Sunday, February 1, 2009

Content team = sucks hard + fail

The Etsy content team is doing their job - harrassing sellers about prices. Wait...what? Yes, you heard me. The dumbasses at Etsy (particularly Claire according to one forum thread) are sending out notices about sellers needing to lower their prices or have their products removed. Meanwhile the flagging system is backed up to god-knows-where. This is coming after protest price increases regarding the CPSIA.

We were scooped on this by Eclipse on her blog, and she has so many examples of content team fail that our heads are spinning.

The main points of this issue are that sellers of non-children items are getting the "lower your prices" warnings (the CPSIA was regarding children's items) and Etsy is telling sellers what they should or can charge for their items.

The main problem with this - ETSY IS A VENUE! They have no place telling sellers what to charge!

From the Etsy Terms of Use:

Etsy acts as a venue to allow users who comply with Etsy’s policies to offer, sell, and buy certain handmade goods within a fixed price format. Etsy is not directly involved in the transaction between buyers and sellers. As a result, Etsy has no control over the quality, safety, morality or legality of any aspect of the items listed, the truth or accuracy of the listings, the ability of sellers to sell items or the ability of buyers to pay for items. Etsy does not pre-screen users or the content or information provided by users.

The official admin word on this was, of course:
This is a private matter between Etsy and a member of the Etsy community. In this case, please do write to content (!at) etsy dot com, let them know you've received this email and why you feel it to be in error.

(by the way, the seller already said they had done that, but they were closing in on the deadline for removal of the listings - there were 10 - without any word back)

Dumbasses. Read your own fucking policies! And while you're at it, make sure the items you're emailing about are actually covered under the issue, and that you email the correct sellers. The number of inaccurate emails the content team sends out is ridiculous.

If you worked for me, you'd all be fucking fired by now!

51 Comments:

lessa said...

That just is not right. As pointed out Etsy is a venue, sure they can get involved if I'm charging $20 to ship a piece of cardstock I'm charging $.50 for. That is fee avoidance. But if I want to charge $20 for that same piece of cardstock, what do they care. I just won't sell anything and waste my time and listing fee.

It is not there place to tell anyone what they price an item.

XO Handworks said...

I found the secret to getting an answer from the Content team. Convo Admin MaryMary and explain your situation and how Content has not replied after repeated attempts over several weeks. MaryMary runs over, slaps Content and you get an answer within the hour.
At least that's what worked for me ...

eclipse said...

The allegedly overpriced item was a TEN DOLLAR ceramic dish. If anything, it was underpriced- it is really cute!
Nothing in that sellers shop was over 60 dollars, and nothing in the shop is for children or in any way related to the CSPIA issue.

disappointed said...

Total incompetence. There is no other explanation. Well, maybe there is. Laziness.

2centsworth said...

Maria should make the content team read eclipse's entire blog post aloud at the next staff meeting.

Yes, INCLUDING all the posts that were referenced.

unFUCKINGbelievable.

Idiots.

shipwack said...

RobWhite says:
"This is a private matter between Etsy and a member of the Etsy community. In this case, please do write to content (!at) etsy dot com, let them know you've received this email and why you feel it to be in error."

Then he closed the thread.

Bull-fucking-shit.

Rob (or whatever pissant minion you have delegated to monitor this site), there is no need for this to be a private matter. If some member of the community is going to send a harassing, dumb-ass message to me about my store, I am going to let everyone know what this moron is doing, in case it is some sort of scam. Evil and stupidity breeds when things are kept hidden.

And if anyone is -dumb- enough to dare think they have the authority to tell me how to price my merchandise, I will unleash upon them a stream of invective that has been honed by twenty years of naval service. After they have gone crying in fear to their mamas, they will KNOW not to bother me again with their drivel again.

Brass Monkey Designs said...

WTF? I repeat WHAT THE FUCK? So now they are telling us what's an inflated price and what isn't? This isn't a damned loaf of bread or gallon of gas! It is ART. Where do they get off deciding how high or low anyone's prices should be?

I'm honestly just flabbergasted....an offended. Someone there has a bad case of Tin God syndrome.

forum rubbernecker said...

If I ever got an email from the content team, my answer, while not written, would be the following:

KISS MY PATOOTIE.
I have never mistagged.
I can charge what I want.
I make my own stuff.

But thanks for playing the "Random Content Email Game".

kibbles said...

This honestly doesn't surprise me. After all, it's Etsy.

Top Shelf Totes said...

Etsy needs to change their TOS if they want to be more like an iTunes venue that sets the pricing. For now, they tell us in the TOS that we set the prices, not Etsy.

Until they change the terms, I'd ignore them.

cctexan3 said...

Un freaking believable. First Matt tries to save face about that front page fiasco...a listing only guaranteeing a place to sell. One would think that the "powers that be" ( Larry, Moe and Curly) would want to make a bit of moola. Why make a seller LOWER their prices when a raise in price might make Nutsy enough money to actually hire people who know what they are doing.

Just when I think it cannot get more stupid, etsy once again out does itself. Glad I moved to Artfire.

jodie nicholson said...

I had an email from the Content Team a few days ago, accusing me of doing something against the rules....that is actually not.

I replied with links to threads where Admin had clarified the rule in the fora when the question was posed on more than one occasion.

I haven't heard back from them.

When even the Content Team doesn't know the rules, it's no wonder so many rule breakers constantly make the front page.

Attention to detail FAIL

Eveline said...

I'm afraid they mean this:

"A listing may not be created simply to share photographs or other information with the community. "
"A listing should not be created with an unrealistic price in order to keep it from selling. You may price an item how you choose, but please be reasonable. "
(Do's and Don't's)

But still... There are people breaking more serious rules than these protest-listings....

buddy said...

It's none of Etsy's business what sellers charge. Even the ones putting up $3000 for a tutu have the right to charge that much for their work. I bet Diane Von Furstenberg would charge $3000 for a tutu.

And if someone clicks to buy the item, Etsy gets a huge commission and would refuse to refund it, so fuck'em.

Excellent blog entry, Eclipse. Everyone who reads this should drop a Convo to pesmou with the link.

Eveline said...

Ahhh, nevermind... I thought it was about the protest-listings... This is ridiculous! She has every right to sell $17 plates!

teawithfrodo said...

I'm glad I'm just waiting for my listings to run out.
I'll still chat with friends on etsy, but this really shows not only the lack of communication but their contempt for everything on etsy.

geelizzie said...

I got 1 of those generic emails saying that my vintage items needed to be 20 years old. Funny thing was, I don't sell vintage. I use vintage papers in my work and thought it was okay to use vintage as a tag. I did get a response from the content team saying 'yes, you may use vintage as a tag', but then about a week later, I got the same generic email saying my vintage items needed to be 20 years old.(Obviously they don't keep track or have any recollection of who they've notified already and why.)My thoughts were that someone who sells vintage was going on a rampant flagging spree and flagging any and every one who uses vintage as a tag. I just gave up and took vintage out of my tags, it's just too scary to have the content team getting involved in my shop because of the many times that shops have been suddenly shut down. I need my etsy income and can't risk being on their 'watch this one' list.

creativeneurosis said...

what in the mo****f***ing hell????

PB::JJ::WW said...

Wow...just one word...Wow.

-JJ & PaintedBull

Oh, and btw great research and supportive sources on Eclipse's part. Good Job!

sophili said...

I got told to remove an item that wasn't handmade once.

The item in question was mass produced.

The problem was, it wasn't even in my shop.

So I took the time out of my day to correct them so I didn't suffer the consequences of someone else's rule breaking.

(Often I get the feeling that the offices of etsycorp are located directly over a Brooklyn glue factory.*sigh*)

And PS. It's none of their beeswax how much somebody charges for an item. I was pretty annoyed by Matt telling Sellers to stop protesting the CPSAI by charging the real cost of an item if forced to comply with the new rules.

Girl, Annoyed said...

In a time where there are thousands of well-educated, highly skilled people out of work in this country, I often wonder at ETSY's propensity for employing the type of worker who:

1. Is fabulously self-involved
2. Does not possess the education or experience necessary for the position that they're in
3. Is mean-spirited
4. Is not interested in doing actual work

"Hipster" may sound fun and all, but it's not actually something you can list as a qualification.

ETSY has reached insane levels of utter idiocy. How can you have a running series called "Quit Your Day Job" and then not provide sellers with the platform and support necessary to run an online business?

