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.


  1. Ah, but there IS a circle and activity feed team.

    Techs were there yesterday and today talking about circles with the members. After a bit of fuzzle in the forums, a link was posted to the thread. Mind you, that you must be a member of the team to ask a question, but anyone can read along.

    And as someone posted in the forums, the Lovely Angela of AandBoriginals has set the tone of the team quite bluntly.

    Although we have no real rules on our team or requirements, we do want this to remain a positive place where people can come to get information about Circles and Activity Feeds. If you have a problem with these Features, then it may be best to send an email to etsy admin through the Support link support [!at]

    And if you came to the team just to let admin know how much you don't like Circles, please do that someplace else. We are really trying to be a helpful team here, without the drama and complaints. The Main Forum is there for all of the complaints about Circles. We just want to help others understand.

    Also this team is not a promotional team, we are not permitting Treasuries to be posted in Threads, except for the Treasury Thread that I started yesterday for people who want to make treasuries that include items from team members. If you want to promote your treasuries, there are promotional teams for that.

    Please if you came her to learn about Circles and Activity Feeds, ask all of the questions that you need to, we are happy to answer them. If you came here to help others learn, Welcome !!! If you came her to complain about Etsy, Circles and the Activity Feeds, please go someplace else, there is a Forum for that, or start your very own Circle Hating team for that.

    Thanks so much for reading.

    So, the info about circles is being duscussed amongst nice peeps who love the feature instead of in the forum where the techs might get mean people's comments. Ha! And surely, there are those involved on the team who are busy cooking up ways to game the system. Just as non members are. But LisaJune assures us there's NO WAY to do that. o.0

  2. Your pic above is appropriate.
    The circles are black holes. Fortunately, if everyone keeps circling everyone else like krazy people everyone will have a smillion circles and they will cancel each other out. This is just a big click fest.

    Also note that suggested shops show up in our Etsy account now, pages and pages of them every 24 hours. There is no bulk delete button for them. Each shop has to be deleted with a click of its own.

    It got its own thread. Can you imagine how many clicks the site gets from people removing these unwanted spam spots one at a time? I clicked 50 of them off today.

  3. Please, people, just leave. Just back out the door, namaste, peace out, whatever. We don't need Etsy. We have alternatives. The alternatives get better and more effective with every shop that relocates and refocuses efforts. Etsy is breeding ulcers right now the way rabbits breed in the spring.
    It's discouraging, disheartening, and even sickening to lose something that many have fought to make better for a long time, but that's just it: it's lost. It's already not the same place anymore. Darth Vader is wheezing his last breaths on the floor, and maybe there'll be a final glimmer of redemption in his eyes before the end, but it's too late for anything else. Get out before the Death Star explodes, Luke.

  4. Circles help resellers dig deeper into Etsy and make them look acceptable.

  5. Whatevs. Etsy is currently in 5th place in the "Best Handmade Online Marketplace" poll on They're sucking pretty bad no matter how they try to spin how great they are.

  6. "One of the great aspects of Social Media is that, if you do it right, your customers have the conversation for you, promote your business and make you lots of money all for the cost of good service." Patrick Neeman at Usability Counts

    When Etsy says it's going social, it means itself, not its users. Members are going to do the legwork so Etsy doesn't have to...and for free. It doesn't matter if you buy or sell. Members can do neither. If they are on the site clicking, using circles, or being 'social', they are doing something for Etsy.

    Etsy users aren't being pushed to go social for their own good, but for Etsy's good. The users are being used.

  7. Caterina Fake; Flickr, Etsy, Hunch.

    "Hunch personalizes the internet by getting to know you and then making smart recommendations about what you might like.
    Hunch's ambitious mission is to build a 'taste graph' of the entire web, connecting every person on the web with their affinity for anything, from books to electronic gadgets to fashion or vacation spots. Hunch is at the forefront of combining algorithmic machine learning with user-curated content, with the goal of providing better recommendations for everyone.

    Hunch provides personalized recommendations on thousands of topics on and is now partnering with other companies to power custom recommendations on 3rd-party sites and applications.

    Hunch was started by clever folks who were exploring how machine learning could be used to provide smart, taste-driven, highly-customized recommendations.

    Hunch is located in New York City."

    An so, here is the likely root of the Etsy taste test, the soon to be customized fp, and the suggested shops. Add that to circles, and we have a real monster that won't listen to reason.

    It's Alive!!! It's Alive!!!

  8. How about the members who never buy or sell ANYTHING just compile photos of sellers' stuff. If etsy charged a weekly or monthly fee, perhaps these "browsers" would utilize their memberships!


Dish the dirt here.