Sunday, December 18, 2011

Open Post: There's Been A New Round of Mutings

Consider this an open post to talk about recent new mutings or anything else Etsy related. I've approved all the comments that were waiting for approval, please accept my apologies for the backlog.

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?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Rob White on Etsy’s Unique Brand of Forum/Seller Discipline

Rob White (RW) has spoken! With 5 consecutive long-winded announcements.

RW follows with cherry-picked “answers to seller questions” to further justify Etsy's wacky practice of locking, banning, muting and other actions Etsy takes against sellers and admits in the same breath that Admins throw the “rules” out the window to apply their own personal judgement:

RW: Context will always play a significant part in what a member posts and how we and other community members will view it. Sometimes we don't see eye to eye with the person posting, sure. But by the time we've reviewed a thread and have elected to take action beyond posting in or closing a thread, a lot of eyes have looked over that scenario.

As I implied previously, this doesn't mean we're mistake-free, and in a few occasions in which members have written in to discuss the matter with us, we've reviewed the incident again, felt that we were mistaken the first time out and rescinded the action.

Admins DON’T SEE EYE TO EYE WITH THE ISSUE/PERSON POSTING? Does that mean that Admins are taking it personally and responding personally, screw the rules?

If I were you Rob, I’d look at 40-50 of the latest THREAD LOCKS and read what Admins are writing in the Forums. Sure looks like they aren’t following any rules at all!

RW may cry mea culpa when mistakes are made but let’s face it. No other self-proclaimed “community site” has a lexicon like Etsy – ban, mute, perma-mute, lock, red-brick, close — and such a public history of changing the rules when they feel like it to “punish” sellers with 2 eyes, not “a lot of eyes” as you claim.

Sellers who’ve expressed concerns for years over the negative consequences of taking ANY part in the Forums can rest assured that the same negative attitudes towards sellers is alive and kicking at Etsy.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Don't let the door hit you on the ass Kalin!

Rob Kalin, affectionately known as "Bozo Dick" around the EB homesteads, is out. And quite suddenly so it seems. Within a week it looks like.

Chad Dickerson, (whose name is ripe for even more prone to our possible mockery if he's not careful with the arrogant tone in his announcement...) is in as CEO as of yesterday. What is perhaps more interesting is that no where is it mentioned that Kalin is staying on staff, or what position he might have with Etsy in the future, I think... and this might be hopeful dream larking on my part, that he's simply out (but with a nice severance package I'm sure to keep him quiet.)

This I think both shows how essential Dickerson's become at Etsy (possibly as the only actual adult on staff, and also maybe being at least reponsible enough to shove into the corner office for a while to babysit the toddlers in an emergency). I also think it shows that Kalin has perhaps been on thin ice far longer than even we suspected in a year of growing scathing news stories of seller's dissatisfaction?

Sellers have been angrier than ever. Sales keep declining, defections are more common than even evictions as sellers get more and more fed up with being ignored. Etsy keeps on not listening, not responding to criticism or worse replying in nonsequitors that if anything serve as mockery, offering things no one has wanted still ignoring things that sellers have been asking for for going on a decade.

Up until now it's been Kalin's little fiefdom run by himself and his protected inner circle of hipster trolls who seem to not only be untouchable, but unpublishable.Have the investors been actually paying attention and simply couldn't look the away anymore and overlook his aloof bizarreness (like pulling hunting knives on business reporters) anymore? Or did, as I prefer to think, Kalin just stopped showing up for work? God knows his heart hasn't seemed to be in it for 5 years, so why bother having the rest of him show up when you can stay at home and build guitars from IKEA doors and read greek poetry so obscure even Jack Keroauc would roll his eyes.

To me this sudden shift shows the IPO is coming, and initial reports were not as rosy as investors wanted it to be, and Kalin simply had gotten to frustration level with the investors that made him expendable to save their asses.

Will this be enough to save Etsy? Is it enough to make you hold out a little longer?


Kalin is OUT! Chad is IN as CEO!

Composing a post now, but this one is for the PARTAYYYYY!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Etsy Took a Wrong Turn Down the Wrong Road

Etsy in 2011 is a completely different company than it was in 2006. While it still touts “all things handmade” in its logo and mission statement, sellers who have been on Etsy since the first year know that in 2011 it’s not about handmade and for heaven’s sake it isn’t about selling a damn thing.

It’s about a popularity contest to be the next Admin darling amidst gobs of nonsensical, forced “social tools” that have nothing to do with selling and buying handmade online.

What Went Wrong?

All the recent press about Etsy including some precautionary quips about its financial future got me thinking about what went wrong at Etsy.

Despite public acknowledgements that “sellers are not happy with the changes”, don’t go to the restructured Forums for clues about what sellers really think.

