What Etsy Shop Owners Need to Know About Copyright Infringement

by Molly Kimball, ElephantBeads

BACKGROUND:

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copyright free image source: morgueFile.com

In mid-April, Etsy’s stock went up for sale on the Nasdaq exchange. According to Business Insider, Etsy’s stock increased 88% in value after the initial public offering (IPO). CNN Money noted that Etsy was even out-doing Alibaba and Twitter by early May.

Then, just a month after going public, Etsy’s stock plunged 8% in a single day, and has been declining ever since. The trigger? A report by a Wall Street financial analyst that millions of the items for sale on Etsy might be infringing on copyright laws.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR SHOP OWNERS:

In four words: Etsy is cracking down.

As Etsy shop owners, we must now be more vigilant than ever about infringement practices. Do you refer to an NFL team or a Disney film or character in your title, description, or tags? Now is the time to remove those references. Do you offer a crochet Mickey Mouse hat in your shop? Now is a good time to remove it from your shop or reach out to Disney to see if they’re willing to sell you rights to the ears.

But don’t stop there. Keep in mind copyright claims can be filed by “little guys” too. If you found a cool image online that didn’t claim a copyright, or are simply using a sports team’s mascot – “Go Badgers!” – you may be infringing, believe it or not. Visit the links provided below if these examples sent chills down your spine.

WHERE TO GO FOR MORE SPECIFICS:

Etsy has a very helpful post about avoiding copyright infringement, explaining some of the surprising areas to watch out for, and their own role in enforcing protections. Equally helpful, however, is a post by blogger Beth Picard about copyright infringement, using real (and sometimes VERY surprising) examples from shops that were shut down on Etsy. She explains the process that results in a listing or shop being shut down. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Etsy will ONLY act against shops if they receive a complaint directly from the owner of the intellectual property.
  • Most companies don’t pay people to pore over Etsy listings. But anybody (even a competitor on Etsy) can turn in a shop to the owner of the copyright.
  • The copyright owner can petition Etsy to remove your listing (or your shop, if the issue is widespread).
  • This can happen with no warning – so it is better to be safe than sorry.

Have you had an experience with copyright infringement, from either legal side? Please share it here, as we can all learn from each other’s experiences.

KEEP: Getting Started as a Seller

By M Kimball, ElephantBeads

With the introduction of a universal shopping cart, Keep has made it essential that sellers get plugged in. Here is the good news: if you have an Etsy shop, it is VERY easy. Before getting started as a seller on Keep, you might want to take this occasion to spruce up your photographs. KEEP2If you browse through Keep, you’ll notice the photographs are crisp, bright and stylish. If you’ve been putting off working on your own photos, now might be the time to work on them. There is no need to update all of your listings at once. Choose your brightest, crispest listings for Keep, and upgrade additional listings as you go.

Are you ready to sell on Keep? Here are the four easy steps to get started:

  1. Review Keep’s retailer guidelines first. Does your store qualify? If you sell on Etsy, it probably does
  2. Sign up for Keep. I used my shop name in the first name field, but some Etsy shop owners use their own name.
  3. If you haven’t already done so, add the “Keep It” button to your browser.
  4. Browse to an item in your shop, and click the “Keep It” button.
    • Choose a category for your item – you can create new categories as you go. Create categories that match the items in your shop.
    • Your item description from Etsy will automatically be included with your Keep – but if you want to add any comments or tag words, you may do so.

It’s that easy! Your shop listing is now available for purchase on Keep.

Your next step will be to promote your item. The DTeam has team threads where we promote each other’s Keeps. Come on over and begin promoting!

KEEP: What is all the excitement about?

By M Kimball, ElephantBeads

KEEP isn’t really new – it has been around for awhile. But it seems to be taking off in the world of online browsing and shopping. So what is all the excitement about? Is Keep really just a hybrid child of Pinterest and StumbleUpon, as one of our team members observed, or is it something quite different?KEEP1

After a bit of research and dipping our toe into team promotional activities on Keep, we have determined that Keep is something quite different – revolutionary, in fact. As Wired Magazine noted back in July 2014 – “At Long Last, a Universal Shopping Cart for the Web“! This is no small shift in the fabric of online shopping. This is a significant transformation!

