Monday, July 13, 2009

A Refresher Course

We’ve noticed that people, specifically other Etsians, are blogging about us. Not everything they say is nice (thank goodness, we’d be doing something wrong if it was!)…they don’t get certain things about why we’re here or why we have certain feelings towards certain admin. So, here’s a little history lesson, stretching back to before we were here, to refresh or enlighten your perspective.

1. What is it you think you’ll accomplish by complaining?

A lot, actually. The real Etsy community, by acting together even before EtsyBitch, has already gotten things to happen by bringing it to the attention of the sensible admin – like getting a repeat offending reseller booted, the page numbers brought back to search, and USD added to listings as is required by law. We act as encouragement for forum surliness to get admin to acknowledge problems. What else do we want to see done? Read our manifesto – it’s all laid out there in plain English.

But we don’t just bitch about Etsy, though that’s the fun part - we also try to help our fellow artisans and crafters , we discuss business, we review alternative venues, and we’re here to listen. We’re a shoulder and a voice for frustrated Etsians, whatever their sales volume or product. How will Etsy ever improve for their customers with the cupcake yes-men running untethered?

2. Why do you tell DanielleXO to go to hell? That’s, like, so mean!

She was once given the privilege of head forum moderator. She ran amuck, muting people for no reason other than she didn’t like them, closed threads she didn’t like, and harassed members via convos. This is reason enough to fire a person, but they simply moved her to another department, and then another one after that – still causing trouble months later. Then, ahile a member of the EtsyLabs, she ran a metalsmithing workshop in which she couldn’t answer someone’s question about gauge – something elementary to working with metal. Can you say i-n-c-o-m-p-e-t-e-n-c-e?

3. Why are you anonymous?

Well, most of us are anonymous – if you haven’t read the recent issue of Fortune Small Business, you should. As for the rest of us - I have two words for you. Etsy Five: Five Etsians were muted indefinitely way back when for criticizing Etsy on a blog that wasn’t Etsy. And muting or banishment for criticism is still happening and happening. Off-Etsy behavior has gotten many a member in trouble, even resulting in shop closures. The President of Etsy (former, rokali) once said that they take off site behavior into account when doling out punishment. We are anonymous in order to not be harrassed by Etsy. How sad is that?

Also, we bitch because any of us or you could be next - they’re not even straight about their own rules for buyer complaints let alone using their discretion when emotions are involved, and there is talk of a blacklist of sellers you will never see on the FP, in the gift guides, or featured by Etsy admin in any way because of their criticism of Etsy, even valid criticism based on their own customer service experience. Etsy’s admins are unprofessional twits who blow off professional business people simply because they’re the customer. The power they hold over others’ incomes is frightening.

4. Why not just leave Etsy?

Some of us have – if you notice, there aren’t 10 people posting all the time anymore. Most of us have moved on to other venues or jobs. So why do we still blog about Etsy? Yeah, I knew you’re thinking it – we’re still their customers, and we made great friends there, still buy there, or have so much invested in Etsy we can’t leave. It’s like your phone company, if it’s the only company your phone will work with and the phone cost you $500, are you going to switch companies and buy a new phone or try to work with what you already paid for?

5. Why are you so hateful and angry?

We’re not hateful, we’re frustrated. There’s no customer service department to complain to or work with, there is no way to sign our name to our complaints without fear of reprisal, and people like you question our right to throw out a curse word every now and then in regards to a company we paid to deliver a service that we feel is subpar. Fuck you for not respecting the rights of others to be frustrated even when you haven't had to deal with it...yet.

6. But….why???

We appreciate handmade and love (some of) the sellers we’ve interacted with in the online art community. Etsy had great potential when it started, and it is still the big name out there. We think there will be others who give them a run for their money, but there shouldn’t be a monopoly on selling handmade. Certain venues will work for certain people. We really do want to see Etsy do better by their customers, even if we’ve moved on to greener pastures. It’s not about revenge or seeing Etsy fail…it’s about making them accountable to the people that matter, their sellers – their customers. Being a half-assed start-up was an excuse 4 years ago, not now.

