Thursday, March 10, 2011

Etsy PipeGate

Rainbow disc glass art, courtesy of glasscoast on Etsy
Etsy is cracking down on creators of glass pipes that are being sold for medicinal and tobacco purposes, as discussed in this protest thread in Ideas. These pipes, or pieces of glass art for display, have been sold on Etsy since the site began. Sellers are being contacted via email by the content team about the listings that need to be removed. Etsy will refund their listing fees for the banned listings.
From prohibited items listed in the Etsy Dos and Don'ts: Drugs, drug-like substances and drug paraphernalia; items or listings that promote or support illegal activity or instruct others to engage in illegal activity.
Is the pipe drug paraphernalia? Is it handmade? Is it an artistic piece of work? Is it beautiful? Does it promote something illegal? Does it instruct you on how to use it to do something illegal? Can I use it to hold up a liquor store?
Here's the twist. If you click on Etsy help (Etsy likes it when you click stuff) and check out "What items can't I sell on Etsy?," the first thing mentioned is "All items in the handmade Categories must be made by the Etsy seller." No reselling. Also, vintage items must comply with the policies for Vintage. At least twenty years old.
As an Etsian, what do you find more distressing? Glass pipes? Resellers? Vintage that isn't vintage?
By the way, glasscoast, the artist who made the gorgeous piece above, is located in California, where it is indeed legal to smoke marijuana for medical reasons. I'm sure there are other listings on Etsy that are not legal in some corners of the globe. Do we need to remove listings for women's clothing that does not cover the entire body except for the eyes?
Or do glass pipes look worse than resold mass manufactured junk or 2001 vintage to potential investors?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Still more on Etsy circles

More admin factoids and opinions about the continuing Etsy circle experiment:

"The number of circles someone is in some ways an indicator of their influence [sic]."

First of all, this sentence is missing a verb. Secondly, an indicator of their influence over whom or what, exactly? And again, how does one build the number of circles they are in? If this metric is going to serve as a yardstick against which Etsy measures a member's influence, how does a member improve this number, without resorting to spam? So far, the answer seems to be that you circle every single Etsy name you can find. Also, does "influence" equal "sales"? If not, who cares how influential you are?

"Many members are in hundreds of circles, and their favoriting and circling activity can end up having far-reaching impact."

Impact on whom or what, exactly? Honestly, who has time to look at all of this clutter in an activity feed, process the clutter, and then. . . shocker. . . buy something? I have never bought a listing I saw in my activity feed. Have you?

"It's a number that can be increased by sharing and be generous."

There's no doubt the number can be increased. Generosity has nothing to do with it. People are now madly circling anything in a blind act to be influential and impactful. It no longer has anything to do with personal taste, much less generosity. It's now become a desperate attempt to unlock the Etsy Success Code in the new social commerce experiment.

"Circles are about people, and people are behind shops."

I have to call bullshit here. Circles are about clicks, possibly about marketing the site and not the seller, maybe oh so slightly about actual sales. Circles are not at all about people, in this incarnation.

"Soon people will be able to have multiple shops on Etsy."

I'm sure that's news to many peoople who already have multiple shops on Etsy. If the intention here is to be able to run multiple shops without having to sign out and sign back in, that is one change that would be useful to many sellers.

"I've heard folks here [in the forums] refer to it as a popularity contest, but it's a much more democratic one than anything that has come before it here."

I want to diagram this sentence. People have refered to the Circlization as a popularity contest, yes. So, this sentence says it's a "more democratic" popularity contest? Like voting on Homecoming King and Queen? Also, this is the first time I've ever seen an admin admit that Etsy has not been democratic in the past.

sean11 is starting to crack.

I would like to summarize this from my point of view. I'm in a lot of circles. I'm signed in to Etsy for hours a day. I don't look at my Activity Feed, except to clear the number. I have never bought anything from my Activity Feed.

My perception is that it all comes down to clicks over commerce. The site looks more popular without actually selling more. It is a commerce site, after all.

Have we seen the February Weather Report yet?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

More on Etsy circles

Etsy Admin is listening to your circle concerns!
Sort of.

Today they posted a thread in announcements, answering frequently asked questions about conerns.

What are circles about?
". . . connecting people and surfacing items that you wouldn't have thought to search for."
Surfacing items? What an odd phrase.
Translation: People can see stuff you like, if they use their activity feed. They can't see your stuff in their activity feed, unless someone in their circle likes it. Clear? Right.

What does it mean if you're in a lot of circles?
". . . says more about the quality of items shared by that person than it says about their own shop. Circles aren't currently intended to be a promotional tool directly benefitting the person encircled."
I loathe the use of the word "encircled" in this sentence.
Translation: Your own circle does absolutely nothing in terms of promoting your own shop. When you list new items, they will not show in anyone's activity feed. New listings only register in an activity feed when someone hearts or favorites them.
So why should we take the time to "encircle" others, if it won't promote our items?

Will circles affect the relevancy in searches?
No. Good news, because rumors were running wild earlier this week.

Why is your number of circles visible on so many pages?
Short answer, visual consistency. Plus, it's "interesting" and "encourages participation."
Translation: Circles = more clicks. More clicks = more value implied for the Etsy site. Do circle clicks translate to sales? I haven't seen that personally. Like I said before, I think sellers may be using circles and activity feeds, but I don't see most buyers bothering with it. I just do not see it as realistic at all. As a seller, I don't find it all that interesting at this point. I can't imagine using it strictly as a buyer.

How do circles work as a promotional tool?
Get this.
"Circles cater to showcasing items and shops based on their quality and their genuine interest to people. Activity Feeds could definitely be seen as a way to tap into niche audiences to target your market. . ."
Translation: No idea.
How would you go about getting people to favorite your items? First, they have to find them, most likely by searching the site and getting your item in a result. If the site search can't find your item, then chances of it being favorited are fairly low. So we have to self-promote, just as we have always had to self-promote.
Unless I'm missing something automagical here.

Is there a team for making Circles?
Translation: Please, no. This idea is discredited by saying that nothing good could come from a group of people acting in concert to favorite each other's listings, and there is no way this kind of mass action could lead to sales and Etsy promotion. However, we have certainly see that exact thing happen with treasury teams many times over. This is a nefarious possible development to keep an eye on.