So what does this mean to those of us who are Etsy shop owners? Here are your key takeaways:

  1. Keep is about BUYING. “Keepers,” unlike “Pinners” or “Stumblers,” are not casually browsing for photos, jokes or recipes to clip. They are shopping.
  2. Keep is APPEALING. It is easy to use, which means it is easy – even fun! – to shop and buy.
  3. Keep’s shopping cart is UNIVERSAL. What does this mean? Your customer can put your beaded necklace in a shopping cart with a pair of Kate Spade earrings from Macy’s and a pair of shoes from Malta.

If you are not yet using Keep to promote your shop, we strongly encourage you to do so. Tomorrow’s post will include a quick tutorial to help you get started.

Teaching Thursday: Pricing

Pricing. The dreaded method every business must use to set the prices for the goods and services they are selling. Set your prices too low, and you will lose money on every sale and eventually go out of business (unless you are so lucky as to have a 2nd source of income with which to fund your business). Set your prices too high and you will drive away customers. The art of pricing is the art of finding the sweet spot in the middle, high enough to make money and low enough to create happy, satisfied customers.

How to do it? Well, I have my own formula, as does every successful business. Your own formula will depend on your costs, both time and money. Etsy has helpfully written an article on creating your formula, along with handy worksheets to help you along the way. Read it here.

Once you’ve read it and created your formula, you’ll need to go through your Etsy shop and check all the prices of all the items in your shop and make sure they fit your new pricing model. After that, stick to your formula, and make sales with confidence, knowing you aren’t losing money. Good luck!

Teaching Thursday: Setting up Etsy shop policies

Porch/Pooch Policy at Powells

Porch/Pooch Policy at Powells (Photo credit: Terry Bain)

So you’ve got your Etsy shop all set up, and you’ve even listed a few items. Now what? Well, one of the most important tasks that a new Etsy shop owner forgets is the policies. Wait, you’re thinking, policies!? I need to know what my shop policies are? I haven’t even made a sale yet! How do I know how I’ll handle a refund?

When I was a new shop owner, I remember thinking all those things. But I bit the bullet and wrote the policies, and you should, too.

Why? Because buyers don’t want to buy from shops that don’t have policies. They want to know that you are a serious seller, that you will send them the item they purchase, and if they don’t like it, there’s a way to handle that with you.

So how do you write policies? Go to Your Shop and click Info & Appearance and then the Policies tab. Then, draft some policies, being sure to follow all the Etsy Do’s and Don’ts. (There’s a link on the Policies tab.) Read the policies a couple times and make sure all your spelling & grammar are correct. Then go ahead and save them with the button at the bottom of the page. You’re all set!

What should go into your policies? Etsy gives you sections to complete, you should have something in all of them. Make sure you cover:

  • which payment methods you accept
  • do you offer refunds? Under what circumstances and how does a buyer request one?
  • do you exchange items? How is shipping handled?
  • will you take a custom order?
  • will you ship to foreign countries? If you do, be sure and mention that all customs duties are the responsibility of the buyer and you will not mark items as a gift (doing so can result in jail time and huge fines for U.S. sellers).

And of course, I am not a lawyer or an accountant, so be sure and consult yours if you have legal or accounting questions.

 

MUSTS when opening an Etsy Shop – Part 3

By Angee Perry from ABitCreativeAMP ♥♥♥

Below is a snapshot of a shop policies page on Etsy. My tips, below, will walk you through the components of this page. This example is provided courtesy of Molly Kimball fromElephantBeads.

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– Shop Policies can make or break a sale. It’s where you help your customer make an informed decision about purchasing from your shop by letting them know what they can expect from you and your products. You’ll touch on some of these things briefly within your listing descriptions but here is where you want to provide all the details for all your products. It’s important that your policies don’t contradict Etsy’s site-wide policies. It’s a good idea to read over the DOs and DON’Ts of Etsy (www.etsy.com/help/article/483 ) and Etsy’s Terms of Use (www.etsy.com/help/article/479 ) before writing or changing your shop policies.

– Your Welcome Message is where you welcome the potential customer into your store and encourage them to look around and ask questions if they have any. You’ll also want to list any promotions you’re having and/or special seasonal shipping information you have to help the customer be informed as to if something in your shop can make it to them in time (like Christmas, Mother’s Day, etc).

– Payment Policy is where you list what form of payment you accept. This helps the customer know before they go to check-out so that they can be prepared. Depending on the forms of payment you accept will determine if you also need to include a timeframe for payments to reach you and what you’ll do if payments are not received in the timeframe (like canceling the sale)

– In the Shipping Policy section you want to describe how you package your items, the company you use to ship and what method you ship them with that company (like USPS First Class, UPS Ground, etc). This is important to the customer as it lets them know how long it might take for them to receive their items. If you offer international shipping be sure to list as many details as you can as the customer may not order from out of country often and will not be as knowledgable as you on your country’s international shipping timeframes.

