Seems like there are a lot of Changes out there in the Handmade and Vintage retail world lately. I guess like the rest of us, our seller sites want to make money too. Thank goodness they are coming to their senses and are finally responding to seller needs and wants.
Maybe it's because the competition gets better Google and Bing result,s that Etsy is finally switching to Relevancy for search. Every time I search for something, I get Artfire and even Groove Press results, but rarely Etsy, except results for closed shops or expired items. I know it's a lot of work to re-tag, but I think everyone will be happy with the results. It would be nice, though, if they didn't give conflicting and confusing instructions.
Artfire is going MAD with changes. New shop looks, better SEO search result,s and no more free seller shops. Lots of complaints on the Forums that new banners have to be made, even though shops were given plenty of advance notice. I guess those Etsy sellers don't remember when their Etsy page format was changed not long ago. I had to redo ALL my banners to look right with the new pages. I do love what Artfire is doing though and boy have my sales increased.
Even eBay is finally responding to sellers. Usually focused on the buyer, eBay is now offering 50 free auction listings a month, and soon they will have additional 25 title characters and no negative marks if a buyer files dispute BEFORE contacting seller. WOW that is a big deal. Buyers should always try to work with seller first. Most of the changes don't require too much work, except for the occasional item specifications that they now require in certain categories.
The changes may be a bit of a pain, but I can guarantee you that they are being done to help improve your sales, because when you sell, your site benefits. Even Artfire, who charges a flat fee will get more customers if their sales increase. More sellers, more money.
Personally I think Etsy is making enough money that they should drop their listing fee too. They will get even more sellers if they do, and more listings. But maybe they don't care, they have a lot.
Well have fun making your changes All!