Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Etsy: Your place for all things handmade... and Disney

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Etsy: Screwing Etsy shops one seller at a time

WallCandy, a Canadian artist and cancer survivor, has been on Etsy since 2007. Soon however WallCandy might no longer exist as WallCandy on Etsy.

A new Esty seller, Wall Candy Arts, has apparently complained to Etsy. Wall Candy Arts filed a trademark in 2002, in the US, for something very specific: "decorative plastic wall coverings and wall boarders that adhere to a painted wall surface and are easily removed and repositioned."

Etsy has given the original, Canadian WallCandy one week (ONE week) to notify customers and choose a new name. Rather than do something logical like, oh say taking 5 minutes on Google to learn that Wall Candy Art and WallCandy sell non-competing products and are based in two different countries, Etsy chooses to be boneheaded fucktards as usual.

Etsy - this is bullshit. You're an International site, right?? As you say "the Etsy community represents more than 150 countries worldwide" so ACT like it. Just because a company holds a copyright in the US, does not mean that they have a lock on a seller's shop name based out of another country.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

We want to hear from you

We want to hear from you on the privacy issues at Etsy.

How did it effect you? What have you done to fix? Have you lost customers/business? Or did you buy products that you were mortified about when you were exposed with real names and googleable?

Email us at and tell us about it.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Oh fake Rokali, where have you been all my life?

This is inspired parody.

The Birth of an Idea

I sat in an orange chair facing an open window. Or maybe it was a green chair. Anyway, I was sitting in this chair. It was nighttime and the lights were off. Which made it hard to tell what color the chair was.

But I sat in that chair, in front of that open window, and I could smell madeleines baking. Which was odd, because I was in Brooklyn.

You can follow the wisdom of FakeRokali, on Twitter. For additional yuks, follow FakeLisaJune.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Quotables: Vintage Rokali

Ahhh yes, the early Etsy days:

"There is no “Etsy” in the monolithic sense of a single identity or being. Etsy is the several dozen employees of Etsy, Inc. and even more, the several hundred thousand members of the community. As I see it, large corporations try to sanitize all their outgoing messages for the sake of keeping face. It is very easy to identify this kind of behavior. Whenever you read something and it sounds like a series of pre-made phrases strung together, instead of a human being speaking, this is sanitized communication. To me, this stuff sounds inhuman.I want Etsy to stay human. This means allowing each person’s voice to be heard, even if it’s squeaky or loud or soft.* [Editor's note: AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!] I will not put a glossy layer of PR over what we do. If we trip, let us learn from it instead of trying to hide it; when we leap, let’s show others how to leap."

Dear Rokali, you've tripped so many times do you even know what walking is these days?

*Emphasis mine.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Etsy Caves - kinda... okay not really.

A media firestorm seems to be the only thing that can move Etsy from its handmade pedestal enough to actually remove the headphones and stop glancing at fake Chuck Norris' twitter-pretend it's listening long enough to trick you into believing it. Don't be fooled.

They just released this little ditty addressing complaints and what they are doing/have done to address them and actually eek out a half-assed apology and a half-baked fix:

Yesterday and today there have been a handful of articles reporting that purchases on Etsy are public. The articles have led to concerns by members of our community.

We want to apologize. We also want to set the record straight about how our product works and about changes we made today in response to your feedback.

Are my purchases on Etsy public?

No. As of right now, all your purchases on Etsy are private.

Were there changes to Etsy that made my purchases public?

No. The issue here is our Feedback system, which has not changed in six years. We do not directly publish your purchases on Etsy. However, when a seller leaves feedback for an item you bought, or you leave feedback for an item you purchased, we would link to the item. Our Feedback system has always worked this way; our original thinking was that it's important to know more about the transaction, to better establish trust in the marketplace.

We added the option to enter your real name when registering. Right next to this text field, it says: "Your full name will appear on your public profile. This is optional." Some people enter their name, some don't. As of right now, 25% of people (including us) have entered their real name.

It is the confluence of these two things that led us to this position: if you enter your real name, purchase an item, and the seller leaves feedback for this item, this purchase will be publicly visible via our Feedback system. Search engines index our site, which means this data can turn up there, too. It's been this way since October.

If nothing has recently changed, what's going on?

