Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas readers!

We've got a present for you!

We're going to be speaking to Rokali (Rob Kalin, for those who dont know) in January. He's going to answer our questions on the record.

If you have a question you want answered, please e-mail us at

We cant promise that your exact question will be asked, but we will make every effort to make sure your voice is represented.


Lost said...

I want to know how Etsy is going to improve customer service - bearing in mind that Etsy's true customers are the sellers.

Sellers deserve good selling tools,access to a human being to help them when something goes horribly wrong, protection from malignant buyers, a better search feature and a checkout that doesn't encourage buyers to abandon the payment process.

If Etsy can really provide those things in 2010, I may consider sticking around.

Lennymud said...

WOW! EB--big score interview! You guys are the Diane Sawyer of Etsy! I trust you guys to ask the tough and important questions while being fair, funny and factual. I can't wait.

Merry Christmas Bitches and Bitch Lovers everywhere.

RRobin said...

I want to know when Etsy plans to end the favoritism -- scratch that: At this point, I don't even CARE if Etsy ends the fucking favoritism, I just want them to 'fess up to it.

Ask Rob if he has the balls to admit that favoritism exists. I'd ask him that FIRST. And if he denied it, I'd end the interview.

Just asking said...

What lost said...and I'd like to know how he defines and if he plans to implement professionalism -

I'm not sure if he realizes the average person's perception of the etsy employees as unprofessional, petulant, clique-ish and anything but reliable or trustworthy.

I've never had a run-in or negative interaction with an etsy employee & I have no personal axe to grind. And my observation is that etsy is run like a drunk frat party, picking favorites, bullying, and saying "screw you losers, you're just jealous you're not us" to anyone who asks a question or requests improvements.

I'd like to know if perception and professionalism are anywhere on his radar.

pawandclawdesigns said...

Will have to think on this. I pay so little attention to Etsy anymore other than my own shop.

My stomach ulcer when away too !

kcroteau said...

Since he's clearly stated that the gift guides are going away and he seems to be saying that the focus will be community-centric, does this mean we'll have someone different picking items for the front page (ie someone who won't play favorites) or will the front page be changing completely? And if it is changing, what are the current thoughts for what will be on it?

Voice said...

ITA with Lost's comment. If Etsy wants to be more about people than products, the tools we use to sell NEED to be as streamlined as possible so we can all spend more time doing the people-centered parts of our craft: creating, supporting fellow artists, and engaging with customers.

Here's my obvious question: how will Etsy get control of the resellers and copyright infringers? I currently feel I cannot in good conscience recommend Etsy as a whole due to the fact that I do not want my friends/family/customers getting ripped off by someone selling wholesale widgets as handmade. I'm ready to explore non-Etsy venues next year if the reselling and general dishonesty of some sellers doesn't go away.


Count me in as wanting a better way to screen out the mass produced garbage that makes it here, and isn't removed because the "flagging team" doesn't seem to know their ass from first base when it comes to hand made OR vintage.

Kate Gabrielle said...

wow, that's so neat!!

The main thing I'd like to know is when will etsy add features that most e-commerce sites already have, like coupon codes? It's not that hard to add it, and sellers have been *begging* for years! Also being able to batch-edit our listings (like when they make us add one single tag to every single listing for a site-wide sale, and we have 100+ items in our shop!) or making the etsy hacks an actual part of the etsy site.

OH! And guest checkout!! It would be fantastic if people could order from us without having to register, I think that can be a turn off to a lot of people.

Can't wait to see this interview!! :)

Violets new Vintage said...

What tinterhooks said:
I want to know what will be done after an item is flagged for being mass produced and not hand made. Right now items get flagged and just stay there day after day.

sillygirl said...

There are many many artists and crafters like myself on etsy that are too busy creating, raising families, running a business and doing craft shows to be constantly on Etsy trying to get admin's attention and respect. What about these people. They seem to get lost in the mix. These are the same people who started this huge craft revolution about 10 years ago and they are the ones who always get passed by on etsy.

It seems like Etsy is constantly focusing on the newbies and solely on-line crafters.

How will etsy cater to these people? It seems like the new TOU's won't even allow your sellers to tell THEIR customers where they can be found IN PERSON, at a craft fair or at a local business. This certainly doesn't seem to fit into the "helping people make a living" as a crafter.

There is so much more to my business than just selling on-line and Etsy doesn't seem to want to include any other part of that.

Brass Monkey Designs said...

What's he going to do about Daniellexo? She may be a "nice" person (so I hear), but the woman seems to be a walking PR nightmare and has done much to alienate people.

