Monday, September 29, 2008

On Etsy, technical glitch = permanent problem

As implied by Chad in his Storque article, Etsy's infrastructure is a hot mess of patches and hacks, fundamentally flawed and being crushed under an ever-increasing mass of sellers. Think of Bre's hammock, duct-taped and full of sumo wrestlers.

Although admin grudgingly admitted the issues in this forum thread and Storque article nearly a week ago, there are still sellers posting in Bugs and Business wondering WTF is going on with listings and categories. For those still confused, here's the straight shit.

The batch upload lags are permanent.

The problem will not be fixed before the holidays.

Now, dear EB readers, stop your wailing and rending of garments. After all, haven't you seen that little notice during the listing process stating that listings may take as long as 24 hours to appear? Etsy already covered their ass on that one, and, as Stella says, it's not that the system is broken, "it's just not meeting your expectations".

Your silly, foolish expectations. Your ridiculous expectation that when you list something at 9am it might show up in the system before noon. Your utterly stupid expectation that when buyers browse a category page they might see more than just the same 21 items sitting there for an hour. Your outrageous expectation that listing and browsing should be a swift, intuitive and simple process for a site with over 60 employees and millions of dollars in investor backing.

Expectations that have been encouraged and promoted by admin themselves, not only recommending renewing as a promotional method in the forums, but renaming "Expiry Dates" to "Renew Items" so that method of spending our 20 cents is just a little bit easier to find.

But hey, chin up! Etsy feels your pain. They're just asking for your patience and understanding... for the past three years. Oh, and they know it's "little consolation" to sellers who've seen their own sales drop - but Etsy's overall sales are doing great! Sales are up! Listings are up even more than sales! Never mind that when the rise in listings is greater than the rise in sales it means sales-to-listing ratios are actually dropping! Just chug that kool-aid and think of how much money Etsy is making and everything will be fine.

In the words of one sharp seller on that thread, Etsy, don't try to placate or distract us. You created this clusterfuck by exploiting a piece of bad site design that turned out to be profitable. Now your sellers are paying for it, literally.


Eveline said...

Can anyone else feel the water yet? Etsy's lovely hand made paper boat is sinking, fast!

life-during-wartime said...

A bandaid that might do some good: start charging a per shop fee, effective Nov. 1, 2008. (If you have 5 shops, you pay fee times 5). Even if it's small, like US$2.00, the psychological impact will cause many of the casual (less than 5 inexpensive items listed) sellers to jump ship. Dunno how many there are, but I've seen lots of them...although I admit my browsing tastes are not the mainstream.

Also, get some of those slumbering customer service asshats to wake up and develop a prgram to delay any shop opening without an approval screening (as discussed before). Also effective by 11/1/08.

And dammit, get vintage over to its own sister site to improve traffic flow. And maybe give them their own forums?

Under the circumstances, any seller still renewing is probably too mentally challenged to purchase from safely. Get a few more baskets, and start shuffling those eggs, ladies.

Megan McGory said...

Seriously I'm not even pissed about batch uploading because I sell jewelry...which means you're lucky to hit page 3...but the load times on the subcategories are unacceptable. 10 seconds? How many buyers can you lose in 10 seconds? It only takes 2 or 3 seconds to lose one. -sigh-

Seriously, if they knocked Etsy offline for 3 days and just fixed the system already, I'd be happy with that. But of course, that will never happen. :(

life-during-wartime said...

Oh, forgot the biggest fix they need pronto until the entire site can be rebuilt --SHUT OFF THOSE DAMN LINKS IN SHOPS AND ITEMS -- those little hamster legs can only turn your wheels so fast and no faster.

Paw and Claw Designs said...

I love that i get yelled at about it by other sellers who are just as beaten by the flawed system :(

Impetuous said...

Search alone is sending Etsy to the grave. Everything else is sealing the coffin.

Simone said...

I think it's fair to say that many of us have pretty low expectations of Etsy these days. It really says something that they can't meet them.

The Funny One said...

Everyone here has made such great comments and suggestions, I encourage you to continue to make them, because Etsy is not reading the forums. EVERYTHING IS JUST FINE.

When Chad (who started it) and Etsy Admins started throwing out excuses that they never planned for "scale"-------well, gee, what were they doing 18 months ago? Redecorating their offices to accomodate the new skateboard ramp?

Etsy created this monster, yet they still don't know anything about sellers and selling, and ain't gonna start now. With regular paychecks coming in, why bother doing all that WORK?

All I can say is mark my words: Etsy will start fucking with things in mid-October, the site will be down more than up, and things will start breaking like crapshit.

Because, deep down, they really don't give a fuck if sellers are having a hell of a time making one damn sale.

And happy holidays to you too.

Anonymous said...

With only a stones through from the busiest retail time of the year, you've got to wonder where the hell is Maria in all of this? With the glowing list of accomplishments from her days at NPR shes toting around, one is left to assume they either have her gagged and bound laying in a hammock somewhere or she herself has seen the sinking ship and has decided fuck, it, they're on their own. Yeah, we *know* it *could* take up to 24 hours, but honesty, so you think we're all that God damn dimwitted to not think that they *may* not be another undelining issue?

panik said...

in addition to the proliferation of new and continuation of old glitches by the bucket load, ...perhaps they could allow one admin a few hours to go through the gift guides to make sure that only one item per shop is included in each guide. PARTICULARLY BEFORE THE FRIGGIN' HOLIDAYS! I have been through most of the gift guides and the number that include three or more items from ONE SELLER is ridiculously high. At least give those who aren't getting prompt batch uploads and those who get lost in a shitstorm of category listings that no shopper with more than half a brain has the patience to scroll through more of a chance of exposure.

kpp said...

Okay, its late in the evening in the US and I'm getting webserver errors viewing items. WTF? Please tell me its because they're magically fixing things and are cycling servers to put fixes into production. Snort. Yeah right.

The Ebon Swan said...

Frankly, my expectations of Etsy hit rock bottom and started digging. I don't expect my listing to be up there within a reasonable amount of time, I don't expect to be able to upload a picture once in the time it takes me to upload 20 on Flickr, I don't expect renewing an item to do jack for me for additional exposure. I just put my listings up and carry on. Eventually they do get seen.

See? Lower your expectations and things look pretty peachy! Works for dating sites, it can work for Etsy too.

lone haranger said...

Its Sept 30. Christmas decorations are being unpacked at retail stores across the land.

Do you really want Maria to change a bunch of stuff now, and have it be buggy for the only sales season that matters?

Impetuous said...

lone haranger said...
Do you really want Maria to change a bunch of stuff now, and have it be buggy for the only sales season that matters?

Etsy IS a buggy site, always has been. So YES, I would like Etsy to hunker down, Maria included, and tirelessly hammer at that piece of shit site all through the holiday season, if that's what it takes. A day here and there with SOME stuff working is better than the snails pace we have been going at for almost a month now, where very little is functioning without issues.

I appreciated Chad's direct and informative approach to explaining the problems, I'm just trying to understand how a company could let such basic, essential functions, corrode and fall apart like this and expect people to be all giggles and smiles in the forums about it. Have you noticed that bug threads are popping up in all sorts of forum sections now? Revolving Dork must be laughing his ass off!

the fluffy one said...

Man, I can see why the sellers are starting to panic. The economy's bad and Etsy's worse.

Good luck y'all. and I hope you've diversified--and I don't mean bonds instead of stock.

lucy said...

I bailed out of Etsy at the end of August and I couldn't be happier.
Especially with all of this bullshit they are trying to pull.