Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hellooooo Chad!

We here at Etsy Bitch would like to welcome you with a large cup of coffee and two painkillers of your choice (aspirin, Tylenol, Advil, Vicodin...).

Hopefully, you've had an opportunity to check out the site before today and realized what a disorganized, poorly programmed nightmare you have on your hands. If the code hasn't given you a migraine yet, we'd like to note here what features Etsy customers have been asking for and practically begging (in some cases) for years:

  1. FIrst you need a notification system for site announcement that lets users know what (if any) current bugs, what's in development, etc. If Etsy is going to be making changes and improvements to the site Etsy should put the plan in print and send it to all sellers. In fact, all plans and updates should be announced and their progress tracked with a MONTHLY REPORT to all sellers.

  2. And if that system can deliver emails in a timely manner (hours instead of weeks, if ever) that would make us drop dead of shock. Auto notices sent when there are changes to site policies that delivers and functions in a speedy manner, not the "maybe in 5 days I'll get it" way we have now. Many people never get the emails they do send out. This is just disgusting for an e-commerce site.

  3. Convos and notices need to be toggled to OPT-OUT not opt-in. Most buyers are first timers who don't know what the fuck a convo is or how it works. We shouldn't have to suffer a sale gone bad simply because our buyer doesn't know to read the forums, or an online manual on how to use Etsy to know that they aren't getting convos regarding their order. And the sellers don't deserve bad feedback because of it.

  4. A central account activity page when you log in that has the latest tecnical news for Etsy, Dorque articles headlines (and only the headlines please, don't make us gag too much), a space for your current etsy bill total and date due, how many new feedbacks, convos and sales since you last logged in.

  5. If you haven't seen what Verybigjen worked up back in January, go look and do it. It went over well in the forums. It's simply wonderous; notes spaces for your outgoing orders (sigh), buyers emails to be linked on sold pages (gasp!), convos with buyers shortcutted so they can be brought up without two tabs in the browser and five minutes work. It's so brilliantly simple we want to have sex with it and have it's babies. This one is incredibly awesome too.

  6. Let us pay our bills with Paypal. And for god's sake, can you please fix the buying process so it will work seamlessly with Paypal and not the half-assed system we have now that confuses and looses new buyers. We're tired of apologizing for Etsy being a clusterfuck of dumbasses for not being able to nail being a decent commerce site.

  7. More ability to rearrange and control our shops other than by renewing and relisting, a practice Etsy loves as it pads it's pockets.

  8. Half the forums are bullshit and need removed. The social aspect of Etsy has taken over over the site. We should have expected it out of the facebook crowd, but it's just gotten out of hand.

  9. A search that works. A search that works. A search that works!!! Light it up in the sky in letters 50 foot high and set it on fire, A SEARCH THAT WORKS! Don't make us sacrifice a Cupcake to make it happen.

  10. Stats, dammit. (The dammit is not directed at you Chad, we like you so far). Stats! Sure some of it will likely unveil shit that Etsy doesn't want known, like perhaps that most buyers link in from other searches or blogs not from within Etsy-itself, but damn it we need to know what works, and what doesn't.

  11. The ability to organize convos, and favorites. And a way to delete expired items or copy listings would be nice too.

  12. Fix the half assed batch shipping page. It was great we finally got it, but why won't it tell us what everything is set to? How are we to know what "no change" means? Could be something, could be nothing, Who the hell let that one slip by? Oh right, they fired him. Anyway, now that he's gone can you finish what he didn't?

  13. Buying features, er... Flash toys. 75% of them are frivolous and do nothing and need to be deleted. If search worked from the get go there would have been no urge to make them anyway.

  14. Most importantly a technical and customer support issues big-boy ticketing system. If sellers have issues they don't want to be shrugged off or told to clear their cache for every problem or that they just suck. Or be ignored. Or mocked. Or... well anything else Etsy has done to us.