There is a lot of misinformation being spread right now. One blog post even has the outlandish title "Etsy Makes All Of Its Users' Activity Public." This is simply untrue. On Etsy, private conversations, financial information, billing data — all are now and have always been strictly private.There was an article published on ArsTechnica that made clear how direct the connection was between using your real name on Etsy, buying an item and receiving public feedback for that item. The reaction to this article has made us realize that we need to change the way our Feedback system works, and this is what we’ve already done today.

Why make any changes to the Feedback system?

The article and response highlighted for us how we've outgrown our current Feedback system. It dates back to a time when payment for items was sent after completing the checkout process on Etsy. This meant that sellers needed to know how trustworthy their buyer was. We now require payment prior to completing checkout, so this issue has basically gone away.

We believe that markets are conversations. We want people to discuss what they purchase, although this will often mean discussing it in private. As such, we have removed the link from a piece of feedback (which is public) to the item that was purchased (which is now private).

What is Etsy’s view on privacy?

We take privacy very seriously. We work with TRUSTe and audit our privacy policies regularly, notifying all members via email any time a substantive change is made.

In the future, we may provide an option to share individual purchases publicly at the time of purchase. This will be completely opt-in and on a purchase-by-purchase basis.

We are deeply sorry for any confusion and will work hard to regain your trust.

What’s next?

We have been working quickly to make changes based on your input and opinions. We will continue to work on this, for what’s really needed is a rethinking of our entire Feedback system. In the meantime, all purchases are private, and feedback doesn’t link to items.

If you have any more questions or concerns, please email support [!at] or convo us directly on Etsy.

Thank you.
Rob (CEO) and Adam (COO)

The forums aren't buying it. Many sellers immediately pointed out the REAL issues remain unaddressed: no notification when this went live, real names going public and a deafening lack of answers for the user-base in the forums themselves.

And those "handful of articles"? Artsy Alien was nice enough to list them all here:

Consumerist -

Ars Technica -

BoingBoing -


Forbes -

Digital Trends -

Help Net Security -

NY Magazine -

NY Convergence -

Auctionbytes -

The Business Insider -

Gizmodo -

Village Voice -

The Mary Sue (awesome new geek chick blog, if you haven't seen it yet) -

Buzzfeed - - -

Yahoo - -

NowPublic -

Washington Post -

Geek Sugar -

Added: Huffington Post:

Added: Ars technica Update post

That more than I can hold in twelve hands, how about you?

Etsy: The Movie

I posted this in the Ars Technica thread, but it made me giggle, and I think everyone here could use one too, so here you go - I'll report it here. Call the Academy, We'll need 10 seats in the Kodak Theater next year!

Etsy: "We did this great thing - see what you think!"

Regular User: "I don't like it one bit."

Etsy: We said "see what you think" not "tell us what you think"

Regular User: "(this user have been muted for not sharing the Etsy vision, and for hating mustaches)"

Etsy: "Anyone else want to smart off? Didn't think so. What's a guy got to do to get laid in this place?"

Fanatical Users: "We love you so much! Can we do a reach around during too?"

Etsy: "You're getting screwed don't think you won't, missy. Now get over here and bend that over my upcycled vintage salvaged desk made from a Bowery St brewery door. And no reach arounds! Not at least if you *want* to do it, this is about me here. What you want doesn't come into this."

Update: Rokali has risen!

He's thrown up a response about the scandal both on Etsy and on an Ars Technica article (here is his comment, and another here with our reply) where it's getting lots of attention.

Our main response on ars technica was less than cordial (this one was more ranty)

You know a story is bad when Kalin will pull his head out of his plushie phone room to make a statement off site, and I know Rob when we talked to you last year that we'd agreed to not personally call you names anymore, well that was a year ago and you lied to us then so here we go, bozo, it's on.

Yes, feedback has always been public, as has there been always been a picture of what you left or received feedback on, but you forget almost all items GET seller feedback at least since your staff has drilled it in every sellers' head that you MUST leave feedback. So it's inevitable that every item will get feedback and be public.

What is NEW and what you keep dancing around HERE and on Etsy with your latest proclamation from hipster high ( is that now there are real names attached and Etsy has always had a solid line of NOT SENDING NOTIFICATIONS ABOUT THE CHANGES TO THE TOS or FOR CHANGES AFFECTING ALL MEMBERS, or hell any members. And that these names are spidered and most of your users have no freaking idea their purchases are publically pinable to them PERSONALLY and not to some anonymous user name. Why do you think so many sellers had buying accounts? To hide what they buy, and not link the details back to them.

