Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Talking the talk

We get private emails about Etsy, and what they fail to do. Lots of them. And most of them break our hearts.

These are the tales of how Etsy seemingly ignores abusive or non delivering sellers with numerous negative feedback. Unfairly shutting stores down without a word, or response. Things that etsy shouldn't have to expel one single brain cell to remedy. These are fixes o simple, a five year old will tell you how it should end. These letters usually have the same names, dates, details the writers have sent to Etsy without a single response. Without a clue they have even received it, other than the form letter that "they will look into it".

We've been at this game for going on two years now and it's these letters that get us madder than anything - because we can't do a goddamned thing about them.

We made a rule from day one, this is the blog to complain about Etsy's failures and missteps and trying to make them improve while under fire. We were NOT going to "call out" sellers - so these all letters haven't been published.We can only write back with compatriot misery and cuss because we know nothing is going to get done and there is nothing we can do it fix it.

That isn't to say we haven't broken this rule of ours. A couple times there was a huger issue than the seller themselves (ie: the huge bead scandal and Nazi flag for sale with hundreds of flags for months), but each was a hard decision to make. But, one thing was certain, shining the light on those instances got results out of Etsy. And fast.

In our talk with Rob (and I was one of the two EB he spoke with) we mentioned us getting these letters, and how many we get and how easily Etsy could fix these things but instead do nothing but send a form letter and look as if they don't give a shit. He expressed a genuine interest in seeing them when we got a good one.

So today we sent him pretty typical letter of Etsy fumbling the ball. We'll see if any results happen.

Many of Etsy's problems could be fixed so easily by simply making a customer service department with some real manpower. They have now 70 people and we're hard pressed to see more than 3 who do the same thing. They are all micro organized to such an extent it must be impossible to have any real picture what's going on, if they can see there is a problem at all since there is no oversight. We shouldn't see two names handling seller emails with a site this size, we should see 20. (They are only just now getting any sort upper management by hiring a CS Manager, and boy do we pity that person. They have no idea what a quagmire they are walking into.) Each of those 20 people should be set up with a phone line for direct followup contact. And a tracking system and... and... christ. I don't even work in Customer Service and I know what needs to happen! But I digress...

When a company's customers have to write to an site that is that company's main voice of dissent, knowingly in vain, to get help you know that company has some major ass failures across the board. Those failures need fixed immediately, not months down the road. but in Etsy's case it's YEARS later, and that's the saddest part. They don't even seem to know what is wrong, even when they say they do.

Many would say it's Etsy and Rob are all talk. I just think talk is all they know how to do.


Old Hippie Bitch said...

Every time I see "Found Browsing Through Etsy Categories" on the front page, I wonder what that staff person could have better done with the time he/she wasted.

SK said...

Well, here's what I would suggest: a culture of silence is their culture. It's the culture that doesn't get anything done because it's too busy being silent. It's adhering to a fake idea of professionalism.

Silence as it pertains to the etsy staff's favoritism by the main source of dissent on the basis of some sort of pretend professionalism for the parties involved is just that: pretend.

The idea that we cannot speak of it on etsy or the main venue of dissent off etsy is quite disturbing, because it's just a duplicate of the culture of silence.

Nothing gets done when no one stands up and says anything.

You play into their culture, then you are just as bad as they are.

Yes, there are legal issues of libel. However, if you know you're in the right, then well, you know you're in the right.

But doing what they do is just as bad as being them.

So, if you get so many letters and you don't want to name names then use the age old trick of "name deleted" or "name omitted" — if it's that obvious, then we will all figure it out and flag the fuck out of it.

Of course, etsy is SO inept that this will probably accomplish very little, so really we all just need to pick two etsy admins and inundate them every time there is a problem. Call them out on your site and provide the link to convo them without us lazy bastards having to find their user account and hunt that contact button down.

Amusingly, I can't send a direct message to etsy's twitter.

Maybe write a post about that. How etsy's twitter wants to show me the same stupid shit but doesn't want me to discreetly tell it what I think.

