Monday, March 16, 2009

Maria says "Etsy messed up"

After the billing debacle this weekend, Maria has apologized in the Dorque.

She has asked billing to roll back policies until all sellers are emailed about the changes though sellers can still use Paypal and can still pay bills less than $1. She has also taken full responsibility for the poor communication and inappropriate overdue notices.

She even says...wait, are you sitting down? Because you're likely going to fall over in shock:

Over the weekend, Etsy messed up

No shit, but thanks for saying so. That in itself is a step forward - someone other than Matt having to apologize for the screw-ups. You know how you solve this problem don't you? Get rid of the morons still left in the Gold Street offices. Sure, mistakes happen - but at Etsy they're the norm, and there must be common denominators that can be corrected to change this.

We've heard "we'll do better" a number of times now - it's starting to get old. Actions speak for themselves. Speaking of which - did that apology get sent to everyone who were emailed an overdue notice? Oh, but then everyone would see it and know what happened, unlike hiding it in the Dorque.

There's an urge to give Maria a cookie, but the idea of communication is still lip service so we're just going to eat the cookies ourselves.


Anonymous said...

And yet the same shitheads will still have the same jobs tomorrow.

Moda di Magno said...

Blah blah blah, we messed up. Yeah, you did Etsy. You sent me a surlygram on my due date telling me I was two weeks late.

To top it off - comments are CLOSED on "Maria's" apology post in the Dorque.

Nice, open communication there.

eclipse said...

I think Etsy handled this mess-up quite well (for once), but I just wish all the wanna-be-Etsy-forum-cops would stop speaking for Etsy and making things worse. They think they are "helping" Etsy, but at best they are annoying, at worst they contradict what the real Admins have said! Let the real Admins handle it, it's their job.

Quantum Tiger said...

I dont think etsy handling anything correctly. A proper woops would be to cancel all debts owed for last month and not the previous months before. Lets be honest etsy makes enough money to take a hit. Or at least do some form of open action. Something like hey here is a free gift because we are douche bags. I would prefer that to "woops".
Its like saying "I robbed you and ate all the food in your house, woops"

Brass Monkey Designs said...

I dunno, Organidog, Maria's going to get fed up with having to repeatedly apologize for the same people's oopsies and eventually, someone's going to get their ass kicked to the curb. I will be surprised if we don't see a LOT of staff changes and fat trimming within the next year.

Simone said...

Etsy have handled this better than usual, I agree. And an apology from the top was needed and I'm very glad it was delivered.

But part of the original problem here was not communicating vital information to customers directly, so why hasn't the apology for this gone out to customers directly? We shouldn't have to monitor a forum or a blog or subscribe to an opt in only email to get an apology from a business when it's warranted.

Also, didn't they apologise and tell us they would do better next time when they last changed billing policies, didn't tell anyone directly and confused everybody in the process? I dimly recall that was the case.

eclipse said...

Quantum Tiger, how did they rob you?
The communication was terrible I agree, but no one actually lost any money over this. It's not comparable for example to the double-charging billing snafu of 2007, that left some sellers with overdraft fees and bounced checks and frozen bank accounts.
If anyone had sustained actual financial harm I would be the first one calling for restitution but I don't see where anyone lost money here.

By the way, Etsy is not profitable and never has been. They do take in a good amount of money, but they always spend more than they make, most likely the biggest chunk being the bloated HR budget.
If they cut a few of the useless staff, I'll bet they could become profitable and probably increase productivity at the same time!

Lillith said...

I have yet to receive anything from etsy than an email saying my bill is overdue.

bloxl said...

yes they have screwed up and thank goodness for acknowledging it etsy
now bitches, they cant fire anyone when they have contractual obligations like many start ups.
start ups often hire young, green idealists for their inexpensive but plentiful labor. they are often inexperienced and make mistakes. why are you bitches expecting them to be anything other than full of mistakes? they've had no training, make very little money, so come on now. after they go public ( which has probably been delayed a few years due to the current economic climate)they will get rid of the dead weight. but it wont happen until then. sure, we all realize some of them have no business being in business. but there is nothing we can do kids

shiny said...

Oh, my, the whole "we messed up" kowtowing in that article as annoying. An no cookies, please (or cupcakes, or owls-cum-octupi-cum-deer-cum-squirrels blah) - At this stage in the game with recognition of and effort made towards more effective communication, "boo-boos" like this shouldn't happen.

WindysDesigns said...

What do you want to bet the reason behind this mistake is the same reason we sellers continuously ask for clarity of some rules. Bottom line is, they don't have a clear picture of what sort of things require notifying all users because it's a 'material change' versus just some random feature.

I'm betting that their policies and procedures are just as blurry in some areas as the rules they set up for the members of Etsy. Open to interpretation so subjective that each admin might interpret it differently.

Employees are only as good as what they are given to work with. Unfortunately common sense isn't something that everyone is given in equal supply so the rules have to be crystal clear in order to compensate for that.

You could make a clean sweep and get rid of what you consider dead wood, but honestly, if the rules aren't clearly spelled out, any new people would probably make the same mistakes.

You have to ask yourself why Etsy continuously makes the same kind of mistakes. Unless everyone is mentally handicapped, the only other explanation I have is that they don't really know what to do in a given situation because it's not laid out for them.

Brass Monkey Designs said...

I don't think canceling a month's worth of fees from all the members is warranted. It isn't as though they *took* money from us or anything.

bibliogrrl said...

Well, I paid my very overdue bill (all 95 cents of it) but I still haven't received any email apologizing for the threat. I'll believe it when it shows up.

eclipse said...

WindysDesigns said...
I'm betting that their policies and procedures are just as blurry in some areas as the rules they set up for the members of Etsy. Open to interpretation so subjective that each admin might interpret it differently.


I think you nailed it there- for example the first admin to respond to the problem was Robwhite, who posted incorrect information about the billing due date in many threads. He later retracted that and apologized yesterday, but it appears he not only did not know the correct information, but also did not even research it before posting. (the correct info is available spread out in several Storque articles, FAQs, etc, but is not easy to find.)

Now this could be forgivable because billing is not his department and usually he does not need to know every detail about billing. But I think he got a taste of what users go through when they need information, how hard it is to find the info you need when it's scattered around in 5 places and there is no way to search all places at once. (in fact there's no way to search the FAQs and help files at all!) So apparently he could not find the correct information and just "winged it".

If they had any kind of competent customer service manager, the different customer service teams would undergo cross-training so they could fill in where needed in other departments. i.e. billing people would train in forum moderation, support and abuse departments, the forum mods would train in billing, and support, etc. That gives you coverage during staff vacations or illnesses, but also allows staff to help out in other departments when there is higher demand. Some of these people might even be competent, if they had proper management, experience and training. But they were all just thrown into their jobs unprepared and left to "figure it out" and make up their own rules on the fly.

The Funny One said...

Maria's apology was appropriate, but it's the underlying attitude that's the problem. Etsy has a long history of purposely ignoring sellers, and really only think about them when the crap hits the fan.

It's kind of sad that the sellers on Etsy have learned a lot from managing their online stores, from production to pricing to marketing during the last 4 years. Etsy hasn't learned a damn thing. The employees (and their attitudes) seem to be stuck in a time warp, where they not only make the same mistakes, they have actually become even more disengaged from the majority of sellers on the site.

To me, Etsy has always given off the vibe that they really don't care about their sellers and rarely think through what effect many of their "plans" have ------ thus the repeated "apologies" which no one believes anymore. Does Etsy ever learn from their mistakes?

The negative publicity that THEY generate about their mismanagement will eventually catch up to them.

disappointed said...

The old adage "actions speak louder than words" seems totally appropriate relating to this entire mess.

teawithfrodo said...

both my husband and I have worked for start ups. You find that they actually pay better. And a couple big screw ups are enough to get you fired.

You also don't hire someone without some sort of job relevance. Even if they are straight out of college. You would hire someone to do HTML with no computer background.

There is nothing wrong with expecting a new business to have an idea of basic things they need to do to be successful.

The apology (and constant lack of communication) is a huge problem. there still hasn't been a general email sent out about the pay pal update...or an apology.
No news is ever sent out to their buyers/sellers and we keep the site going.
Even newbies know that.

sigh said...

If they had any kind of competent customer service manager, the different customer service teams would undergo cross-training so they could fill in where needed in other departments. i.e. billing people would train in forum moderation, support and abuse departments, the forum mods would train in billing, and support, etc.
I live for the day when the abuse team communicates with the front page team.

bossy said...