Here's something interesting:
How can anyone keep up with 1000 shops?
"The feed as it currently works will not show you everything if you have that many people in your circle.'
What? How does the feed determine what is relevant and what is not? Which activities are given more weight?
". . . we need to figure out which stories on the feed are likely to be most interesting to you, and display those at the top."
And how do you know what might be most interesting to me? By judging from my past favorites and purchases? From other members of my circle and what they are most interested in? From what most fits the Etsy brand? What is more expensive? What is blue? What has seagulls on it? This is quite vague, and the most disturbing statement in the announcement.

This statement implies that the activity won't be either complete or entirely democratic. Will your circle further determine what you see? Will your circle further determine who might see you?

Overly complicated and not getting clearer on many points.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Etsy Glamourgate

This lovely wedding dress was featured in a Glamour magazine spread about handmade wedding dresses you can buy on Etsy. Great news, right? Bring more traffic to Etsy! Support handmade!

Right. Except, you'll notice that the dress is no longer in the Glamour spread. Why? Because the dress is actually from Alibaba and is being resold on Etsy as handmade.
Threads about Glamourgate were closed here, here, and here.
I don't want to address resellers here, as a habit, but this is a big deal. Etsy lost credibility with a major publication that was providing free adverstising for the entire site. I doubt that Glamour will feature Etsy again.
Glamour magazine is published by Conde Nast Publications, a corporation that also publishes Vogue, GQ, House and Garden, Brides, Bon Appetit and Vanity Fair, in addition to many other popular magazines. Not a good corporation to lose credibility with.

How many Etsy circles are you in?

So, today's Etsy shenanigans, Circle count competition.

"Circle counts are now visible throughout the site: on profiles, shop pages and listing pages." More or less every single page that comes up on Etsy will now show the number of circles to which you belong.


What is the purpose of this? Besides jamming home the complete, all-encompassing point of the social commerce experiment that Etsy has become in 2011?

To quote the announcement thread:
"If you're a shop owner, being favorited by someone with a high circle count means exposure--everyone who's added that person to their circle will become aware of your shop through their activity feeds. Items are going viral this way every day now on Etsy."

Three issues:
Issue one: How in heaven's name are we, as shop owners, supposed to campaign to become favorited by someone with a high circle count? I have avoided this phrase thus far, although it has been thrown around Etsy a lot in the last couple of months: This is like a high school clique, in the worst possible sense.

You have to make the popular kids like you. The Etsy popular kids are the sellers making the stuff that has been on the Etsy front page for years. You know the stuff I'm talking about, just like you know who made that stuff.

I'm going to make what I want. That's why I make stuff, and one-of-a-kind stuff, at that. I want the person who buys something of mine to have the only one in existence. That's also the kind of stuff I buy on Etsy. I don't want it to look like everything else.

Issue two: Are buyers even using circles? Casual buyers who drop in and shop a bit and pick up something? I highly doubt it. That pretty much nullifies the entire concept of circles, unless the idea truly is that circles are designed to keep sellers from buying from one another in a true spiralling circle of no profits for sellers.

Issue three: Notice that I emphasized viral in the statement above. Viral? Really? Listings are going viral on Etsy? How? Why? What? Are they selling? Or just spinning around in a claustrophobic Spirograph of self-reference?

"[P]eople will add you to their circles if they like what you're finding."

I don't want people to like what I'm finding. I want people to buy my stuff.

How are your sales for the past six weeks? Because mine are not good.

Can I be in your circle?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Etsy is more fun with friends

I have decided that this condescending, grade school primer language is causing me to curse more than usual.

Today's Admin Annoucement: Find your friends on Etsy.

I didn't realize my friends were lost.

Etsy has added a "Find Your Friends" button, with no filter for finding those who still owe you money. THAT is a function a lot of us could use, but I digress. You then click which email service you want to use, and sign into your email. Automagically, Etsy connects to your address book as fast as you can say "Hocus Pocus" or "Walla Walla, Washington."

Etsy "fetches" your contacts, matches them with people who haven't opted out of the automagical email id on Etsy, and you can add them to your circle, spam them, or convo them for that $40.00 they borrowed back in college.

You can also send invitations (i.e. "spam") to people who don't even have an Etsy account! "Invitations are limited right now to 20 per day -- use them well!"
Translation: "You can only send 20 spam emails a day. Remember when we used to tell you you were not allowed, under any circumstance, to spam Etsians? Well, forget about that, and please spam non-Etsians as well. Twenty a day. Get clicking and typing!"

And anyone you connect to through Find Your Friends will be able to connect to others through Find Your Friends, and so on and so forth. It can spread like a virus! Like H1-N1!

I would like to repeat something glaringly obvious here. If my friends are in my address book, they are not lost. If I want them to know about my Etsy shop, believe me, they know about my Etsy shop. I know how to copy and paste a link, and put it in an email to a friend.

Why does Etsy want the email addresses of the people I know? I already understand how to steer them toward my shop, and even to other listings on Etsy that I think they might like.

I understand that this is part of the great "social commerce experiment" and all, but I value my friends' privacy more than I value Etsy's desire to mine my email data to grow their business by spamming people who trusted me with their information.

Please remember, not to venture too far into conspiracy paranoia country, that verified email addresses are some of the most valuable pieces of information to any online marketing company. Remember also that current Etsy board members have fingers in all sorts of other online venues.

I think the clock is striking thirteen.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Update on tinkerers

"Tinkerers" has been removed from the new Etsy Community page. It appears to have been replaced by "artisans."

If you believe in artisans, clap your hands!

Etsy's Rob Kalin speaks!

