Umair Haque just asked “Is Etsy the next Google?” due, I think, to Etsy’s ability to build a community of artists & makers alongside (inside?) a community of art-, fashion-, and craft-lovers, and facilitate their conversations (social and financial) without getting in the way too obtrusively.
Etsy, for those who haven’t heard of it yet, is an online marketplace for buying & selling all things handmade – artwork, clothes, crafts. A niche eBay for artists, but with a much more innovative angle on creating and sustaining conversations between buyers and sellers (AKA community-building).
Economically, it’s an aggregation site launched in 2005 connecting 60,000 – 100,000 specialist creators with their niche markets, charging a micro-fee (20 US cents) to list each item for up to 4 months, and taking a 3.5% cut of the sale price.
In their own words:
Our mission is to enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers.
Etsy could conceivably expand & innovate in a lot of different areas—a context-sensitive ad network for art & crafts sold on Etsy, Etsy-Books as a new outlet for self-publishing, Etsy-music—it’s difficult to predict which direction they’ll take.
I signed up for an Etsy shop yesterday to see how it goes. I think it might be interesting.
Oh yeah, here’s Technorati’s graph showing the rising buzz on blogs about Etsy: