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."
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?