What does he plan to do about the blandly homogeneous look that Etsy now sports on its front pages? It seems to be dedicated to showcasing bland colors, fake facial hair, and Yokoo's cowls. Handmade has a lot more to offer than that. A LOT MORE.

How does he plan to make the front page more accessible to ALL sellers (who pay the same amount to list and sell at Etsy as the Etsy faves do), and not just the ones who are admin favorites?

I might be willing to keep selling there if I thought he was going to actually get something accomplished and make some changes needed, but if it's going to be more of the same thing I've seen for the past three years, then it isn't worth it.

Susan2222 said...

It doesn't matter who is at the helm if the day to day workers:

1. Continually put resellers on the front page

2. Choose blatant copycats as featured sellers

3. Tweet all day about their favs that never get sold

4. Ignore common sense requests from sellers for tools needed to run a business.

5. Have an agenda where enabling sellers to make a living with their craft is always last.

ACraftyArab said...

I just found your website and am so excited to be catching up reading all the way from the beginning. So I know this interview is BIG. What I'd really like to ask Rob (if he or his staff ever recognizes anyone that does not have the same skin colour as they do) is why one of the major religions of the world is not a part of Etsy? I see no rhyme or reason “eid” can not be acknowledged, as a tag, treasure, or any other form of recognition.

You would think that the word eid (which means “festivity” btw and covers all celebrations in the Islamic and Arab world) would be standard. I would like to simply see a craft website that Rob would like to take to the next level that recognizes “birthday, christmas, day of the dead, easter, halloween, hanukkah, new years, patriotic, st patrick’s, thanksgiving and valentine” (as tags) be able to add “eid.”

WindysDesigns said...

Call me a skeptic, but I would be surprised if you got any straight answers, or if you got anything other thank the usual stuff they throw out to placate the masses.

I realize that people who have only been here under Maria's tenure are expecting huge changes with Rob resuming the CEO position, but the key here is resuming. He is the one who put Maria in charge in the first place. If she didn't head the right direction, why did she stay so long?

You know why I think that he's going to get rid of the gift guides? Not because of favoritism, or repetition, but because it's a drain on employee resources. If you remove the admin curated areas and replace them with paid advertising like showcases, you have doubled your money. Once, for freeing up staff from a non-revenue producing area, and second, for providing yet another revenue stream.

The elimination of 'favoritism' is just a fortunate by-product. But I predict that you won't get away from repetition because the only ones who are going to be able to afford to pay for feature spots (showcases or whatever they replace them with) will be the ones who sell regularly. It's going to wind up being another 'renewal' situation.

I don't have feelings one way or the other about Rob's return. I don't like or dislike him. I have developed a 'wait and see' attitude when it comes to all things Etsy, because over the years I've learned nothing is what it seems and to always be careful what you wish for because that wish _always_ winds up biting you in the ass.

TheDuDeDoesntAbide said...

I'd like to know about the e-commerce tools. Etsy might be 4 years old, but retail websites and the internet are not.

Coupon Codes, Batch Editing, etc. NEED to be addressed to be competitive (or even relevant compared to the worst-translated overseas retail sites). I could care less about their clean page design if it means there's jack shit on it to work with my shop's items/sales.

Also, yeah, a human to human acknowledgment of the favoritism. OR AT THE VERY LEAST...that the method of having two/three people with a distinct taste picking featured things out of the millions, that favoritism CAN and DOES happen.

Just admit that it's happening, man up.

Arty said...

What about a 1 800 # for direct support?

Better search function?

and what ACraftyArab said.

skeptic sally said...

I want the dirt on what happened behind the scenes that resulted in Rob returning and Maria leaving. Did Maria resign, or was she asked to leave and was this always the plan? The sudden effort for damage control amongst the community raises a lot of questions about what Rob thinks of the way Etsy has been operating under Maria's control. Why has Etsy been so reluctant to be transparent as a company? People as loyal and passionate as the Etsy community, should be considered a priority in every decision made and their importance acknowledged. Whether or not intentional, Etsy has created an environment of major competition and desperation. It's membership size has long outgrown its structure. At some point the monthly sales, boasted about in the Storque, will be spread so thin that it won't be worth it for most sellers. What are the plans to accommodate the ever growing number of shops competing for their micro-second of exposure each time they list and renew? Each month, my Etsy fees seem to increase, yet the value of my return, is much less than before.

All Wired Up TOO said...

Ditto to :
Customer Servcie when?
Search that works.
End to favortism.
Why is DXO STILL employed?

Two thumbs up to you for scoring this interview!

sillygirl said...

One thing that I've noticed is the fact that anyone who is under 40 years old, who are part of my craft community are now stuck with this "kitchy" "DIY" "indie" "Etsy brand" label, no matter what we make. Maria went to every conference under the sun this year, to talk the talk, and what I have heard and seen, her talks were embarrassing because Etsy has cheapened handmade.

