Monday, December 21, 2009

He's Baaackkkkk...

Like the Poltergeist movies, he just won't go away.

http://www.etsy.com/storque/etsy-news/etsys-new-old-young-ceo-6556/

Rob Kalin aka Rokali is back as the CEO starting Jan 1, 2010. Maria is leaving the company.

What can we expect? More coral nail polish! More greasy unwashed hipsters making the front page! Danielle XO to run rampant once again.

Yep, sorry Rob, I guess that Korean HiFi equipment thing didnt work out for ya...

75 Comments:

Indigo said...

I just read that, WTF?? I've only sold under the reign of Maria, but I have heard some stories....

yeesh

just bitchy said...

Holy shit and son of a bitch.

Back to the days where it's OK to copy people if you only copy them three times and absolutely no tools for the sellers because the hipsters can't be bothered with all that "business-y crap" and the developers are too busy playing WOW

*head desk*

just bitchy said...

Maybe Rob forged another university ID and took some free business classes!

lmao!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

confusionbomb said...

Wow, that was fast. Don't CEO's who are worth a rats a$$ working for a profitable company tend to hold onto their positions longer? I didn't see mention of where she was going. Perhaps there's a financial firm in New York or a motor company in Detroit who needs some "guidance".

gorati said...

maybe she's not really *leaving* ... germany comes to mind

Rtisanette said...

I have no idea what this will mean. I have no professional respect for Rokali, but Maria was a washout as far as I am concerned.
Maybe he has grown up? Or maybe he doesn't really have to do anything as CEO. He certainly won't be keeping track of the "professionalism" in the sandbox, but neither did Maria.

eclipse said...

OH. mygod.
Get ready for some random unexplained mutings and brickwallings.

paranoia, the destroyah.

theoriginalwtf said...

what on god's green earth???

aggggh, artfire, when are you going to come up with a nicer looking front page so you can REALLY give etsy a run for their money?

ummmmmno said...

insinuating that Etsy is a legitimate corporation is laughable at best. Maria was a joke, Rokali was an even bigger joke. It just enforces what goes on there and will continue to go on forever...Unless you make large cowls, don't wash for several weeks straight, and think mustaches are cool...you might as well go someplace else.

Eveline said...

Maria leaving is brilliant news, getting Rob back is even more horrific than the idea of another year under Maria's reign....

WTF Etsy???

The Righteous One said...

So what happened to Etsy.org? And parachute.org? And the CCO position they creatively created for him?

Too bad they don't have an 800 number I could call and ask.

Oh and the whole back pat to Maria from the investors about making Etsy profitable by returning it to its visions and values...lol yeah, ok, reseller paradise on aisle 1! ding ding Blue light special. Etsy getting rich off of extorting handmade ain't exactly what the constitution days were about.

eclipse said...

http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/12/18/etsy-buys-adtuitive/
Last week Etsy purchased advertising startup Adtuitive.

The No-Headed Hydra said...

Maybe Maria got to where she was ashamed to be associated with Etsy.

Or got tired of being called to the mat over her non-assertiveness with the children she's supposed to be supervising.

Or decided that the BS of dealing with the Etsy hipster-induced drama just wasn't worth the hassle.

Maybe Rob Nazi thought Maria wasn't doing enough to silence the dissenters and decided to re-assume the position.

Or maybe Etsy is just one giant cluster-fuck where the right hand doesn't know or care what the left hand is doing.

Who knows?

Who cares?

At this point, the only change Etsy could make that would please me would be to go public or get bought out by google.

Eveline said...

Are they taking bets yet on how long Etsy will survive after Rob takes over again?

melinda said...

I wonder if this means he's staying as CEO, or if it's just while they're looking for someone with um... management experience?

Bookworm said...

The article mentioned a couple of people on the board of directors. Etsy didn't have a board prior to Maria, right? It would be nice to know more about the people on the board and how likely they are to keep Rokali in line and Etsy moving in the right direction.

deja vu said...

A short while after Maria took over I started to think that Maria only took this job because she needed something to tide her over til her retirement investments reached their optimum. She must be ready to retire now.

sick of etsy said...

Thank gawd I closed my shop yesterday! Fuck etsy!