– Refund Policy is where you let the customer know what they can expect from you if they are unhappy with their purchase for any reason. Be sure to state if they are responsible for return shipping or if you will refund them for shipping also.

– Additional Information lets you make blanket statements about the products you sell. For example, if you sell photographs this is where you’d talk about the paper quality of the print and if you print through a 3rd party lab. If you make things to order you’d mention the timeframe needed to create the item and then the timeframe needed to get the item in the mail, etc. Also mention if people need things by a specific date to contact you so that you can see if it can be made and shipped in time.

– Seller Information is not necessary for most countries, but some countries do require additional information like your name, physical address, contact email, etc. See this FAQ ( www.etsy.com/help/article/171 ) for more information.

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You’ve made a name for yourself and let customers know a little bit about who you are and what to expect when purchasing your products. Now all you have to do is list your items and you’re good to go!

MUSTS when opening an Etsy shop – Part 2

By Angee Perry from ABitCreativeAMP ♥♥♥

Below is a snapshot of a shop “Info and Appearance” page on Etsy. My tips, below, will walk you through the components of this page. This example is provided courtesy of Molly Kimball fromElephantBeads.

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– Choose a shop name and be consistent – use it across the internet to help “brand” yourself so that people recognize you (Facebook, Twitter, StumbeUpon, Wanelo, Pinterest to name a few).

– Your shop title is as important as your shop name. It should not be the same as your shop name. Use this space to describe what types of things you sell within your shop. The information you enter here will be what shows in the web browser tab when people are visiting your shop and effect how your shop homepage will appear in Google search results – more specifically the text that links to your shop. It will also show under your shop name when people are viewing one of your listings.

– Have a shop banner image. Visit CoolText.com to make a simple generic banner to start with if you don’t have a program to make one for now. You can also search on Etsy for custom shop sets to see what is available for you. The banner can be a .JPG .GIF or .PNG and is 760 pixels x 100 pixels. The file size cannot be larger than 2MB.

– If you don’t have a Facebook fan page, make one! Log into your Facebook account in another web browser tab – keep the window with your Etsy information open. Get to 25 fans and then follow this link to shorten your fan page name: www.facebook.com/username/ Be sure you’re logged into the fan page when you do this or you’ll only be changing your personal Facebook web address!! *Once you change it THAT IS IT!! NO going back now!!

– Copy in your Facebook fan page web address and Twitter profile web address into your Etsy information and link it up! *You must click “Save Changes” for the link to be complete. Once completed, people visiting your shop page will be able to “Like” your fan page by clicking the “Like” button under your shop banner 😀

– The Shop Announcement is where you want to turn your Shop Title into a complete sentence. By repeating some of the same words, you improve your SEO with Google and other online search engines. This is also a great place to discuss any promotions you have going on at the time and also to go over any seasonal shipping information. If you have a Pinterest account that you use as a way to market yourself you can enter the link for it here – customers like being able to relate to you on a personal level and it’s another way for you to get your product in front of your potential buyers. It’s a good idea to include your Facebook fan page and Twitter links here as well; the more places the web addresses are listed online the better your SEO for those web addresses 😉

Like your Shop Title, information you enter here will effect how your shop homepage will appear in Google search results – this time the description after the link.

– The Message to Buyers is the auto message that is sent out in an email once someone has placed an order for something in your shop. This information will also show up on the receipts that the customers can view on Etsy. It is important to thank the customer for their business here and is also helpful to enter your Etsy shop web address. If you have a coupon code that you offer for repeat customers this is a good place to supply the customer with the code. Like the Shop Announcement, it’s a good idea to include your Pinterest, Facebook fan page and Twitter links here – again to improve your SEO for the social media accounts you use. Rephrase a little what was in your Shop Announcement and you’ll be good to go!

MUSTS when opening an Etsy shop – Part 1

By Angee Perry from ABitCreativeAMP ♥♥♥

Below is a snapshot of a shop profile page on Etsy. My tips, below, will walk you through the components of this page. This example is provided courtesy of Molly Kimball from ElephantBeads.