Ironically, I could never say this on Etsy. I'd be muted or Danielle will have a personal vendetta out against me. Everyone knows that if you piss off Danielle that a copy cat of your work will be put in every gift guide and on the front page. It's unprofessional and it does not go unnoticed. People at shows talk about it all the time.

So Rob, are you proud of THAT aspect of what you created?

Since you've been back, I've been appalled by what admin has been saying. Another example of how childish you all look. (MaryMary's "Marking" hahaha...)It's also embarrassing to see sellers clawing at eachother to get Etsy's attention. I say close the forums all together. The idea that there is a "community" at Etsy is a joke.

Etsy could have been a beautiful thing but you chose leave behind the artist who have been dedicated to craft their whole lives. These are the people who should have been on the front page the whole time setting the example of well made, quality craft.

Morrigan said...

Yeah I have a question for Rob.

Dear Rob, When are you going to un-ban the last of the Etsy5, Emckinstry?

WindysDesigns said...

I had to laugh out loud and with disdain, at the thread in the announcement forum of all the staff. If the idea was to enable them to have a voice, they failed miserably. All but one or two quoted someone else. It hit home for me the fact that they have no clue about originality and uniqueness.

I sure hope Sherrytruitt's thread of forum members throwing back quotes to admin was a joke or an illustration of just how juvenile they all sounded.

There are websites full of inspirational quotes. What I want to hear from Etsy staff is their own words, their beliefs, their hopes and dreams for Etsy, something original and representative of their voices, not someone else.

But maybe they're just ill equipped to express themselves in their own words.....and that leaves me feeling less than confident.

Curious said...

Who, exactly, does Rob think Etsy's customers are, and is etsy ever going to be willing to really serve those customers with the tools they have asked for a million times?

eclipse said...

Ask him if Etsy has a real business plan now, or if the children's book Swimmy is still their business plan.

RRobin said...

Quoting WindysDesigns...

Call me a skeptic, but I would be surprised if you got any straight answers, or if you got anything other thank the usual stuff they throw out to placate the masses.


Agreed. I suspect it will be a colossal waste of time and energy.

Crazy Cat Lady said...

I know it's pointless, but my biggest issue is still advertising. When will etsy start advertising to buyers - real buyers, average american buyers, not just "bust readers"?

But I know Rob will wax poetic about community and how we should all be word of mouth and blahblahblah...but you know what little man? Etsy's word of mouth is in the toilet. Yesterday talking to my MIL and SIL about Etsy (and SIL lived in Brooklyn, knew about Etsy before I did in '07 and is all twee and shit - a "Bust reader") and SIL had nothing nice to say about Etsy anymore. She couldn't find what she was searching for, she noticed the blandness of the FP and the up-crop of resellers...she even said that etsy was like ebay. MIL also talked about how difficult etsy was to navigate, and how she tried to find me one day but couldn't remember my EXACT shop name and because etsy will only find exact names - not near names, like ebay - she couldn't find me and gave up and left.

So...Rob...if you want us to "advertise" etsy by word of mouth...well, you had better get etsy's reputation out of the toilet QUICK. Because all I could do was agree with my SIL and MIL; and with my sales ALSO in the toilet, I had no real reason to try to prop etsy up either. quote the lovely Ms. Janet Jackson..."what have you done for me lately? Mmm mmm mmm yeah?"

sark said...

Would it be possible to have some oversight on what items by what sellers are being featured on the free promotional aspects of the site (Storque articles, etsy finds, front page treasuries). Particularly the type of oversight that would entail tracking what items by which sellers get featured where, and having a limit on the frequency. You know, like it’s hunky dory that Lirola and Galit and terminy make treasuries, which each always feature Lirola, Galit, and terminy… by why are they ALWAYS on the front page treasury? Why does a day never pass without an item from artmind on the front page? The repetition isn’t accidental; it’s favoritism. Is this childish behavior going to stop? Because there have been no less than 5 threads in the forums bemoaning the favoritism and repetition of sellers in all the free promotional spots this week alone. It’s been an ongoing problem, how about fixing it?

And how about fixing it with some altruism, instead of something equally childish like doing away with anything that isn’t a paid spot. I’m not for turning the front page into a showcase, I think etsy can do better than that. But based on current and past experiences, your staff seems to suck terribly at altruism: in other words featuring more people more often instead of their favorites all the time.

Also, would it be possible to feature less picks in general by the etsy staff on the front page, given their demonstrable inability to branch out and feature the community as a whole? I’m all for completely doing away with any “treasury” that professes anything about “browsing”. I’d rather see member curated treasuries by a wide range of members featured on the front page… as opposed to the same treasuries by the same 5 members who all feature each other.