Bootsy said...

I'm happy about it. Maria cared more about the $$.

Caethes said...

Still trying to cach scattered thoughts on thsi one, but the ones I can grasp aren't happy.

Last 3 years, each time I've come to the point of having had enough, they pull something out of the hat that makes me think I'll stick it out a bit longer and see if things improve.

And now that I've built up something reasonable on there and I've got it to work for me - THIS!

I'm rambling.
But christonabike this does not feel good!

mizdarlin said...

Don't see how it could be any worse, but then, I've been proven wrong at every turn when it comes to etsy...

eclipse said...

Someone on the forums asked, they wonder if the other departed founders would come back too.
o_O






do...not...want...

truthfinder said...

first, can we say "Maria who??" and second, at least it is only Rokali and not the rest of his merry band.
Maria got canned and I am pretty sure the investors had a part in it (didn't you love all their parting "non-words")
I hope this is just a "we have to get rid of her, who do we throw in there for the time being?" approach. They need a faceperson and Rokali can do that. Maria didn't make a mark. BORING!!!!! and he can be sent out to woo the public and the techies can stay home and improve the site -- or etsy hacks can -- whatever works

The Funny One said...

I know we all have long memories, since once you've been burned by Etsy and their original crop of Admins (all handpicked by Rob and STILL THERE) you never quite get over being treated like a piece of shit by a company that sends you your monthly bill at 11:59 PM on the last day of the month!

It could be that the snotty Admin attitude and blatant favoritism which allows them to promote only the sellers they like could get worse, if that's possible.

Egos feeding off egos is what made Etsy what it is today ---- forget about handmade, forget about sellers, forget about biz ethics, forget about bribery rumors, Maria was just a blip on the landscape on a site that lost its way a long long time ago.

The focus was NEVER on handmade once Etsy realized how to make easy money with a nifty formula that rakes in millions in fees while making it impossible for most sellers to sell.

Instead of a big-box-branding machine, Etsy'll be a big-box-branding-vanity-promoting machine.

Ella said...

So here's the link on TC about Rob coming back: http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/12/21/etsy-turns-profit-rob-kalin-ceo/

This comment in response to the news left by someone really brings it home for me about what Etsy has become/is becoming after Rob sold it out:

"Interesting that Breyer is on the boards of both Wal-Mart and Etsy, given that at scale Etsy would pretty much be the “anti Wal-Mart”on many levels…. Awesome diversification on his part"

What I believe and what so many EBers have said is that Etsy is the farm club for the likes of Walmart. They couldn't care less about handmade and seek to commoditize every inch of Etsy and turn it into the crafty/artsy wing of Walmart.

Don't like Walmart? Think their policies absofuckinglutely sucks ass and hurt small businesses and the environment? Shop at Etsy! Except, we're going to trend it like Target and encourage sellers to jump on board the branding bus because it's easier for us to get more mustache makers to sign up that way.

I'm sorry, for me, Walmart is a soulsucking montrosity where everything is sweatshop produced by hard workers in Asia who are paid shit wages and are treated like crap.

And these VC mothereffers sit on both these boards!?! The flickr cofounder Caterina Fake is also perched on the board so it explains why I can't click a photo on that website nowadays without running into pictures of wooden decks of cards.

I totally screwed up last week and sent a holiday gift early to relative. I bought the gift on Etsy and had the shop send it. Because said relative wasn't expecting it, it was opened and I received an email saying that they saw and nearly purchased almost the exact same doodad from, wait for it, Walmart.

Do you see where this is all going? They're sending our patterns and prototypes across town to be mass produced.

Happy Holidays!

melinda said...

Bookworm said...

The article mentioned a couple of people on the board of directors. Etsy didn't have a board prior to Maria, right?
----------------

No, they've had a board all this time. It's composed of their investors + Rob AFAIK.

crazy cat lady said...

I don't know what to think yet. I've really been disappointed with Maria and the whole "branding" bullshit so I don't know if that will change - I know I personally did a lot better when she wasn't there but that could be because less sellers were there too.

I haven't a fucking clue about etsy.

But I'm not sorry to see Maria go...not one bit.

life-during-wartime said...