WTF? It's like Etsy employees live in cupcakeville where they have never had to purchase anything, never had a problem with anything, never complained about a thing that isn't working correctly or logically.

Jr. High school kids have more business savvy than what I've seen on Etsy. Common sense and hundreds- maybe thousands- of customer complaints on the SAME BASIC issues? And it happens over and over and over?

I think Etsy is desperately trying to justify all the $$ spent on employees writing pitiful dorque articles. They, for some unknown reason, think the dorque is the be-all, end-all of everything Etsy thinks, says or does. And that every user should be reading it daily, cover to cover.

The dorque is not a management tool. It's entertainment. Etsy is supposed to be running a business, touchy-feely as they attempt to make it appear, yet it is a business.

You can't be my best friend and my boss too. I can't be your best friend and your boss.

Etsy, we ARE your bosses, a little respect would go a long way. As in, respect that maybe some of us know a little something about business, how to run it, and the utmost importance of competant customer service.

Listen to your bosses, Etsy. Before you get fired.

Old Hippie Bitch said...

Bloxl, etsy is a multi-million dollar corporation that's been in business for four years. It's not a startup. Your argument for employee incompetence doesn't fly.

Brass Monkey Designs said...

I just got an email announcing the new Etsy billing system. Talk about slamming the barn door shut AFTER the cow gets out. I don't know if I should laugh my ass off or bang my head on my desk.

foxaz said...

I just got a really professional email from Etsy informing me about the billing changes!
Yay, Hooray & PTL!

Way to listen, Etsy!

RRobin said...

The mistakes Etsy is making (and re-making and re-re-making) are unacceptable for any company that is more than six months old.

lessa said...

Wow, they actually sent out the email and I got one for all three of my stores. The last mass email, I got one the first day, the second came nearly two days later and I never got one for the last shop.

Color me surprised.

RRobin said...

I have not received the e-mail message of which y'all speak. I wonder what distribution criteria they used: I opted out of getting general Etsy e-mail (Storque, etc.), although they do send me my monthly bill...

ebbandflo said...

email explaining new billing process received = twice - one for each shop

apology received for inducing mild angst at being threatened with account termination (Etsy - this is the second, and third time you have done this to me on a whim) = not at all

not surprised

No Email Here said...

I got no email! All I ever get from etsy is an email telling me my credit card is about to expire. Seems like I always get anything that has to do with them getting money from me. Anything else.....never get it!

mrsvi said...

Speaking of Etsy there anyone there with any graphic design/typesetting/page layout experience?

Every time I get one of their mails, I take one look at that giant mass of big, sans serif type, shudder, hit the close button, and tell myself I'll read it later. (which I never do).

OH, wait--maybe that's what they want us to do...

ETSY! How about a line of eye-strain-relieving white space between paragraphs! It's not hard to do, you just hit the space's the long bar at the bottom of the keyboard...

60 is enough said...

Hmmm. I have 2 shops, and no email for either of mine yet.

And I can't imagine what kind of excuses I could accept for the poor performance of so many employees.

My DH runs a $100 million company with 35 different websites and magazines, and they do a phenomenal job with 62 employees. What are Etsy's 60-ish employees doing?

justbitchy said...

I got the email for my closed shop.

A friend of mine with an up and running shop hadn't received any email about this at all.

Morons. Every. Single. One. Of. Them.

Michelle said...

I got the "strongly worded letter" notice that my shop was overdue, and was dumbfounded. I never received an email stating that they screwed up. I shouldn't have to seek out their mistakes in the forums. As easy as it was to send out millions of mistakes, they could not mass mail an "I'm sorry, we effed it all up again, we should really have some accountability for our jobs, but haha we don't. Because this place is overrun with hipster dufus'".

hipsterDON'T said...

It's not the absence of education, it's the idea of how they find their employees.
I tend to think that a lot of those people are buds of others. Kindof an incestuous way to get a job....and ensure that everyone has the same aesthetic.

hipless said...

this is what happens when people hire their buddies. A cohesive aesthetic-- which is a ultra polite way of saying CONFORMITY.

h. snidbiscuits said...

We've alerted the Etsy engineers - they are working on it, right after nap time and cookie break!