They're going to need to add subtitles to their features:

"Quit Your Day Job (and tips for how to find a new one once you realize we're all a bunch of lazy assholes)"

The Righteous One said...

Eveline, I know you said you realize that the quote you first posted doesn't apply to this particular incident, but I wanted to clarify something regarding what you quoted from the TOU.

Posting a cheap thing for $999,000 so it won't sell is very different from charging $300 (or even $3000)for art with the hopes someone will pay that much. Even with the CPSIA listings, they still wanted them to sell. The rule is that all listings must be things for sale, and that pricing high to avoid it isn't a loophole to take advantage of. Overpricing and hoping for a sale at that price is completely different from avoiding a sale by exorbitant pricing.

Let's say Etsy actually has a high level fashion designer set up shop. Are they going to tell them that $9000 is too much for their dresses? This is what they get for them at gallerias in NYC and LA and they have every right to charge it on Etsy. They plan on actually selling them at that price, and that's their decision and theirs alone.

We're supposed to charge what we're worth. Anything that takes more than a couple of hours is going to be in the hundreds of dollar range. Is Etsy going to target people who actually charge what they're worth because "it's priced too high to sell". How can Etsy possibly determine intent?

eclipse said...

The little ceramic dish that got flagged for being "unreasonably priced" is sold.
So OBVIOUSLY it was not priced too high to sell. Someone thought it was worth ten dollars.

Even the actual CSPIA items were not priced at those prices in order to keep them from selling. That was NOT the reason and so that section of the TOU does not apply. They were priced at the ACTUAL prices of what testing really costs, and if any of them had sold they would have done the testing, not made a huge profit.

Brass Monkey Designs said...

There was another thread started by someone else regarding this issue and it got locked down in 3 pages thanks to the genius who posted the link to the closed thread.

Frankly, I think overcharging to prevent a sale is probably not all *that* common. Frankly, their energies would be better spent working out the much more serious problem of low seller morale, shitty analytics, weekend resellers, and promoting their site EFFICIENTLY, rather than worrying that some seller has overpriced an item.

Besides, they got their .20 for that listing, so what the hell are they bitching about? That's all they want anyway, isn't it?

ArmandoJavier said...

This event is disturbing.

Not even sure I want to say anything for fear of getting flagged or muted or something else nuts.....

The Funny One said...

I don't get it. But, I don't get the Dorque, the snide and sarcastic Etsy posts, the crappy attitude Etsy has towards its sellers since Day One, the trends that Etsy keeps shoving down people's throats, the practice of changing the site without any notice to sellers, the nasty emails that Etsy loves to send to their sellers when they're just in the mood to be nasty, and the obvious belief that Etsy knows what it's actually like to be a creator of handmade items working their ass off to sell their products for a decent price on a site that truly despises most sellers and does everything but throw a train in front of people trying to do business on a site that promotes its own self interest (and all its favorite sellers for FREE!!!!!!).

It's a complete and total mystery.

puh said...

There is a dorque featured person who is totally mistagging their items with 3 and 4 unrelated words per line. Yeah, you'd think they'd at least look at her shop before featuring her? I can see why she can make a living selling what she sells there, as she's at the least mistagging, at worst ???

The content team fail? You and I both know they have auto email. They say they "look at each shop" but that's a load of bullshit. They can't even look at each email they send out. What are we, idiots?

Old Hippie Bitch said...

disappointed said:

Total incompetence. There is no other explanation. Well, maybe there is. Laziness.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I agree. It gets proven to us time and again. Laziness accounts for the vast majority of etsy fail.

Top Shelf Totes said...

I started a thread, directly asking them what the policy is... of course, the expected silence is what I'm getting... but, I tried. They don't seem to understand that silence is worse than just answering the questions.

Eveline said...

Righteous One:

I know what you mean, but I can also see how Etsy could use this 'rule' to tell the people who set up those high prices to take them down.
In fact, from what I read in the forums they were only 'allowed' to have these listings up until Jan. 31st...

But you're absolutely right, everyone should be allowed to decide for themselves how much to charge for their items. It's none of Etsy's business if I want to charge $5 of $500 for something I made... (You'd think that Etsy would like people to sell their items at a higher price, seeing as they would make more money, but hey... that's just me.. ;) )

fedup said...