I'm not sorry to see Maria go. She creeped me out from Day One -- an international bankster who knew nothing about handmade...and couldn't even bother to pretend she cared about it. Could never figure out WTF she was doing at Etsy.

Jen said...

Maybe it's the holiday spirit making me loopy, but I'm kind of happy to hear this. I really believe that Etsy has suffered under the leadership of a CEO who just doesn't get the whole idea of handmade, and who has no enthusiasm for it.

I'm cautiously optimistic.

Alphabettispaghetti said...

I personally think Etsy is heading for a big fall. There is so much wrong with that company, I don't know where to begin. Suddenly, a few months ago, for no apparent reason, my sales plummeted. Do you know how many items I've sold this month? ZERO. In the whole time I've been selling on Etsy (since 2007), that has never happened to me. I haven't been on the front page for nearly a year. I had an epiphany the other day and that is to shut up my jewellery shop after Christmas and do something else. This latest piece of news is just like a pat on the back for me saying, "you've done the right thing, girl. Go now with your insanity still intact and before you end up bankrupt!" Etsy do not have a clue and pretty soon the party faithful are going to wise up and make the same move I am.

FantasyClay said...

I was reading all that Maria did in her two year at the reining- think well what DID she do- nothing came to mind.
Rob was all hipster and doesn't seem ready to run any company. Sounds more like he got bored and wanted his old job and Etsy being Etsy said sure old bud.
Admins like on their pages they work 2-3 days a week, they take bribes, show case pics of them playing around, say they can't answer the phone. Will that get any better under Rob, I doubt it.
Will coding get any better? I doubt it. He doesn't look like he's become a tough CEO in the last 2 years and wants to actually steer Etsy anywhere but into the ground.

FantasyClay said...

BTW the article mentions $200 million in sales, what does Etsy actually make gross and what is it net after salaries, rent, support is paid for?

Too old.... said...

Ella said...."I totally screwed up last week and sent a holiday gift early to relative. I bought the gift on Etsy and had the shop send it. Because said relative wasn't expecting it, it was opened and I received an email saying that they saw and nearly purchased almost the exact same doodad from, wait for it, Walmart."

Ding! Ding! Ding! Wish more people would realize this. Why do you think we can't delete expired items?! And, don't say it's because of coding.

This Rob thing is just a leadup to something more. Guess we'll be playing the wait and see game.

Oh, and Etsy doesn't have enough money to advertising but they can acquire Adtuitive which probably wasn't cheap.

The Funny One said...

You forgot to add "Ella said" that they're STEALING patterns and mimicking the latest QYDJ star. Copying is the product-du-jour on Etsy in 2009.

Alpha...spagh...you said it all! Up to 12/08 I had thousands of sales on Etsy until traffic & sales disappeared in 2009 and 3 sales this Dec. when I had several hundred last year and twice that the year before.

How do you set up a store on a site and do WORSE from year to year? If that doesn't illustrate the ETSY PROBLEM, I don't know what does!

Instead of rewarding and recognizing the sellers who put Etsy on the map originally, Etsy marginalized every single one of them ------ putting many out of business.

Which goes to show that Etsy is all about Etsy, not about the sellers (save the top 5 faves)and turned a great concept into a Walmart knock-off.

It's all about how many people they can scam out of listing&showcase fees while making it impossible for most sellers to sell.

Don't forget that almost all Etsy listings disappeared from Google for more than 10 months in 2009 ---- so if you lost all your traffic on Etsy, THAT's what Etsy did to sellers in 2009 (on top of branding most sellers out of sight). You went poof while they raked in record profits from gullible "sellers" who think paying 20cents times 3,500 is cheaper than listing on a site where they can actually SELL SOMETHING.

Nothing is going to change on Etsy until their profit margins take a hit.

It's a very good time to stop listing, don't buy showcase spots, and run like hell to set up your own site and try out the other sites that actually promote the handmade product.

And don't pay your Etsy bill until 11:59PM on the 14th of the month.

whimsiclefuckery said...

I think Maria's legacy is behind the scenes on increasing profitability, such as all the new Showcases, denial of sale refunds, and staff profitability structures that focus on income over service (like tweeting, blogging and networking with media vs. customer service and content control), which milked free PR instead of investing in media advertising.

