Sunday, June 28, 2009

Etsy's CEO is oblivious

She has to be to say crap like this:

On the technical end, scaling swiftly and keeping pace with consumer expectations and demand can sometimes feel overwhelming for a company with limited resources. Acknowledging that this problem exists regardless of stage, Thomas recommended the following tactics:
  • Hire the best CTO you can find. Do not settle on this one!
  • Make clear who is in charge of and responsible for development sprints
  • Be deliberate in deciding upon and building a collective mindset around development methodology

Has she been in the forums lately?

And then there's the admittance of what we always thought. Etsy's marketing plan is simply to get it for free, from their own customers:
Etsy is known for its loyal and enthusiastic community, and accordingly, uses a customer driven approach to marketing. Thomas suggested the following strategies to develop community and enhance engagement:
  • Create methods for consumers to engage one another. Etsy, for example, has forums, internal email, chat, and teams.
  • Get to know, in person, some of your customers in order to really understand them
  • If necessary, use a service like Get Satisfaction to ensure customers needs are adequately noted and addressed
  • Measure loyalty through metrics like net promoter scores and repeat customers
  • Take advantage of high quality, enthusiastic interns

We assume that the customers they get to know are the faves, or maybe the celebrities they show off (and try to ignore when they go crazy), or maybe she doesn't know who Etsy's customers are! Does she or any of the admin really get that the sellers are their customers?

And their customers bring them new customers. But grassroots works both ways. The negative word about how Etsy treats its customers can be spread just as quickly and easily as the positive words that built the site. If everyone were to suddenly spread the word that Etsy is awful to its customers, but the sellers on the site need help because of that, there will gradually be fewer new sellers and the current sellers won't go sale-less as they move off to other horizons.

Etsy's ship is sinking, and the CEO is out blowing air up the public's ass. Why are they inviting her?! She has done nothing to help Etsy, as far as it's actual customers go. But maybe she's done exactly what she was brought in to do - pretend it's ok so investors will still pay.

I think I see what Etsy has become. You have to sort of squint to see it. But first you have to erase everything we used to know Etsy to be. It's no longer a close knit community, admin are no longer one of us, the founders are no longer struggling to help their customers. Etsy is a corporation, now known as Etsy Corp. And they are doing exactly what they once stood against - promoting mainstream, in the box, mass produced, disposable and unnecessary crap that is a detriment to handmade and to the values of helping one another ("take advantage of enthusiastic interns" = "these people will do anything if you tell them it's good for handmade")

They are no longer about helping artists make a living. They are all about Etsy Corp making another dime. And the corporate world loves the fact that they can learn from Etsy - learn how to take advantage of their customers.

If you want to tell Etsy what you think, there's currently a forum thread where the link was posted and launchbox has commenting available at the bottom of the article. Edit: on 6/29 the thread was closed after anti-Maria sentiment caused HeyMichelle to remind the community to treat other members with respect. Also, it has been brought to our attention that Launchbox is not posting comments on the article and that some who contacted them have been muted by Etsy for older threads. There is also Twitter talk of at least 1 shop closure of a previous anti-Etsy voice. If you are muted, shutdown, or otherwise harrassed for flimsy or inappropriate reasons, send us an email or twitter.

(Thank you to the readers who brought the article to our attention)

32 Comments:

All Wired Up TOO said...

HOLY SHIT! Oblivious is an understatement!

VIVA LA ART FIRE!

wristeroni said...

"launchbox has commenting available at the bottom of the article."

. . . they do; but comments are being held for moderation. We'll see if they actually approve any negative comments. I have my doubts

The Funny One said...

When Etsy bothers to post comments from their CEO or when the CEO bothers to take time to address sellers (a very rare thing)it's always struck me that sellers=customers is never mentioned. Because the CEO doesn't make the connection. She is, after all, the CEO of a bunch of employees who have NO connection to sellers other than their faves. Admins have their hands full promoting a couple of hundred fave stores (if that many), meeting their blog quotas, and coming up with the worst "themes" in online retail history.

