Thursday, May 20, 2010


I tend to compartmentalize issues and speak to them individuallyNot that my opinion would change so much, as in the recent changes Etsy has made with regard to mature listings, but that when looking at the issues leading up to this change, more people are to blame for this change than just Etsy.

Etsy is still, in my opinion, at the very bottom of this issue since it is their lack of enforcement of their own rules that caused this.  When weeding through all that led up to this action, it is clear to me that sellers pushed the envelope too far.

Since mature items have always been allowed on the site (that follow specific guidelines) and there have always been treasuries made with these items, it wasn't until recently it was viewed as a problem.

With the introduction of Suggested Shops in each Etsy user's Favorites section, supposedly based on things you mark as a favorite and those that favorite you and their favorites it has led to a flurry of discussions.  First about it all being big sellers and Etsy favorite sellers, then about the items not appealing to a given user.  Then it turned to objectionable items; ie mature.  If this feature had been thought out a little better, it would have enabled each user to, at the very least, delete shops that didn't appeal to their tastes so that new ones would replace it.  And although the feature is supposed to change daily, as it stands now, in my own list, very little has changed except for the ones I marked as a personal favorite are now not showing.  I still have the same shops, shuffled around a bit, and a couple of new ones to replace the ones I marked.

Because of the lack of an option to delete and the generally static list of shops, now users with objectionable material in theirs are not able to avoid it.  So, they go to the forums and voice their opinions, calling out mature sellers of certain items.

In retaliation, mature sellers and their supporters go to that wonderful new feature called Treasury East, where anyone can make as many treasuries as they want any time they want and they never expire.  They put up a full page of treasuries of mature items and because of the controversy, they remain on the first page due to the 'hotness' factor.

Mature objectors are now becoming more vocal in the forums, because now not only is there a link on the front page to the Treasury East but the default first page is full of 'hot' treasuries full of mature listings. Some sellers feel, and I think they have a point, that some people are going to be offended, especially if that is their first exposure to the site.

The skirmishes in the forums led to using the Treasury East as a battleground in full public view.  Despite the fact that some items did not fit the rules of the site, treasury curators used them, probably as a shock factor to make their point. Escalation was inevitable and Etsy had to jump in and try to manage some sort of damage control.

I think the childish behavior displayed by both sides of this issue forced Etsy into making a hasty decision.  As far as I'm concerned, nobody looked at the long term effect of their actions, not the objectors, not the mature sellers/supporters and certainly not Etsy.

Sellers complain all day long that Etsy doesn't vet their front page features, but for some reason fail to comprehend the treasury curators responsibility in the equation.  If they vetted their choices, it stands to reason when Admin picks a treasury for the front page, it will already be in compliance with site rules.  Because Treasury East was used as a platform to air disagreements and not the promotional tool it was intended for, it is now going to be more restrictive.

I'd love to place the full blame on Etsy, since if they just enforced their rules regarding mature listings, none of this would be an issue, certainly not of the proportions it has reached currently.  Nothing has really changed except for the Suggested Favorites addition and the Treasury East.  Logic would indicate to me, that if all other things have remained the same, the problem is likely with these two changes.  Then you would have to look at what the common problem is, which is the presence of thumbnail pictures that have the potential to offend.  That same image, by Etsy rules, should be G-rated for all audiences. Enforce compliance and this becomes a non-issue.   

All of this aside, it does not excuse the childish behavior of the sellers.  What did they think would happen when the Treasury East was used as a battleground?  Did anyone ever stop and think that their actions might bring about consequences they didn't expect?  Did anyone look beyond their own offended nose to consider what might happen?  I'm guessing not.

Keep poking the tiger and he eventually will bite you. 

Do I agree with Etsy's choice in how to handle mature items?  No, I do not.  I'd much prefer they enforce their rules.  Do I think sellers got what they deserved?  Yes I do, unfortunately. I think they pushed too far in this instance and it backfired on them.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


It never fails, the minute I defend Etsy on one count, they do something so utterly stupid and illogical I wonder why I even bother.  Today they announced this, apparently in response to several forum threads regarding the new Treasury East and a number of treasuries depicting mature items.  

So now, those sellers who don't bother to follow the rules regarding mature listings have now ruined it for the ones that do.

So, for Etsy site search you can 'opt out' of mature listings in your results, but in treasuries you have to 'opt in'.  But if you're not following the rules and don't tag mature, your item won't be filtered out and if you also haven't modified your thumbnail to be appropriate, then voila, your item appears to exactly the person who conscientiously tried to filter you out, opting in doesn't really make sense because they'd be there anyway.  But the default would exclude them.......again, only if they follow the listing criteria.

Etsy, you have literally just endorsed not complying with the mature listing rules, did you know that?  If someone following the rules is punished because of the rule breakers and nothing is done to those who break the rules, what do you think the end result of that is going to be?

Take down the listings and treasuries that break the rules!  You made the rules regarding mature listings, why don't you just enforce them instead of a useless filter that anyone can bypass??????????  Punish the rule breakers for once and not the ones following the rules.

Big Fat Etsy Fail!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

When You Let Everyone Play...Nobody Wins


As if the reseller problems aren't bad enough, Etsy's claim that 'hand assembled' equals 'handmade' has hit an all time low.

I understand the reasoning behind allowing the assemblage of commercially made products under the definition of handmade, but it is my belief that in doing so, it has opened the doors to so much abuse, that when looking at Etsy, it's difficult for the truly handmade to stand out.

Every time I see that Ladders commercial, with everyone running out of the stands onto the tennis court, I automatically think of Etsy.  "If everyone is allowed to play then nobody wins".

By Etsy lowering the bar on what constitutes handmade,  they have diluted (and polluted) the pool.

When someone who buys mass produced knitted or crocheted hats and clips or glues on a mass produced embellishment is considered to be just as handmade as someone's hand knitted or crocheted hat with handmade embellishments, then something is seriously wrong.

Just today I ran across commercial Pandora Beads on commercial Pandora Bracelets listed under handmade jewelry.  Apparently, because someone put those beads on that bracelet  with their hands, it is now deemed handmade according to Etsy standards.  Pretty low standards if you ask me.

I've been saying since the tagline 'Your Place to Buy and Sell All Things Handmade' was removed (under the guise of it not being inclusive of Vintage and commercial supplies) that it was a bad omen.  Etsy is no longer the place for handmade, and though it has never been officially noted, it appears that it's new tag line is more along the lines of a 'global marketplace'.

It was once argued that handmade was not in competition with big box companies.  That we are not Walmart, but guess again because big box is selling right along side you now with Etsy's blessings.

Many will argue that it's difficult to draw the line.  I say hogwash.  If integrity and handmade ethos were important enough to Etsy, they would draw that line and enforce it.  It's much easier to change the tag line to be all inclusive of what now is on Etsy than it would be to raise their standards and weed out what does not belong.

Too bad, so sad for those of us that joined years ago believing that Etsy was the Holy Grail for handmade artisans and crafters.

I could rant on forever, but the Ladders commercial really says it all.