Thanks for taking a moment to read this Chad. Please keep in mind that this list is not the list of eleven anonymous Etsy customers. Rather it is the tip of an iceberg of countless Etsy customers who have posted in the Ideas section of the Etsy forums and been ignored. Over and over again.

I'm sure our readers will have other ideas, we encourage them to post them in comments, and for you to read those as well.


The Etsy Bitches


GimmeaCHAD said...

Hi Chad!

If you do anything, please read, absorb, and implement all of these things.

If you already have it planned, show us you're loveable side and put just a tiny little list of things to come somewhere- in the Storque, in an email, the forums, wherever. We'll find it and love you that much more.

Hopefully yours,
An Etsian

The Funny One said...

Thanks EB, and as we all enter this crucial holiday retail period, (starting in a matter of weeks, dear Etsy)I'm adding 2 more pleas to the new Etsy managers.

And then, no more begging, because it hasn't worked for 3 years. And it looks bad to be on your knees all the time.

1. Manage who you're supposed to manage. Etsy employees are well known for posting before they think, and they've done more damage to seller relations by confusing the issues. Most contact they have with sellers are filled with personal opinions, not company policies.

2. If you expect your sellers to act as PARTNERS, which they are because they do all the marketing, customer service, and a lot of PR for Etsy, you have to TREAT THEM like partners. Stop talking down to them, stop dissing them, and stop the infantile behavior and bad judgement that comes from the bizarre Etsy policy of "punish now, worry about public relations later." Managing the site by punishing sellers with mutings, bannings and warnings has led to mass confusion, the appearance of playing favorites, and bolstered the impression that Etsy employees can do whatever they want, whenever they want.

To have tons of sellers who are literally "scared of Etsy" and "scared of what Etsy might do to them" is no way to treat sellers who do that much work for you (in addition to running their stores).

No matter what happens to Etsy in the next 3 months, Etsy has an obligation to its sellers to roll out the 2008 Holiday Plans immediately, and do your re-organizing behind the scenes. It's a 3 year old business with 170,000 stores, and your sellers need an efficient selling platform for the most important retail months of the year.

Mangage, take care of business, communicate with sellers like professionals, fix technical problems immediately, set priorities for implementing improvements to SEARCH and CHECKOUT now, and support and serve YOUR SELLERS now.

Etay can do all the hiring, firing and reorganizing it wants, but don't mess with OUR RETAIL HOLIDAY WEEKS.........for many stores, it's the biggest money making period for the next 12 months.

are-they-serious said...

If sellers have issues they don't want to be shrugged off or told to clear their cache

Whaaaaaa? I thought cache clearing fixed any techincal problem. Well, color me misinformed.

sad buddyb said...

I know everyone has their own pet preferences for what items should top Chad's priority list.

With this holiday shopping season practically upon us, I only have 1 Christmas wish:

When buyers click the big green "Submit Order" button, PLEASE have the page AUTOMATICALLY REDIRECT to the PayPal log-in/payment page.

We need our buyers, many of whom are new to the site, to have a seamless payment process. We can't afford the time to track down hundreds of payments.

You could even put a little note next to the green button, telling them that when they click it, they will be automatically brought to PayPal to pay for their order.

The other requests are important, but getting paid is the biggie.

just bitchy said...


are-they-serious said...

When buyers click the big green "Submit Order" button, PLEASE have the page AUTOMATICALLY REDIRECT to the PayPal log-in/payment page.

But that would only work with those paying with Paypal. Not everyone likes to use Paypal.

curious said...

As an aside...Vicodin is only available with an Rx. ;)

fothermucker said...

just bitchy said...



Pretty please? It would be nice, after THREE years, to be able to charge shipping by state instead of by country.

The Cranky One said...

curious said...

As an aside...Vicodin is only available with an Rx. ;)


Precisely, and they are in Brooklyn, so he should be able to find it on any local street corner.

ShrugItOff said...