Etsy, their CEO, and their CTO have proven over and over again that they lack ANY connection to the handmade product. Like I've said, Etsy could be selling socks, and their approach would be the same. Brand it, color it beige, and flog it 24/7 and smoosh it into a trend that confuses the shit out of the shopping public.

Please tell me what "special care" has been taken to choose Etsy's CTO? who is responsible for the SEO debacle, done without any thought that the "big box formula" approach to branding the site is completely CONTRADICTORY to the essence of the handmade product?

The Etsy CEO is just a flak for talking up the corp. and talking shop with other tech company insiders. Talking to sellers=customers? Why bother?

This is how low sellers are on the agenda --- Etsy supposedly hired a CS mgr. 2 months ago and if, like me, you've had to deal with "support@" lately, does it seem to you like Etsy has any sort of CUSTOMER SERVICE function at all? Funny how a company can promote itself as making 120% more money per month than last year, yet they can't afford to set up a customer service function? 4 years and no customer service? Just think about it next time you have to deal with "support@" and can't get help with a damn thing.

PURGED said...

Complete. And. Total. Bullshit.
Misrepresentation and jerk-speak.
I hate the way she 'runs' Etsy-- her employees are terrified that she will find out how shitty they are at their jobs, so go out of their way to mute people who call them on their mistakes, and delete posts that point out obvious errors-- because they know she will never bother to check it out. They can do whatever they fucking want, because the "Boss" only sees what they want her to see. She's full of PC SHIT.

I. HATE. THE PEOPLE WHO WORK AT ETSY. They made me hate them.

blunt said...

"If necessary, use a service like Get Satisfaction to ensure customers needs are adequately noted and addressed"

I CAN'T GET NO FUCKING SATISFACTION, MARIA.

The Cranky One said...

Oh and they pay SO MUCH ATTENTION to Get Satisfaction. This question went unanswered for a MONTH, and only got any action at all when she replied to her own post to shame them into it.

greengirlsunite said...

Today..I did it. I have thought about it for months on end..but after reading this absolute TWADDLE dripping from this joke of a CEO's idiot lips..I did it.
I opened a BigCartel account. And an Artfire account. And I started moving the expensive stuff to BC, the components to Artfire.
And it felt better than sex, let me tell ya.

Andrea said...

It appears Launchbox isn't posting the comments after "Moderation"

There's also an interesting thread in the forum asking why this company that supposedly values customer communication hasn't posted a link to this article or Maria's comments anywhere on the site.

I closed my shop last week. Feels great to be out from under the stress and frustration of trying to deal with Etsy. When my own site launches next week, I'll have quality SEO, quality marketing, and excellent customer service.

life-during-wartime said...

I'm not sure why the issues with Etsy's CEO come as such a surprise?

What in her background suggested she would 'get' the vision behind the original Etsy? Making some vaguely positive comments about 'handmade' or art or creativity doesn't mean a whole lot. She's a bureaucrat, dammit, who knows how to string together a coherent paragraph in business-speak, well seasoned with buzzwords.

RRobin said...

"...Take advantage of high quality, enthusiastic interns..."

Well, at least they're honest about it.

Somebody with better PR skills would have said, "RECRUIT high quality, enthusiastic interns and ENCOURAGE them to take on MORE RESPONSIBILITY..." or some such doublespeak.

But, man, these Etsy bosses are so clueless they don't even know the corporate lingo.

James said...

In case anyone is wondering why your comments on the Launchbox blog are being "moderated" into the censorship pile, Maria is on the Board of Advisors for Launchbox. So they won't be posting your comments.

http://www.launchboxdigital.com/about/advisors/

zander said...

what a cluster fuck.

jumpstart said...

James said...

In case anyone is wondering why your comments on the Launchbox blog are being "moderated" into the censorship pile, Maria is on the Board of Advisors for Launchbox. So they won't be posting your comments.

http://www.launchboxdigital.com/about/advisors/
___________________________________

Fucking figures! Etsy, their staff & CEO are such a huge joke right now. Pathetic.

The Funny One said...

