There's some chatter about Etsy as a potential successor to eBay--Umair says "Etsy has the potential to be as revolutionary as Google in terms of DNA, and that new DNA might just let it solve a Very Big Problem" but coyly doesn't get into his big insight.
Read/Write web then says "The reason it is so hard for most technologists to see the power of services such as eBay and Etsy when they first come out is that we tend to look at the world through the prism of big companies and consumers." Bernard Lunn say etsy reflects a coming era of mass customization--his comments are excellent, but he missed--or downplayed-- some points I want to make about etsy.
1. Etsy works because it empowers 20-somethings and moms who want to run home based businesses. It is international and local at the same time.
2. Etsy empowers personal brands. Similar jewelry is more attractive when made by someone you know and care about.
3. Etsy empowers social networks around taste and affinity. When you favorite designers and objects, you meet others and see their choices. Likewise, you see what designers favorite.
4. Etsy has a tagging system that supports taxonomy--an issue, since their search sucks--but this is user-supported metadata.
5. Sustainable and quality, feels like a closed circle, but is open. Appears committed to social justice values, non corporate.
An Etsy VP is on my panel at the Country Living Women Entrepreneurs day panel in March.
Why? For the past 2 years, I have been shopping on Etsy--and they are kick-ass, superb, fascinating.