Rob Kalin, aka Rokali, spoke up in the Forums last week to address the Etsy community's concerns about recent changes.
Rob is the current CEO of Etsy.
He explained that the words in the header had been replaced with icons to facilitate a more international market, and to make the shopping cart more visible.
He said that the icons were handmade, "pixel by pixel."
He said that he appreciates all of the "negativity" and "criticism" in the forums, because they are more interesting and instructive than compliments.
He said that, "Over $1000.00 per minute is sold on Etsy," and they're monitoring how the changes affect sellers.
So far, so good.
On Etsy's new social networking focus:
"Shopping is itself a unique social experience. This is what we're designing for."
I would argue that online shopping is not a social experience. It's me being able to find what I want, at the price I want to pay, quickly and efficiently. A better search is more important than a social experience. If I want to browse, I will take the time to browse, and enjoy what I come across. I don't often involve anyone else in this process. Maybe I am abnormal.
On Etsy's new homepage:
"Etsy's curated spaces are going away. . . Instead of an admin deciding that every single visitor to Etsy should see a particular Treasury on the homepage, the homepage will be personalized."
I'm not sure how to translate this. On a positive note, we can hope that this will give a wider selection of Etsy sellers more exposure. On a negative note, I have to wonder how they will choose what will pop up on your homepage. Will these be treasuries curated from your teams, those in your circle, those with shops Etsy would suggest?
On finding friends on Etsy, or sending them to Etsy:
"For the 90% of people here on Etsy who don't have shops, we're seeing that finding people they know on Etsy has a huge impact on getting them to register, buy stuff, and stick around. . . we're building tools that ultimately help customers find you, which can be quite different than the tools that help you find customers."
I don't believe this theory, but then I don't buy into the entire "social commerce" vision. I'm not approaching this as a buyer only, though. I'm approaching it as a seller/buyer. Everyone I know also has heard about Etsy, through me. As a buyer, I shop a site and buy what I want to buy. If I enjoy a shopping experience, I will tell others about it. I would never use a "find your friends" function on a site as a buyer. Would you?
On improving sales numbers:
"The total $ value of sales on Etsy is up, so the changes we're making are improving the commerce side of this marketplace."
Actual January numbers showed that growth is slowing. Many of the changes Rob Kalin is discussing have been in place for less than a month. The figures for February have not been published yet.
On "Forum Migration":
"Our old forums ran on an outmoded infrastructure, one that we're not supporting anymore. The teams codebase was the future, and we migrated forums to teams."
I don't believe this one. The public forums that Etsy kept were converted to public teams. Others were killed off. Why? Teams (1) require more clicks to navigate, and (2) are not immediately visible to the ninety percent of Etsians who are buyers only. All forums could have been migrated to public teams, and the community would have been kept intact.
On continuity:
"If someone left Etsy in let's say 2006, and came back today in 2011, my hunch is that it'd still feel like the same place."
No. There are still people signing in, asking where the forums are. There are regulars who are confused about the new layout, and convinced that the changes in layout, forum structure, alchemy's "rest" and search have negatively impacted their businesses. If someone took a break around Thanksgiving last year and returned now, it would not feel like the same place.
In response to a seller saying they just want to sell their stuff, and have no interest in circles:
"What you're saying is you don't want to help yourself."
No, what the seller is saying is that they don't believe in your vision that circles will sell their stuff.
On how people buy online by searching, not by looking at favorites, either their own or others:
"That is how commerce currently works. . . we here at Etsy are not trying to uphold the status quo. . . I hope we discover much more, because that is the future I wish to invent."
Here we're getting down to the nitty gritty. Please, Etsy, uphold the status quo while it is still the status quo. I can appreciate wanting to predict the future and adapt to that, but I can also appreciate that people shop most of the time by searching for what they want to buy. Do you look at other people's favorite items in order to buy something 99% of the time?
Also, they're working on the search, tripling the content team which takes care of resellers et al, and working on a new listing process.
Sean11 goes on to explain how Circles and other networking are just extensions of the word of mouth advertising that has helped Etsy achieve the success it has seen thus far--word of mouth that was done by those of us who have been on Etsy for awhile. If you're favorited by someone with a "high circle count," this gets you seen by more potential buyers. Also, clicks on the Circle icon are growing by leaps and bounds.
Again, I can only speak for myself. I have quit using Circles pretty much completely. I'm just not interested in them. I don't spend nearly the time on Etsy that I used to a couple of months ago. I can't imagine most of the buyers I know personally using circles the way these guys think Circles will be used.
What do you think? This is a lot of information to process. What is it saying? And are you buying it?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Take the "Which kind of Etsian are you?" poll

Inspired by yesterday's change to the community page, which kind of Etsian are you? Creator or collector? Tinkerer or thinker? Doer or disgruntled? Vote now, right over there in the sidebar! It's your democratic duty!

Etsy shuts down new buyer's thread

A buyer who just joined the site started a thread in Site Help asking for help finding a seller to make a miniature for a 25th anniversary gift for his wife. Several Etsians provided information, noting that Alchemy and Promotions used to be ideal tools for finding sellers to create special orders.

Twenty minutes later, Admin Knickey slammed the thread shut with her canned response about finding the appropriate team. Nice. Way to welcome new users.

Saluting the Etsy muted, Issue 7

Fresh from being temporarily banished from the Etsy community!

kts815, one of the founders of the Unofficial Etsy Forums.
And archaicdesign, for calling out a reseller.

I wonder how many of those muted have been afraid to talk about it? Curiouser and curiouser.

Tinkering on Etsy's community page

The image above is from the new Etsy community page.

Etsy rolled out some new changes yesterday evening, including revamping the toolbar and the community page. The text on the new community page reads as follows:

"Etsy is more than a marketplace: we're a community of creators, collectors, tinkerers, thinkers and doers.

Join a team, share ideas, attend an event, chat or watch an online workshop below.

Vous parlez-francais? Visitez la communaute des francais d'Etsy ici. Sprichst du Deutsch? Hier geht's zur deutschen Community."

To the right is a toolbar with Events, Teams and Forums. To the right is a toolbar with Etsy Everywhere, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Meetup.

Below the announcement is a photo album of photos from the Etsy Labs. I've given you an example of these photos at the top of my post.

Below that is the Etsy livestream, with Facebook, Twitter and Buzz share options.


Can we start with the photo? Believe me, the one I chose is representative of the entire album. No offense to this perfectly nice person photographed, but she is weaving something with her toes, on the floor, in a sea of feet and hiking footwear. There are other photos, featuring well-meaning people in construction paper name tags or holding George Bush voodoo dolls.

The text is also overly cute and somewhat dismissive. "Tinkerer" alone is a word rife with negative meanings. "Creators"is appropriate, perhaps even "collectors" and "thinkers." But "doers"? Doers of what, exactly?

A high percentage of those who sell on Etsy take their shops seriously. We work hard and take pride in what we create, as well as making excellent customer service a high priority. We spend time and money putting together professional looking shops, carefully considering the language for our descriptions and policies, and taking clear and appropriate photos of our listings.

We're artists, and we put a great deal of care into what we do. This Etsy community page statement is completely at odds with the images and reputations that we're working so hard to establish.