So? That just means that if you submit comments on Launchbox, you run the same risks you do when posting comments in the forums that set off that famous "muting" alarm. Comments in all Dorkies are heavily edited. Threads are locked depending who's on "locking duty" and censorship on sections of the site that Maria claims are "communicating with sellers" is not only a joke, it's a lie.

When a company spends more time censoring (muting? what other site does that kind of crap?) than figuring out how to effectively communicate with its customers, there is no trust. Without trust, the money spent on branding is down the toilet. Who the hell is going to trust a brand with a history of telling its customers to shut up or be publicly silenced with a Mute Salute?

Branding with one hand and censoring with the other kind of cancels out the whole damn thing.

soontobebanned said...

Blogger The Funny One said...

So? That just means that if you submit comments on Launchbox, you run the same risks you do when posting comments in the forums that set off that famous "muting" alarm.
/////////////

Hey, think that explains the random email I got this morning that dredged up two posts, both from closed threads, both weeks old, telling me I am in violation of Etsy's respect everyone blah blah?

A day after emailing LB directly with thread links and info?

Both, incidentally, in response to a couple of Sacred Cow sellers?

I can't wait for the next email telling me I've been muted so I can pull away from the train wreck. Oh, loved that the email had NO name on it.

Just etsycommunity fucklish.

soontobemuted said...

Incidentally, no one at etsycommunity has responded to my email asking them why i am being cited for threads that are weeks old, closed and in one case not so much a violation of anything.

I fully expect to get another email with a few more violating (rme) comments from other old threads which will result in my being muted.

Then I have to figure out how to use that muted button. Like I need Etsy to force me to learn even MORE tech.

It's a farce, I tell ya, a farce!

life-during-wartime said...

The Funny One said...
When a company spends more time censoring (muting? what other site does that kind of crap?) than figuring out how to effectively communicate with its customers, there is no trust. Without trust, the money spent on branding is down the toilet. Who the hell is going to trust a brand with a history of telling its customers to shut up or be publicly silenced with a Mute Salute?
------------------------------
What other sites? You jest, surely! The whole mistreat the customers (shop owners), playing site favorites, censor legit debate in forums, mutings, bannings, trawling the web to find disgruntled sellers venting in public and targeting them for pumishement (2 I know of did/do this), huge pushes to recruit new sellers, concentration on site image or branding -- the whole 9 yards -- is SOP for a site which has reached the limits of its expansion in its current form.

And, nope, I don't mean any of the newer artisan sites. I am talking about interweb ancient history, circa 2002-2004.

None of the 3 I refer to begins with E and ends with Y. All 3 are still running today, although either diminished in size (number of shops) or diversity of merchandise the shops offer, or both. Their are always cheerleaders who hang around forever, even at the risk of drinking the koolaid, and some newbs passing thru the site's revolving door.

I am banned from 2 of them, perhaps all 3. Not that I give a squat.

DoneBEEN said...

soontobe, the exact same thing happened to me.
It took only two strikes to get me permanently banned. Self-banishment via the forums for anyone who is foolish enough to disrespect Etsy(?)

The way things look now, I should have kept my mouth shut for an extra two weeks so I could have gotten in on the latest mess. There seems to be strength in numbers. A complete crapshoot, just like selling on Etsy-- arbitrary, almost knee-jerk reactions to everything. Band-aids, impulsive, broom-dusting in the decision-making department at Etsy.

Indigo said...

I find it hilarious that there are at least more than 5 anti-etsy sites. and ZERO We hate Artfire, or 1000 Markets, etc. Etsy is one giant clusterfuckishness of ineptitude! *giving Etsy the finger*

justbitchy said...

I would caution people to be careful at 1000markets. Two people I know have had trouble there. One due to forum posts and one due to just plain old familiar bullshit like on etsy.

Rubylane closed several sellers stores for critical off site blog posts several years ago and made their forums read-only, not interactive.

I would love to know who got banned, muted and/or closed on etsy over this.

Maybe some of them will come forward to discuss what happened.

If not, best of luck to them.

The Righteous One said...

justbitchy, we agree that we're curious about the context surrounding the recent mutings mentioned in the comments of this post and the information swirling around Twitter.

