Tuesday, March 15, 2011

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 (http://www.etsy.com/teams/7716/announcements/discuss/6818578/page/1/) 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


Discord Threads said...

Beautiful! And I'm going to email you details about the 3.5% credit from a returned sale that they won't pay me...

Jen said...

Fantastic responses. Rokali and his little cadre of garden gnomes somehow manage to keep Etsy afloat despite their questionable and, in this case, clearly AWFUL business skills.

Honestly, I'm surprised the Brooklyn crew has not changed Etsy's default currency to gerbils. Of course, no one would know until they tried to buy something or got the first gerbil sale.

What a joke they're becoming. I mean, in the public eye, and not just to their paying customers.

for the hell of it said...

Has anyone one else found it "ODD", that the new COO has NOT responded to any of this? Kalin, in my oppinion has very little real status within the site, anymore, past that of a puppet king, whose strings are under the very tight control of the board.

I would think that these inquiries, might be better served by having ALL the head honchoes on board within the "response arena".

When the rape cards got yanked, that announcement was furnished by the COO. Where is this individual, NOW?

IF the shirts are able to make Kalin the fall guy, how much, realistically is going to change?

The LOT of them need to be sharing the spotlight with the "boy genius", don'tcha think?

Address stuff on your OWN site said...

Rob Kalin wrote:
I'd like to humbly point out that the in above comment you first say that we don't listen, then you give a handful of examples of how we've changed based on listening to input.

We're imperfect. Etsy is a work in progress, and it always will be. We're putting in a huge effort and sometimes we make mistakes. There are ten thousand things we're doing right, too, but those are either invisible or not noticed. 'Tis the nature of this game, which I accept.

I'm happy to discuss anything you like, just email me (see my earlier comment)./////////////////////////////

I'd like to humbly point out that previous to some of those "changes" you are so proud of reversing, you had hundreds if not thousands of people on your own site clearly spelling out the issues/problems with the changes. You listened to none and went ahead and rolled out the changes anyway.
So sorry, no kudos for you for reversing the changes your own customers told you were bad, and why they were bad. C'mon.

You and your staff have treated your customers (the sellers) like 3 year olds. There are some VERY highly educated and experienced persons that sell on Etsy. Some are doctors, lawyers, CEO's, web designers, and the list goes on. To comment regarding an "upcoming change" in a logical, rational and decidedly realistic manner, only to have one of your "hipster 20 something" employees, many for whom this is their first job, close the thread with a trite statment is condescending and assuming all your customers are chewing a piece of hay.

This has been happening for years. Where is the cool place it was at the beginning? Staff spoke openly with sellers and buyers on the forums, people's concerns were actually addressed right away, everyone helping everyone else be successful, including Etsy, a kinder, warmer more close-knit place. It changed to this? You can't get an email answer other than a bot mail. You report violations of listings to make the site a better place, only to have them not only completely ignored but then see the rule violating listing featured on the front page of Etsy??

I would like to shop for handmade, but can't find much of what I'm looking for among the resellers cheapo stuff. Not to mention the search is fubar. What is wrong with ditching all the tags and simply having search work like Google's for example? Many people put "necklace" in the tags for a scarf (this is just an example) so in searching for a scarf what comes up is necklaces. Not helpful. Ditch the BAD technology. You want users to "tag correctly to make it a better place" or on the "honor system". C'mon.

I want to know why Rokali's (Rob Kalin) 7 neutrals on his feedback are not visible to me. My neutrals are visible to all, but his are not. Why? That seems completely unfair. Surprised you didn't just erase them.

I could go on but I've actually got work to do. Mr. Kalin and Sean11, your doublespeak and fluff and passive-agressiveness is not answering the questions nor helping your cause.

nibby said...

It's interesting every time something like this happens to see people realizing what Etsy is really all about.

Like this one comment from Ycombinator News

"pluies 21 hours ago | link

I had high opinions of Etsy after reading about their work environment and ethics, but that is just a terrible move."