When a business engages in this culture, to be the voice of dissent, then you cannot. If you don't respect them, you shouldn't be respecting the most damaging of their rules.

Cultures of silence are useless.

YOURMOM said...

Get off your ass, Rob, and take control of your fucking company. Grow some balls. A seventy-year old woman has more than you do.

Stop all the circle-jerking pretend community PR bullshit and put in some time. Do the job. Take some responsibility. Grow the fuck up.

nolonger hopeful said...

SK is right on the money. Cultures of silence breed deception. And if you are supplying etsy's CEO private correspondence because his staff will not act, you become part of the secret society.

How are non participant observers like your readers supposed to see the truth? This is all so very sad.

I know you want action on behalf of the sellers but something is so wrong when etsy's biggest written critic becomes involved.

Ask Rob what happened to transparency. Hold him accountable on his own forum, on his own site.

The Righteous One said...

SK, all Etsy admin accounts are in this post

We keep it updated as much as possible with their job titles and links to their shops/accounts where you can convo them.

foxaz said...

Yes, EB- Don't go to the dark side...

Little Lovables said...

How about a few less Storque articles and "fixing" perfectly normal things like convos, and more focus on customer service and what is actually broken with the site.

After all, these shops are people's livelihood and Etsy just doesn't seem to give a rat's ass, b/v they are making their money on renewing.

It's interesting, that rob has said they are going to stop having admin curated front pages... so why are they still doing that? Just stop already. It's probably b/c they have more people hired who don't know a thing about their jobs, so just browse the site all day long, hearting things to make front pages.

Old Hippie Bitch said...

Every time I see "Found Browsing Through Etsy Categories" on the front page, I wonder what that staff person could have better done with the time he/she wasted.

Hating Etsy said...

One of my fav shops closed this week. She wrote to tell me that she just couldn't take it anymore. All the resellers and cheaters and vintage that you can go buy in Target today - chosen for the front page. Nothing works on etsy anymore, you can't even send a fucking convo to a customer. Etsy is accountable for NOTHING. There is absolutely ZERO customer service. I still have a big ol negative feedback sitting in my shop from a NON PAYING buyer. Etsy refuses to do anything. I get called a liar (in the neg fb), and etsy shrugs their fucking useless shoulders.
It's so sad. I WANT to quit my day job and do this full time. But not on etsy. Never.

Life During Wartime said...

"Found Browsing Through Etsy Categories" is a deception. Just a few days ago I noticed an item included in an Etsy curated front page that was in heavy rotation last autumn! Now really...does anyone believe that Etsy just happened to find this item again by randomly browsing? It is not handmade. It is being sold as 'vintage' even though it's not old enough. I know I flagged this shop a bunch last year. (I hope this is vague enough not to be conidered 'calling out' on EB.)

I really don't care much who on staff makes up the Etsy 'browsed' collections. I want to know who makes up the lists of items that the staff can pick, er, browse from, and why this practice was established when there are so many amazing legitimate items (all categories) that could be easily found by real browsling.

The Righteous One said...

nolongerhopeful and SK, I'm not sure where you guys are getting "secret correspondence" from. Rob has opened his door to us reporting problems directly to him because we told him that there are a lot of problems that his staff is obviously not pushing up the ladder to him (or he's oblivious, but we can't say he knew unless we tell him ourselves). We haven't thrown anyone under the bus to do so. In fact, the interactions we've had with him have been very publicly discussed here on the blog to avoid any form of secrecy.

The reason we don't publish much of the mail we receive is because the person who sent it asked us not to, or sometimes we worry that it contains enough info that they can be identified. Instead we investigate and write a post on the matter from our own observations. The mail we have published can be found as auxillary posts.

We shy from calling out items because that isn't our goal here. There are other sites that do that, and we concentrate on getting Etsy's attention instead. That doesn't mean we don't care or don't participate in flagging and the such, we are more than our EB personas.

Watching the Wheels said...

By forwarding issues to Kalin, aren't you guys becoming enablers for some of the essentially non existant quality controls of the site?