There is a dorque featured person who is totally mistagging their items with 3 and 4 unrelated words per line

------

Yeah, since when is "sweet lovely fun" an acceptable tag!

Brass Monkey Designs said...

It was a "glitch" I hear. Okay assuming this is true, that doesn't excuse them not answering people's emails and convos when they wrote to them, freaking out and needing answers.

One poster (bless her heart) said the way to get anything done was to contact marymary and she'd kick someone's ass into gear. I am sure this is probably true, marymary seems to be a communication anomaly at Etsy (meaning she is good about responding) but forshitsake, she is ONE girl....the entire selling community shouldn't have to bombard this one person with emails and convos just to get other people to do their jobs!

forum rubbernecker said...

Yeah, since when is "sweet lovely fun" an acceptable tag!
________
Multiple tags like this exist for the following reason:

You get found
You get in treasuries
That ups your chances of the FP
Which ups your chances that more people will see you.
Which means you'll get in more treasuries.
Lather, rinse, repeat

Many many people who on the the FP frequently do this. Just click on any item on the FP and look at the tags.
So it is definitely wink, wink, nudge, nudge, encouraged. Heck, I have even started on the multitag bandwagon.

did you see this? said...

What Etsy Admin are doing with their time and resources:
http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6027715&page=1
See admin response on page 15 for the explanation, they're sending out "love bombs" to favorite sellers plus people who do lots of shopping ...

If I was a buyer and got something like that from a venue it would creep me the fuck out!

buddy said...

"love bombs" to their favorite sellers?!

So now they not only get mega-promotional support, but they also get free gift baskets mailed to them?

I understand promotional gifts to customers, but this little clique just takes it all too far.

And what kind of IDIOT marketer would go into their customers' public forum and announce that they give gifts (or such stupidly named Love Bombs) to a few customers, but NOT THE 99% OF YOU WHO I'M TAKING TO RIGHT NOW!

Duh. If you're going to play favorites and give out promo gifts, you don't announce it to everyone you've left out.

And the cupcakes are all impressed anyway. How sweet!

Mary said...

I love watching Etsy implode. Always good fun.

Ironically, many crafting suppliers are starting to instill MAP policies because of the rampant discounting on Etsy.

(MAP stands for "Minimum Advertised Pricing" and is a way that suppliers try to protect their pricing structure.)

I don't see why a venue would have any say whatsoever about a shop's pricing. It's like the Mall of America telling Macy's how to set their prices. Ridiculous.

From what I see on Etsy, about 99% of everything listed there is UNDER priced. It's really a 'work for free' kind of community and mentality. I don't know why Etsy would want to reduce that even further. Let's devalue our selves and our work even more - yay Etsy!

JennyJasmine said...

re: tagging
I know it is a bit off topic, but I see titles now that have everything but the kitchen sink thrown in.
So, even if a person is chaste with tags, they can throw it all into the titles.
A reach-around.

All For Under Fifteen Dollars said...

What Etsy Admin are doing with their time and resources:
http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6027715&page=1
See admin response on page 15 for the explanation, they're sending out "love bombs" to favorite sellers plus people who do lots of shopping ...

__________

Did you see that the guy was also featured in a QYDJ?

I'm blowing this joint and finding a Popsicle stand.

Brass Monkey Designs said...

Re: love bombs for people who do lots of Etsy shopping...
-------------------------

The OP only had two pages of purchases. I have 17 pages of purchases; I've probably spent a couple thousand dollars there on supplies and gifts for family and friends. But I'm no cupcake or front page fave and I complain publicly about them, so I bet I won't be getting any love bombs. LOL

I kind of see this as some sort of a bandaid to help PR and with the added benefit of discouraging people to be vocal with their complaints.

I can totally see the cupcakes upping the sweetness in hopes of getting one of these coveted packages. I can also totally see these things quickly becoming a status symbol.

Eveline said...

A love bomb? Seriously? That is creepy, spammy and illegal use of the address info they have of us...

Hee Haw said...

I resent, that as a seller who pays fees to etsycorp, that in small, tiny, microscopic portion I'm helping to pay for the time and money that goes into making and shipping out "Love Bombs".

