as much there as you want.

-- A strange game. The only winning move is not to play -- Joshua in War Games

View Max's profile


56000 posts in 4273 days

#6 posted 12-15-2010 09:52 PM

”It’s also cheap. Listing one item is only 20 cents. They don’t take a final cut of your sales price.”

Etsy does charge a transaction fee on the final price. Below is there policy copied off of there web site.

”When you list an item there is a $0.20 (USD) listing fee per quantity of one. This covers an item listing period of four months. For example: If I list a scarf and there’s only 1 in stock, it’ll cost $0.20 for four months. If you gave the listing a quantity of three, it would cost $0.60.

When an item sells, there’s a 3.5% transaction fee on the final sale price (not including shipping). If your shop currency is not USD, the transaction fee will be 3.5% of the item price converted to USD at the time of the purchase.”
If you use PayPal for accepting payments like on eBay there fees will also apply both on Etsy and eBay.

I have listings on both sites and find that on eBay I have more sales than on Etsy. But you are right eBay’s costs are a lot higher by a long shot.

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3875 days

#7 posted 12-15-2010 10:37 PM

Max is right – there is a 3.5% transaction fee when the item sells (if it doesn’t sell, you only pay the initial 20 cents). Compare that to eBay or a gallery and it’s still the best rate around!

-- -- --

View Lochlainn1066's profile


138 posts in 2778 days

#8 posted 12-15-2010 10:53 PM

I just made my first Etsy sale (custom item at that). I’ve been on there since January.

I haven’t considered it all that productive, except for the fact that the single sale I’ve made has paid for all the listing fees so far. So after one year and one sale, I’m in the black. I don’t think the fit is quite right for serious artisans although it’s close. It’s much more “crafty” oriented.

The “feel” of Etsy is great, though, very friendly, informal, and low-key. I don’t like eBay’s rates and I don’t like the hard, cold feel it has. And it feels too busy, impersonal, and unsafe. Just too many people. I never feel that on Etsy.

Because of the friendly environment and low fees, I don’t think there’s any reason NOT to post on Etsy.

-- Nate,

View WoodSimplyMade's profile


188 posts in 3320 days

#9 posted 12-15-2010 11:03 PM

I have been an Etsy seller for about a year and a half, and I too was at first discouraged because I would go months and no sales. Then like Lochlainn1066, I finally made a sale that paid for and then some on all my prior listing fees, it continued like that and didnt see it hurting since the posting prices were being covered.

Now that my Etsy store has been around for it first complete year leading into christmas I have sold 10 – 12 items in the last 4 weeks. Unheard of for me. Some of this stuff I have had on there for the entire year and just like that it all sold. I am super happy and excited. I do plenty of custom orders locally so to get this is a BIG christmas bonus for me. Well worth the 20 cent listing fee and 3.5% sales fee in my books.

-- Mike, Florida,

View pashley's profile


1043 posts in 3718 days

#10 posted 12-15-2010 11:06 PM

Max, thanks for the correction – my mistake. I can easily live with 3.5%. Sell one of my clocks for $495, and I pay about $18. Yeah, I can work with that.

-- Have a blessed day!

View pashley's profile


1043 posts in 3718 days

#11 posted 12-15-2010 11:11 PM

And also, lately, I’ve branched out into glassware…specifically, recycling beer bottles into drinking glasses – yes, you heard that right. I JUST got a sale writing this…that makes 30 glasses in less than 3 weeks, on Etsy. Again, a unique, $20 range item. Here’s a couple of pics. You can see my store here.

-- Have a blessed day!

View Max's profile


56000 posts in 4273 days

#12 posted 12-15-2010 11:21 PM


I hear ya about the being able to deal with the fees on Etsy, I could not agree with you more. I just wish I made more sales on Etsy than I do eBAy.

The re-purposed beer bottle is one heck of an idea you came up with, just looked at your store on Etsy and like it and the idea a lot….. I have seen glass cutters made for bottles before, is that what you use? You state that you polish the rims by hand on your site, what do you use? If I may ask…

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View pashley's profile


1043 posts in 3718 days

#13 posted 12-15-2010 11:25 PM

Well, trying not to give away the secret sauce….yes, the basic gist is using a bottle cutter with a jig, parting the two halves cleanly (the really secret sauce) and simply sanding them down. Right now just using sandpaper, but glass destroys it, so am looking for an alternative….

I forgot to add that this is a good idea too, because people can feel good about “saving the environment” – however you feel about that topic.

It’s novel, at any rate… :)

-- Have a blessed day!

View Max's profile


56000 posts in 4273 days

#14 posted 12-15-2010 11:29 PM


I was just curious, wasn’t looking to steal your secret sauce. It is a great idea and product….

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View pashley's profile


1043 posts in 3718 days

#15 posted 12-16-2010 02:12 AM

No, no problem Max! The secret sauce is still in flux anyway….LOL

-- Have a blessed day!

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