Bottom line, unemployment is "officially" at 10% and above. I am sure that there are people more than willing to do a GOOD job. BUT, it is up to the leadership tier to be willing to set and maintain the standards of excellance. Until this step is embraced and acted upon, it's the "same old, same old".

It is Kalin's responsibility to give an occasional glance to the realities of what's going on, or hire someone capable of doing this type of job.

Trust me when I tell you that people at the highest levels have been informed of some of the antics within the site.

I'm now trying to analyse the aftermath to see what types of results will be generated.

IF I were "you", I don't know how quickly or how willing I would be to volunteer for 'the job'. Is the staff illiterate? Can they not read the print within the forums? Corporate fall guys can and do happen, all the time.

The Funny One said...

I'm like most seller these days, poised to welcome even a few of the changes announced so exhuberantly by Kalin followed by
complete silence
a front page that hasn't changed
nonsensical daily blog postss
and other "announcements" that are about whaaaat?
Who's running the show?

grannygirl said...

Old Hippie Bitch said...
Every time I see "Found Browsing Through Etsy Categories" on the front page, I wonder what that staff person could have better done with the time he/she wasted.

Holy crap, I think the exact same thing! When I'm browsing to make a treasury I could easily spend a few hours just looking.

The Cranky One said...

"By forwarding issues to Kalin, aren't you guys becoming enablers for some of the essentially non existent quality controls of the site?"

Well here's how we see it.

In our conversation we mentioned that people are so frustrated and disgusted with HIS staff that they come to US to vent, just to be heard, and how most of the problems are not brain surgery if someone took 10 minutes of half assed effort they could actually FIX problems. We told him we get like over a dozen letters a week on average all with valid problem and concerns that need fixes, but they feel they have to come to US and we cat do anything about it - and that is a massive fail on his team.

He agreed and said "send me some". So we got on after that that was pretty simple cut and dry (bad seller, non-delivery, non-responding with over 30 bad feedback for same, buy er stuck now outside the 45 day paypal window for chargeback) something that should be a no brainer since they will shut you down for ONE fraudulent report with no other bad feedback.

It's a test. Pure and simple. We're expecting them to fail it, but he asked to be tested.He asked for an email to fix.

Part of the problem? We have always sought to be part of the solution. Even when we COULD speak really on etsy on such issues, and believe me we did. We have all been there years (some since year one), all have active shops, all active in the community that wasn't being heard. We teamed up and decided to see if they'd listen to outside pressure that had the potential to damage them.

They don't even care about that.

Are we surprised he's giving us the time of day? You betcha.

Are we going to waste that opportunity to MAYBE ACTUALLY CHANGE SOMETHING? NO.

Are we going to stop cussing about etsyfail? FUCK NO.

jaded said...

It must be a miracle, now if they'd just get rid of the resellers. Particularly the factory paintings from Hong Kong.

Check Modern Abstract Huge Canvas Oil Painting -- and you will find the same guy who has opened and been shut down repeatedly.

Watching the Wheels said...

Crankyone, I understand your responce to me and realise that you guys are doing anything and all to try to help.

I do wonder about how many chances are really needed. How many times does essentially the same info need to be spoon fed to the administrative level of the site.

I am also trying to test out the waters. I'm at the point though that I have begun to try to learn what "I" can from the continual shenanigans to one day apply to just doing a standalone site.

My gut is beginning to tell me that Etsy is merely a cash cow, and not much else. Talk is real cheap. And I'm still seeing "marketing" of Etsy as the potential true focus of the powers that be.

I'm willing to give it a few months. I figure that a certain amount of time needs to be granted for REAL change to be implemented.

I discovered that the Gift Guides still exist. They're just NOT as obvious.

What other half truths are being pumped?

failagain said...

So, how many weeks has he had the letters? Your interview was done weeks ago. Everyday in the forums people talk about negative feedback from NPB. He could have assigned a staff person to fix all of that with in 4 hours. Did he? No.

A perfect opportunity to employ "action", instead of "talk".

The Cranky One said...

