Shop Etsy

Alchemy: Day One

Mar 13, 2008

by Lauren Engelhardt

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

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.  

14 comments

  • mosaicart

    mosaicart said 12 years ago

    Thanks for the fast update Etsy! You guys are doing a great job. Very excited about the new Alchemy.

  • TheLittleStitcher

    TheLittleStitcher said 12 years ago

    here here!

  • iheartnorwegianwood

    iheartnorwegianwood said 12 years ago

    You guys are SOOO on top of this. I'm impressed, and would like to give you a firm handshake and a pat on the back.

  • MountainEagleCrafter

    MountainEagleCrafter said 12 years ago

    One thing I would appreciate your reconsidering is the single-weight Alchemy feedback. In The Days Of Olde Skool Alchemy we were told that a custom order represented extra effort, commitment, and time on the part of the seller. Therefore, Alchemy orders received 2 points of feedback per item. Now we're getting just one. Why? I'm still giving extra effort, commitment and time! During the Alchemy Hiatus I got 1 FB point per item because I was having to treat custom orders as regular listings - the only way I could work them was to make "RESERVED" listings. Well, okay, fine, Alchemy had been taken away but there were still people out there wanting custom work. ------------------------------------ Nowadays. What incentive is there for my buyers and I (I had about 7 buyers I was discussing custom orders with, or actually already making items for, when Alchemy went live) to go through the Direct Alchemy process instead of the "RESERVED" listing process that we've gotten used to? In the case of multi-item orders I'm actually LOSING feedback points (4 custom items for one person, I can and do choose to make 4 listings, that's 4 feedback points for 4 items. Under Alchemy it's just one transaction with 4 items, a ***PENALTY*** of 3 points of feedback for going through Alchemy!) It's too much of a pain in the tail to ask a buyer to do 4 separate Alchemy requests, certainly.

  • MountainEagleCrafter

    MountainEagleCrafter said 12 years ago

    And a separate but related issue: Are we EVER going to see the return of those double-weight feedback Olde Skool Alchemy transactions? Those were taken away when v.2 went live. I'd like my feedback back, dear beloved Admins! We're talking roughly 28 points here ... that's quite a chunk!

  • theseawithin

    theseawithin said 12 years ago

    I'm enjoying Alchemy so far, but really looking forward to it being more searchable!

  • kittycrossbones

    kittycrossbones said 12 years ago

    Is there a way to keep Alchemy convos seperate from every-day Etsy convos?

  • eclipse

    eclipse said 12 years ago

    I'd really like to see alchemy requests divided into categories, the same categories as the "Buy" page. Plus maybe a Misc category for when people are requesting items from multiple categories like "anything polar bear themed". Buyers may not know how to use the tag system so searching the listings by tags doesn't really work. If every alchemy request had to choose a category from a drop-down menu (like the item listing page 3), that would really help.

  • jewel

    jewel said 12 years ago

    I'm glad to know that there will be a link back to the bidder's shop, but I would like more than that. I bid today on an item that I can make but which is not very well represented in my shop--only 2 items out of 96. I put links to those two items in my bid, but of course they are not live links. Could we please the ability to put live links into bids (fine by me if you restrict them to Etsy listings). AND could we please upload a picture or two to demonstrate what we can do for the buyer. Looking forward to many new experiences with Alchemy. Thanks for all the hard work.

  • Monevor

    Monevor said 12 years ago

    I was thinking the exact same thing as Eclipse, putting the requests into categories would be really helpful.

  • XOHandworks

    XOHandworks said 12 years ago

    I hope adding RSS is on the list, too :)

  • carebundles

    carebundles said 12 years ago

    Very excited that this is back, and I second XOHandworks - RSS would be fantastic.

  • Bellebeads

    Bellebeads said 12 years ago

    I like the idea of Alchemy, however I think there is much room for improvement. Before Alchemy, I would take a special request through convo, set up a custom listing, and the customer would check out- very easy. With Alchemy, customer clicks on the link in my shop, my convos are bombarded with numerous convos (c'mon- how many conversations does it take?), once a picture is uploaded, I must hit complete (what if it is not really complete yet?), and I must manually send an invoice....Real pain in the rear. To top it all off, the sale doesn't even count towards my number of sales! I prefer the old way, but don't dare opt out for fear people will think I do not do custom orders. Therefore, I have edited my Alchemy announcement to encourage customers NOT to use my "Request custom item" link, but to send a convo instead.

  • MountainEagleCrafter

    MountainEagleCrafter said 12 years ago

    Bellebeads, I thought one of the Big Changes into NewSkool Alchemy was that the sale DOES count in our list of sold items. I'm wrong? In that case I may never make use of the new Alchemy*, but have the request option open for the same reasons Belle does. It's already bad enough to know that a custom order of 4 items would count for ONE feedback point instead of EIGHT or even the FOUR that I'd get just doing custom listings. As I already said something about six days ago. Not having it count in our Sold Items count, well that's just the spoiled frosting on a rotted cake. And there's not one single Admin response in the comments in the six days since the article was published? (*except for the bid process)

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