Etsy has scoured the Forums to be a mere ghost of Etsy-past with even more aggressive censorship. Any and all posts are subject to immediate lock down and commenters are swiftly punished at a faster clip. In the past, Etsy showed how nervous it was about public criticism and reacted poorly - now they just cut it off at the knees and go on with their own agenda, damn the sellers’ questions and opinions.

Etsy has been known to blatantly ignore any and all sellers’ request for changes and improvements for years, so it’s not new that Etsy continues to take the site in a direction that is divorced from the real seller experience. Arguments that it meets the needs of its most successful sellers is not the real picture either since these sellers (few and far between) are treated to free editorial promotion on the site that all other sellers are not.

The Social Experiment That’s Failing

Before sellers were silenced even more than usual, they did make several issues crystal clear – they don’t understand, need, like, or use the new social tools, including Circles, making personal info public, joining Teams, Suggested Shops, Taste Tests, and Shopping Local. They aren’t happy with the weekly changes in Search that have made Search worse than ever before, if that was even possible ---- Etsy made sure that it was!

Sellers are also clear when they complain that all these social tools just click customers right out of their shops to shop elsewhere or completely off the site, so fed up are they with the convoluted, nonsensical, totally crappy navigation. Search for an item, are you kidding?

Etsy’s facebookization of the site has been one big dismal experiment, and you know why?

Etsy had its own social structure built up over years by sellers who had both a personal and business interest in the site, including an intense interest in the handmade product.

Instead of adapting those strengths, Etsy decided to IMPOSE ANOTHER SOCIAL STRUCTURE on the site that doesn’t fit its users or its users’ goals - which is to sell handmade products with the side benefit of a social structure that developed along with the needs of a growing seller membership.

The ecommerce mission of the site became subservient to the new mission to click, connect, and pick favorites for a popularity contest within the site that hasn’t improved traffic or real sales but has worked to send sellers and shoppers chasing their tails with a lot of forced navigation that never ends up in a shopping cart.

Etsy picked a bunch of tools they saw popularized on other social sites, gave them a zippy title and funny icon and foisted them week after week on sellers without working through one damn consequence which may well turn out to be less traffic and less real sales.

People don’t join Etsy, set up a store on Etsy, and shop on Etsy to run around socializing — they go there to SELL and SHOP.

Forcing the wrong social tools on Etsy has consistently pushed eyeballs away from selling and shopping to doing everything but ecommerce.

We need to only look at the growing pains of social networking sites that are adding ecommerce components to their sites. They were social first, so the ecommerce part makes little sense; it may catch on, it may not. But it is not their core strength.

Etsy was originally an ecommerce site that dumped that whole concept to jump on the social networking bandwagon without realizing what a bad fit it is.

Social and ecommerce is not an easy fit. Instead of building on the strengths of the social-Etsy that already existed before Etsy started throwing out the baby with the bathwater, Etsy dropped ecommerce for social.

No wonder sellers and shoppers are shocked and dismayed and going elsewhere fast.

Etsy got it wrong and gets it wrong with every new trick they force on the site. While outside critics and watchers may predict “slower revenue growth” for Etsy, how about no growth at all? Etsy is strangling the very foundation of their business which is to sell and buy handmade.

I’d take a much more critical look at the statements Etsy makes about its sales profits because it’s not the real story.

I’d take an even closer look at a business that forces new tools on its users without giving them a Scorecard (both internally and externally) about the results of those new tools. The least Etsy can do it to take a quantitative look at each change it makes — and if it doesn’t improve traffic and real sales, Etsy needs to admit it’s on the wrong path and drop the social tricks pronto.

I don’t think sellers who voice their concerns are on the wrong track – they suspect that the new social Etsy has stifled both traffic and real sales because that’s what their store stats tell them. Just because Etsy doesn’t admit its mistakes doesn’t mean they didn’t make them.

When the numbers start running in the negative direction, Etsy may pay attention. I’m with other sellers who have voiced their concerns over the last 3 years on Etsy and off — Etsy may admit its mistakes so late in the game that Etsy is no more.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New site for the Muted and Booted


Just wanted to give you a heads up about this new blog
It's simply a way to index all those who have been muted. Etsy seems to have been on a muting bender lately and I feel like it's happening to so many we need a freaking directory.

It would be great if you could post it in some way- either on the blog or on your twitter or whatever. Just so folks know to contact us if they want to be listed.

The email address is Folks can just write to that address and let us know what they want us to post on the blog.

In other news, No we're not dead. Summer's are typically busy for us, and there hasnt been too much to bitch aboutor find the time to bitch about. Also, still more than a bit hurting over the loss of Sneaky, who was our backbone.

So being we've been busy and out of the loop - tell us what is new in your fight with etsy. What has got you ticked off? Comments are open, let'em fly!