Could we have some oversight?

EtsyWTF said...

A little Christmas music for you nice folks.

Headshaker said...

If etsy wants to rely on word of mouth they really have major work to do to repair their image. Does Rob really know what people out there are saying about etsy? I can't tell you the number of people I've spoken to who have lost interest in shopping on etsy. Why? Three reasons: bad search, perception of no variety (fault of gg's & fp), & the 2009 emphasis on trendy & cheap.

I'll add to that the fact that sellers have to post here on this blog in order to protect our online livelihoods from the punative etsy staff, which is beyond wrong, it's bad community.

Alphabettispaghetti said...

What I'd like to know is what Etsy did to cause my catastrophic drop in my sales. What happened to make me sell zero articles this Christmas, and one in September after I'd been selling steadily for 2 years. Why is it I haven't been on the front page for over a year? Why is it that a few months ago, if I did a Google search for my shop or items in it, nothing came up? Etsy has somehow managed to bring me and my business to our knees. I'm going to wind down the jewellery shop because I simply can't afford to keep it going, if the only way to sell is to keep relisting! How can that be fair?

conco said...

I have to agree with Susan2222 and this "
4. Ignore common sense requests from sellers for tools needed to run a business."

how hard is it to have a coupon code or have visitors purchase items without joining?

if your business is going to continually add a million or so new members every month it would be fair to give us a bit of democracy and a level playing field within the more obvious portals of etsy- the front page and other aspects where the public must linger because searching is an abomination. i only buy from my friends or the front page too because finding a vintage or handmade needle in your haystack would take days.

Crocheted Little Things said...

I want to know if he's going to do a big clean up about resellers.

The Sneaky One said...

RRobin, it might've been a glitch and I apologize for that happening. If you would like to post it again, I will let it through.

WindysDesigns said...

Hey, you can start out by asking him about his own words.

Etsy Admin

Rokali says:
We'll be adding the ability to select item variations inside a single listing. So if you have shirts in S, M, L and XL that can be one listing with a choice of what size. We'll never cap the max # of item listings per shop, but we can make it easier to browse by only showing 2 or 3 (1?) items by the same seller in places like recently listed items. We could also group search results by seller if that'd be helpful. We also realize that the default sorting method for everything on Etsy is Date Listed. So older stuff does not get seen unless you browse back and back. We're pondering ways to jumble everything up.
Posted at 7:36 pm, December 17 2005 EST - Report this post - Quote this post"

So, where do we stand on this one Rob? We got the relevant search, but it's not the default, and you can't even use it unless you go to advanced search. Useful as a rubber crutch, that one.

Still no options within listings.

And what about this statement, Rob, do you still believe what you said here?
"I think a key criteria is how many of something are made. If someone is making 500 of something, even if they are handmade it's not going to have that unique handmade feel."

I have a few other interesting quotes of his, but I'm noticing an interesting trend -- he starts a lot of these threads and then disappears. These threads date back to 2005 and 2006, are still open ended with Rokali nowhere in sight even when the threads are brought up again months later looking for an update.

I even think the steam ran out of his answering questions from those threads announcing his return as CEO. THIS is what I see happening. He'll be all gung-ho, ask for input, tell us things are 'in the pipeline', 'on the grid' 'in the works' and then that'll be the last we hear until something totally unrelated is rolled out without proper testing and fucks up the site.

I really am not happy that he's back, but I'm not dreading it either. I have no unrealistic expectations that he is going to be 'the savior', so I won't be disappointed.

RRobin said...

Quoting The Sneaky One...

RRobin, it might've been a glitch and I apologize for that happening. If you would like to post it again, I will let it through.



It was long and well-crafted and so of course I didn't save a copy. If I have time I will try to reconstruct it, but I don't know when that might be. Ah, bummer.

With luck it is swirling around on a Blogger server somewhere and will surface eventually.

hellloooo! said...

Does no one in the forums but Quirke understand what Rob is about. He is anti-advertising. We spend our money,not his.

I do believe he means well and came back because he didn't like the corporate feel of etsy. However, all the things the sellers asked for that he said were in the works are still not intergrated, and will never be.

And the same young women in key postions are just 2 years older and have the same limited experience. It's quite scary if you really are interested in making a living.

Doesn't the board of directors care about that?

Anonymous said...

