Thursday, May 2, 2024

Deciding Against Joining the Etsy Affiliate Program

While the Etsy Affiliate Program may seem like an attractive opportunity at first glance, it's essential to weigh the pros and cons carefully before committing. My first encounter with Etsy was for getting Artisan Keycaps as a buyer. The experience was relatively good as a buyer so I thought if they had an affiliate program it would be so cool sharing the shops  I enjoyed purchasing from and earn a little pocket money.

So I went and researched about it and while there were some good points, these 2 main "bad" points stood out so much that I decided not to join it.

  1. To join the affiliate program by AWIN, you would have to leave a deposit which would be returned to you after verification. Although it is a refundable $5 application fee to join (Awin, not Etsy itself). You only get back your deposit once you make your first sale. This is the first time I have encountered signing up for an affiliate where you have to pay, and only get that amount back when you make a sale. That was not very welcoming, so I will be going it a miss. 
  2. The other factor was that although the program would pay 4% for “standard publisher” referrals and 2% per sale for referrals generated by user generated content (UGC), the sellers who have a successful sale might have to pay for more as part of "marketing" fees e.g. 12-15%. 

That just defeats the purpose of my guide on affordable and reasonably priced artisan keycaps and shipping fees. I want to support my favorite artists but I do not want to be the one to drives up the cost (and end up paying more for it when I want to get something).

As a buyer, the experience is alright and if you know what you are searching for, you'd get what you want at the price you are happy with. Or for those of us in Singapore, Lazada and Shopee are good alternatives as well.

Since I am not a seller on Etsy, I cannot say how good or bad the experience using the platform is, but based on the terms and conditions for the affiliate program, it seems a little unfair for the smaller shops and indirectly increases the overall prices for items getting sold using affiliate links. Passing on the cost of affiliate marketing to sellers who have nor opted for such fees is unfair, and inadvertently drive up cost. In addition, buyers are ultimately penalized for it by having to pay more and the seller does not necessary have an increase in profit with all the additional fees. This might also explain why some sellers have really ridiculously prices items and shipping.

The only ones who would truly benefit from the affiliate model from Etsy would be the company itself (saving in marketing costs), the bigger shops where the sellers are aware of and factor in these costs to drive up sales (increasing prices as a result), and the affiliates who hardly buy anything off Etsy and just promote items they like.

As a result, Etsy links in my blog will not be affiliate links but just link references to bring you to the shops I have shopped at and enjoyed the products and experience. 😀

If you are a buyer or seller (or affiliate) on Etsy, do share with us your experience in the comments below!

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