34 Comments:

Barely Disguised said...

I was permanently muted for "calling out" (?) blatant errors in a Storque article, having to do with featured items breaking TOUs. The reason I was perma-banned was that I was being "disruptive". I tried twice to contact the admin about that embarrassing article, and didn't post the thread until I had given them days to respond.

By the by, this was my second muting; one months earlier for 5 days== that one was petty, too. Two strikes and I was out. There is a whole lot of arbitrariness going on over there, and apparently some paid employees who are either not familiar with the basic TOU or just plain sloppy. Every body makes mistakes: You own them, fix them, apologize if appropriate, and maybe thank the person for pointing them out. You Do Not Punish the Truth.

This happened just over a month ago, so don't think this stuff isn't continuing.

mamaslittlemonkeys said...

WOOOT I get to be first!!! Im never first! :)
Just had to say thanks gals. I DO Get you, love what you do and thank you for it!

I am formulating troll poison in my la-or-a-tory as we speak also for future use..
mama

The Funny One said...

EB also discusses issues before posts go up --- there's a lot of action behind each one. Lately, sellers have been contacting EB by email with tips, details, and lots of info, including decriptions of their struggles with the ever-elusive support@etsy.com.

Etsy locks and closes more threads than ever, screens and censors all Dorque comments, and goes on muting campaigns when the frustration levels reach the breaking point----and it's great to have a alternative gathering place for discussing serious issues that continue to affect sellers.

This review of EB's history also reminds me that I know a lot of sellers who have become better artisans and better small biz owners since Etsy started--------and that Etsy hasn't changed or improved along with them. Etsy may be the biggest site but it sure isn't the best...and certainly NOT professional in any shape or form.

The EuroTrash Girl said...

as someone who gave etsy over 700$ in fees last year...i appreciate every word published over here by the 'bitches' and i'd love to say thanks for opening my eyes to more than just the stuff that had begun to bother me. i no longer sell on etsy, i've not closed my shop completely as i've needed it when my other options are down, but it really pains me to give them one more red cent of my hard earned cash. seriously. what did they give me in exchange for my 700$?? not to say i did not benefit...i have great customers a great base that will follow me anywhere...but etsy never fielded my customer complaints and never responsed to anything i had to say or ask. as far as i know jack diddly of my work was ever featured on any front page or whatev. but for 700$ i can get a damn nice webshop and have pretty good service to go with it.

The Cranky One said...

I'll tell you one thing we did! They got attention to the fact that there was a nazi flag for sale on etsy and that etsy had no policy against such items. (Amazing that.)

The flag was down in hours, and a new racist items policy up in days. Word was the flag had been up for like a week and flagging was, of course, doing nothing. EB got it down. That's results, and that's just recent.

We know Etsy staff does read the blog, some of our stats show sometimes they are obsessed with it with dozens of hits a day, sometimes for sustained hours on end. Don't think they don't read, they do.

BrandingConsultant said...

This is a great recap of the EB efforts to force the issue with Etsy with regard to transparency, honesty and candidly, what sellers are REALLYT (*not*) getting for their fees. I would be the first to read a post or two and never return if I thought that it was just the rantings and ravings of pissed off, disgruntled and disinfranchised sellers. EB is far more than that, far more intelligent and thought-provoking than that and I have been very impressed with their ability to "break" Etsy news, not just "make" Etsy news.

Furthermore, Etsy should be reading this blog, and should be taking it very seriously. I worked for a large national retailer that had "RetailerXSucks" type websites launched about and against them by pissed off customers, employees and such. Again, some of the ranting and raving got weeded through, however, corporate would send emails to store management when a specific store issue was posted, and I know of at least one manager that lost their job over something that was posted, substantiated and was taken as seriously as a heart attack.

