Welcome to Etsy and by default, EtsyBitch. As the new COO of Etsy, I am sure you realize that Etsy, while a great idea, is being poorly executed from an operations standpoint. You obviously have the resume to have already recognized most if not all of what we are going to say next, but we're going to say it anyway.
We’ve got our concerns about how Etsy is run; from the very top, down to the newest employee. As someone who has a fresh palate, we hope you are clearly able to see where Etsy needs to go, improve and excel.
Site – It needs to work. We don’t need all the fancy toys. We need a site that stores important information seamlessly and doesn’t constantly reset itself. We need a search function that works like Google. Something that doesn’t require NOT this and NOT that in order to prevent category bleed through. No category bleed through is a good thing. We need better categories and an understanding of what Etsy’s users NEED, not what Admin thinks is hip and trendy. The childish error and “brick wall” pages should be replaced with something more professional like, “Oops! This seller is no longer with us. We have many other talented artisans here. Please click *here* to look at some new sellers.”
Engineers – We need Engineers that know what they are doing and have a modicum of respect for the users. RevolvingDork is a liability. He treats others badly and automatically assumes that it’s the users fault, not that Etsy is having an issue, instead of the other way around. That is BAD Customer Service and a horrible attitude to have. Essentially Engineers should not have contact with the public, and there should be a technical person buffering the contact. Preferably one with customer service experience. There are many posts in the Ideas forum that have mentions of essentials needed to run a successful business, some of these features your competitors already offer. It should not be hard, if the site was built properly, to add in these needed elements. If the site crumbles when new features are added, there are problems with the base code.
Customer Support – Customer Support should be the most important position in the company. There should be phone support available, and the e-mail support is lacking. It should not take days for a first contact. EVERY e-mail should be responded to in some way, personally, to let the user know he/she has been heard. All customer support agents should have a customer support background. This does a few things. One, it makes sure that those who are the front face of Etsy are not a liability. Two, it ensures the best customer service possible. And three, people with a Customer Service background are better at controlling the flow of a conversation without being reactive.
Employee interactions – Employees who have been a liability in the past should be removed from the front line of any customer interaction. There are a few who should’ve been terminated after the havoc they’ve caused. Any research into the issues should point out who has been unfairly stalker-ish and who have caused absolute blow-outs that would not be tolerated in any other workplace of that size.
Community – Should have “sticky” notes for important site issues, etc. The Forums should really be cut back to Site Help (where only Admin can post), Bugs, Ideas, Teams and Events. Business and Marketing should have it’s own static page as a part of the help section. Etc is just embarrassing fodder for potential investors to find and Promotions, is quite crudely put, a clusterfuck. Teams should be the community focus that you promote. The chat rooms should be cut back just to the virtual labs. You have to decide where your focus will be. Right now, Etsy’s focus is on community and maybe you can sell some things on the side instead of where Etsy’s vision is located – to make a living selling handmade items and living a handmade life.
Forum Police – The forums should only be policed by those who work for Etsy. The constant rudeness from a few forum sheriffs is embarrassing to say the least. It causes more blow-ups than problems it solves.
The Storque – While a great idea, it is poorly executed. It is cluttered, filled with nepotism and fluff. There’s a complete lack and disregard for actual news, especially when it comes to site issues. Many times, people are relegated to reading news on the Forums, where its quickly buried or dismissed by RevolvingDork, or reading it at the UEN. The UEN would not be nearly as popular if Etsy took reporting the site news seriously. The news should also be available on a different server webpage, so when the site does go down, it is replaced by the blog, like it used to be. This deflects a lot of problems.
Advertising – It should be done, regardless of grass roots advertising ideas, it needs to be done. Traditional advertising in any marketing plan is a bonus, rather than a hindrance.
Etsy e-mails – It is NOT spam to send ALL users updates on policy changes, site changes and anything else important. Contrary to popular thought in the office, the forums and the Storque does not reach the entire customer base. It should not be opt-in. It should be defaulted as mandatory with the option of opt-out.
Official Press – Recently, Etsy had an unfavorable report in The Consumerist about how it treated its users. An Etsy employee took it upon himself to reply to the furor and called anyone who wasn’t in line with thinking that Etsy was perfect “grumpy haters.” This is unacceptable. Official statements should only come from 3 sources: Rob Kalin, You and Matt Stinchcomb.
Confidentiality – Spouses of employees should not be privy to confidential information regarding features, account suspensions, and other decisions and plans from the main office. This gives them a leg up on information when everyone else is left in the dark. It also gives the impression that these employees are speaking badly about other users and spilling other confidential information that might affect their ability to participate within the Etsy community. Other businesses have similar rules, to protect its customers from such retaliation.
Favoritism – It has to stop. The only users that should get any special treatment are the top sellers (in the way of having a personal account rep to handle their unique needs). Even if it is denied, there is no doubt that some sellers are treated differently because of who they are friends with.
Professionalism – Yes, the staff is quirky, but that should be relegated to in house antics. It should no way, shape or form, bleed out into personal interactions with sellers and buyers. It is currently set up where only 1 or 2 employees who have regular interaction with sellers and buyers are fair and impartial.
Contrary to popular thought, we do care about Etsy very, very much. We do believe in professionalism from the people we are paying money to. Many of our postings are dripping in sarcasm and frustration, but only because we’ve been pushed that far. There are those of us who are fed up and have no where else to go, and then there are those of us who have great ideas and wish we had a platform to express our thoughts. EtsyBitch is our platform.
You may wonder why we are anonymous. Well, we’ve seen many people punished on Etsy for things done off Etsy. It makes us wary, and unless there’s a personal guarantee, signed by Rob Kalin himself, notarized and copied in triplicate, we’re not going to reveal ourselves.
Maria, if you wish to discuss our Manifesto, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We might be anonymous, but we’re actually quite personable.