Exposed: The Truth Behind Etsy Print on Demand Scam

Exposed: The Truth Behind Etsy Print on Demand Scam

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction: The Printing-on-Demand Business
  2. How Does Print-on-Demand Actually Work?
  3. The Allure of Print-on-Demand
  4. Reasons Why Pursuing Print-on-Demand on Etsy is a Bad Idea
    1. Saturated Market
    2. Revenue vs. Profit Margin
    3. Lack of Control
  5. Alternative Etsy Business Ideas
    1. Digital Art
    2. Handmade Art Prints
  6. Conclusion

The Printing-on-Demand Business In recent years, the print-on-demand business has gained significant popularity, especially within the e-commerce world. It promises an easy way to make money by leveraging third-party companies to produce and ship products for sellers. However, the reality of the print-on-demand industry is far from the glamorous tales of overnight success that some YouTube influencers share. In this article, we will delve into how print-on-demand works and explore why pursuing this business model, particularly on Etsy, may not be a wise choice. We will also provide alternative business ideas for Etsy that can potentially yield better results.

How Does Print-on-Demand Actually Work? Print-on-demand operates on a simple premise. When an Etsy shop owner makes a sale, a third-party print-on-demand supplier produces and ships the product directly to the customer. As a seller, you do not need to physically handle the product, making it an attractive concept for passive income. However, this enticing notion of easy money can quickly lead to disappointment and frustration. Despite the allure, pursuing print-on-demand on Etsy comes with several pitfalls that can hinder your chances of success.

The Allure of Print-on-Demand The promise of making money easily and without much effort is undeniably appealing. YouTube influencers propagate the idea that print-on-demand can generate thousands of dollars in monthly income. However, it is crucial to approach these claims with skepticism. As enticing as the prospect may seem, the reality is that success in the print-on-demand business is more elusive than it appears.

Reasons Why Pursuing Print-on-Demand on Etsy is a Bad Idea

  1. Saturated Market: The print-on-demand market is now saturated with a plethora of sellers all vying for attention. With thousands of shops selling similar products, such as mugs, t-shirts, and tumblers, it becomes exceedingly challenging to stand out and get noticed. The sheer volume of listings and competitors diminishes the chances of being found by potential customers, hindering sales velocity and organic ranking.

  2. Revenue vs. Profit Margin: While some YouTube videos highlight the high revenue potential of print-on-demand, it is essential to differentiate between revenue and profit margin. Many sellers boast about earning thousands of dollars per month, but fail to mention the significant expenses incurred. Print-on-demand companies, like Printify, charge fees for production and shipping, eating into the seller's revenue. Additionally, the over-saturation of the market leads to a race to the bottom on pricing, resulting in smaller profit margins. When Etsy fees are taken into account, the profit margins become minimal, making it challenging to sustain a profitable business.

  3. Lack of Control: With print-on-demand, sellers have little to no control over the production and shipping process. If the products received by customers have defects or quality issues, it reflects poorly on the seller. Negative reviews can harm the shop's reputation, making it difficult to gain trust and secure future sales. As a seller, your success relies heavily on the reliability and quality control of the third-party print-on-demand supplier, which is beyond your control.

Alternative Etsy Business Ideas

  1. Digital Art: Instead of relying on physical products, consider selling digital art on Etsy. Digital art is a highly profitable niche with minimal production and shipping costs. You can create original artwork or use AI to replicate best-selling art shops. This business model allows for greater control, higher profit margins, and scalability.

  2. Handmade Art Prints: Another lucrative option is selling handmade art prints. By creating your own prints and handling the production process, you can ensure quality control and customize your offerings. Handmade items often attract a premium price, enabling higher profit margins compared to print-on-demand products.

Conclusion While the print-on-demand business may seem appealing at first glance, the reality of the market saturation, limited profit margins, and lack of control can make it an unviable option for long-term success. Instead, exploring alternative business ideas such as digital art or handmade art prints can offer greater profitability and control over your Etsy venture. It is crucial to evaluate the business model and weigh the pros and cons before diving into any venture on Etsy or any other e-commerce platform.


  • Print-on-demand promises easy money but often falls short of expectations.
  • Market saturation and declining profit margins make print-on-demand on Etsy unfavorable.
  • Selling digital art or handmade art prints can be more profitable and offer greater control.
  • Consider alternative business ideas on Etsy to maximize your chances of success.


Q: Is print-on-demand still a viable business model? A: While some sellers may still find success, the market saturation and declining profit margins make print-on-demand a less viable option in today's competitive landscape.

Q: Can I make a substantial income with print-on-demand on Etsy? A: The income potential with print-on-demand on Etsy is limited due to the over-saturation of the market and slim profit margins. It is challenging to generate significant earnings, especially considering the expenses associated with production, shipping, and Etsy fees.

Q: What are the benefits of selling digital art on Etsy? A: Digital art offers several benefits, including lower production and shipping costs, higher profit margins, and scalability. It allows sellers to create original artwork or replicate successful art shops using AI, providing greater control and potential for profitability.

Q: Why should I consider selling handmade art prints on Etsy? A: Selling handmade art prints allows for greater customization, quality control, and potential for premium pricing. Handmade items often attract buyers looking for unique and personalized products, resulting in higher profit margins than print-on-demand products.

Q: What factors should I consider before starting a business on Etsy? A: Before starting an Etsy business, it is essential to assess market demand, competition, profit margins, and your ability to differentiate yourself. Researching alternative business ideas and understanding the pros and cons of different models will help set realistic expectations and increase your chances of success.

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