Companies, big and small, had better get a grip on not so much what their fans say, but those who have legitimate issues with them, their products, their customer service, their stewardship of resources, and much more. Etsy loves those cupcake eatin', koolaid swillin', fees payin' sellers. However, they should take as seriously the feedback and input that EB, and the sellers AND buyers that post comments on EB have to say about Etsy. We are not here to see its downfall, plot its demise, or anything else with mal- or evil-intent(at least I am not!). But it is time for Etsy to listen up, because the clock is ticking and other sites ARE listening.

I Hate Etc. said...

You should start paying more attention to a new incompetent
idiot admin named LisaJune.
she just makes my blood boil.
Please, please draw attention to her
antics.

p.s. I like your blog

BitchyCupcake said...

Off-Etsy behavior has gotten many a member in trouble, even resulting in shop closures. The President of Etsy (former, rokali) once said that they take off site behavior into account when doling out punishment. We are anonymous in order to not be harrassed by Etsy. How sad is that?
___________
That's FREAKING BS. I have reported tons of crap happening off Etsy and am repeatedly told that off Etsy stuff cannot be considered or addressed by Etsy admin. Even stuff that would cause anyone to be shunned were they to do it IRL. Yet, off Etsy antics was partially why the feline most foul was f*cked. So WHICH IS IT?

Florence wang said...

I'm sorry you feel the need to explain yourself. But hhen again as much of a pain in the ass defending yourself is maybe it's a good sign. I'm thrilled that I came across your site. The cyber world is such a vaccum and for now etsy really is the only outlet. It's great to have a true, unassiciated forum. It's releiving to hear other people have the same frustrations. Also, it's fun to laugh. Keep it up, you rock!

The Righteous One said...

Florence, it's not so much explaining ourselves as answering questions we know are being asked. We also want to ensure certain things aren't swept under the Etsy rug, which they so often are.

Sarah said...

I enjoy reading etsy bitch. Sometimes I wish you would all post more frequently...

I had an epiphany recently where I finally decided that the small group of self-centered people who run that site are just petulant and unprofessional: it's not me, it's not my products, it's that I'm not trite and ironic and overpriced-low quality enough to be the favorite of one narrow-minded person in Brooklyn... It's not me, it's etsy.

It's also the cult of bullies on the etsy forums who think that the site has done no wrong. I await the moment that any of these people is "cursed" with a moment of self awareness.

Given that cult of bullies, I can see why you would write this article, there is a blackhole on the forums as far as critical thinking is concerned...

I'M 'THA SUPER KOOL ONE' LOOK AT ME said...

I understand why you are displeased with Etsy, and why you don't like Danielle. But seriously, read your point #2 there - that's pretty weak. So she isn't a metal expert. So she tried to be too big for her britches when she was supposed to run the forums..

um, I bet you were REALLY AWESOME in high school, but you know - there's a time to grow up.

JustAnAss said...

SuperKool--
I have this theory that I call "The Asshole Theory of the Universe".
If someone does dumb junk, or makes careless errors, or doesn't seem to know what they are doing it's normal: we all do that.
BUT when a person is being paid to do a job, it's not okay.

My doctor might be a jerk to his family or behind the wheel of his car, but he had better not screw up my surgery. Extreme example, but that's the gist.

If someone is paid to be an authority they had better the hell know what they are doing or find another source of income.

The Funny One said...

Super Kool hit the high school nail on the head, but that's Etsy domain, not EB. When 70 people still think it's OK to address people with Hey You, Heads Up, and You Guyz for 4 years, and then do just about everything half-assed, half-done, and half-cocked, that's not only called high school mentality, it's called disrespect.

DXO is just one member of the clique that thinks this behavior is cute and trendy. Forget what's appropriate for a site that rakes in millions of dollars a month. The joke's on sellers - that's why Etsy is laughing all the way to the bank.

ebbandflo said...

A good recap of past events and reasons for existing - i still am wary of how things are run on etsy since my brush with forum discipline when i was warned then threatened with account closure over making public the warning i got for saying something sarcastically critical about how etsy was handling matters back in spring 2007.
However i should also stand up for DXO - in my dealings with her in teams she has been prompt, courteous, and as efficient as the crappy system allows when I ask for team admin to be done. She was obviously not suited to forum mod (no, it wasn't her in spring '07) but she's quietly working away in teams.
It would be good to give people a break and some allowance for learning from mistakes.

cynicallyopenminded said...

