Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I typically do not speak out about things that are touchy subjects on here. Be it politics, religion, or other heavily opinionated topics. But this one is really getting to me because it affects everyone on Etsy and it's starting impact people's livelihoods and businesses.
It seems for the past few months there's been alot of civil unrest between the forums, sellers and Etsy itself. I'm not really sure what to think, but the less I frequent the forums the more I'm finding out about Etsy outside of the actual site. I shouldn't be getting my information from news sources that aren't "Etsy". I know the privacy issue is not a new issue, but it's still bothersome. What's also bothersome is the way Etsy's CEO is handling the whole mess and coming off sounding like a total db-bag and saying making the feedback private now somehow fixes the whole thing.

Article fro Ars' website

The fact that it's taken several users and a few non-users to go outside of Etsy to make this issue very public in order to get an actual concrete response from admin is beyond me. This should never have happened and it's yet another blow to the Etsy community. It's definitely not what it used to be. Granted your public info on site along with your purchases and feedback is easy enough to make private and several of us do take advantage of that. But the more Etsy gears itself towards this inbred idea of social commerce the harder it will be to keep who you are private. You can not have a social commerce site without wanting to pawn out and sell valuable demographic information to investors and other interests. It's hard not to make the comparison to the Facebook privacy debacle but this is so similar that it's amazing there hasn't been even MORE of an outcry.

As I attempt to grow my business on Etsy it seems that I'm simply getting into more "circles" with less sales. Where will the new blood come from if new buyers don't want to sign up because their purchases will be come easily searchable? And there will be buyers who won't be aware of this and sign-up to buy and possibly have all manner of their buying habits broadcast.

It's natural for a business to want to gather information on it's buying and selling public. You do it to be successful and to grow, but at what cost? Etsy will always be able to take care of itself. It's the people like me who are trying to make a living from handmade that I'm worried about.


kathy said...

Thank you sooo much for this post, Rebekah. You echo the feelings of many of us. I have not blogged about this because I was afraid of scaring away buyers.

Lisa at lil fish studios said...

I agree. Things were not handled well, and they had the potential to be. Etsy seems to be focused on becoming more of a social site than a selling site, which is disheartening. Don't get me wrong, I love Etsy because I can find so many things and amazing people, and it has good traffic and visibility, but when you have mis-steps like this one it gives me pause about using it as my main selling platform.

Tumus said...

@Kathy, yes it's hard to blog about such touchy subjects but this one is truly affecting everyone on site whether they know it or not.

@Lisa, yes it's very disheartening because I really did love Etsy for it's arts community and the sense that they really cared for handmade. I am looking around to branch out some. I'd be more than happy to share some sites I've found.

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