This is an excellent Priority list. Might I also add and really EMPHASIZE the need for shop owners to be able to edit listing while on any page in their store and to "list similar". It shouldn't take freakin' 8 minutes to list something identical to what you listed 15 min. prior.

And while you are at all this, can you please just get rid of tags? Get rid of them! They confuse people, make it difficult to list and difficult to shop.

fluffy said...

As a buyer-only, may I put in a giant plug for SEARCH???

Please! I don't have all day to go around browsing for items. I have an xmas list to attend to and I want to be able to search for the items on my list and find RELEVANT results.

Jeeus Christ, I've been asking for that since I started shopping pre-V2 and it still hasn't happened.

Please remember the BUYERS!!!!!!

impetuous said...

mmmm. Vicodin

upsetwithadmin said...

Yes, get rid of tags. Or limit them to only three: category, subcategory, and sub-subcategory. We have a box for listing materials. Maybe change the title to Materials and Keywords. This could possibly help clean up the Search and make it run smoother.

Fix that Search function. It's really pathetic.

On the technical end of things please, please give the sellers ALL of the much needed and necessary tools to help them. Those tools have been asked for far too long and have been ignored far too long. We need actual tools, no more useless rainbows and cutsie things.

-- --Beta test everything before springing something on us that doesn't work or has flaws and bugs.-- -- We don't have the time to try and figure out why something we sellers are doing isn't working right and in the process lose potential sales. That's a tech's job.

Get rid of Flash. Or make sure who works with it knows exactly what they're doing. It was cute when Etsy was an infant; not so cute now.

Clean up the Home page. It is cluttered and uninviting and 90% useless the way it now is. It needs an eye-popping but unassuming and fresh "grown-up" look. Etsy needs to go mainstream if it is to survive. Mainstream is in; Inde is out. Etsy needs to take buyers who are not sellers into consideration. As it now is, the current Home page screams "Go somewhere else where you can find your way because here it is mass confusion."

Notify us days ahead of time when site tech issues will be worked on. That way we will know why something isn't working properly.

I don't envy you your job. You have one huge mess to clean up. Work with us and we will work with you.

WindysDesigns said...

Welcome Chad, please don't eat the cupcakes or drink the koolaid. If you don't, you might just be the answer to our prayers.

Best wishes on your Etsy journey!

just bitchy said...

Actually by shipping choices I mean being able to have, for example, 1st Class, Priority and Express as buyer choices during checkout.

A shipping calculator would be wonderful, but I suspect they won't be able to implement that for a long time.

So at least being able to offer fixed rate shipping choices, particularly around the holidays, would be great.

Basically that would just be expanding the existing programming, not adding a whole new element like a shipping calculator.

Fixed rate shipping choices would also help international sellers and not leave them out as usual. They could have two or three shipping choices based on their home country shipping norms and attached fixed prices like we do now with the single shipping choice.

A shipping calculator that involved international shipping is probably a long way out.

knotbygranm said...

If you get a moment, a dolls and miniatures category would be swell.

ebbandflo said...

would love love love streamlined seller functions and batch operations so i don't have to spend so much time administrating my shop

other sites have it - etsy needs to play catch up


life-during-wartime said...

What the hell...I'll nail my theses/feces for improving Etsy to the EB wall.

--Fix the stupid sign-up process, please! Etsy is the only site where the validation email went into my spam mail folder. And don't you dare tell me to clear my cache! If people can't sign up, they can't put $$$ in your pants.

--Set up an automated response to allow registered users to request a temporary password if they forget what they registered with. If people can't log on, they can't put $$$ in your pants.

--Change the procedure for opening an Etsy shop to one where a member of the staff has to manually allow the shop to be visible on the site after the seller has completed all the appropriate info (like location, profile, policies etc etc) and added some minimum number of items. This will eliminate the need for community flagging fests every weekend when the resellers pour their crap into your servers. And, no, silly cupcake girlz, this is not jurying. No aesthetic judgement or evaluation of the quality of handmade is involved. Duh. Only an idiot buys from a shop with no listed location, no profile, or no policies stated. What kind of venue makes its reputation vulnerable to anyone for a fee of 20 cents?