BitchyCupcake said...
Off-Etsy behavior has gotten many a member in trouble, even resulting in shop closures. The President of Etsy (former, rokali) once said that they take off site behavior into account when doling out punishment. We are anonymous in order to not be harrassed by Etsy. How sad is that?
___________
That's FREAKING BS. I have reported tons of crap happening off Etsy and am repeatedly told that off Etsy stuff cannot be considered or addressed by Etsy admin. Even stuff that would cause anyone to be shunned were they to do it IRL. Yet, off Etsy antics was partially why the feline most foul was f*cked. So WHICH IS IT?
-------------------------------
The choices are:
A) Off Etsy Behavior(OEB)gets you in trouble
B) OEB does not get you in trouble.
C) OEB has reprecussions depending upon whether Admin likes you or not.
D) All of the above

I choose D. One never knows what will happen, and therein lies the danger.

anti cupcake said...

cynicallyopenminded said...
I choose D. One never knows what will happen, and therein lies the danger.

***************************
That's what I've been afraid of for YEARS!
That's why not having concrete rules, having whatever whim admin has type consequences SUCKS!

Etsy will never be a place I feel safe having a shop. Even if I'm the most cheerleading cupcake ever, any second they could decide they don't like me and delete my shop. And yes, cupcakes, they do it.

BitchyCupcake said...

cynicallyopenminded said...
I choose D. One never knows what will happen, and therein lies the danger.

***************************
That's what I've been afraid of for YEARS!
That's why not having concrete rules, having whatever whim admin has type consequences SUCKS!

Etsy will never be a place I feel safe having a shop. Even if I'm the most cheerleading cupcake ever, any second they could decide they don't like me and delete my shop. And yes, cupcakes, they do it.
_____________

I have to admit that is my deepest fear. I sell on Etsy but have my own domain (just in case).

yeahistillsellthere said...

While I do think EB has brought some important issues to the forefront, your continual bashing of Daniellexo is both juvenile and uncalled for.

No, she wasn't suited for the forums, but to continually bash her and let google pick that up is vindictive, and smacks of gang mentality.

I know you don't like when anyone disagrees with you, but could you give this a rest?

For all the serious problems etsy has, I have had nothing but professional dealings with her.

The Righteous One said...

yeahistillsellthere - we don't continuously blast her. Someone asked why we have her noted on the sidebar, so we answered their question. Sometimes we'll make a comment about her when something new happens, but it's all based on actual things that happened. We're not telling lies about her or making things up. That's our point.

People are allowed to like her - we don't because of the personal interactions some of us and others have had with her. This is true for all admin - I'm sure their mothers love them (or at least some of them), that doesn't mean we have to.

violetsnewvintage said...

I love the EB blog and read it regularly. Large companies need to know people are watching and will call them out when necessary. It seems to me that most people are offended by the tone and not by the content. I like both. Keep up the good work and thank you!

The Funny One said...

cynicallyopenminded brings up a good point - you never know what Etsy is going to do since their rules are applied in such an arbitrary (and personal) manner. If you've ever received a "warning" email from content@etsy, you know the drill.

Etsy has no stated policy on "discipline" and other strange practices, but the most alarming is that they have no stated policy for seller appeals. Plus, when you are notified of "violations" and you have questions, you can't get an answer. Or you get an answer (with no Etsy signature) that has nothing to do with your question. Or you get another warning email that has nothing to do with your store.

Let's see - where else are sellers completely at the mercy of this poorly-functioning site? How about those non-paying buyers and lots of your handmade products sitting in a shopping cart with no payment? Even better, how about all those resellers that set up blitz attacks every weekend?

Mara said...

Thanks for posting this history. I didn't realize part of the group here was made up from the Etsy 5. I miss that group of people :(

The Cranky One said...