She pushed the branding, probably spurred by the retail-giant board members, and created a hipster brand that the hipster staff could handpick enthusiastically.

I think their tactic shows a very distinct mass-market style, in that they decided that the market for expensive high-end artisan work was too small to really cash in on.

Clearly they decided that little cheap crafts bought and sold by the hoi polloi in large quantities under the guise of indie-green lifestyle has more profit potential than artisan handmade and art.

More potential sellers, because skill requirement is minimal. More potential buyers, because they are cheap and discount and have that slight sub-culture image.

They are probably right, and Etsy will probably continue to profit and grow as mass-market indie (who cares about the oxymoron).

So if your shop fits that mold, you'll do fine. If you're an artist who can't crank out 10-20 crafty listings per day (or prints or t-shirts) and whose personal brand will be tarnished by the low-end profile of Etsy, then you should get your own website.

If you're in that latter category, you'll like this article:

http://tinyurl.com/ydsktxf

sark said...

I wasn't a member in 2005, and I've only ever been vaguely aware of who the CEO was. I don't have any personal experiences with Rob Kalin, so, I was surprised when I clicked on the community page last night on my way to the forums and saw the article with the weird f'ing title...

Because I don't really know anything about Rob Kalin, other than that whole "mapped it out with masking tape on the floor" thing — anyway, I don't really know anything about the guy, so I was briefly optimistic.

It should seem like someone who isn't into all things "corporate" should actually be better for all us non-corporate types who create simply because we like to make shit.

I'm right-brained. I have no use for spreadsheets and crap that makes useless statistics... so all these "features" that everyone bitches about not having — I actually don't give a fuck about them. I'm an artist, I'm not into flow charts and spreadsheets. I know cost and I know expenses and net profit. I don't need a god damned doohickey to figure that out.

I need a search that works, and a place that has enough altruism not to "brand" the vast majority of its sellers out of the market.

If we had less stupid bitches saying "yay!" for anything and everything — then we'd be that much closer to being there.

I had a stellar December. Last year I didn't sell a thing. This year I was ridiculously busy.

That being said, I've actually been planning a shop conversion for a while, which involves a new line of products and a new strategy... a large part of which is abstaining from the forums... which from what I've read I guess means I'm never going to meet this Rob guy — which is fine.

The more I stay away from the forums and all that petty shit, the more successful I am. It's also more time I have to live my life and do what I want.

Caring about people who aren't savvy enough is a waste of time. But peppering those same dipshits with praise (re: "yay!") when the undo a fuck-up is not a strategy; it's anti-strategy. You don't reward people for fixing fuck-ups they should have had the foresight to avoid to begin with. Seriously, strategy.

Apathy is great. Because being apathetic to etsy, the admin, etc. gives me the time to be me and be creative and productive... and successful.

So, I'd like to hope that Rob will be additive instead of subtractive or neutral. But then, my apathy usually eats my hope. That's the thing about apathy.

Hopefully, my new line launches in February.
I have stuff to make.

Lost said...

Gah! This is all so creepy.

I think the Funy One is right. This looks like a great time to investigate more avenues and give my artfire shop a little more attention. I've shut down for the holidays and may just take . . a . . while . . in January to decide whether or not to re-open.

Indigo said...

I want to find out the back story about the Etsy 5, I'm intrigued as it has been banded about the forums by the older members...I wish I had someone to ask LOL!

Brass Monkey Designs said...

I quit.

I've been waiting and hoping and just getting increasingly discouraged with the direction I see Etsy going in. I'm done.

I'm going throw away the box of business cards that I still have, with Etsy on them and buy new ones with just my Artfire shop. And then I'm going to let my Etsy shop expire until there is nothing left.

I doubt me and my unbrandable jewelry and "un-power-seller" 130 sales will be missed.

Morgan said...

Has it not occurred to anyone that this may have been the original plan? Maria is brought in to get the site 'profitable' and put a respectable face on it, with the understanding (or contract) that Rob will come back and take over when either the time is right or when the contract, or agreement, runs out.

This makes more sense to me than some of the other scenarios put forth.

AnotherTypeofBiotch said...

