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Is Amazon trying to poach craft makers from Etsy?

It looks like Amazon is horning in on Etsy's crafting corner.

The e-commerce giant has started putting out feelers to sellers on the crafts marketplace Etsy in an attempt to gauge their interest in "Handmade at Amazon."

"It seems Amazon is trying to poach and court some people who are on Etsy," CNET tech reporter Bridget Carey told CBS News. "What Amazon is doing is reaching out to people who sell on Etsy, people who make their own crafts and saying, 'Would you be interested in selling on Amazon?'"

The company has asked Etsy sellers to fill out a form with information about their business and the items they sell.

Brooklyn-based Etsy's business model is all about connecting buyers and sellers of arts and crafts, deriving its revenue from listing fees and from commissions on items for sale. Based on figures from the first quarter of this year, the 10-year-old company has 1.3 million sellers and 20.8 million active buyers, bringing in $58.5 million in revenue and $532 million in gross sales.

Amazon, meanwhile, in addition to selling everything from books to housewares and electronics, has expanded to feature dozens of tailored marketplaces specializing in a range of things from fine art to scientific equipment. It already has a marketplace dedicated to "Arts, Crafts & Sewing."

Carey said Etsy should be worried about facing a challenge from Amazon.

"This would be competition for Etsy, definitely," she said. "No one is bigger than Amazon."

Carey said Amazon's biggest draw could be its fast shipping, although that could also pose problems for some artists.

"If I'm a consumer looking for the same product on Etsy or Amazon and I have (Amazon) Prime and I get that two-day, free shipping, why wouldn't I go with the cheaper option?" she said. But because many of the items they sell are made to order, artisans might not be able to work fast enough to meet the two-day deadline.

  • Michael Casey

    Michael Casey covers the environment, science and technology for CBSNews.com