Tuesday, December 9, 2008


ETSY HAS CAVED! ALERT! ETSY HAS CAVED! Last page numbers are being added.

Sellers this victory is yours! New VP of Product Development, Saralouhicks, just wrote this post in the Etsy Forums:

saralouhicks says:
I was planning to write a post this week to say hello and introduce myself. With the many threads about our pagination changes I figured now was as good a time as any. I'll keep the intro brief. My name is Sara and I've very recently come on board as Etsy's VP of Product Management. I love to make things. My designs happen to come in the form of technology and, in the case of Etsy, it comes in the form of a pretty big (and exciting) website! I truly admire and respect the beautiful work of Etsy sellers and can't tell you how happy I am to have the chance to work with you all. I hope to provide a more complete introduction for myself and the Product Management Team at a later date (who we are, what we do at Etsy), but for now I will jump right in to the topic of the week: pagination.

Last week we made a seemingly small change to the way page numbers appear on search results and category pages to display as "1 2 3 4 5 ... < >". Our goal with this change was to address an issue we've heard buyers express: being overwhelmed with the sheer number of results listed. We made this change based on information from a variety of sources, which included traffic data, usability testing and the best practices of other e-commerce sites. While our data shows this change hasn't substantially impacted traffic patterns, the feedback we've received from the community has been clear. We took time to reevaluate this decision and listen to what is being said in the Forums and in emails we've gotten about the change. Some valid points were raised, which include:

SEARCH: The way current search results are displayed (ranking) is based on chronology (most recently listed items first). We believe Etsy would be better served by a system that takes into account both ranking and relevance in a more sophisticated way. In retrospect, the change we made to pagination would have been more appropriately introduced with the introduction of a new ranking and a relevancy-based system.

JUMP TO: There is a "jump to" box at the bottom of search results category pages, but without knowing how many pages there are, it's illogical to jump to a page deeper in the results. If the shopper jumps too far, they meet a message that says "we didn't find anything."

In light of these two critical points, we've decided to reformat the pagination display to include the last page number again (such as it appears here in the Forums). The Etsy engineering team is working on this right now, but we have testing to go through yet. We are aiming to release the change before the end of the week.

I want to apologize for the way in which this change was launched. With the changes to the search system coming up in the new year, we may revisit the pagination display, but I assure you that we will take into better consideration how pagination supports the overall functionality of search.

I'm very much looking forward to partnering with you to make Etsy the most meaningful place to shop on the web. Thank you for your constructive and passionate feedback. We are continually listening and reading.

There you go. All but admission of Etsy being rash and shortsighted, and the fact that they have a sucky ass search made what they did even worse.

Hey Sara, you want to partner with us? How about revisiting this idea: FIX SEARCH!! Give us Tools! Take the money we give you and give US something in return. (Oh, and keep your dirty mitts off our page numbers!)


Wha, wha, whaaaat??!! said...

Woo f'en Hoo! But you know what... I'll take it. The first real communication and admission that they were wrong and that search may not be great.

I told them thank you in the thread. But let me tell you, they are still on notice and I'm still going to go give Artfire a try.

It's really too little too late in some ways. It's also a pretty sad statement of the state of affairs when people are so thankful that they put the site back the way it was, bad search and all. How pathetic.

LifeOutsideOfBrooklyn said...

That's great, but it's too little, too late for me. One "I'm sorry" doesnt cover the year and a half of fuck ups that I've witnessed from my cabin of this sinking ship.
I'm still swimming.

eclipse said...

not only that, but the fix isn't going to take a week- it's live NOW!
jump to page 14 of the forum thread.

They should do this every few months for PR. Take away something we all need, then give it back and get lavished with praise. They don't have to build anything new, LOL. Just give us back what we already had.
I feel like a rat in a maze but I'm happy to get my page numbers back.

The Disgruntled One said...

I am happy that sara had the balls to admit Etsy was wrong and to change things back. That's cool.

But it's still too late. As eek says, I feel like a rat in a frickin' maze, or something in a petri dish.

I swear they heat up that ol' petri dish every few months just to get us hopping. This was a totally fabricated crisis, like so many others.

When I think how condescending stellaloella and marymary were about the pagination change, I could just spit.

But it was nice to hear an apology.

People have been comparing our relationships with Etsy to a stormy relationship between spouses. I sometimes wonder if both sides aren't addicted to the "we almost broke up sex" that often follows a fight.

eclipse said...

Well this does prove one thing, or re-proves it. Bitching works. Next time we are bitching about some boner move, and someone says "if you don't like it just leave", we can remind them of this moment. Taking it like a doormat or leaving are not the only 2 options. If enough people are fed up and give valid rational arguments for their position, we can create change.

Do I wish we didn't have to bitch? oh yes! I wish Etsy would just do the right thing all the time, on their own accord!

