Etsy.com is a P2P ecommerce company website which provides the general public with a way to buy and sell handmade items, including art, photography, clothing, jewelry, and toys. By limiting sales to handmate items, Etsy has defined smart focus on a niche market that can potentially gain the long tail effect. As it can be seen from the fact, only two years after its establishment June 18, 2005 by iospace, a small company composed of Robert Kalin, Chris Maguire and Haim Schoppik, Etsy has grown significantly to tens of thousands of sellers and five times that in buyer accounts. In November 2007, buyers spent $4.3 million purchasing 300,000 items for sale on Etsy, an increase of 43 percent from October 2007 (Walker, 2007).
The abovementioned success of Etsy in gaining a significant number of producer and buyer is driven by Etsy’s mission, which is to enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyer (Etsy, 2009). This mission reflects the democratisation of production and distribution as suggested by best practice of this pattern, ‘build on the driving forces of the long tail.’ Through Etsy, everyone can produce his/her works and market them with low cost.
One of best practices reflected by Etsy is that, Etsy seems to develop open architecture of participation by frequently adding new tools and functionality to the site to help sellers gain exposure and traffic, including a taxonomy of categories with tags, and blog. These two features can capitalize on the wisdom of crowd that is generated by user product reviews and popularity ranking. Another best practice implemented by Etsy is that, Etsy provides customers a feature to manage their own account to ensure that customer can gain greater control.
The challenge that could be encountered by Etsy is that how to develop a system and policies that can assist sellers and buyer to avoid fraud. Although Etsy has stated that they have no control over the quality, safety, morality or legality of any aspect of the items listed, the truth or accuracy of the listings, the ability of sellers to sell items or the ability of buyers to pay for items, however they have to ensure users the safety and convenience of transactions.
Etsy. (2009). What is Etsy?. Retrieved May 4, 2009 from http://www.etsy.com/about.php
Walker. R. (2007, December 16). Handmade 2.0. The New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2009 from http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/16/magazine/16Crafts-t.html?_r=3&oref=slogin&ref=magazine&pagewanted=all