Hmm....weird that I was recently thinking about that kid and wondering what he was doing since leaving Etsy? And why would you leave the very place you created??

Who knows WHAT will change with the same 'ole, same 'ole coming back. And as far as Maria - I could care less.

Something has changed with Etsy just in this past year - as others have mentioned - many of us have seen our sales just plummet. Is it Etsy? Was it the influx of Ebay sellers coming on board in protest of higher fees? Is it nepotism? Is it just too much competition? Maybe it's all of the above. I don't know, but not only that, the "staff" at Etsy has remained silent on just basic upgrades that sellers have been asking for FOR YEARS.

All I know is - right now - Etsy DOES SUCK.

CinnKid said...

It's fun to place bets when the outcome is always going to be a mystery, so here's my bet:

7:1 that this was planned from the inception. Bring in a attractive front, NPR background is very nice, and institute whatever strategies the Board wants. Have it in writing that Rob can come in and take over whenever it is deemed fit, with a minimum time frame. She gets her retirement kick, the Board does what it pleases and stays where they like it: in the background. Then, when Rob takes over as "CEO" there isn't much for him to do but play. Nothing that will fuck up the Board's plans at all. (no need to extrapolate about what their plans may be, but a symbol just about covers it: $.

but, shit, we'll never know, so I'll raise my own wager to 9:1

CinnKid said...

"
Rokali says:
Yep, I agree, Veronica. I'm compiling a big list of questions I want to answer for everyone.

I also want to build a simple site feature to let people ask q's, and you can bump the q's you most want answered, and I'll work from the top down.

That would be a bit easier than sorting through the 70+ pages of this thread! But for now, this is a good start."

So! I am right! He is going to sit and chat all day.

The Righteous One said...

Indigo, we invited the Etsy 5 to provide the history for our readers last year.
http://etsybitch.blogspot.com/2008/07/etsy-5.html

That should answer your questions.

whimsiclefuckery said...

Actually, sarks comment is a really big disconnect, IMO.

"It should seem like someone who isn't into all things "corporate" should actually be better for all us non-corporate types who create simply because we like to make shit."

If you don't want to have to deal with any of the "corporate" and "business" end of selling online, then you should hope to hell that the venue you're putting your eggs into is a well-oiled machine that can turn those eggs into omelettes.

The whole problem with Etsy is that many of the staff are indie crafters hired by Rokali & his buds who know squat about customer service, business management, and marketing. So we've got hipster doofus artsy-fartsy wannabees running the business and fucking it up. Sorry sark, but no one needs more of those.

Maria addressed some key internal financial and digital needs in a company with a plethora of needs, and regardless of the EB opinions, she increased the company value.

I'm guessing Rokali is a bridge to either the next CEO or the IPO.

whimsiclefuckery said...

Bwaaaahhhaaahhaaa!

All the bitching about the Gift Guides has paid off! Rokali will phase them out, and now everyone will have to pay for any exposure at all on the site.

Now everyone can complain that there are too few available spots for the tens of thousands of sellers vying for them. A new crusade!

Caethes said...

Rokali:
"Yes, I'll be (re)focusing Etsy more on what we call "social commerce," and less on retail. To get an idea of what this means, let's look at merchandising. For a retailer, merchandising means putting products on display that are likely to sell. In social commerce, our focus is on people, not products. ..."


Anyone want to place bets on what this means (in plain english) and what effect it's going to have?

Cos I can't make head nor tail of it!

needchange said...

If Rob wants to focus on less admin-curated-in-your-face-Etsy-approved products, he's welcome back. Nobody needs to be on the front page 6 times in 24 fucking hours.

The Dangerous Mezzo said...

Best news? Rob wants to shitcan the Gift Guides.

http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6384233

Get out now... said...

He's now answering questions and the gift guides are going. Hooray for that, but I'm terrified of what this whole social commerce crap is. I'm not selling myself. I'm selling my products. My spin is myself though.

It has to be a combination of retail marketing, advertising, and social media. Not one or the other, but all three.

Sandwich said...

AnotherTypeofBiotch said...

