Friday, February 25, 2011

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.


  1. Excellent post!
    Preschool indeed! That's exactly what I thought when I saw the pictures on the new and NOT improved community page. Playing on the floor with string. Come on!!
    I am a mature artist/business person and have developed a reputation for quality products and superior customer service. I am embarrassed to be associated with Etsy.

  2. This is the sort of nonsense that makes Etsy a fart joke.

    And those footy hot pads belong over on Regretsy.
    Kind of insulting to the people using Etsy who have talent. is the sort of craft that admins and others get paid to teach the masses in DUMBO? Maybe they should google Carol Duvall.

    I was under the impression that the staff were creative sorts, and that is one of the reasons they aren't good at running a business site. So they're not creative AND their lousy on the job??? Should we start singing the Titanic theme now?

  3. Maybe they're trying to establish a commune?
    Wavy Gravy would approve, but the rest of us are trying to run businesses.

  4. Thinkers and doers need not apply lest ye be muted.

  5. I sincerely dislike the world "doer." It is completely lacking any meaning whatsoever. "Doer"? Ugh.

  6. What exactly are they making? It looks like those potholders we made with loops of knit t-shirt material in 1st grade. But they seem to be some kind of shoe or sandal? Where would you wear that? Is there a more durable sole or is the while bottom also made from knit fabric loops? Is it like a house slipper? Or is it a potholder that is just shaped like a shoe, to make it more whimsical? I am so confused.


Dish the dirt here.