WindyDesigns is absolutely right. That is exactly what Rob does, and that is what will happen this time too.

chickory said...

what alphabettispagetti said: one day i was humming a long with a sale or two most every week then one day the whole thing stopped. no hearts; no views and no sales. my shop is winding down. i dont renew anymore...what a racket. when people saw my work it seemed to sell well enough for me to be happy. but not anymore. nothing. sad.

and i agree also that in my conversation with art fair sellers Etsy has cheapened handmade which makes me not want to continue on with my shop.

RRobin said...

Quoting hellloooo!...

...It's quite scary if you really are interested in making a living.

Doesn't the board of directors care about that?


In a word?


I just submitted a lengthy comment that seems to have been lost in the ether. Blame it on Mercury Retrograde or whatever.

In it, I said in part and in greater detail that Etsy's managers and investors and BOD are just like those at any corporation. And that means they are in it for themselves. For their wallets, not yours. If they wanted otherwise, if they "cared," they'd be working for or leading or volunteering for a charity or another nonprofit.

They get their 20c per listing whether it comes from you or me or somebody totally new to Etsy. It's all the same to their bottom line.

And if a $100 (or any price) item sells, they get the same commission whether the item is sold by somebody who has been on the FP 12 times in the past three days, or somebody who has never been featured in any way.

It's all the same to them. Money is money. Yours, mine, and the cupcakes', it's the same shade of green.

Listen: They are not in this for you. All they care about is their bottom line. As long as Etsy keeps making money for them, they will not change it.

So what if you or me or Webster disagree with their definition of "handmade"? At this point, it's like complaining that the "fairies" at Disneyland aren't "real."

Etsy is a theme park. They are not your mother. They don't care whether you earn a living or not.

Live with it.

RRobin said...

Looking at the Etsy FP just now, I just had to ask:

Does anybody REALLY want, need, or use knitted apple cozies?

At least cowls have some bonafide utility, and moustaches are arguably amusing, but knitted apple cozies??? WTF???

What's next? Toilet paper covers made from dolls wearing big crocheted skirts?

Only on Etsy. The Disney-fication of Craft.

Not My First Time At The Rodeo! said...

What fascinates, perhaps horrifies me is the glib attitude towards advertising. Etsy is not Google, Ebay, YouTube, Kleenex, PETA, or any other entity whose name alone answers most questions. No one I work with or know would even have heard the word if it hadn't been from me. The only time I ever hear Etsy mentioned on TV is on Martha Stewart.

Please express our frustration in Etsy being too cheap to advertise. God knows they must be rolling in some boo-koo cash there in Brooklyn. Also the much discussed let-down of allowing mass marketers to profit while we work our poor little fingers to the bone.

I think we should form an informal day or two of "Life Without Etsy" Who says we can't all go on vacation together.


Love Ya All!

sark said...

This is completely off-topic — but, yes, RRobin — I saw that crocheted (?) apple cozie too. Ironically, it was after I checked out the front page after reading some forum thread about how the front page has been *better* recently (since, you know there were suddenly a gazillion threads in the forums bemoaning the staleness and favoritism)...
So, yup, I click on and there it is: Apple Cozy!

I have an art degree. I have seen some ironic knitting as "art". But in all my years between art classes, art museums, art fairs, exhibits, shows, quirky head shops — never until etsy was I ever presented with the idea that my fruit needs what is essentially a sweater.

Functionally, I don't understand the apple cozy. Is it because the apple is super hot like McDonalds coffee and I might burn myself if I touch it's virgin skin?
Or is it because the apple is so cold that I might frost bright my hand, but yet would like to sink my teeth into it?

What is the point of an apple cozy? Perhaps, Rob Kalin could clear that up for us?

Ironically, the only place I've ever seen an apple cozy is the front page of etsy... so, even though they cycled in some new stuff, I'm sure we'll still see that freaking babydoll arm soap, and the cat perch, and shit with ruffles on it, and that whale, and all things gray-beige-taupe-off-white and colorless... all of which hit the target demographic of white female wannabe hipsters between the ages of 11 and 27.

Really, I think by 28 you age out of that.

Old Hippie Bitch said...

I guess if I sat down with Rokali, I'd ask him:

1. Does people over product mean crappy products are okay as long as the people selling them are hipsters?

2. Can Etsy get back to celebrating the diversity of artisans it had when it began? Before the vanilla branding and attempts to be trendsetters?

3. Can Etsy implement a simple system to eliminate sellers receiving free promotion more than once? If no, then why not?

4. Do you understand the forums are NOT representative of your entire community?

5. Can you see that much of Etsy (the Storque, craft nights, tags as sub-categories, etc.) has NO benefit to buyers whatsoever? Can you re-focus employees on making Etsy better for buyers?

RRobin said...

