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Monday, January 31, 2011

This Week On Etsy - More Bull$hit!

In only the last week, a string of actions taken by Etsy have shocked and dismayed the crafting, vintage, and supplies world.  As many of us already know, Etsy's business dealings and treatment of its sellers is beyond reproach, yet this recent news is simply horrifying.

A brief synopsis of the latest "changes" to Etsy and Etsy's policies:

1)  Etsy is closing its forums, and herding the livestock sellers (and buyers?) into "Teams".  These forums will not be viewable by non-Etsy members (such as myself), and are highly exclusive even to members.  They are sweeping all the tiny voices of outcry forever under the rug with this move, stifling the flow of information, and fragmenting their "community".

2)  Alchemy is "taking a rest"??  Etsy is shutting down Alchemy, a way for sellers and buyers to arrange for and bid on custom work.  This takes the bread and butter of many a seller's table.  They have not stated when, or if, Alchemy will return in a new form, and what that form will be.

3)  Etsy just rolled out a bizarre new "feature" that threatens the privacy and security of its users.  Worse, yet, it is "opt-out" only, and many users do not even know what is happening with their information.  AuctionBytes has more on this story HERE.

4)  What will Etsy do with the email addresses and personal information it obtains through this maneuver?  Well all signs point to SELLING IT to third parties!  Yes, and it is quite transparent as well!  It states in their policies that they may do this with your information, and if that isn't enough for you, well, alert readers discovered the following job posting this morning!  Note that it states they are in the "information Collection and Delivery" business.  As all of us know, millions of active email addresses and other personal information constitute a huge "asset" financially for any company to sell or amass.  Job postings also indicate that they are looking for MORE ways to become a social networking site, rather than a place of business for crafters and micro-businesses.

Now, it doesn't take a great detective like Hercule Poirot to see where this is leading.  All the facts fit together seamlessly to create the following picture, a snapshot at the future of Etsy in it's cold-blooded and greedy pursuit of profit, no matter who they trample on, or what effect it will have on its users!  Just use those "little gray cells" and you will see a disturbing trend.

in 2009 Etsy received a massive cash investment from a venture capital firm.  Ever since, Etsy has been grooming itself to be sold, like a prize-winning sheep.  Only, its USERS (you) are the ones getting fleeced!

-Doing away with the forums conveniently hides what little public protest and messiness there is within the community from prying eyes.  

-Alchemy isn't profitable enough for Etsy - they get the bulk of their profits ten cents at a time from sellers desperately listing and renewing, trying to stay on top of the search results.

-Data mining constitutes an "asset" to intenet-based companies.  It is one of those booming markets.

-Etsy has designed and redesigned the site to trap traffic, not necessarily resulting in US selling anything, but to keep the back-links and traffic on Etsy itself, artificially boosting its numbers, and making itself look good to investors and potential new owners.  And just like livestock, you and I, and all the other individual users of Etsy, constitute an "asset" as well.  That's where the data mining comes in.  

Basically, Etsy is just morphing into Facebook.  Why?  To impress potential buyers/investors and their idiotic ideas that Facebook is the biggest, baddest thing on the internet, and the most profitable to boot.  So if you're looking for a really great place to buy and sell, with a lively community and lots of DIY spirit... ETSY IS NOT IT.  At least not anymore.  And of course, this says nothing of the affronts to the dignity of its users, its rudeness, its unfair treatment of its sellers, etc.  If you want to have your hopes and dreams cynically used and manipulated for the profit of a big corporate interest - Etsy is your place.  Otherwise, there are greener pastures out there for the serious seller and businessperson. 


  1. DancingWindDesignsJanuary 31, 2011 at 7:15 PM

    I'm wondering how those of us who have been closed down by etsy are supposed to deal with this? I've been getting all kinds of weird spam the last few days-and gmail has always been pretty good at weeding that crap out. Etsy has already been in my address book, I bet. I'm looking for an agency of some sort that can rule against them in this. When I find it, I will post here and my blog too. Etsy truly sucks lemons big time.

  2. Yes, Dancing - I feel that his move is a breach of contract from the original TOS when we signed up for Etsy to begin with. They were very big on "NO SPAM" back then. I am so furious. Keep us informed about legal action. I'm on board.

  3. DancingWindDesignsFebruary 1, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    OK, after googling for what seems like forever, I finally settled on the FTC. Go there, file a complaint about Etsy mining data. That's what I did. Maybe if enough of us do that, it will catch somebody's attention. Be sure to keep your reference number that will come up when you are done.

  4. I'm outraged and feel very violated by Etsy. Not only am I receiving an increased amount of spam, but since REMOVING all information (location, name of business, etc.) from my Facebook, I am getting spam specifically for my location. The titles of the emails include the city where I live. Prior to this mess, I have NEVER received location specific spam. My son has a permanent (lifetime) Protective Order against my ex. If he suddenly shows up, I know who to thank.

  5. The opt in is now live. Unless you've gone into your account and opted out, you're in as of yesterday.

    BTW Hearing all over the place that etsy sellers are getting spammed. Several are saying their email accounts hacked, which they have...

    Because etsy changed the terms of service and all etsy users have defacto "agreed" to have their email accounts accessed (one person's hacked is another person's permission to use).

    Unethical bastards.

  6. Wow, the opt in is live NOW? That's about 10 days earlier than they originally told us. They said, vaguely, "middle of February". This gives them extra time to harvest email addresses before the mass opting out, I guess. Sneaky bastards.

  7. Excellent insights into the latest ant farm shakes! The sad thing is that they are still sucking in new sellers who have no idea how bad it is, and how much worse it can get.

    Many successful veteran sellers can rise above all of these things, and that's okay. The old Etsy worked for them, and the rest of us are lucky to have real venues to fall back on now.

  8. Nice - and the refugees get to contribute more - as we cannot opt out...


  10. I was almost ready to dive in and open an Etsy shop, until I found this!

    Thank you for saving me from this mess.