We are not tinkerers. We are sellers. Nowhere on this page is selling mentioned. Or buying. In fact, the "marketplace" facet of Etsy is summarily dismissed in the first sentence of the Community mission statement.

Join a team! More teams. Share ideas! But not in the forums, please, especially if your ideas do not fall into our hazy definition of "constructive." Chat! Watch a workshop! Be careful not to trip over my workboots over there on the floor. Doesn't the Lab have a coat closet?

We can connect to Etsy on any number of social networking sites. Fantastic. We can promote Etsy on this same deluge of internet venues. Great. The community page is designed to increase the number of clicks it takes to get anywhere you might want to go. Count your clicks. Good for you.

Can we at least talk about selling? And buying? Views and sales are down across the board, from what I've read in the forums, or what's left of the forums. This new Etsy image does nothing to project professionalism or artistry. To be brutally honest, it looks like preschool.

Keep tinkering, Etsy. You're losing successful sellers in the process. Those sellers are the backbone of the community you keep singing about.

Now, let's all make crepe paper pompoms.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

We need an Etsy sympathy team

I posted awhile back about Etsy admin closing the forum threads for designedbylucinda. At least those threads were allowed to roll on for awhile before the door was slammed shut.
The other evening, a thread was started titled "Blessings to New Zealand," referring to the recent tragic earthquake in Christchurch. The original poster stated that they didn't know where else to post the thread; they just wanted to send blessings. Not asking for donations. Not asking for items for a New Zealand shop. Just sending prayers and sympathy to those effected.
Etsians offered news and support. This is one of the times I most love the Etsy community, when they offer both information and support for one another. That's what the forums once were, when they were at their best.
The thread was closed in about an hour, with lisajune referring people to the International Team.
There is no room for sympathy and information in the New World Etsy Forums. I guess it's just not constructive enough.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Etsy search improvements and issues

Etsy is changing their search. One of the biggest complaints from buyers and sellers over the years has been that you can't find what you're looking for while using the search on Etsy. What you type in the search box doesn't translate to the results that Etsy spits out.

The changes, announced February third in this announcement post, were supposed to achieve the following ends:
More precise results: The example given here is for "cat eye glasses" spitting out any listings with "cat," "eye" or "glasses." The new search will only bring up listings with all three words.
When I search "cat eye glasses," my first result is, in fact, an eyeball ring. There are 2,835 results. The second is a necklace. The third is an eyeglass lanyard. There are socks, earrings and a painting, all in the first dozen or so results.
Smart filtering: The automagical alogrithm will bring up the most relevant category for you when you search. "Cat eye glasses" should take you to accessories. Since most of the first page results are jewelry, I would say that this isn't working either.
Spell check: Another name for "autosuggest with a drill down," actually. The examples given are "amethyst" and "amigurumi," because only spelling bee champs know how to spell those words. We are not, by and large, spelling bee champs. Okay, I may have won a spelling bee or two, but I never learned the term "amigurumi" until I got to Etsy. If you're searching for an amethyst amigurumi, the idea here is that life is probably not going to treat you kindly.
Let's try it!
If you search "amethyst amigurumi," spell check will not help you. The good news is, you get a page of seven purple little crocheted critters.
So, what do these changes mean to you, the Etsy seller?
Sellers now need to repeat important keywords in their titles, descriptions and tags, all three places. Google searches pull from titles and descriptions. The new Etsy search pulls or will pull from tags. The words that sellers use to search will have to exactly match your tags, supposedly, for your tags to come up as relevant. Therefore, it's best to keep your tags to either one word, or use phrases that you are sure your buyers will use for searching. Tag stuffing isn't going to work.
Also, most recent listings will still default over most relevant. Hit that renew button, people! Hit it again!
No official word on when these changes will go sitewide, if they already have, or what they're learning while testing, but you can find the forum discussion thread here. Here is a non-admin thread with a lot of great info.
Many sellers have noticed a decline in both views and sales since these changes were announced. Since they coincided with the forum and other changes, it's hard to determine any true cause-effect relationship. Also notice that at no point does anyone in admin clearly spell out how to improve your tags to get your listing seen. If I'm a seller, how do I make this work for me?
And, if I'm a buyer, why do you assume I can't spell amethyst?

Etsy and the atmosphere of fear

When I joined Etsy awhile back, one of the things I appreciated most about the site was the ease of asking questions, getting and giving help, and striking up conversations and friendships. This happened mainly in the forums. At any time of the day or night, I could drop into the forums, ask a question, and get a quick answer. I might get several opposing quick answers, but at least there was valuable information to be had and exchanged.
Information is my drug of choice!
Since the forum changes, Etsians no longer know what they can and cannot post. Even admin doesn't seem to clear on the new rules. There have been any number of thinly veiled promotions all over Business and Site Help. Some people are working the system, but most seem to have no idea where to go, or what they can say, or how to behave in this New Etsy Order. New people have the door slammed on their questions and concerns, and are told to "go find a team. Any team. Start a team. There's a team." No real information or assistance.
It even reached a point where admin instructed people to email their forum posts to Etsy to see if it might be all right to post them. Because that is quick and efficient. . .
What I find most unsettling is the number of people who are talking about being afraid. "If I post this, will I be muted?" "I started a thread that was closed, and I don't know why. I'm afraid to ask." "I have been muted. If I tell people, will my shop be closed?"
There's a reason why I'm anonymous here, friends.
Etsy has turned from a small town of friendliness into a hostile environment of fear for a lot of people. Some of this fear is quite justified; many have been muted in the past few weeks, shops have been closed in the past after Etsians have spoken out, threads have been closed with disparate warnings. There's a heavy hand with no logic behind it.
And fear brings paranioa. Paranoia brings more fear. How can this be remedied?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Saluting the Etsy muted, fifth edition

It's Monday. Time to get out the gags.

cartoonmonster, for asking for clarification about how he was supposed to know not to post in threads that might be closed in the future.

JDWolfePottery, successful Etsy seller since the beginning, in 2007. Update: This was bad information, and JDWolfePottery was not muted.

And echoart, who never loses her temper or her cool.

Stop by and show their Etsy shops some love today.