You insist on posting all notices/changes in the forums where ONLY 1% or so of your members hang out, where if they offer ANY Resistance or have any words against the Etsy dogma, you punitively shut them down or a few days, mute them from speaking out again, or ban them entirely (usually without notice) - and if you are in a good mood you will do all three and then go out for vegan tacos to celebrate.

You have so little care, regard or any freaking respect for your own customers it's disgusting. You have even less respect for the law - but that's what can bite you back - at least.

In a time when facebook, your dreamy wish-boyfriend, is being fined millions of bucks for doing something despicable - you DON'T go and repeat it you fraking moron. You're supposed to learn from it and not spend so much time and effort figuring out if you can get away with it.

Here's the simple point, Ginger -- people do not want their names on a website they buy from. Many don't even want real names listed on the sites they sell on, but they should be able to choose TO DO that - not choose to NOT do it.

When you make it Opt-Out, like you always do, and don't notfiy your USERS you are wrong. When you change the TOS and don't notify your users you are wrong.

It all comes down to "notified changes" - if you get off your damned high horse and send notifications to all your users for EVERY change you make that affects them you would surely have avoided all this "grouchy hater" press. Not everyone is in your cult, and it must be killing you that you can't mute and ban me again for pointing out the obvious.

And I know - you don't want to have to actually hire someone to work (gasp) daily with the spam agencies to get your names removed form the spam lists constantly since someone will always mark you as spam no matter what you do, but that doesn't mean you stop sending out necessary user emails entirely so you aren't a "dirty spammer". Yes it's constant fight, yes, it's a hassle and an expense but it's just part of business today, you have to do it. You might know that sometimes in business you just have to do things, that is you might if you showed up that day when you stole your meager "college education" on someone else's ID so proudly.

So if I were you I'd be looking to hire a new lawyer, sara is cute but she's not good. I think you need a good one now since I know for a fact that various State attorney generals have been contacted as well as the FTC.

Stuff that in your handmade glass bong (that you don't allow anyone to sell anymore) and smoke it.

We invite everyone to file a complaint with the FTC or by phone at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) - please be clear about the issues of Opting-in by defualt, no notification to user base as required by law, and releasing of personal names and purchases.

UPDATE: He's responded in the Ars Technica thread a few times since. Have a read with the liquour you love.

Notice how he's willing to talk when it's not to his customers. You'd think he'd get he's not fooling anyone on this outside site where no one has any stake in keeping their mouth cupcake-filled. He gives such good lip service you'd think he was moonlighting as an Amsterdam whore.

Update: The story just hit Forbe's Blog
Update: and Consumerist

Monday, March 14, 2011

How to protect your privacy on Etsy

Ok folks, you have some more opting out to worry about. Etsy is publishing members' real names and associating them with their purchase history and email addresses/Facebook accounts!

Here's how to get those purchases unassociated with you:

  1. Log in to Etsy (you'll have to do this for each store you have)
  2. Click "Settings" on the left top sidebar
  3. Choose the "Privacy" tab
  4. You have three decisions to make (who can see your favorites, who can see your purchases, and can people search for your email). Be sure to click the update button on the bottom.
  • To change your 'real name' on file, click "Profile" in the left sidebar while logged in to your account.

In order to clean up your shop profile further, scroll all the way to the bottom of that same Profile information page. Here's where you can get rid of the Treasury lists and Teams from your shop profile and verify that the options for favorites are not there (greyed out due to inactivation).

Now this won't solve Etsy's "oops" moments with names, but at least you can cover your ass a little bit.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

You’re Asking the Wrong Questions Again, Rokali

Rokali speaks! In a rare Announcement just posted, Rob Kalin details (sort of) the latest, no-deadline, vague-as-usual Etsy project - Seller Analytics!

Read it and see if you can figure it out. It seems to be about improving search, it seems to be about re-vamping the listing template, it seems to be about, well, what?

Most interesting are Rokali’s numbers on traffic sources site-wide:

30% -- from a shop's homepage
30% -- from another listing page
22% -- from search results
9% -- from outside of (external referrer)
5% -- other pages on Etsy (Treasury lists, activity feed, blog posts, etc.)
4% -- from a category page

What’s that?!? 5% of the traffic to your store is the result of other pages on Etsy?
You mean the Dorque, Treasury lists, and activity feed are gobbling up all the time, energy and financial costs ---- and they only account for 5% of the traffic and views?