You've heard of "greenwashing," whereby products are marketed to appear more sustainable or organic than they really are? Well, Etsy is like that. Call it "handwashing" if that sort of humor appeals to you. But the bottom line here is the bottom line -- making things may be a sacred calling to you or to me, but to Etsy it's "just business," and as long as they keep earning money, they don't care where it's coming from. You can stick a feather in a cap and call it macaroni -- if you list it, they get their 20c, and if it sells, they get their commission. If your thing doesn't sell, someone else's does, and they get their commission that way. Again, they really don't care WHO the money comes from, how often that person sells or what that person is selling. All Etsy cares about is the stream of money coming in. And if you bought the hype, the "Handmade Pledge" and QYDJ promises, that is a testament to Etsy's success at what they do, not an indication of its failure. They say there is a broken heart for every light on Broadway, and now there is probably one for every pixel on Etsy, too. And if you expected otherwise just because the hucksters called themselves "artists" and a "community," well, there is a bridge there in Brooklyn you might want to buy. And I'm sure there is somebody at Etsy who would be more than happy to sell it to you.

WindysDesigns said...

So much about this is pissing me off today. I just looked at installment #3 of his answers to questions. At first glance, I was semi-impressed with his enthusiasm and sincerity. After reading it again, and then once again, I was much less impressed. His first answer regarding resellers is hardly news. Matt announced over a year ago they were 'looking into' ways to stop resellers. It sounds to me like Matt was thinking about stopping them before they even set up a shop, and yet Rob is still on the flag/research/managing thought process. One would think by now there would be something other than the current flagging system in place if they were really concerned about resellers.

His second answer, about buyer privacy, missed the mark by a mile. This is not a new concept, we've been complaining about this since I came on board in 2006. Rather than encouraging someone to start a new thread with ideas for you, I suggest you use your own ideas forum, and your own search tool and put in 'buyer privacy' into it and hit search. I guarantee you every suggestion, idea and opinion has already been expressed ad infinitum. But sure, lets all play the Etsy game of 'keep the seller occupied' by another useless thread.

As far as the Vintage/supplies comments, I have mixed feelings. I'll wait to see what the change in the tagline is before I get my panties in a wad. Without trying to disparage vintage or supplies though, I will say the main draw for people, at least in the beginning, was the idea of a place to buy all things handmade (or sell all things handmade). It was the main draw for me, a place where handmade was valued, respected and didn't have to get lost amongst commercially produced....anything, like on ebay.

And yes, vintage and commercial supplies are allowed, I have no quarrel with that, I actually understand including them, it is my opinion though, that the site was founded upon the shoulders of those who made things by their own hand.

As for recanting the no refund policy for returns instituted earlier this year, my feeling is this is a red herring. At the very least, I think it was ill thought out in the first place because there is absolutely no way to verify why anyone cancels a transaction without manually verifying each and every one of them. It was a brilliant opportunistic ploy to make Rokali look like a caring, benevolent leader.

His last, self deprecating statement was the icing on the cake. Of course you could be doing better, it's been pointed out over and over and over and over and over again by your sellers. The question is, with all that talent and wonderful staff, why aren't you doing better? Why Rob? answer me that? Why is Etsy always apologizing for it's short comings and yet, never doing anything to overcome them?

And lastly, but not leastly, this statement: "Rokali
Etsy Admin

Rokali says:
Hi all,

If there are q's in here you'd like answered, please tweet them with @rokali or #etsyq.

I'm super busy with other work and haven't had the time to sort through the 100+ pages here. Sorry!

Posted at 11:18 am, December 30 2009 EST - Report this post - Quote this post"

Maybe it's just me, but I'm more than a little annoyed that he can't seem to field his own forum for questions. This just smacks of laziness on his part, just like asking someone to start a thread on buyer privacy. It's all there Rob, all you have to do is open your eyes and look.

Maybe I'll tweet him a link to this topic.

PotMeetsKettle said...

Does anybody REALLY want, need, or use knitted apple cozies?


To each their own, so here's mine. Does anyone really want how the FP is picked to change? Or will it be a neverending cycle of "my stuff is never up there" posts no matter how it gets picked?

If someone's got to draw a little circle of things people "need" or "want" on the FP, then you can bet your listing fees that thousands are going to be left out of that circle, daily.
There's no true random unless the servers parse all the listings at a certain time, pick 'em out randomly, and generate the FPs.

I just really think that comment proves that no human should be picking them, "computer random" is always more random than "human random."

I don't knit at all. But that comment just kind of made me wonder how anyone could pass judgment without doing what the Etsy staff does, every day, when they pick the FP(es).

I'm curious to see if anyone pokes Rokali's ribs about advertising, promotional tools.


RRobin said...