If you want to kiss one customers ass,you'd better kiss all your customers ass, lest you look like an ass to 99% of your clients.

forum rubbernecker said...

I kind of see this as some sort of a bandaid to help PR and with the added benefit of discouraging people to be vocal with their complaints.
_________
True. If I complain and then get featured somewhere, I almost feel guilty for having complained. I know that's why they do this, because they sure as hell aren't going to address the real problems that people complain about, so they throw them little treats to shut them up.

if my eyes roll any more... said...

What I think is so dumb is the dozen cupcakes who immediately whined that they wanted to get a package, too. Grow the fuck up, are you five? In life, there will be people that get things you don't, and you will get things that other people don't. How about focusing on the other 9,999 things that Etsy fucks up that actually matter?

foxaz said...

Deciding who gets a Love Bomb - 2hrs

Cost of materials and time: $40+

Postage: $6.

Furor stirred up in the fora: Priceless!

sgt bunny said...

I couldn't care less who gets one, but I'm no cupcake cheerleader either. I'm happy at least they seem to acknowledge in some form, sellers and buyers. In the grand scheme, it doesn't particularily bother me half as much as the more egregious botch ups with listings and searches.

The damn fools who whine that they want one, are hilarious.

Maybe it's a matter of perspective.

WindysDesigns said...

Hmmmm....over a million users. If they sent out 1 a day, that's only 365 of them, in that time another half million could join. They'd never even scratch the surface of all the members. But I figure they send one out a week, if that. I'd say the chances of someone getting one of these love bombs is about the same as someone getting featured on the front page.

Definitely not worth worrying about, if |I ever did get one I'd have the bomb sqad over first to make sure it's safe.

I'm sure all the cupcakes are freshening their icings and dusting off the sprinkles so that they might attract the attention of love bombers.

Someone wake me when we've graduated from elementary school.

disappointed said...

So, Etsy says I can't email or mail marketing material to my own customers, but they do it to theirs. Wow. No hypocrisy there.

did you see this? said...

Just to clarify the OP in that thread got a love bomb as a *seller* (presumably connected to being in a QYDJ article but possibly more random than that? maybe they have a lucky dip, who knows) ... the buyer in the thread who said they'd got an etsy parcel has about 2000 bits of feedback I think, which is a lot of purchases!

The parcel didn't include a note saying "thanks for being a great seller we hope you enjoy your etsy love bomb" or anything like that it just said happy new year, hence them posting in the forums to ask if anyone knew what was going on!

I do think it is a bit creepy / spammy to send out parcels like that, but it mostly concerns me how they continue to play a "favourites" game, sending cute things to their friends instead of working on ways to promote the site / improve things for all buyers and sellers...

PaperStreet said...

just yesterday there was an item on the front page with this in it's description:

"This is a rough model in sterling silver. It is for sale if you are interested, but the main objective for this posting is to see what people think of my new masters work. So PLEASE send any comments you have."

doesn't seem any different than any other "hypothetical" listing if you ask me.

I know that one of my favorite sellers had a listing removed because she stated in her description that she didn't really want to sell the dress because she was in love with it and it was one of those "victory" pieces it was more of a self imposed challenge to make it.
The dress was completely made of patches of handwoven fabric she had made and it was beautiful, and would have certainly been worth the 2000.00 she had it listed for. Especially if it had been in a market place that honors unique handmade OOAK the way Etsy claims to.
The inconsistency they display is just beyond comprehension!!

PaperStreet said...

As for "LOVE BOMBS" wtf?

Anonymous forum rubbernecker said...

I kind of see this as some sort of a bandaid to help PR and with the added benefit of discouraging people to be vocal with their complaints.
_________
True. If I complain and then get featured somewhere, I almost feel guilty for having complained. I know that's why they do this, because they sure as hell aren't going to address the real problems that people complain about, so they throw them little treats to shut them up.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I totally agree! having spent two weeks trying to keep the renewing, relisting issues at the top of the forums (for the sake of other sellers) I noticed several sellers who were "new complainers" who had great shops, low sales, and had never been in the forums that much, subsequently get featured on the front page or gift guides and I suspect it was to shut them up guilt is a powerful tool!!!

Dr.LaNasa said...

This issue is about incompetence; what are they snorting at the HQ? because I want in.