Etsy's ethics... oh Christ, what a joke. We all know what their 'ethics' are, and anything you hear about them being positive is PR bullshit.

And the comments from Sean11 on Ars Technica where he refers to 'misinformation'.

Sorry, Kalin's brownshirts, you can keep terms like 'misinformation' for your little fascist paradise. You can't mute, ban, and intimidate people on the rest of the internet.

Agree with 'Address Stuff' above.

"You and your staff have treated your customers (the sellers) like 3 year olds. There are some VERY highly educated and experienced persons that sell on Etsy. Some are doctors, lawyers, CEO's, web designers, and the list goes on. "

Absolutely, every day they treat highly educated people old enough to be their parents and grandparents like we're total idiots. I have no idea what is wrong with these .

toobadsosad said...

From Rokali's recent blog post (where he still pretty clearly misses the freaking point again):

"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."

So the response on ArsTechnica - which was from quite a few people who weren't even Etsy members and some who hadn't even heard of Etsy - is what got results. They do. not. give a shit what their actual users think. We've all known this for a long time, but now I think everyone else is starting to figure it out. Publicly shaming them (and oh was it widespread and glorious this time) is the only thing that gets results.

I cleared out my shop in Jan of 2009 and let it sit, just on the off chance they might get their shit together. Last night I paid my lousy 70 cent bill and demanded they shut my shop down, though I think it may take a while, they probably have had quite a lot of those requests in the last 24 hours.

Sweet, sweet schadenfreude. I am enjoying this a little too much.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who would put up money to allow this dog of a site to "go public" has rocks in their head.

Anonymous said...

Ah, I was about to link you guys to the Consumerist article, but you beat me to it.

Etsy is a "work in progress" indeed.

The Funny One said...

You have to read Kalin's official response in the Dorque, it's hilarious!

And check out this para, straight from Bizarro:
"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)."

Now THAT explains the helluva mess that's Etsy! They couldn't comply with a privacy law if their lives depended on it ---- they don't see any difference between PUBLIC and PRIVATE!

By any means possible, Etsy is going to keep cramming "social" down sellers/buyers throats because they are convinced that wrong is right.

trinlayk said...

Amsterdam whores probably have more ethical business practices...

I've been preparing to move on since mature gate, really pushed forward by Coralgate and treasurygate...

Now, I'm outta there.
see ya on Zibbet and artfire.

Etsy you broke my heart, but leaving feels so liberating... like leaving an abusive boyfriend... why the hell did I put up with your shenanigans so Frelling long?

You ignored my concerns for TWO frelling months... and now you are SURPRISED that this privacy violation is a problem? WTF?!

Jenny said...

Oh I LOVE this blog!

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 again.

About fell off my chair.

There is a new blog post on etsy trying desperately to fix all this. IN their usual sweep it under the carpet manner. And all comments TO said blog are closed. And since I'm now among the banned for good club, can't even post in their forums.
eh, no loss. Off to go click that report to the ftc link. I'll be heard there.

anyoid said...

A few things about this whole kerfuffle worry me.

1) How is it that the site propagated sold histories so fast so the whole word can see your grampa bought a bong and a dildo or whatever, yet sellers are STILL not seeing their SHOPS coming up in google searches.

2) No one signed up on etsy for the social they signed up to buy and sell. period. we all have blogs/facebook and whatnot for the social. I don't need another social site to babysit, I need to make some sales. If you turn etsy into a social "circle" you are closing it down to an incestous little community where only etsy sellers are buying. Some of us are trying to run businesses here.

I really feel like the victim of a bait and switch.

Seinfeld said...

It's said, and telling, that it took an outside force to FORCE Etsy to recognize what sellers warned them about from the beginning. Sellers repeatedly pointed out the issues with Etsy's privacy issues. Many of said sellers were muted or told to "shut up" (or turn the feature/s off) buy cupcakes and admins.


If Etsy had just READ the commentary in its own forums about the problems, and made changes based on observing real seller feedback, they could have avoided all this bad press.

Amusing as hell, actually.