Artfire and the Future of Crowe Shea Fashions

The original draft of this post had me at a crossroads, with me seeking advice from my readers. There’s been a hoopla over at the ArtFire forums about a new Assurance Policy the site wants to carry out. I, personally, am not happy with it. I think it could interfere with a shop’s own policies. And then there’s that it now means that the original direction ArtFire was heading has now been scrapped. I liked that direction.

Anyway. I was originally planning on sticking it out until February, when this program is going into effect and then decide what I was going to do with my shop. However, a few days ago (while this post was stewing) I made a discovery. If you read “Start All Over” you know I had made an attempt at appeasing the Google gods by re-doing my listings using ArtFire’s variant tool. You would also know what a fiasco that turned out to be.

Well, there’s been a lot of talk on the forums about Panda and how if the sellers on AF would all work on the SEO of their listings this would improve Google’s view of ArtFire which would, in turn, benefit us all. Tony (ArtFire Marketing) even mentioned, in one of the various threads, that sellers who are trying to beat the system by not using the variant tool when they should are hurting the site.

Ouch!

And thus began the niggling in the back of my head: Maybe there were still some bugs in the tool when I listed. Or perhaps the period where no one could submit their items to Google Shopping had some sort of negative impact. So I took one for the team and re-did almost all of my listings, one more time.

I was right the first time.

I mentioned my findings in a post in the forums last night. Immediately other pointed out the reasons how it was my fault. Of course, none of these explanations could, well, explain why these same items where all showing up on the first few pages of Google Shopping when I was “trying to beat the system”. When I provided information to back up my statements, the subject suddenly got dropped.

This morning Tony announced a new forum rule:

If a user is doing more harm than good to the community.  They will no longer be allowed to participate in any forum in the community.

So now I have to worry about speaking my mind on valid issues?

For the last couple of weeks I’ve researched other venues, just in case. You know, so I don’t find myself with my pants down. When I began writing this post I had narrowed my choices down to SupaDupa, Zibbet and Etsy (Seriously, do you need me to create a link for that?).

SupaDupa allows you to create a stand alone boutique. I got in on the free for life VIP membership and the site looks quite nice. The only pitfall is that, because it’s a stand alone site, you are responsible for your own product feed to Google. I did that once before and that’s why I ended up on Etsy (and later, ArtFire). It is too much work!

For what I’m paying at ArtFire I can get a premium account at Zibbet. Zibbet would allow me to totally brand myself – and the feedback tool was really cool, too. They also included a feed for Google Shopping. An added bonus was that Zibbet isn’t Etsy. LOL! Unfortunately, a search of the site turns up a lot of hookers with majorly under-priced offerings. Of the few sellers I could find with fair prices, even fewer of them had any sales. A big time negative for me.

That leaves Etsy. Now, to be fair, I have no issues with Etsy – the Company. Well I had one with the recency thing but they have since nixed it. Etsy has never muted me, threatened me or warned me. My big problem was with their forums and I can avoid them (though I still would like to send out a preëmptive “Bite me!”).

So it looks like Crowe Shea Fashions will be moving back to Etsy. I have a number of friends on ArtFire who already have, or are in the process of setting up, shops there so I won’t be alone. I can even hang out with them in a Team one of them created.

I hope to see you there, too. :)

Peace!