Hmm....weird that I was recently thinking about that kid and wondering what he was doing since leaving Etsy? And why would you leave the very place you created??
--------------------

It's quite normal for founders to leave a startup, this is called an 'exit' and it's generally the goal for most startups - sell out big, enjoy your money and start another business. I'm pretty sure Etsy wanted to sell out last year and instead had to settle for the round C investment from Accel.

------------
Too old.... said...

Ding! Ding! Ding! Wish more people would realize this. Why do you think we can't delete expired items?! And, don't say it's because of coding.
--------------------

There's not reason they can't let us delete expired items and they keep them in the database, actually. It's called a 'soft delete', meaning they set a 'deleted' flag on the item and it would still be in the database, but not be displayed. Have you noticed they keep all the images for each item even after it's deleted, also?

stunned said...

Wow. Merry Fuckin' Christmas. I thought rats were supposed to LEAVE a sinking ship, not go back to it.

eclipse said...

Indigo said...

I want to find out the back story about the Etsy 5, I'm intrigued as it has been banded about the forums by the older members...I wish I had someone to ask LOL!
------------------
There is an article here at EB that explains it. Summer or Fall 2008 I think.

Painted Bull said...

And can someone explain "Social Commerce" to me...it sounds like some kind of STD...

The Funny One said...

Yeah, right, didn't Rokali invent the stupid "Post Your Questions Here" forum thread joke that used to pop up once every 6 months so he could completely ignore the actual questions? And appear to be involved?

Total bullshit adopted by a dozen Admins who haven't been listening since they took up residence at Etsy.

Gee Etsy, what about?
- insecure shopping cart that breeds NPB's by the thousands?
- a listing template that belongs in the middle ages
- no universal editing or coupon codes
- NO CUSTOMER SERVICE FOR SELLERS???? to name a fraction of the seller requests, some of them are 4 years old!!!

You can post all the Announcements, edicts, proclamations and anything else you are suddenly in the mood for ---- but if you don't sweep out the deadwood Admins who have a stranglehold on the narrow minded promotion scheme of picking their favorites day after day, you aren't going to improve a damn thing.

Getting rid of 72 GG's doesn't even skim the surface of the real problems at Etsy.

WindysDesigns said...

I have to laugh at the naivete of some of the people asking Rob questions like if Etsy is now going to start advertising the site. Heehee, little do they realize that he has never supported anything but 'grassroots' advertising, meaning viral marketing and social networking. None of this paid ads stuff. He used the term "social commerce", which leads me to believe that it will contain more of the same seller generated efforts at advertising, especially when reading this quote "In social commerce, our focus is on people, not products. It's our job to build tools for you to use, that help you promote items as you'd like to."

Meaning, to me, especially with the mention of revamping the showcases and getting rid of the gift guides, another way for Etsians to pay for their exposure and generate their own traffic.

And although Rob said very early on that there would never be paid advertising on the front page, I think we're going to come very, very close to it.

'm very cautious in what I expect to see as far as changes that might be on the horizon, and for those who think that having Rob back at the helm means getting back to his original vision, just remember that vision almost got rid of commercial supplies and vintage on this site.

I have nothing against Rob, he's going to do what he has to do to keep the company going. I would imagine that will entail making some people happy, and others, not so much. It will be what it will be.

Caethes said...

Get Out Now - I think (and fear) you may be right.

Add in "We need to create a thousand more forums for people to talk (i.e. groups)..." and I guess we're supposed to sit around chatting all day, selling our pieces to each other in one great clusterfuck, and sod the idea of new customers coming in with fresh money.

I don't have people buying from me because I'm me, I have them buying because I make good stuff. I'm not social - that's why I selll online!

And now, unless the paranoia has really taken hold, we're moving from the etsy-acceptable product + pics to the etsy-acceptable personality.

That's me screwed then!

Brass Monkey Designs said...

our focus is on people, not products. ..."
===================

Yeah...their favorite people...

sark said...

Okay, let's try condensed soup.
My point is that I have no real point of reference for Rob.
I would like to be optimistic... really, I mean that all around in all aspects of life — it sounds like a nice thing to be. I have yet to experience blind optimism, but it does sound appealing.

