Thursday, August 11, 2011

Goddammit Etsy, STOP Putting the Cart Before the Horse

What the fucking hell is wrong with you Etsy?

The last 3 days have proved again that you STINK at both rolling out new tools and preparing your sellers with CLEAR, CONCISE, AND BRIEF INSTRUCTIONS about how to use the new Relevancy Search tool.

Switching to Relevancy without preparing your sellers for it, and WITHOUT ISSUING CLEAR, CONCISE, AND SHORT INSTRUCTIONS for:

Plus, how not to get smacked on the head by 3 or 4 Etsy Admins who insist on punishing sellers who are rightfully confused.


Get your damn house in order. You should have revamped the whole damn Tagging system a long time ago. You should have changed it, simplified and streamlined it and made it compatible with your new Attributes Tool.


This latest announcement from stellaloella IS ENOUGH TO SEND SELLERS INTO ANOTHER SPIN.

What the hell are you thinking? After screwing around every single day this week YOU OWE YOUR SELLERS A SELLER EMAIL WITH ALL OF THE ABOVE.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Etsy - evil to the core.

This new scandal of Etsy being Class-Action sued along with like 12 other sites for using Kissmetrics, a invasive, privacy busting tracking cookie that is so insidious it cannot be deleted, detected, and often will "come  back to life" and replicate it self later if it should go dormant or removed in some way. They are called "Zombie Cookies" and you should look that up online. There were recent Facebook and NetFlix suits recently over this very same issue, each resulted in a over 10Mil awards.

With the scale and scope of this lawsuit with not only Kissmetrics being sued but 12 or so of its clients, of which Etsy and the Etsy favorite are some, and so many customers involved, this lawsuit could go into the triple digit millions.

We here at EB have known about this problem awhile, approached several months ago by some legal eagles about these "Zombie Cookies". We knew this case was coming despite it looking like Etsy has stopping using the service, the cookies might still be active on your computer. We've been waiting to announce it.

You can find other articles about what the cookies do, the Etsy forums are swimming in them, the blogs are humming, we instead decided to tell you how deep the rabbit hole really goes.

Etsy is selling you instead of you selling on Etsy.

The true insidiousness of this comes down to the tracking. In itself it's evil, but with the way we think it's been working at Etsy it's like this...  You go to Etsy and search for say "crystal earrings" look around then leave.

After leaving you might start to notice ads for crystal jewelry on websites you visit. You might find it offered to you on other buying sites as a suggestion. You preference at Etsy was entered into the system, and then the system goes to work to get your money anyway possible by trying to sell you the items you were looking for on Etsy.

These cookies aren't just tracking you on Etsy, they follow you everywhere, they watch the other sites you visit and what you search for. Etsy just kinda  tags on with more info of your prefs and likes, info that will be used later in selling advertising to court your money later.

I actually have seen this in action myself. I went to a site recently that specializes in portable air conditioners, since my western exposure studio is rather small warm on sunny days. I went to this site ONCE. I had never heard of it before. Now when I go to sites liek CNN, Ebay, Amazon I am constantly being bombarded with  banner ads for this store that I had never heard of before but they are everywhere now. I literally can't go a day to a commercial or mainline site without encountering an ad for this same company now. Tag, I'm it.

This is why I don't think Etsy ever gave a damn about how you can't find what you want due to search sucking, in fact I will go so far as to suggest it might even be engineered that way. They want buyers to search around typing in more and more things and failing. Because after you get tired looking on etsy you will search for something else, and give that system a second lead on you, or you will go elsewhere to buy. They get money from the tracking services for sending in millions and millions of qualified leads hopefully to of it's advertisers that buys this info and markets you those ads that magically seem to know what you are looking for!

So essentially what is happening is Etsy is making money by sending customers away in frustration, possibly more money as a result that even actual sales would bring in if they stayed. We're talking at least a couple dollars bounty per head, and when you are the #53 or whatever site on the internet that's a lot of bounties. Plus Etsy is making money on all your listing and relisting, but without those listings they don't have content for people to fruitlessly search, plus they get to make money off sellers as well as the buyers without anyone buying a thing, especially since they love to push relisting! It's a fucking cash cow.