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— Give yourself a complete profile

– Have a profile picture – aka an avatar. It can be one of the pieces of your work, your shop name or your headshot. Some use it to advertise sales with their shop name or logo so that SALE! shows up each time they make comments – they tend to comment a lot on random treasuries and such 😛 Other shop owners use it to advertise a product in their shop – something that defines the shop items as a whole and inspires other people on Etsy to click through to their shop; again the goal is to get strangers that see the avatar to click through to view the shop and listings. Whatever image you use for your avatar keep it consistent – use it across the internet to help “brand” yourself so that people recognize you (Facebook, Twitter, StumbeUpon, Wanelo, Pinterest to name a few).

– In the City section you’ll want to select your city from the dropdown menu in order to have your shop appear in local search results via Etsy’s search engine. Potential customers use this feature to try to buy things locally – sometimes it’s their way of avoiding pesky shipping costs. VERY handy when looking to purchase furniture by the way 😉

– Birthday is not too important. You can leave it blank if you choose.

– Many shop owners use the About section to talk about their shop, but it can be where you discuss things that make you good at what you’re selling. Some people also like to put in personal information – like that they’re a stay at home mom for example. Potential customers are more likely to buy if they see you as an expert in your field and if they can relate to you as a person. If you put in too much information people will have to click to view more, majority of whom do not click, so make your words count!

– Favorite Materials is a place for you to list up to 13 materials that you like. In other words, 13 tags. Filling this in helps bring you and your shop up in the search list!

– Include your shop in your profile for sure!!

– Favorite items can be left off your profile if you choose. It’s important to be selective with which items you favorite. Remember people add you to their circle either because you’re on their team OR because they like the same kinds of things that you like on Etsy. It’s better to have a small circle that pay attention to their activity feed than a lot of people trying to help everyone in their teams market everything they come across!

– Favorite shops can also be left off if you choose. People’s favorite shops are either part of their team or they like pretty much everything inside the shop. When a favorite shop has a new listing it shows up on your activity feed to the right.

– Treasury lists are another good way for people to see what you’re interested in. It will display the two most recent treasuries that you have curated. It’s important to be selective with how you create treasuries for the same reason it’s important to be selective with what listings you favorite.

– Teams can be left off if you choose. The benefits for having it turned on depend on the size of the team or teams your in and what they do in terms of promoting other team members. It also lets people within your team that look at your profile see what other teams you’re in – don’t be surprised if you have someone ask you about a team in a message if you choose to include teams on your profile 😛

– Press the “Save Changes” button for everything to take effect!!

Pinterest Tips 8 – When to Pin

By Angee Perry, ABitCreativeAMP    ♥♥♥ 

This is the final in my series of Pinterest Tips. If you have followed my tips so far, and applied them, then you are beginning to see results from a more targeted, personal, and focused approach.  Today’s tips, again compiled from Pinerly and re-structured, offer some guidance about when to Pin in order to drive more views. Pinerly, in a future phase, will offer the ability to schedule Pins – a great help when it comes to timing your Pins.

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  1. Best hours to pin: 8 PM to 1 AM EST (5 PM – 10 PM PST)
  2. Pin at lunchtime. People have more time to enjoy content when not working.
  3. Pin on weekends. Specifically Saturday. It is the best day to pin. Wednesday is good too. People have more time to look at Pinterest then.
  4. Space out your pins in intervals instead of flooding all your pins at once. Pins get moved down quickly. Small bursts throughout the day are more effective than a long stream once a day.

Pinterest Tips 7 – Promote Your Pins

By Angee Perry, ABitCreativeAMP ♥♥♥    So far my Pinterest Tips have focused on getting your Pins and your Boards into shape to share the information you want to share and create interesting Boards that attract followers. Today’s tips, again compiled from Pinerly and re-structured, will help you expand your readership beyond your followers, and even beyond Pinterest.

  1. Tag people in positive pins. People like to be credited and talked about.
  2. Adding a hashtag (#) to key words in your pin provides you with a much higher chance of being found through the search on Pinterest where their search algorithm displays the latest pins (e.g., #weddings, #babies, #geeks, etc.).
  3. Providing a more detailed description for pins will provide better SEO on Pinterest.
  4. Add some of your boards to your blog to make it more visual and connect the two.
  5. Tweet and Facebook your pins. It seems obvious, but not everyone does that.
  6. Promote repins with a comment like “if you like/share our _______, please repin it ☺”. People need a little push sometimes.
  7. Arrange a “pin exchange”. Get a few brands in your industry together and exchange pins by sharing and pinning each other’s content. You are promoting your collective products and don’t seem so intrusive and sales oriented.

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