--Start charging a fee to open a shop to pay for staff time for doing what I suggested directly above. This will eliminate the thousands of empty shops now on the site.

--Do something about SEARCH!

--And please please please put vintage on its own sub-site!!!

The Cranky One said...

I think just changing the name of tags to keywords would help tons. People know what keywords are, no one knows what tags are unless they blog. Many likely thing tags are pieces of paper with prices on them.

oddmanout said...

I have no way of know how much the crappy search has cost me in dollars , but I do know that the buy now button with no link to buy now has cost me plenty, It shouldn't leave the shop until it has been paid for . I also think allowing seller to arrange their items in any order they please would mean less sellers with 3 different shops . Also why can't we hide views from the general public?

Simone said...

Actually, I think the tags should stay and we should be able to use a load of them and that some nifty functionality could be built around them. BUT ... please stop linking tags with categories! This is the cause of *so* many problems. Categories and tags should be entirely separate things, just as they are on other sites.

Anyway, search is the single most critical thing, of course.

But also the listing process desperately needs work. And relisting - we still need five or more clicks to add a relisted item to a section - this is truly insane!

As for shipping, it doesn't need to be over-engineered, but just made very flexible. Allow us to enter multiple types of shipping for an item (insured, express - anything we choose to call it) in a way which will work from any country and not be tied to the US postal system. Allow us to enter shipping costs either by weight or by number of items or ideally a combination of the two. Allow shipping discounts over a certain value or quantity. etc. etc.. Allow us to ship to Europe as a single entity! Or to set up zones containing multiple countries. Yep, there's a *lot* that could be done here.

Anyway, welcome ... and good luck!

WindysDesigns said...

I have to wonder if Chad is really aware of just how much work there is to do on Etsy. I sure hope the guy isn't blindsided when he finally pushes up his sleeves and starts delving into the situation.

To leave a job at a well-known and successful company, to come to Etsy seems a little odd to me. I mean, he must be used to using top notch equipment with competent engineers. Now, I don't know the competency of the current Etsy engineers, I can only speculate that they must be lacking something, or Etsy would run like a well oiled machine.

The reason I say this is because every single improvement or tool or feature we've ever asked for has been 'too complicated' to implement, while people who are actually experienced in software development and similar jobs say otherwise.

Many of the problems we've had have merely had band aids applied, not real solutions, with promises to come but never are realized.

I know there's a long wish list we've presented to you, and the wants/needs will continue to roll in. Just remember that communication goes a long way with us. While absolute perfection would be nice, I think we'd be happy to settle for honesty and ongoing communication with you about site issues.

I really hope you're the man Chad, with all my heart. I feel like we're all holding our collective breath and pinning our collective hopes that you can put Etsy on the track it should have never gotten off of. And if you're not, and we get the same shit we're already getting, well, you will have let down over a million users of the site. No pressure, of course.

Heather said...

everyone has great ideas...I'll add searching our sold items (since I am scrolling through over 280 sold items looking for a few now).

I'm hoping Chad reads this...and hoping these new improvements get done!

aperson said...

we are not partners, we pay for a service. Big difference.

aperson said...

btw, vicodin is not over the counter. this explains a lot btw...

etsquee said...

I want more how-to videos and spinning bouncing candy-colored shiny things!

The Righteous One said...

aperson, exactly we are their customers and over the past 3 years function has decreased...we're not getting what we pay for. As Etsy has grown items have been more difficult to find, buyers can't get through the purchase process, and shipping options and paypal are not fully integrated. We pay for it dammit!

