UPDATE: So far we’ve added:
- a blurb at the top explaining a bit about Alchemy.
- link to Your Alchemy shop settings so you can easily update your announcement.
- ability to edit requests before they’ve been bid upon.
- more awesomeness to Alchemy search so it’s more effective.
Alchemy has been back up for just about 24 hours now (and there are almost 300 live requests already – wow!). We’re always seeking ways to make Etsy better, and this first day for Alchemy has generated a lot of great feedback for us to use to improve the feature. Thank you!
Here are a few things that we’re going to do, based on the community’s input:
1. Add a flagging system for Alchemy requests. These flags will allow the community to notify Etsy when they think a request is in violation of Etsy’s rules. Etsy will investigate each case as we currently do with flagged items. (More about this below).
2. Allow editing requests prior to the first bid being placed on the request. Once a bid has been made, the request is locked so that all bidders are bidding on the same request.
3. Link directly to the bidder’s shop in the bid via a text link, so buyers can more easily check out that seller’s other items and overall style.
4. Make searching for items within Alchemy more efficient.
One clear area of concern is requests that ask for a knock-off or copy of an item already available in an Etsy shop, particularly if that shop is mentioned in the request.
Flattering? Possibly yes. Cool? Definitely not. Intellectual property violation? Maybe. Why maybe? Well, the seller may have actually given permission to the requester, which would make it ok.
So what can you do if you see a “copycatting” request? One option is to Convo the seller of the item mentioned in the request to let them know about it. If they haven’t given permission, it is their responsibility to contact Etsy to have the Alchemy request removed. We will remove any request that violates a seller’s intellectual property (IP) rights IF we receive a request from that seller.
Why can’t Etsy just police these requests directly? Why can’t Etsy act on the good word of a concerned third-party? Well, monitoring IP violations is the responsibility of the IP owner — in this case, that’s the seller of the item. Only the person who owns the IP rights (or their representative) can determine if something is an infringing knock-off and do something about it. This is the same process we use for regular item listings, which you can read about in our Intellectual Property Policy.
Is there anything else you can do if you see a “copycatting” request in Alchemy? Yes — you can simply not bid on a request that seems fishy. If sellers don’t bid on these requests, they will naturally weed themselves out. Buyers can also submit a direct request to a specific seller, so ideally the buyer will go right to the source for a customized version of an item on Etsy.
We’d love to hear your thoughts about Alchemy! Please join us for an Online Workshop tomorrow at 11:00 AM (Eastern time) in the Virtual Labs’ Treehouse for an open discussion on Alchemy.