Etsy clicks, commerce and community

Auction Bytes reported last week that Etsy broke their traffic record in January 2011, with a billion page views.
The number of new items listed was down four percent from January 2010.
They also noted that, "Despite international expansion, Etsy's sales growth rate continues to slow," and that there was some discrepancy between Etsy's reported sales volume and actual sales volume.
The site has been redesigned to cause more clicking: Activity Circle numbers, navigating to find teams and forums and threads you have posted in, even the ease of curating a treasury, which increases the number of treasuries a seller can be included in. All of these new features increase clicking.
In my opinion, and yours may differ, all of these changes have fractured the community. It's difficult to keep up with multiple teams, difficult to find time to curate treasuries, and difficult to stay in touch with Etsians that I used to cross paths with regularly in the Forums. With these Etsians out of sight, their shops are also out of mind. I no longer browse someone's shop because I see their avi in a forum. I no longer take the time to browse shops because I'm making a treasury. I already know the people who are on my teams.
Using the community as a sales tool, or even a buyer tool, has effectively stopped.
I check my activity feed just to clear the number. I question whether buyers even use the activity feed. At first, it was interesting to see what other people found and favorited. Now, I never look at it.
Extra clicks may make the site look busier and more popular. Do extra clicks equal extra commerce? Do these clicks tangibly prove that shoppers are searching and buying more?
Do the new features make selling easier? Is anyone seeing an increase in traffic and sales?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Take the Etsy changes poll

Which of the Etsy changes do you dislike the most?
Take the poll over there in the sidebar.
Maybe you like them all!
Vote up! Cheers!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Maybe Etsy said it all in a picture

This photo was posted on Etsy's Facebook wall yesterday.
"Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated." --Confucious
Deep, huh?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Etsy admin poll results

You voted, and here are the results.

Question: Do you feel bad for Etsy admin?
The seventy-seven votes break down like this:
52% of you voted "Heck no, they seem to be enjoying themselves."
17% of you voted, "No, they believe in what they're doing."
14% of you voted, "Yes, they're hopeless pawns."
8% of you voted, "What's an Etsy admin?"
The people have spoken. I love democracy.

Saluting the Etsy muted, part four

This just in from the Mute Desk:

jenmaestre, amazing pencil genius artist, permamuted for calling out obvious resellers.

blackgermanshepard, whose Etsy shop has taken on an interesting look since the mute came down.

And eclipse, the opinionated and eloquent polar bear.

In other intriguing news, the muted are now being told who reported their posts. Nice of Etsy to further pit one seller against another.

Their definition of "community" is certainly different from mine.

I salute you, sisters!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Alchemy is taking a rest on Etsy

Maybe it needs a FreakyOldWoman sleep mask.

Announced January 27th, Etsy put Alchemy down for a nap beginning February 3.

According to the Etsy Blog article, Alchemy had enabled 80,000 custom creations since its inception. Alchemy allowed buyers to request a custom item, take bids from different sellers, and then choose a seller to make their special request. This is what Etsy is all about for me, buyers and sellers connecting on a personal level to realize a creative vision.

Alchemy was also the backbone of a lot of sellers' business. They bid and built relationships with customers through the Alchemy process. It was an ideal way for sellers to be seen. The Alchemy screen also provided a photo board of completed projects. Browsing shoppers could click those pictures and be taken to the seller's shop.

With wedding season heating up, many brides used Alchemy. Lots of shoppers used it because they couldn't find what they wanted with Etsy's less than stellar search.

This action hurt buyers and sellers, while wiping out one of the best ways for them to connect on a personal level. Once again, can I point out that the language ("taking a rest" and "it needs its beauty sleep") is both condescending and unprofessional.

Etsy's blog article goes on to say, "We love what Alchemy represents, and we want to do it even better." The article offers no details for these improvements, and no date for waking up Alchemy. The article also doesn't explain why Alchemy couldn't remain up and functioning while the tech team works on the improvements.

Many Etsy members doubt that it will ever return. Sad.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Saluting the Etsy muted III

Just off the docket:

BeastieDesigns, forum rabble rouser.

ecovintagevegan, creator of lovely party boxes.

lastchantsstudio, who is moving to artfire.


R U Serious, Etsy? AKA Candyheartgate

Etsy is making my job too easy.

In what could graciously be called a marketing misstep, Etsy published an article on their blog Monday titled "Found Objects: Candy Hearts." Written by Andrea Siegel, who apparently doesn't have an Etsy account, the article is a skewed and sarcastic look at the sweet Valentine treat. Ellison, in fact, likens the candy to prison tattoos.

She goes on to discuss the grade school custom of exchanging the hearts from schoolmates as "opening an emotionally masturbatory dialogue with you in their minds as they drizzled come-ons into your envelope." From there, she discusses the mental instability of her fifth grade stalker with his "warm, gamey pockets" and his "pungent home." A boy she wouldn't have even "borrowed a chewed-up pencil from."

Where do I begin?

Let's start with the fifth grade masturbatory come-ons drizzling, shall we? For a corporation that has become increasingly prudish about mature listings and forum decorum over that past six months, that's a fairly sleazy string of metaphors there. If Etsy members are as up in arms as they seem to be about seeing a discrete photo of pair of silk underpants on the front page, what must they think of this obviously disturbing language? I am no prude, but fifth grade deviant candy sexuality is a pretty heavy topic for a supposedly light-hearted public corporate blog.

Also disturbing is the superior attitude of the author to this imagined fifth grade paramore. The absolute tone of disdain is almost more upsetting than the drizzling. It's a mean-hearted point of view for a romantic holiday, don't you think? The heart giver is so beneath the writer that she wouldn't even touch is pencil? Sometimes a pencil is just a pencil, after all.

Furthermore, this article was accompanied by hipster hearts art, as seen above, making light of asking if someone is gay or has herpes. Again, fairly hypocritical from Etsy when they recently banned a line of humorous greeting cards for addressing similar topics in a supposedly wry manner. Those cards, whether you liked them or not, were at least not featured as a topic,
not only approved by, but published by, Etsy itself.

It's not necessarily the topic itself, but the disingenuous duplicity of Etsy that bothers me here. How about an article on homemade Valentine traditions? Victorian Valentine ephemera and how to upcycle it? Eros? Cupid? Frank Sinatra?

And there's a link to Valentine's candy on Etsy at the close of this article? Nasty.

