Etsy Admin is listening to your circle concerns!
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?
"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.