This pervasive advertising from zombie cookie tracking like 10x more evil than Amazon's "you might also like" feature (you look at ONE book for academic book for porn in history for a friend's Xmas and you are pinned for life there) because it wont just live on the site you looked for the items from... it will follow you everywhere. And it can't be killed. Or removed.

Just one bite and it's in your bloodstream and you are fucked. Maybe this lawsuit will be the armor piercing round to the temple.

Here is a useful post from trinlayk regarding some things to install into Firefox (yes people STOP USING IE GODDAMN IT) to not only find and kill these cookies but ways to keep looking for them and stopping them in their tracks. 

And remember folks, if you find any of these on your systems - MAKE A SCREENSHOT OF IT! Especially if you want to join in any lawsuit.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Brought to you without comment.

Rob Kalin's latest Tweet:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Etsy Happiness Factor

If you haven’t read Chad’s update and so-called “plan” for the next few months, you’ll have to look for it in the Etsy Blog here.

Which brings us to a laundry list of yet another plan, another list of projects, and another pie in the sky announcement about some things that sound a little patronizing. A Seller Happiness Team with no sellers on the team?

Let’s take them one at a time.

Preparing for the Holiday Shopping Weeks

Nice idea, been there, done that. Etsy has talked about this every year without coming up with the goods. Timelines? No. List of tasks and due dates? No. Etsy makes these kind of vague statements every year and NEVER FOLLOWS THROUGH because they forget all about in a NY minute.


It looks like relevancy will be the default search mode, but without any details, Chad, we have no idea what you mean. Since Etsy has been screwing around with search every week since January 1st, you may point to relevancy today, but 3 weeks from now, will Etsy start experimenting with anything that strikes its fancy?

Bring More Shoppers To Etsy to Shop

Again, no details on any plan with any specifics. Since Etsy doesn’t DO site advertising and marketing, just how do you intend to draw more shoppers to the site? This has been an issue with sellers for years, so what’s up with that, Chad?

Seller Happiness Team

This new team will include people from all over the company with a focus on making running your shops on Etsy both delightful and rewarding. We’ll be engaging with the seller community more publicly and more deeply with a unified cross-disciplinary effort from teams across the entire company. The first task of the Seller Happiness Team is determining how we will measure happiness in the seller community so we can set a baseline for how we are doing, and then improve upon it.

Looks like “people from all over the company” leaves sellers out of the equation! Which gets to the heart of what’s wrong with Etsy’s current relationship with sellers — no one in their right mind would say it’s a pretty picture. How does Etsy propose to “determine and measure seller happiness” if it continues to ignore what sellers have been saying in the forums for years?!?

Does “engaging with the seller community” come AFTER locking threads with a public spanking? After sellers are muted, banned and.....perma-muted? After Etsy publishes an entire page of all the ways Etsy plans to continue silencing sellers it doesn’t like?

The Reseller Problem
...I’ll be focusing more of the company’s energy on understanding and addressing the core issues that lead to resellers being visible on Etsy. We’ll definitely continue to step up enforcement, but we’ll also be doing more work to address the root causes of the problem.
This statement is troubling because it reads like Etsy still hasn’t figured out what the “reseller problem” is and why sellers are so incensed about Etsy’s unwillingness to follow its own TOU's. Stepping up enforcement only works when Etsy applies and follow its own rules.

It sounds like Etsy doesn't know if it's a site for handmade!

The root cause of the reseller problem on Etsy is three-fold. The first, Etsy sure looks like it doesn’t take the reseller problem seriously because there is a fundamental lack of understanding at Etsy as to what defines the handmade product. The second is that Etsy has provided a fertile playground for resellers because it lets them operate for months and years before taking any action, resellers know this and load up their listings. Third, Etsy keeps pissing off a lot of sellers for lousy lip service, a joke-of-a flagging system and for flat out ignoring the issue for years!

Which brings us all right back to the Seller Happiness Team, which by the way, doesn’t have any sellers on the team! How about bringing a couple of the more well known and outspoken sellers into the fold to help fix things, Chad?

Sellers have had 15 to 20 major issues that they have begged Etsy to address for years — so familiar to most that many could list them for you off the top of their heads. Blog posts, announcements, vague lists with no due dates, promises, pie in the sky - whatever.

It’s still Etsy’s List ---- not the Sellers’ List! Get it? Or are you still not listening?