Saturday, June 7, 2008

SHOOT ME if I ever do this

Once upon a time not so very long ago, there was an Etsy seller who came up with a rockin' little product she sold thousands of that year! To no one's great surprise, soon other Etsy sellers were mimicking her product. Oh, it was not such a proprietary product -- it involved some recycled materials, some new materials, and some readily available materials. But she was a rockin' little business woman so she did really well. Plus she had a great packaging concept that helped sell those rockin' little products. She became a Legend and got a lot of visibility, plus she was friendly and helpful in sharing her general tools for success.

And lots of new Etsy sellers perhaps thought it was a good idea to imitate her success by imitating her product. Some creators of similar products had undoubtedly played with those materials before. Some imitators, I'm sad to report, did a pretty lousy job, but others took her concept and went off in their own direction with it.

However, there were soon SO many Etsy sellers horning in on her idea she finally said, this is so disenheartening to have this happen in my own community, I'm just going to create a tutorial for this product and sell THAT. (Some of those in the community, as I said earlier, were probably not horning in but were simply having simultaneous artgasms, the phenomenon of two people playing with similar materials with similar inherent properties and therefore similar potential, coming up with very similar products at the same time -- but you could discern them pretty easily cause their individual creativity showed through).

Well I purchased this PDF from her and it was just fine. Simple, straight to the point, clear photos and wording, and quick, friendly email delivery. I do tutorials, see, and I think I would have noticed if there were problems with it. I am not interested in making said product, I just bought it to share with my niece when she came to visit. Well, she's here now, so I thought I'd go online tonight and find the Friendly Legend's shop for her in case she wants to share the link with some of her young friends.

But I quickly became confused. I found a link to a different seller, selling a PDF for the exact same product. In the listing, she referred to it as the original. Huh? So I did a search and found, not one or two, but a total of SEVEN other Etsy sellers selling their own versions of the tutorial on Etsy, oh wait, actually SIX -- because ONE of the seven is giving the tutorial away for free!

The ones who are selling the item itself are undercutting her price. All of them are undercutting her price for the tutorial. None of them have been on Etsy for more than 8 months -- in fact, two or three joined within the last month.

Is this what they mean by "a free country"? And how do you think it feels now to be a success on Etsy? Would you do this? If so, how would you justify it? I mean, it's probably legal...but it is really worth it? Cause now that product is available dirt cheap because everyone (except the Legend, who is Moving On to other things) is trying to undercut everyone else. Is there something wrong with her tutorial that they needed to make their own nearly identical one? Are these people ganging up on the Legend? Do they resent her? Or are they oblivious? WWXD? (What would Xena do??????)


  1. When I was teaching preschool, I'd often catch the kids just zoning out doing really weird stuff. Like the little guy in our sharing circle who always had a finger wedged up his nose ... I'd bring him back to reality with a gentle smirk and the question "You know that we can see you, right?"

    It was amusing how often it came as a shock to them that they were NOT in their own little bubble, and others in their community were aware of (and grossed out by) the things they were doing.

    That kind of self absorption is cute for preschoolers ... not so much so with adults :(


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