Anyway, I know very little about him.
I've worked in retail for years. And there are kind of two tracks to "corporate" types. One is that they're entirely profit oriented and well, people's feelings and altruism be damned because it's all about the bottom line. The other is that the things that the do to make it all about the bottom line are often completely inept or not thought through because while they can work the left side of the brain and start at point A, go directly to point B, proceed to point C — they retardedly forget to look at the bigger picture.

Branding is a corporate thing. It's great if you're an actual entity with a target demographic, etc. But etsy is theoretically trying to be everything — at least their tagline is. Their branding, however, was not. It was all cowls and owls and fucking mustaches on a stick and fucking taupe beige grey white off-white eggshell... and only shit that would appeal to slim 18-35 year old women.

"Everything" (or "all things") is bigger than that; and their "branding" — you know, wannabe hipster fucktard — was very corporate in it's approach because it plowed over everything outside of it's scope.

A specific branded identity with a narrow target demographic is the antithesis of "all things handmade" — which anyone who is anti-corporate in their methods could spot in a heartbeat.

To me, the corporate part isn't the functional aspect of the business (cost, net, user-interface, etc) — it's the "branding". You know, the small group of people who had thousands of different products by thousands of people to pick from and continued to feature the same shit over and over and over again. That kind of favoritism and myopia is very corporate. It's also very damaging... especially when you want to be "all things".

I'm not all for anarchy or regression. But I am totally for "unbranding" etsy.

Too Old... said...

I realized I hadn't done any research on Union Square Ventures so I went to do a little research on them. Highly suggest that, btw.

Anyway... Might want to check these job openings at Etsy out. Make sure to read what they entail as well. A sign of what's to come? Hmmm. Or perhaps just a total shift in who will be working for Etsy next year? You decide. I just found it interesting as they were posted 6 days ago.

http://tinyurl.com/ycftkch

Feeling Cynical said...

Is it just me, or does his explanation for marketing just sound like more of the same: individual sellers doing all the heavy lifting to get people onto the site.

Christen said...

"I don't have people buying from me because I'm me, I have them buying because I make good stuff. I'm not social - that's why I selll online!

And now, unless the paranoia has really taken hold, we're moving from the etsy-acceptable product + pics to the etsy-acceptable personality.

That's me screwed then!"

That's what I'm worried about, too, Caethes. I have a hard time keeping up with all of that stuff, and I'm working on a better strategy for a new side of my business that will be much more online-focused than I am now.

The benefit of something like Etsy is that there are customers that I don't have to go out and get. When a significant amoutn of time has to be spent bringing in customers, at what point is Etsy just not worth it because I could have my own online site?

I also work full time. I can't spend all day doing "social commerce."

Kath said...

I really don't know if it will be better or worse but I would love to see some damn variety instead of the same etsy sellers over and over again - the etsy elite! Etsy has sellers from all over the world but yet it is always the same old, same old mob!

Painted Bull said...

@Get out now...

"Social Commerce" is the reason why "Pimpin' Ain't Easy!" (I got to get the most bang for this buck!)

Headshaker said...

1. Why do big etsy changes always come out of left field, always with an arbitrary lame ass reasoning?

2. With the end of the gift guides, what will happen to the 20 sellers who are constantly featured there? Will they have to rely only dork & twit shout outs? Or will that end for them too? Shucks, they'll be screwed like the rest of us!

3. The new focus on people, not products - I believe this means sellers will be required to twitter & facebook and "etsy" will become a verb, etsy will become another social networking site aimed at craftards who sell to each other. It won't be a marketplace. (I don't know about you but I twitted for a year and all it ever got me were other etsy sellers adding to my view counts. It did nothing to help me, got me not one sale, and was a complete waste of my time). I'm an artisan. I make stuff. And I sell the stuff I make. But in 2009, not so much on etsy.

4. Etsy is a corporation. A corporation is legally a person. But a corporation has no morality. It's only goal is profit. Them's the facts. To learn more, watch the documentary "the corporation." (lots on walmart in it too). It sheds a whole new light on where the etsy board & CEO's priorities are and will be.

jed said...

referencing TooOld's post near the end of this long line of posts, I went to the link she posted and just for the fun of it clicked the salary amount at $70,000 a year (didn't try higher) and the Etsy jobs fell into that category.

