Unicorns and down rounds

Fairly (because I’m his mom), I was criticized by my son for the use of the word “rape” to describe how I felt about Etsy’s stunts, bedroom alliances with China & India and abandonment of their base of sellers.

Back to Mr. Webster I went.  As I’ve said all along, there is another definition of rape:  “an act of plunder, violent seizure, or abuse; despoliation; violation: as in the rape of the countryside.”  Yep – it’s a violent word.  But apparently even a countryside can be raped.

He suggested that I used the word “fucked”, as in “How Etsy Fucked America”.  

I politely agree that the title is open for criticism.  But so is Etsy.  And as someone who watched their sales plummet over 80% in the past year, I still feel “plundered and violated” by Chad’s antics.  Because of course you cut your marketing budget when you’re about to launch a “get rich quick” IPO round.  Which Etsy did, in spades.

Peeps, stats don’t lie.

I wish I could copy/paste the graph from Etsy showing my performance (I seem to be computer illiterate where it comes to copy/paste commands…so visually if the reader can imagine a person climbing, climbing, climbing up a mountain, and falling headfirst over a cliff, that’s what the stats look like.

This January, which ends very soon records a dismal $110 of revenue.
Last January was a totally different story.  $ 873 of revenue.

It doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out that my sales have decreased over 85% from 2015 to 2016.  Tell me that doesn’t feel like a plunder or violation.  I’m just glad I didn’t make it worse by BUYING stock in Etsy, a company I used to believe in.

From a recent article:

GoPro Inc, Twitter Inc, Etsy Inc, Fitbit Inc, Box Inc: The Death Of The Tech Darlings

    dollar money bubbleMike Larson:  Remember all the hype over Twitter Inc. (NYSE:TWTR) when it went public in the fall of 2013? The stock IPO’d at $26, then soared to almost $75 by the end of the year. But it’s been one long, sickening slide ever since – with the stock hitting an all-time low of $15-and-change earlier this week.

    How about the Square Inc. (NYSE:SQ) IPO back in the fall of 2015? The payment processing technology firm is headed up by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and it got a ton of adoring press. But after going public at $9 … then rising as high as $14.78 the next day … the stock has gone into freefall. On Wednesday, it slumped below its IPO price and kept on going.

    Then there’s the crafts and personalized gift site Etsy Inc. (NASDAQ:ETSY). It’s down 83% from its IPO day peak. And water and drop-resistant camera company GoPro Inc. (NASDAQ:GPRO). It’s down 90% from its 2014 post-IPO peak.

    Well, well, well Etsy.  It seems as though misery loves company.  83% drop since your NASDAQ debut.  Coincidentally, those numbers mirror exactly what’s going on in my shop.

    The article had a few ideas as to why this had happened:

    “Many tech companies got swept up in the mania, particularly in the private, pre-IPO-stage market. A whopping 100 startups were valued by private equity investors at more than $1 billion each as of early 2015, earning the sobriquet “unicorns.” Huge, expensive office parties … massive bidding wars and signing bonuses for tech-sector employees … sky-high Silicon Valley real estate prices and rents: They all came with the boom, just like we saw in the late 1990s.

    But things were getting so out of hand by this past fall that I couldn’t help but call a spade a spade — and label it a potential “Tech Bubble II.” I also suggested that we’d see a wave of deflation in private sector valuations and that this would spill over before long into public tech sector valuations.

    Sure enough, many unicorns are now raising money in “down rounds” — transactions that value their companies for less than the previous funding rounds did. Mutual fund firms that eagerly bought into hot pre-IPO companies are also writing down the value of those private shares. BlackRock slashed its valuation on Snapchat by 24% this past summer, while Fidelity cut its valuations on Dropbox and Zenefits by 31% and 48% respectively this fall.

    I’ve never seen a unicorn’s horn deflate, but I imagine it’d be kinda depressing.