No, just to clear up , there aren't any of the "Etsy Five" in EB.

I think you read too much in to what we were saying.

Mara said...

Oops my bad - I thought the reference was about them. Doesn't matter though, I'll still read the blog. :D

The Righteous One said...

Mara, A number of people have felt the off-etsy wrath of Etsy, the Five were the first and most famous example, I linked two others in the comment about off-site repercussions to make my point about anonymity. Sorry if I hadn't made that clear.

Another famous example of Etsy incompetence is the ArtfulMarket closure as covered by UEN (linked above).

Before EB were other Etsians trying to get Etsy's attention, the ones who's troubles opened our eyes. We respect them and refuse to let them get swept under the rug, too.

Mara said...

Yes yes, I agree. It's almost like a Big Brother, but without all the fun (j/k). I do know that when we were posting the #etsyfail tag on Twitter a friend of mine supposedly got a very rude and curt message from someone at Etsy (I don't want to get her in trouble so I won't explain details). I don't know why she got that message when so many of us were tweeting the tag.

It made me wonder what is going on over there in Brooklyn...

stylesmith said...

I had a lovely little run in the DXO a while back. I had an issue with a virtual lab she'd been running, which I had a really mature and helpful conversation with Anda about on Twitter and in chat. (Seriously I really like Anda - she often gets the brunt of things being the Twitter monitor)

DXO then DM'd me via twitter basically insinuating that myself and the others who had the issue were stupid and it was our fault. She wasn't in the least bit polite. Whereas I was quite polite in return (really I actually was!) She then blocked me (and I think she deleted the DM's I haven't checked) and started whining via her Twitter how she was always the 'fall guy' and 'why does everyone attack her' or something to that effect.

Can't stand her.

But yes I've been warned once and muted twice...all for completely inane reasons. Apparently I'm on my last one...*trying* to be careful...lol!

Thanks for letting me vent... said...

I know this is an older thread, but it isn't appropriate for the Zibbet thread or the Silkfair thread so my head hitting a brick wall post goes here if you don't mind.

Why am I hitting my poor head?

I've seen at least two different front pages this past day or so featuring 'items inspired by a boy wizard'. I think most of us living in this decade know which wizard is being spoken of. If you didn't get it the fp full of gryffindor, harry potter sketches and slytherin apparel surely slaps you upside the head. Come on Etsy, no way little Etsians are paying WB's and JKR the royalty license fees for those items. No a scarf in the 'school colors' is not breaking any trademarks, unless it is titled as a Gryffindor scarf. One is possibly inspired and one is cashing in on the name.

Stop putting this stuff on the front page, it gives the impression that it is ok and it just isn't. You may not have the right to tell someone to stop making something unless the owner tells you to, but you do have the right as the site owner to verify that items chosen for the front page do not break any laws.

Goldielocks said...

If I were looking for quality handmade and saw that wizard crap first thing, I'd click ofF SO FAST.

KitCameo said...

stylesmith, your comment made me curious enough to check and see if DXO has blocked me yet on Twitter too, and she has! Not sure exactly what set her off, since most of my twitterings having to do with Etsy are pretty roundabout, but I do know that the last thing I asked her to please RT for me was in regards to a friend of mine whose dad went missing. Talk about lack of empathy!

KitCameo said...

Oop! Teenangster blocked me too. Probably beacause I pointed out that she tweeted something idiotic (though not in those exact words.) Damn my fingers. I guess I must be blacklisted on Etsy too now. Crap, just when I was learning how to conform to their style of photo taking too!

MadebyM**** said...

I think I'm coming around to your way of thinking! Thanks for this great blog!!!

DEGOUTE said...

TeenAngster is well named.
It's frustrating for artisans who have decades of experience to be slapped around and dissed by these know-it-all defensive (for good reason) babies with no experience or expertise whatever.
Too school for school, but seemingly unable to educate themselves instead.
They are lucky to be employed; there are much better people out there who give a shit about their jobs and about the people they "represent"
Fuck Etsy and it's inability to hire and supervise their crummy personnel.