Etsy, I'm so Not Into U right now.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Addressing calling out and blog comments

When I started this blog, I thought about addressing both the "front page regulars" issue and the "forum cupcake/cheerleaders" issue. That would involve naming Etsy names. I'm not going to do that, and here are the reasons:
I don't want to personally attack anyone. We've had enough of that in the community, especially lately.
If there are front page regulars and cupcakecheerleaders, the fault of that lies squarely on Etsy as a corporation. They choose the front page listings, and they choose who to mute, close threads on, etc.
I'd rather spend my time here examining the larger issues than calling out individuals. If individual sellers are part of the larger issues, then Etsy is ultimately responsible for those issues.

Now, onto blog comments. It would be hypocritical of me to delete comments here that I don't agree with. If I'm going to give Etsy a hard time for closing threads and muting sellers, I can't exactly pick and choose who gets to comment here. I don't agree with the comments posted about the recently muted. Everybody has their views.
If comments get out of hand, I'll get rid of them.
Honestly, it's just nice to know that someone is reading this, because I think the topics I'm writing about are essential to those selling, and even buying, on Etsy.

Information is my only drug of choice.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Saluting the Etsy muted II

urbangipsy, who got an indefinite muting today. She opened shop in January of 2007.

Archivia, who received a one month muting for saying "Seriously gross" in an Etsy forum thread.

BlueKittyMinatures, another well-respected member of the Etsy community.
Christina Perdue, longtime Etsy seller and one of the organizers of the donations for designedbylucinda.
On a postive note, Admin signs your muting email "All the best." That has to count for something, doesn't it?
I'm sure there are more mute-ees who I haven't listed. I've seen the recent count at fifteen. My guess is that there will be a lot more before this is all over.

The Wal-Mart/Etsy/Facebook connection, Part One

Meet Jim Breyer, a perfectly nice guy who works for the investment team Accel Partners in the Silicon Valley. According to his corporate bio, Jim has been an investor in over thirty consumer internet, media and technology companies that have completed public offerings or successful mergers. Fortune Magazine named him the smartest investor in technology in 2010.
Jim is on the board of directors for Wal-Mart Corporation, where he's the Chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee. Jim is also an investor and board member for Etsy.
Etsy is listed as one of Accel Partners' consumer internet and media clients, along with Facebook, Groupon, Kayak and more.
It seems that Accel Partners pairs businesses with venture captialists, and from there redefines business plans and company visions, with focuses on social and digital media.
According to their Crunchbase profile, Accel Partners re-invested in Etsy in August of 2010, with a Series E investment. Series investments are defined by letter as the rounds of stock offered during different rounds offered by a private company. In other words, Accel Partners, which had previously bought stock in Etsy, bought additional stock in Etsy in August of 2010.
So, a company that invests in Facebook also invests in Etsy.
Index Ventures also aquired stock in August, placing partner Danny Rimer on Etsy's board, along with Rob Kalin, Caterina Fake, Union Square Ventures Fred Wilson, and Accel's Jim Breyer.
Index Ventures is a Swiss venture capitalist firm, specializing in investments in information technology and life science companies. Etsy is listed on their online portfolio as well.
When did major Etsy changes begin, shifting it from your place to buy all things handmade to your place for social interaction? September?
More to follow on this.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Saluting the recently Etsy muted

Recently muted under the new Etsy forum policies:

FancyPantsAndMore, who I cited in the post below for being part of the group organizing efforts to help designedbylucinda. One of Fancy's mute-able posts was, "Yippee Diane!" She got a thirty day mute from the forums.

ArtmakersWorlds, for posting "Bite me" to no one in particular.

KarmaRox, who has been an Etsy seller since 2007, and has offered help and warmth to many in the forums.

All three spoke up against the changes currently occurring on Etsy, and were chastised for being "too vocal" in the forums. Too vocal? Interesting turn of phrase there. There is at least one seller who can no longer post in the forums who hasn't received a muting notice from Etsy yet.

The results of these mutings are twofold: There are those who see this as a challenge and want to ramp up the fight, even if it results in their own muting. And there are those who see this as both frightening and intimidating, and are now wary of speaking in public. In the past, Etsy has found loopholes for closing down shops when sellers have spoken out. What a great way to build a more social shopping site that's all about community. Micro-economies indeed.

Imagine trying to sign in to Etsy, and finding your shop gone. Hours and hours of work, customers waiting on shipments. Gone.

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not after you.

And to the muted, this fight isn't over.

For more details, check out this thread over on the UEF.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Take the Etsy admin poll!

With Admin posting bizarrely vague announcements and closing threads right and left, do you feel sorry for them? Are they being forced to do this by The Man? Are they relishing all of the changes? What's your opinion? You can vote in the sidebar poll!

Etsy closes threads for designedbylucinda

I posted about designedbylucinda and her tragedy a couple of days ago. The Etsy community came together, as it often does, to offer support, thanks to threads started by FancyPantsAndMore and kts815. Two other threads were started by rtisan and amystreasureattic. Thanks to all of you for alerting the community so we could all help out.

RobWhite closed the two faster moving threads:
FancyPantsAndMore's thread Sad News
kts815's thread Links for Lucinda

Yes, the threads linked to other sites, and there was mention of donating in the threads. However, with all of the fracturing of the community of late, seeing sellers band together to support one of our own reminded many Etsians, myself included, of one of the reasons why we are still a part of this site. Closing those two threads seemed harsh and unnecessary. Why they were closed was not explained.

On a positive note, you can shop at the Helping Hearts shop on bigcartel. All proceeds from this shop will go to designedbylucinda, and all items are donated by Etsy and other sellers. Beautiful stuff there.

Thanks to the following people for all of their work:
Christina Perdue

You can also check the Unofficial Etsy Forums for updates and ways to help and donate.

My thoughts are with Cindy and her family.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What is

Did any of you watch the TV series "Lost"? The creators of that series spun off several websites that contained clues about the series. Some of the clues were true. Some were red herrings. It was part of the charm of the show.

I took at look at Rob Kalin's (Rokali) Twitter profile today, and it says that he's currently developing a site called It looks like this. However, if you can get to the "about" page, you find something intriguing.

"Parachutes, Inc. is a social business based in Red Hook, a lovely Brooklyn neighborhood. . . empowers people around the world to learn and teach what they desire, to showcase their capabalities, and to make a living doing what they love."

From the FAQ's: "What is a Parachute? A Parachute is an organized body of users. Parachutes can represent any kind of organization: schools, classes, clubs, business, teams, etc."

So, it's like Facebook University? Apparently, it was supposed to launch in Spring 2009. How does his vision for this social non-profit education experiment translate to how he envisions the social for-profit future of Etsy?