PotNeetsKettle, I made the apple cozy comment, and I never said that the usefulness or desirability of an object should be a criterion for front page selection.

My articulated observation was that apple cozies are to my experience an exclusively Etsy phenomenon, not just an Etsy FP phenomenon, and I remain baffled by the concept. I have never seen such things anywhere on but on Etsy, and even if I had, I will still be asking, WTF???

Moreover, I have previously gone on record here on EB for being in favor of computer-generated FP picks, but anyone familiar with basic mathematical probability and/or basic computer programming knows that "random" does not always appear completely "random" -- that is to say, you really can get a score of straight heads in a series of coin tosses -- and consequently any program is only as good as its programmer.

PotMeetsKettle said...


I had a chance to read comments between your original one I commented on, other people's, and then your reply.

I think I made a horrendous mistake that I really hate to make, especially when bothering to type any sort of response.

I added a "tone" in my head to your comments. That track ran a groove in my head...snowballed into some blocks of text...

Which, is pretty much a horrendous thing to do, given the fact it's online....

anyways, just to chime in, I guess I should mention I think, in terms of having a "right" to be sold on Etsy, yeah, anything from an actual sweater to a sweater for your apple, pear, grape, dried sea urchin have their own place. But do they belong on a Front Page, as if to pedestal them, "This is creativity deserving of being on the face of our venue."

Again, that notion of who draws the lines in the Front Page sand, and so on.

I do completely concur on the matter of a computer generated "true" random being more wishful thinking than anything else. A program is indeed only as good as it's programmer...

...or website design/implementation that has overlooked things like sales and coupons on an online retail venue...blech.

At the end of the day, given a seller who's been featured "randomly" 2-3 times out of the month due to a computer program is a lot easier for me to swallow than a human-curated Front Page monkey that keeps clicking the same button.

I need to stop making EB my insomniac site to cruise through.

BeenThereDoneThat said...

The way Rokali praises his "team" makes me nervous: makes me feel like I am being treated like a sucker. Nobody likes to have their intelligence insulted.
If the team is so great, other than their fabulous party personalities, why is it that they have done such a poor job of customer service particularly in the past year?

Sounds too much like typical political doubletalk. If he is capable of seeing what needs to be done, and is capable of running a tight ship AND party on at the same time, I will be extremely surprised. And if he turns out to be a hands-on capable manager of his staff, I will publicly declare myself his cupcake.

Odds are about 100:1 at this point.

Max said...


Per Rokali in the Forum on Dec.29:

"We'll be changing our tagline next month. But this is a small change. We need to make the marketplace more flexible."


Changing the tagline to no longer be your place to buy and sell all things handmade?

The only thing that currently differentiates Etsy from eBay is the Handmade focus. eBay sells lots of supplies and vintage. Etsy is the Handmade haven.

If Etsy abandons its position as the handmade marketplace, it becomes just a teeny tiny eBay.

FYI, eBay logs as many daily searches as Google! And those are product-specific searches! Etsy can't even pretend to compete with that, especially with their lame-ass search.

Way to abandon your only viable product differentiation, and piss away your biggest value as the largest vertical market on the planet for entrepreneurial ventures.

Dumb assholes. Don't even know what valuable real estate they own in the global marketplace. Going to throw it away to meekly compete and then go bankrupt.

onagainoffagain said...

This has abosolutely nothing to do with Rob, but did you see Yahoo's 11 worst fashion trends?

#11 is "ironic" hipster fashions with a footnote to mustaches. lol.

Six Weeks said...

Well Bitches, I did it: it's a new year and I signed up for an Artfire account, surprising even myself.

I'm giving Rob 6 weeks. If I don't like what I see by then, I'm out.

In etsy sales in 2009 I actually did pretty good, no thanks to etsy.

I went from 2008 - occasionally in the gift guides to 2009 - not once.

2008 - occasionally on the front page to 2009 - once, in January.

2008 views - great numbers 50 or more to 2009 - 1 to 5 on a new/renew.

I don't make ironic hipster crap wrapped in a beige cowl. And Rob has 6 weeks of my time to prove that 2010 will be different than 2009.

I'm just one small person making quality handmade items. Does that describe an etsy seller? Well, I'm unsure, so Rob will have to let me know in the coming weeks.

Worried said...

RRobin said: "They say there is a broken heart for every light on Broadway, and now there is probably one for every pixel on Etsy, too."


Best quote of 2009!

just bitchy said...

Holy shit!

monkeybuttpowder said...

why is someone running a company worried about the 'cruelty' of asking employees to follow rules?

that was a fucking weird statement for a CEO to make.

are the admins going to be asked to grow up or get out? it's a business, sellers are paying m-o-n-e-y to run their business under the etsy banner, shouldn't etsy be run like a for profit business and not a mean girls pj party?