"So, how many weeks has he had the letters? Your interview was done weeks ago. Everyday in the forums people talk about negative feedback from NPB. He could have assigned a staff person to fix all of that with in 4 hours. Did he? No."

The interview was a few weeks ago, we sent him the letter two days ago.

And you're right, they are brain dead simple fixes. But they are all too easily distracted by shiny things to do their jobs.

failagain said...

Thank you, the Cranky One, thousands of us know what you are trying to do.

But to me, after this many years, it is clear that etsy has no intention of offering service to the sellers, nor has an understanding of how much money they could really be making if they just did things right.

You cannot MAKE someone be accountable or act with integrity.

I know that the 3 companies that the board members run, do not run like etsy. That puzzles me most of all.

What a Joke said...

Customer service from the etsy staff is a joke. I have to wonder if there is a sign at the office that says "Gone fishing" or something that would equal that in which those 20 something year olds call Brooklyn cool.

I had to contact support late last month for a problem I had and it took a whooping 11 days to get a 2 sentence reply that didn't really say anything that would help. Unbelievable.

At least my problem wasn't a true emergency. I pity the people who really do need help "NOW" and can't get it because the staff is too busy looking at treasuries or dreaming of wearing cowls or fake mustaches.

I'll believe Rob means what he said in your interview once I see that the ENTIRE staff is taking their job seriously. Forgive me for not holding my breath on that one.

Perhaps Rob really has changed, but if he has, I pity him. It's going to take a lot of effort to get the rest of the staff up to grow up and look at etsy like a company instead of a social network. Oh wait.....nevermind what I said about Rob changing....

nuggets said...

someone in this forum thread:http: posted a link to this article: about Etsy's new offices. In the comments someone mentioned their take on Etsy's economics, which included something about their 65 employees earning 120K each. I hope to shit this can't be anywhere near true.

I said...

I for one am glad that EtsyBitch is keeping quiet about the complaints and letters that you are receiving.

It isn't EB's place to get involved in seller and buyer disputes, anymore than it is mine.

There are 2 sides to every story and calling someone out with only 1 side presented isn't cool. There are a few situations that are an exception.

Forwarding them to Rob is the thing to do, if he asked to see them.

LVGJ said...

I said said "Forwarding them to Rob is the thing to do, if he asked..."

Actually, my vote is since you've got his email now, send all of 'em to him.

Every frickin one.

Otherwise it's too easy to say it's just the same 10 disgruntled sellers.

METD said...

I started selling on Etsy in 2009 and, considering what I sell, I do pretty well. But I read this blog and I get afraid of doing the wrong thing, pissing the wrong person off, and getting shut down for no real reason.

So I'm thinking I should start my own online store and build it myself and maybe keep Etsy (maybe not) for as long as I think it need it and then stop selling through them.

Do you know of any cases where trying to do something like this has gotten a person's shop shut down?

Just wondering...thinking of my own self-preservation. Because if my shop were shut down on me at this point, I'd be SOL.

The Righteous One said...

METD, just don't post a link to your new site in your Etsy shop (or talk about it on the forums). Admin aren't too bright and have harrassed stores about "fee avoidance" for doing so. Use your business cards to direct customers to the new site you setup, have a blog to connect new customers to your new site, have a Facebook fan page, a Twitter, anything else to direct them, you just can't do it through your original shop at Etsy (which is, I think, one of the huge downsides of doing well on Etsy - they own your customers)

The Funny One said...

Even with Kalin's most recent announcement, it looks like he keeps missing some of the largest issues like resellers and overall quality control. How the hell did he leave that off his list?
What I think.....all the changes, whatever they are, will be put up without notice, and without warning. And more than half of them will have nothing to do with what sellers need and want.

BeenThere said...

I now have a notice printed on the back of my receipts that steers customers away from Etsy in return for free shippping.

I want to be away from Etsy, and intend to use it as a conduit to my website which links to ArtFire and elsewhere. Giving this company any of my hard earned money is a thorn in my side:
Time to work Etsy instead of the other way around, folks.