What color is my parachute? And is this a clue about the future of my business? Or just another red herring?

Analyzing "An insider speaks on the cult of Etsy"

On February 2, this online article was published, An insider speaks on the cult of Etsy, an interview with Matt Stinchcomb, Etsy's European director and one of its first employees. He says several interesting things here.

"Rob [Kalin, founder of Etsy] was coming at it from the lens of someone who is a maker. He wasn't coming at it from the point of view 'what's the best business model?'"

This explains both the warm roots of Etsy as a welcoming community for artists, as well as how Etsy has outgrown itself, with no initial idea of a business plan that allowed for this growth. It started as a handmade site for handmade items. It outgrew its skeleton, so to speak, and had to adapt. The problem now is in the nature of its adapting, while maintaining its integrity and original vision.

Handmade was the heart of Etsy--creators selling handmade items to buyers, often developing relationships along the way. Is handmade the focus in the long term, new business plan?

"Rob hired me to do the marketing, and I have no experience in marketing."

I understand this statement better than I should, maybe. I don't have a marketing degree, yet I market my shop all the time. I'm not in charge of marketing for what has become a million dollar website, however.

"We think there is a more sustainable model which focuses on micro-enterprise and micro-economies."

I'm going to be honest with you. I have no idea what this means. Micro-enterprise would seem to mean small business, right? Isn't that what Etsy already is? A crowd of small business owners collected under one online store front awning?

As for the micro-economies. . .

"What gets really interesting locally is the idea of local currencies. I would love to see an Etsy currency evolve. We could create a whole new economy of micro-economies."

I'm not sure what to make of this either. Etsy currency? Moustaches traded for owls? An Etsy sort of Euro printed on orange paper with a cowl on it under "In Rob We Trust"? If the point is to sell locally, I can already do that at festivals and shows. If the point is to become a sort of swap meet/trading venue, that is not going to pay my internet bill so I can keep a shop.

I like selling my products to people on other contintents. That's part of the thrill of selling online, reaching customers you would never reach otherwise. I also like selling my products for money, and not trading them for sheep. Sheep are cute, but I don't have much use for one.

There is also a paragraph that basically states that more women use Etsy because the profit margin is too low for men to bother with. Sure.

More women use Etsy because more women make stuff. It's that simple. Some of them are stay at home moms. Some of them work outside the home, and love to make stuff. We make stuff, and we'd like to sell that stuff. We'd like to make a profit. Just because we don't have penises does not mean that we settle for less. Usually we do more, in fact, because we love what we do.

And Matt's closing quote: "Always be honest and do what you think is right, not what will make you the most money."

An honorable statement, to be sure. In light of the recent changes on Etsy, I would also say it's dripping with hipster irony.

Be honest, Etsy, and explain your grand plan to us. We're all adults. We can handle it.

The right thing to do is to stand by the artists who built your site when you didn't even have a business plan. Don't silence them, destroy their community, and dismiss their concerns.

I have to believe Etsy's eye at the moment is on what will make them the most money, and let the handmade heavens fall.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sad News

Sad News - reposted from the UEF board - Discussions - Business Topics - Etsy Teams: "It is with deep sadness we must share the news of the tragic loss suffered by Cindy Boardman, known here as designedbylucinda, a UEF moderator and long time member of the Etsy community.

On Thursday, February 3rd an accidental fire took her home, pets, and claimed the life of her 11 year old son, Kevin. No words can convey the shock and sadness we feel, Cindy is an active and valued member of our community and we share in her grief during this incredibly difficult time. Our thoughts, prayers and most profound sympathies are with Cindy and her family.

Her husband Robert Boardman's co-workers have set up a fund to assist the family with medical and living expenses. Donations can be sent here:

Boardman Family Fund
Knight Communications
10150 Mallard Creek Rd.
Suite 201
Charlotte, NC 28262

Also, you can convo Etsian FancyPantsAndMore for an email address that is accepting donations for Cindy.

Send your prayers her way. I can't think of anything worse than this.

The anatomy of an Etsy thread closing

You can view the original thread here. Basically, everyone on Etsy is currently looking for clarification on what the New Improved Forums allow, and where. Apparently, Site Help is no longer the place to discuss specific issues. I'm going to take a look at the wording lisajune used to close the thread.
Quote: "I know we used to, very recently even, host space in these Forums for all kind of discussions."
Translation: "Last week, you could freely discuss your concerns and ideas here. Remember that? Well, it's over now."
Quote: "That said, the number of sections in our main Forums, and the kind of content appropriate for our main Forums has become more narrow."
Translation: "Doesn't anyone notice that half of the forums have vanished? Along with those forums, we have sacrificed your ability to discuss specific issues. By specific issues we mean anything you want to discuss. By narrow we mean nothing. Silence. See all those closed threads? Yours is next."
Quote: "These discussions we definitely still welcome on the site, but importantly within a team context."
Translation: "Get your unhappiness behind the closed doors of a team. No discord here. No promotions, either. No saying you're lost. No trying to help those who are lost. Start a team. Start a hundred teams. Those teams each generate countless clicks and are fairly invisible to the outside world. T-E-A-M. Got it?"
Quote: "If you have any other questions, you're welcome to being a new thread."
Translation: "Being is a typo. I've closed 300 threads today, and I'm weary. I'm lisajune, not Himmler. You can start a new thread with a new question, but I will most likely have to close that thread too. Why not just go to your team and throw your fit, like a good Etsian, huh? lisajune needs a break here."
Quote: "If you'd like to discuss topics from closed threads--in their appropriate context--you're more than welcome to begin the discussion anew."
Translation: I have no idea what that means. My babelfish is broken for that sentence.
lisajune loves adverbs.

Addressing the negativity charge

Greetings and salutations, and thanks for coming. I'd like to talk now to those who say that online negativity will kill Etsy, and to those who say if you don't like Etsy then you should shut your mouth and leave.

Here's why I'm feeling not so positive, and here's why "just leave" is not an intelligent response.

Yes, Etsy is a privately held (for now) corporation, and as so can do as it sees fit with its company, including its website. But how does Etsy make the majority of its money? From listing fees. Who pays listing fees? Sellers. How does Etsy make the rest of its money? From percentages of sales dollars. Does Etsy proper actually sell anything, beyond the "Quit Your Day Job" dream? No. Then who sells the items that Etsy collects a percentage of? Sellers.