As I said I didn't look at any of the higher salaries, so there may have been more there.

So to anyone who has the skills, I'd say you would do well to apply, cause even though the work is difficult, that salary shouldn't be scoffed at!

As far as Rob being back at the helm, so to speak, I'm waiting to see just what he means about the "people approach, rather than the merchandise approach".

Seems to me it's a bit of 'been there, done that', but he may put a new twist on it...we can only wait in the wings to see how the play unfolds.

grannygirl said...

theoriginalwtf said...

what on god's green earth???

aggggh, artfire, when are you going to come up with a nicer looking front page so you can REALLY give etsy a run for their money?

This is a conundrum to me, 1,000Mkts. is a gorgeous looking wonderful site and it's going so slowly, artfire is doing a little better but it is a little cheesy looking. And I just read somewhere that Time magazine named etsy one of the 50 best websites for 2009! I just don't friggen get it! This is the first I've heard of the "board of directors", so maybe that will be a good thing, oh wait, didn't we all hope the same thing when Maria came onto the scene? Nevermind.

The Funny One said...

The vague references to "social commerce" is just fluffernutter for no-one-knows-what-works in online ecommerce, so you go with the trend, which is a big part of Etsy's problem.

Etsy thinks it's so trendy, they don't have to pay attention to the actual marketplace. Shoppers turned off? Search stinks? The front page never looks any different?

Shoppers lose interest, sellers who can't sell because Etsy has stacked the deck against them stop paying fees for nothing, and what do you have?

Etsy the trend that's over. They're their own worst enemy.

just bitchy said...

Why the f- are people so excited about Rob coming back.

He was as much of a disaster as any of the other admin!

Seriously, WAKE UP!

He's the mastermind behind the etsy constitution......holy shit!

SHEESH said...

Wouldn't it be NICE if the new old CEO came on better educated about ART, CRAFT, and VINTAGE? Or At the VERY least, hire those who do??
And hire some damned DIVERSITY. I am not talking PC, I am talking about hiring people with tested expertise in fine craftsmanship, and expertise on vintage????? Hire a fucking consultant if you can't hire a full time SMART, EXPERIENCED, ARTISAN.
Stop hiring people off the street because somebody else tells you they are cool.
Get fuckin' professional, man, with the product!!
Do what GOOD managers do: hire knowledgeable, experienced people and see to it that they DO THEIR JOBS.
OR, you could continue to follow the Peter Principle.

The Funny One said...

I'd like to see Etsy's December profit report and ask if anyone knows how to better interpret them - since Etsy doesn't break out the money they make from listings and showcase spots.

I'd like to know if sellers are listing less since they're clearly no longer selling on Etsy.

Then maybe someone can explain how sellers can sell well in 2008 and then see their sales drop 100% in 12 months of branding Etsy favorites.

How does that happen? It's NOT ALL the economy.

so done with etsy by now said...

So I went and read some of the Etsy job descriptions posted at that site and had a good chuckle. Apparently, to work at Etsy, one must be "comfortable with occasional highjinks" and so on and so forth...who wrote these descriptions?!?!

As someone who was with Etsy at the beginning, and ran screaming for the hills after about two years when things really started to get out of control, I know that I will never, ever be returning as a seller. The only time I sign in is once a month when I buy my soap from my favorite soap sellers.

I don't understand why anyone who has the actual skill and means to make anything of quality would want anything to do with Etsy now. And from what I have seen and read, the majority of truly skilled artisans have left for other sites, started their own websites, or found other venues for their work.

eclipse said...

http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6388627

he says here they are changing the tagline next month.

just bitchy said...

He just posted another thread.

It's all the same bullshit. They talk and talk and talk and he asks questions and asks more questions and then disappears and reaears and asks more questions and then nothing changes.

SSDD

Seriously, some of the changes have been asked for for years. Nearly from the beginning.

I hope people don't get their hopes up. He's the same old dreamer with the same old schtick and the thought that there will be any follow through or anything other than the next Swimmy is just beyond common sense.

just bitchy said...

Yes, and the Etsy job descriptions are more pure bullshit.

Who the hell would take any of that seriously if they have one ounce of talent.

It's so embarrassing.