Wait a minute. What do ANY of the numbers mean? And what the hell do they have to do with actual sales?

Wait a minute. Since Etsy flipped over to a social site (without any prior notification to sellers) and is no longer a selling site, what the hell do these numbers mean?

You know what, Rokali? Take your numbers and call 1,500 Etsy sellers (randomly, not just your Etsy faves) and ask them what’s going on in their Etsy stores over the past 12 months.

Whatever your plans, whatever new tricks you have up your sleeves for the next 60 days, gather some real information about your sellers and their real experiences with traffic and sales. (Or actually NO traffic and NO sales.)

Whatever your plans, you can bet your Swimmy they have nothing to do with what sellers need to sell on Etsy.

While you swim around in seas of data, most of your sellers on Etsy are NOT selling. It’s about time you started paying attention to your paying customers.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Circle Jerk Etsy

Dozens of forum threads started by sellers over the past 4 days shows that people are confused about the whole concept behind Circles, circling, email notices, opting out, and boy oh boy is that generating hundreds of thousands of clicks on Etsy!

Just what they wanted! More clicks, no sales.

The addition of Circles to a sellers’ Shopfront in the lefthand column above Feedback gives the impression (and no one knows because Etsy isn’t telling) that Circles are going to be used as and seen by buyers as a “rating system” for seller performance.

Since Circles were added, Etsy Admin have been hard at work posting reminders for sellers to rack up their Circles-numbers, but no one seems to know WHAT that means. Most sellers have no idea WHAT Circles are.

Are they a ratings system? Are they required? Do they get you accepted by Teams? Do they lead to FP and FS features on your store? If you have no Circles are you a deadbeat? If you have 350 Circles, are you a better seller? Have better products?

And no one seems to know HOW TO TURN CIRCLES OFF!

Many sellers are asking Etsy to REMOVE Circles from their storefronts. They don’t want this feature glued in place on their shop page. They don’t understand the feature and fear it may confuse shoppers enough to stop shopping.

What the hell do Circles have to do with selling and making sales?

No matter what, Etsy isn’t reading or responding to forum posts and questions, so we need to find other ways of publicizing how Etsy IS NOT LISTENING TO ITS SELLERS!

Tell us what you think.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Spam, stalk, oops, & Find Your Friends on Etsy!

sean11 is busy as a swimming Swimmy, manic as a mouthy Moustache, effusive as a seasoned spam-erator, just bursting with endless Announcements about how you too can continue to do all of Etsy’s viral advertising for them for free! Here comes the Etsy bugle-call for the “new” Find Your Friends feature on Etsy!

Starting with a long list of anti-privacy settings, Etsy told you to add your Real Name, load your email address book, play hide&seek to find your new Account Security Settings all in anticipation of the new Find Your Friends icing-on-the-cupcake feature so you can annoy the hell out of everyone on your contact list!

sean11 can’t contain his excitement:
But here's the fun part: If you have access to Find Your Friends right now, anyone you connect with or invite to join will also be given access to Find Your Friends -- even if they didn't have access to it before. And those members will be able to extend access to their contacts, and so on. We are starting out small, with a small group of members (chosen at random) who have the power to spread this new feature far and wide in no time.

If that isn’t scary enough for you, Etsy throws ONE opt-out feature to rescue sellers from going down to the murky depths of Etsy-goes-totally-social — YOU CAN “GO DARK” and cut yourself off from this frenzied, Etsy-induced social mayhem!

sean11: If you don't want your Etsy username to be able to found by people with your email address, you can "go dark" and choose not to be findable by adjusting the Findability setting in your account privacy settings. Setting this to "No" means that your Etsy username will not be returned in results if someone with your email address imports their contacts to Etsy.

Not be findable!!!oooooooooh, aaaaaaaaaaaah, SCAAAARY!!!

What’s fucking scary? There isn’t one mention, one hint, one word in this fuckingly scary new feature that MENTIONS SELLING what you list on Etsy!?!

Don’t bother with making a comment in the skeletal Forums, don’t bother sending an email to the bottomless pit of Etsy not-CS, and don’t think for one second that your contact list isn’t going to be used for something you didn’t intend.

Etsy isn’t listening. Despite thousands of seller comments expressing concern over the huge changes to everything-BUT-selling, Etsy is swimming ahead without a second thought about anyone but Etsy. The $$$$$sunglasses they’re wearing have GONE DARK.