Let's break it down even more. How many sellers also shop on Etsy and buy there? Lots. Etsy is full of amazing handmade items, beautiful supplies and drool-worthy vintage. We are paying Etsy on both ends, so to speak.

What is Etsy's main method of advertising? The advertising done primarily by its sellers, whether word-of-mouth, seller blogs, seller business cards, sellers tweeting, or sellers paying to advertise their shops.

Sellers support the site. Sellers get the site seen. Sellers are Etsy's customer base.

From what I have heard of late, the majority of sellers, Etsy's customers, are unhappy with recent changes. I am one of these sellers. There are many who have been on the site longer than I have, and basically built Etsy from the ground up. I salute you long timers. These sellers are trying to make their views heard, and are being silenced and ignored and shut down.

That makes me negative. I started this blog to figure out why I'm negative, if my negativity is justified, and if there's a way to remedy it.

Why don't I leave? Because I've built a business with a customer base at Etsy. Because I've put hundreds of hours of work into my shop there. And because I refuse to give up until I'm sure that the benefits of closing shop outweigh the benefits of staying open.

I'm a business person at heart. This means I understand the soul and passion that sellers have put into creating their Etsy shops, and I understand their fierce loyalty to those shops. I also understand those who feel they will do better elsewhere, and move on. I even understand those who hate negativity. We have all loved Etsy. Some of us are just having a more difficult time doing that at this time.

If you can't intelligently question the wisdom of decisions that impact your business with other business owners, how are you supposed to learn anything?

And, if you treated your customers the way Etsy has treated its sellers, how long would your shop have stayed open? If you ignored direct pleas for clear information, suggestions on how to improve the buyer-seller relationship, convos asking for satisfaction with problem transactions, how would your feedback look?

Consider this blog my feedback for Etsy. They have my twenty cents for each and every listing. I want delivery on the product I was promised. I still have hope that it might get better. Until then, color me negative.

The Automagical Gift Finder button

Are you a fan of magic tricks? Is Criss Angel just not magical enough for you? Then check out the mysterious and automagical "Find Gifts" button on Etsy's Buy page. Go ahead. Click it. It looks innocent enough, right? And it's there to help you! It's Etsy's way of helping you find personalized and super special gifts for everyone on your list.

What list? How does Etsy know about the people on your list? Is this button going to then ask you to profile who you're buying for--Uncle Bob in Schenectady who has a passion for fly fishing? Aunt Marcie in Boca Raton who loves Bingo night? What exactly does the "Find Gifts" button do?

It automagically connects you to Facebook, where you offer up your list of Facebook followers! Yes! And while you are finding that perfect cowl or ironic cross stitched wall hanging for the one you love, you're also adding to Etsy's ever-growing data mined list of emails that it can use however it sees fit. Can Etsy spam them? Sure! Can Etsy sell them? You bet!

This perky little button, with its precious little scene of a polar bear buying a special gift for his reindeer friend, is one more Etsy tool for getting your personal contact info for free. Genius, isn't it?

Do you know what polar bears do with reindeer and other woodland creatures? They do not buy them gifts. No, no. They eat them.

Food for thought over your morning triple flip latte with soy, eh?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Announcements: Welcome to the new Etsy Forums

Let's examine the most recent Admin post about the forums, from RobWhite on February 4, 2011.

Quote: "With fewer sections and a narrower focus, our hope is to encourage more participation in the great discussions that happen here from everyone"
Translation: "Etsy has ripped out most of what you use here, and will not tolerate you going off topic. By 'more participation' we actually mean shush."

Quote "That includes us; you'll be seeing more of the Forum Teams contributing to discussions as well."
Translation: "We will be monitoring and policing the remaining forums with iron fists. God forbid you discuss anything in a manner we do not consider 'constructive.' Also, do not discuss the site in the Site Help section."

Quote: "In an effort to keep a tight focus on the purpose of each section, you may see us closing more threads than you're accustomed to."
Translation: "You're going to hear doors slamming from one end of the internet to the other."

Quote: "Threads that don't fit in the existing sections of the new Etsy Forums are ultimately best placed in teams, so we'll need to close threads that don't fit."
Translation: "Shush. Find a team. Make a team. Whatever. Go look at your circle. Just get out of here. Also, dissenters will be silenced or heckled."

Quote: "Please keep in mind that we're happy to host your critical opinions in the Ideas space, but in order to be helpful and provide a good environment for community discussions it's a necessity that that criticism be constructive."
Translation: "Etsy is now defining the term 'constructive' with their new Etsy dictionary. Etsy-constructive does not include the following: honest criciticism of the site, questions about the underlying, overall plan behind the recent changes, requests for improvements that most users want, or calling anyone obscene names."

It seems that the RobWhite of the Care Bear days has been replaced by some double speaking automaton. Sadly, he forgot to end his post with "Cheers!"

Greetings and salutations

"The extreme always seems to make an impression." One of many great truths I learned from the movie "Heathers."

Why am I here? I've been buying and selling on Etsy for a couple of years. I have supported and promoted this company, recruiting other buyers and sellers along the way. I have put countless hours into this site, all the work of listing, customer service, selling and becoming part of a community that I have grown to cherish. And I kept my sense of humor and rarely bitched about the sporadic nature of sales, the invisibility of shops, even the unpredictablity of those running Etsy and their many ill-advised, badly timed and incoherently explained changes.

Then, they recently did three things that caused me to lose my sense of humor:
1. Mucking up the forums, obliterating certain sections, policing the remaining sections like Nazis, and creating the horrifying abyss of a mostly useless billion teams.
2. Giving Alchemy "a rest" while it is "tweaked," managing to wipe out some sellers' businesses with one flippant announcement and providing no date for its reopening.
3. Introducing the EtsyFacebook revolution, involving mining data from members' email address books, circles of senseless promotions, and a gift finder button that automagically links to your Facebook account without notification.

These three announcements and changes were made in about a week's time. Etsians are reeling with the implications of what has already been announced and what might be announced next. I want to use this blog to examine and analyze what's really going on. That can no longer be done on Etsy proper, because threads are being closed with lightning speed if they are not deemed "constructive." Your constructive post is my antiseptic party line.

As Christian Slater said in Heathers, "You say tomayto, I say tomahto."

Let's see where this goes. And please feel free to chime in and let me know what you've seen, how you feel, and what it means to you.

To use a popular thread closing word, "Cheers!"