    There was an article from Chad Dickerson in June 2015.  Such a rah-rah article.  When I read it now, it’s almost funny.  Imagine a unicorn reading from a scroll:

    “Ten years ago, Etsy was born out of the simple idea that a marketplace should exist to connect creative entrepreneurs with buyers in search of unique goods. Over time, Etsy has come to represent something even more powerful: an alternative to traditional commerce and a different, people-centered model for doing business.

    Today we celebrate Etsy’s first decade as a company. Our success story spans not just ten years, but also millions of entrepreneurs and thoughtful customers all over the globe who make up the growing Etsy Economy. More than 1.4 million sellers are helping us realize our mission of reimagining commerce every day.

    In an age when drones, self-driving cars, and virtual reality headsets are threatening to erase every opportunity to interact with another person, we’re celebrating the personal bonds forged by our community. Over the last ten years, we’ve built an authentic, community-centric global and local marketplace. It’s a collaborative endeavor that is nourished by the connections between everyone in ourecosystem. We are building for the long term and measure the impact Etsy can have in years and decades. Ten years — one decade! — after we began this journey, we can truly see the Etsy Economy taking shape around us.”


    China and India have invaded and ruined Etsy, there is no “alternative to traditional commerce and a people-centered model for doing business.”  Unless little children and women in 3rd world countries are “people-centered” businesses.

    Where is Chad now?  His press releases and rah-rah statements seem to have cut off in the fall of 2015.  He was probably busy chasing down the unicorn with the deflated horn.




    6 thoughts on “Unicorns and down rounds

    1. If there is one word that I hate in all of the statements that come out of Etsy’s mouth – it must be “reimagining”.
      To me it means: Open the doors to all and sundry and throw the policies out the window


    2. Etsy seriously needs to be investigated. Like many Etsy sellers I noticed a huge drop in my views around September 2015. Prior to that I had a steady increase in sales. Things were OK. I have never been very confident with the new Etsy team or their way of doing things, but I wanted to wait and see what they were going to bring to the table. I have been a member of Etsy since 2008 and couldn’t figure out what was going on. Well, when things started to flatline for me was around the time Etsy went public and they changed their search. Views got worse and worse and no matter how much work i did on my SEO I was hardly getting any views. Where was everyone? My items were showing up on some of the top pages so why am I getting few views? I contacted Etsy support and still went round and round on the Etsy-go-round. Being told to do this and that. Working non-stop on seo and lucky if I was getting the few views Etsy perfectly timed for me each day. And I question whether those were even legitimate views. Whenever I get a large spike in views all at once they do not show up on my Google analytics,which is very weird because my visitors almost always come up on my Google Analytics. So what’s the deal then? Could these just be fake bot views to make sellers believe they have people looking at their items when they are not? I got curious and decided to mess around with their Promoted Listings to see what kind of effect it would have on my views. Not only were my views even worse then when I was not using PL, but many of my clicks were from competitors! I was paying Etsy to have competitors look at my site. Etsy has people on the forums who say you have to “experiment” with different budgets and see which tags/titles work over a period of time..blah blah.. etc. And I think THIS is exactly what Etsy wants. They want to give all those who sell cheap mass-manufatured items the exposure for the quick sale and then keep us crafters spending our precious time and money on a sketchy pay-per-click system that is set up to fail. Make the little crafters desperate and spend what little money they have. Keep them working at something that will never work. Control their views to make them think there is something THEY are doing wrong and so that they keep working and trying to figure it all out. It’s sickening what Etsy is doing and I don’t trust them one bit. I never did and never will.But sadly Etsy isn’t the only company who is playing this game. This is just a small part of a much bigger picture that plagues this country.


    3. People have been complaining about this stuff since etsy was young and every change they’ve made has been the worst thing ever.

      Etsy literally would die and cease to exist if they did what (some) sellers want them to.

      They are adapting to the ever changing global marketplace. Businesses that don’t adapt or change tend to die, unless they have lots of luck or a consistently high demand product.


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