Wha, wha, whaaaat??!! said...

I've started to create my artfire shop. I will begin putting up new creations this weekend. So far, it's been VERY easy, and OMG, they have a stats page, a real stats page. A page that tracks incoming URLs. I think I may faint.

Will be doing some serious comparisons over the next couple months. I have this weird feeling that my own website mixed with Artfire is already ahead by a few points and neither are even done yet. ;-)

Hmmm... almost broke up sex is a good analogy, except this time, it may be 'we broke up' sex. We'll see in the first quarter of '09.

Eveline said...

I'm glad Etsy listened, but this of course should never have happened in the first place. If only we could trust Etsy never to rush decisions like this again....

The Funny One said...

Dear Etsy:
What sellers DO NOT KNOW, is what kind of a negative impact your bizarre "tweaks" have had on holiday sales, since we have NO STATS FOR 4 YEARS!
While we continue to be baffled by your constant ignorance of the retail calendar, your continued callous disregard for your over 200thousand sellers, and your complete lack of a coherent business objective, and your obvious moves to promote only a fraction of the stores on the site,
thanks for telling us (sort of) in that now-famous Etsy-Way (those "novel-length Etsy posts that go on for 100 paragraphs) that maybe you listened.

Maybe the long, rambling explanation is more of the Etsy "you know how much we hate to admit we could EVER be wrong, blah blah blah and more blah" but if we fucked you over for ANOTHER holiday season, hey

'we're only human..........'

I suspect a LOT of holiday sales have been lost because Etsy lives in one world, and the rest of the world lives in another.

crapmaker said...

To stay with the analogy of a couple's relationship:
I may decide to stay a little longer with this unpredictable partner, but I have my "way out" planned already. So, when the day comes and yet another fucked up move from him/her...I will be out, for good.
I don't think Etsy will ever change, but it's nice to have a little longer to stay. It's not meant forever, I have noticed that over the past few months.
A "sorry" doesn't cut it anymore.

Jennifer said...

Maybe this will be a lesson to them to research and plan better next time they want to make a change.

Her line about the "jump to..." thingy basically told me that they wanted to bandaid the search problem so people would stop complaining and obviously didn't think through that the jump to.. would be there when they made the change. Don't these techies know stuff like that? Isn't that what they're paid to know?

Good grief, this isn't rocket science.

Kudos to Sara for admitting this was a mistake - that's more maturity and professionalism than etsy's shown in the 1.5 years I've been there.
Maybe they're hiring based on qualifications and not from hitting it off at a hipster party over the weekend.

my2cents said...

I refuse to heap praise on etsy for correcting a bonehead move.

So etsy has finally brought in professionals--yay--yet they still lack common sense.
Why isn't there one person at the big conference table during these development meetings that speaks up and says
"hey guys, let's not give the sellers a single reason to think we interfered with their potential sales this holiday season. Let's leave well enough alone for now.
You know they're going to freak and blame us for any tweaking in an already volatile selling time."
"Taking away the last page number on the pagination is a stupid idea. We are so dissimilar to Amazon, we can't apply their rules to our haphazard search results."

Do they think anything through thoroughly and critically?

Instead, they send Stella into the forums to defend a change that has no merit; it's indefensible because it's so obviously, transparently incorrect.

Usability studies, my ass.
Etsy, apparently you're putting "professionals" on your payroll.
Great. Now get some simple logic in there, too.

blueunicorn said...

This is great that they figured out this was a silly change for the two listed reasons (and I appreciate they womaned up and listed them).

You know what the third reason is? They made a non-critical change to the site during the Holiday Shopping season. Who does that? Why risk your production site breaking? You advertise sales, you fix critical bugs that would hamper sales, but you don't change things until the new year. How many things has Etsy changed? Let me take off my shoes, I might need my toes...

Anonymous said...


Interesting post critiquing Etsy failures and CEO Maria posts a comment!

Ladies Auxilliary said...

I like it. I like it.

etsy = biggest joke ever said...

I'm happy that Etsy Admin changed their minds and put the last page number back.

I'm not so happy about the title of this article though. I find OMFG incredibly offensive. About ten times as offensive as just OMG.

The Cranky One said...

Let me guess, it's not the F it's the G...

life-during-wartime said...

Was there any decline in the number of renewals before Etsy did their damage control? Because it seems likely that a fall in revenue -- or even a potential fall -- would have been more likely to motivate Etsy to try and make nice than simply seller dissatisfaction.

Gina - RoseThistleArtworks said...

Maaaaybeee the "profits" will be lower this Christmas season and they needed some "technical" reason to blame it on to investors instead of seller's dissatisfaction? They sure are being responsive lately and I know many people are on listing strike as well as migrating to other sites.

skeptical said...

It's nice, but after only a few months at Etsy I'm so fucking jaded about any kind of promises from any admins. We'll see.