If we get any definite information that points to the actions of Etsy being in retaliation for off-Etsy commentary, we'll be sure to post it.

The Funny One said...

I so agree with you life-during-wartime about Etsy having exceeded the limits of expansion, but the muting, banning and other public disciplinary methods employed by Etsy have been used since the site started.

Certainly, as with everything that Etsy does these days, the method creates 10 times more work than the original intention. Surely it takes a lot more money to pay a lot more employees to "manage" the site than to set clear, simple, and easy to follow rules that would eliminate all that wasted effort.

Taking negative action against sellers does add up (eventutally) to one big negative PR message. Perhaps this is "pre-screening" in disguise. If Etsy can't manage it's size, then chasing sellers away will manage the size for them! Voila! No more sellers!

blurp said...

Etsy wants respect but doesn't deserve it. It ain't free, kids, it's earned. Etsy has earned my disdain.
It's WEds-- I wonder if they have "hired some SEO experts" yet? Maybe they don't know any-- their only contacts are people like them = defensive twits with no real skills.

justbitchy said...

I find it interesting that Matt has disappeared for these latest adventures in bullshit.

Maybe he's had enough by now?

Even stella seems far less engaged in her apologist activities.

Perhaps "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" has finally sunk in.

foxaz said...

Maria Thomas has revealed in her Launchbox speech that neither sellers, nor employees are worth respect. That is,unless she was just having a really bad day and chose her words with no forethought.

Maybe that's why some employees aren't so visible anymore. They've been slapped in the face too.

Just my humble opinion.

Jen Segrest (verybigjen) said...

Just a note that Etsy finally shut down my shop today.

I got a note Monday that I was in violation with no reason and they were ending my service. They replied, to my surprise, that they had gotten "user complaints" and had violated the TOS. I don't have a clue what the complaints could be about I was muted for a year. Couldn't even comment on the dorkie. And I was more in compliance than their own staff's stores.

They did let me get to my store records, so I got those off and did leave my last feedbacks and emailed all my outstanding orders to tell them why I'm gone, and that I'm at Artfire and to come find me there in the future.

I'd say it was a fun ride, but I think it's one of those "rides" you wake up from hungover, bleary eyed and wondering why your butt hurts and your pants are down around your ankles with no recollection what happened.

Jen Segrest (verybigjen) said...

and oh yeah, VIVA LA ARTFIRE!

soontobemuted said...

VBJ,

Sorry to hear that. Surprised, no. I have still not received an answer from etsycommunity (gag) regarding why I am being cited for threads that are a month old and closed.

I am finding that there seems to be a core group of seasonal poets, pearl clutchers and butterflies running a High Horse Pony Express. Nothing like teamwork, ladies.

Meanwhile there's a Negative Feedback calling out thread that's been going on for two days while Maria threads are being shut down, with respect, of course.

Meanwhile I find myself pondering whether or not Salute Girl Admin would fall over if one unglued her hand from her perky little forehead.

Respectfully, of course.

The Dangerous Mezzo said...

"Meanwhile I find myself pondering whether or not Salute Girl Admin would fall over if one unglued her hand from her perky little forehead. "

Oh, how I wish I had said this :)

I'm so sorry to hear you've been booted, VBJ. I haven't been around Etsy much lately, because I no longer have the stomach for it, but it sounds as if they're running a little handcrafted pogrom over there. I'm glad you got your info out.

Etsy, you're idiots and you suck.

All Wired Up TOO said...

Jen,

YOU said it about etsy long ago..where hope breaks your heart...
I have no hope for etsy...no love for etsy...

VIVA LA ART FIRE!

suckitetsy said...

http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6204974

Enjoy.

Every time I think it can't get worse...

MithrilDreams_com said...

Etsy admins have never been with the sellers. NOT EVER. They were always rude unless you were one of the chosen few. Even then you'd never know when you would be blown off.

Case in point. Site wasn't sending email. MANY people weren't getting them and revolving dork insisted it wasn't them. Turns out they were blacklisted. Yah, the good old days.