a few months ago and I checked them out at the time. Pretty cool concept and way for artists to get an audience and a following that is much bigger than they could likely develop just doing the local art gallery circuit in their hometown. Etsy tipped on to my radar a few weeks ago again when I heard they got a round of financing from the VC’s. Interesting play – wonder what the VC’s see there that is worth funding? Has to be more that ‘sticky eyeballs’…maybe a revenue model that can scale like Ebay, but not fall into the trap of becoming a dumping ground for companies seconds (Ebay as the new outlet mall of corp America)?
The this morning I read this post from readwriteweb and it connected the funding of Etsy with the rise of mass customization. Maybe that’s what the VC’s saw: Ebay is all about re-selling commodities, where-as Etsy is all about selling original works. If they add in an engine that lets customer submit a request for what they want (an interesting expansion of Doc Searl’s VRM concept – let people write their own request for art) then they will have one fine mass customization engine on their hands. Take it one step further to allowing the users to participate in the production of the art (for example, there is a lady who advertises on craigslist in Cincinnatu who will weave your horses hair into pottery she makes) and Etsy may be the first pure play social production business.
Definitely have to keep an eye on these guys. And who knows, maybe I will even develop a little better sense of style?