Scared Straight said...

As a newish seller the reality of etsy as discovered through the forums and this blog is absolutely frightening. I know I'll be adjusting my marketing plan in a way that decreases etsy. Why waste my time, money or talent?

This is a business for me and I would be hesitant to partner with a badly run shop and it appears that etsy is badly run.

PERMA said...

monkeybutt: why is someone running a company worried about the 'cruelty' of asking employees to follow rules?

that was a fucking weird statement for a CEO to make.

Where can I find this?

just bitchy said...

PERMA said...

monkeybutt: why is someone running a company worried about the 'cruelty' of asking employees to follow rules?

that was a fucking weird statement for a CEO to make.

Where can I find this?


Link please. So curious....

Pigeon said...

I'd like to know if the things sellers have been asking and begging for (a search that works, a help system that works, a checkout that works, heck anything that actually works!) for years will ever get done?

And why haven't these features been implemented before? We don't need shiny new doo-dahs that do nothing but try and distract us from the fact that Etsy isn't giving us the tools we actually need.

FUCKUS said...

Etsy gets it's profits by signing up more and more sellers who have (shall we say) a learning curve. Why give sellers what they need? That's not how the red ink goes black.
It doesn't matter how many times sellers ask for desperately needed features: Maria did her job.
Now that she is gone, will Rob be a REAL manager?
I DOUBT IT. He will do as he is told by the ones profiting: the investors. The only ones who care about seller profit are the sellers, and who gives a shit about the sellers?
Nobody in charge. Not from the beginning, and it will get worse. Rob needs his $ too, and now he knows how to get it. Fuck us.


I'll be damned, the gift guides are gone. hallelujah! and I was in four.

Until or unless the staff gets some education, or better still is replaced by those who know their asses from first base, good riddance to idiotic rubbish.

Now, make the first tag only work for one of the three categories and Etsy will be actually making some progress. I could write a tome on that suject. People do not read. Task analysis, people. Don't give them all those choices and expect them to knnow what the fuck they are supposed to do. Smart people won't even read all those instructions. Get real. Make it simple, stupid!

Antimonkeybuttpowder said...

perma and justbitchy

the paragraph said -

-- My question is what will happen to the structure that Maria has given Etsy? There does seem to be a proper management/reporting structure to the company and it's a lot more organised in terms of who is responsible for what now. There is also lot more consistency in communicating with members. (stamp)

Rob Said--
Great question. I imagine that Etsy's internal structure will always be changing a bit, just as the site will be. We need to work as a team to find the best way to work together. We're constantly learning. (One person cannot force a structure on an entire company, either. That's just cruel.)

what I read and paraphrased was apparently it's cruel to ask your employees to do their fucking jobs because they're getting paid to do it the way the company dictates.

99% of the most successful, well regarded and respected CEOs in America will disagree with such a naive philosophy.

just bitchy said...

Thanks for the link about the "cruel" part.

Rob's an idiot.

PERMA said...

Also thanks for the link. RobW must be trying to be all "Etsy Community" with that comment. Either that, or Etsy was his first job ever.
What a jerk. These people do not live in the Real World, that's for sure. He should find out what cruel really is.

PERMA said...

Oops it was ROKALI that said that?
Great CEO, grounded in reality. Pshaw.

RobistheDebil! said...

Rob Said--
Great question. I imagine that Etsy's internal structure will always be changing a bit, just as the site will be. We need to work as a team to find the best way to work together. We're constantly learning. (One person cannot force a structure on an entire company, either. That's just cruel.)

Pretty lame parting shot at Maria I would say.

Etsybitch started when Rob was at the helm, and I can see what he has done. Given the reins over to Maria for awhile, then when the shizzle blew over regarding his incompetence, he jumped back in.

He is, without a doubt, full of talk with little to no action. So he took down the gg's, so the fuck what? I suppose he'll ride on that as long as he can without actually doing anything else. Then he'll start more "survey" threads in the forum about all our hot button issues, then keep saying they are in the queue or being worked on, then toss out some assine shit like in-house payment system or something similar.

Mark my words.

And, I'll believe it about the interview with him when I see it.

Amanda said...

Given the chance, I'd ask them why Seller A does not have to prove they own a copyright on something before Etsy removes Seller B's item. I think it opens up a whole new can of worms when Seller A can say "NO FAIR COPYRIGHT COPYRIGHT REMOVE!" when they actually don't own the copyright on something (and can't).

I tried asking but all I was told was to send in the appropriate paperwork to prove that seller A doesn't have a copyright. Were I in charge, I would think burden of proof would be on seller A. Not B