I'm fully expecting a Storque article "no new changes possible, the entire code needs to be redone first. kthxbai Chad"

The Funny One said...

aperson, I do beg to differ since almost all of the other online handmade (really handmade) sites also charge me for listings and a sales commission. BUT, none of them ask me to pay a listing and sales fee AND tell me that I have to do all my own advertising and promotions, and ALSO be expected to:
*promote the whole site (and maybe even join a Team to promote the whole site PLUS other stores
*refer all my email questions to Site Help because Etsy won't do their own customer service and still expect sellers to answer questions, even when they are guesses.

Etsy has always justified their low fees by telling sellers they really have to do all the work themselves, including all advertising, promotions and customer service. FOR FREE. Instead of paying sellers to do all this work that all the other handmade sites do FOR their sellers, that makes sellers on Etsy partners.

Since, without all their hard work and free labor, Etsy would not be what it is today, problems and all.

When you expect your sellers to work for you for 3 years without getting paid, you have made them partners in building the company.

It's sellers who lost out in the long run. Since they didn't get anything back for all that unpaid work, unpaid promotions, and unpaid advertising.

The Cranky One said...

And we did all this to help Etsy grow, but it's only grown in giving us competition. All the work we saved them, the hours saved not doing menial tasks like customer support, should have been used to build the site's features.

Every feature in Buy tab is a cover for the fact search is inadequate. They give us all those flash toys in the BECAUSE search doesn't work, and it more fun to make toys than to do work and fix what's broken. Then they go "look at all the cool ways to find things on etsy! Shopping here s fun!"

Three years later search is still broken, but we have a way to (sort of) shop by color... whee!

Ladies Auxilliary said...

"I have to wonder if Chad is really aware of just how much work there is to do on Etsy. I sure hope the guy isn't blindsided when he finally pushes up his sleeves and starts delving into the situation."

I'm sure he's aware of what he's getting himself into. The issue, I think, is that just like Maria, he's going to need time to put the systems of lasting change in place, and we're all going to have to sit back and wait (and worry and wonder) while that's happening.

We've gotten so used to the capricious, unprofessional treatment that has marked much of recent Etsy history, that it's hard to be patient and trust that what needs to happen, will happen.

I'm okay with waiting a little longer. The personnel changes we've seen already are, in my mind, promising, and indicate that Maria is paying attention to the greater issues that need to be dealt with.

On a purely speculative note: I bet every Etsy employee now has a clear job description and a timeline for meeting it...and it's just a matter of time before the ship starts shaping up, or shipping out :)

Morrigan said...

I wonder how much can realistically be done before Christmas is upon us.

The Funny One said...

Since I just found 3 new sites that list ONLY handmade, and screen items before they can be listed, I am convinced that Etsy's inability to serve their sellers has had a positive effect.

The more handmade selling sites that open, whether they be regional, category specific, juried or unjuried, most of them are offering features that Etsy has refused to add.

Promotions and special ads, putting your store on away mode, and signing up for a huge selection of holiday specials for the next 4 months are usually a one-click feature, and are often already included in the listing and sales fees.

I hope to see many many more of these new sites, and that sellers go where the grass is greener. Begging for improvements on Etsy hasn't led to any substantial improvements. And you have to wonder what's behind their obstinance and why they now hide behind an overblown newsletter and continue to refuse to conduct basic customer service. 170,000 stores with NO customer service?

If it's competition and lots of it, bring it on and bring it on big.

The Disgruntled One said...

I wish you well, Chad, indeed I do. There's a huge mess at Etsy that needs to be tidied up, and you're apparently the guy who can do it.

I suspect they're going to have to rebuild most of the site. What a nightmare, and all because the original programmers (RD and Haim) didn't plan for Etsy's success.

pony-lo said...

hello chad.
goodbye chad.
have a nice day .

the cat's meow said...

Kudos on a great list of collective gripes, EB!!


justalongfortheride said...

God help you, Chad...God help you.

Also, mmm...Vicodin.

the fluffy one said...

hey funny one--

can you link to those new sites b/c I would love to spend my $$$ there.