Tag Archives: bad practices

Why can’t Etsy get it Straight?

The following are excerpts from a Wired’s article – http://www.wired.com/design/2012/09/etsy-goes-pro/2/ – we have underlined some pieces we consider important and commented on them as well, here it goes:

“First, Etsy couldn’t keep losing ambitious sellers and forgoing future revenue. Dickerson saw a solution in improving the basic UI-making it easier for sellers to sell. In his three-year tenure, he’d already more than quadrupled the size of the tech team with that in mind.”

“Other shifts may sound like semantics but could have a profound impact on the community. For example, Etsy has decided to allow sellers to self-identify as “designers” -meaning they can outsource some of their production work.
Rules that once limited working with outside vendors or employees are being systematically reconsidered. “We’ve missed out on a whole piece of creativity,” says Lauren Engelhardt, who oversees policy matters for the company, “which is people who design something but maybe don’t have the means to produce it themselves-things that need specialized equipment or a lot of people with specialized skills.””

“The changes are a work in progress-“We’re still figuring out how to express it in policy language,” Dickerson says-but the immediate upshot is an effort to resolve borderline cases in ways that keep successful sellers on the site. The front line of enforcement is the community itself, users who flag a given shop for insufficiently handmade behavior. But if the shop’s practices are deemed to be “in the spirit of Etsy,” as Dickerson puts it, the sellers can work with the “Marketplace Integrity and Trust & Safety” department (which recently doubled in size) that helps shopkeepers preserve the spirit of Etsy as they grow. For instance, a seller who shapes wooden kitchen implements can have custom patterns laser-cut by a vendor, but should divulge the process on their shop’s About page.”

“Couldn’t the laser cutter be an anonymous factory in China, though? No, Dickerson says, because that would violate “community standards.” That seems vague to the point of evasive. The bottom line is that Etsy is devoting more time to what amounts to judgment calls and resolving them in seller-friendly ways. It’s an incremental process but a sweeping one-even hard-and-fast Etsy no-no’s like drop-shipping could be revisited.”

At Etsy headquarters, Dickerson offers a different take on the company’s goals. Some purists may not like it, he explains, but the site can’t just be a parallel universe where crafters quibble over what is truly handmade. Sellers have to think bigger if they are going to “change the way retail works from the inside,” he says.

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AND BELOW IS WHAT WE HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS LITANY OF VAGUENESS AND INCOHERENCE:

Is clear that Etsy’s main focus is in keeping: “ambitious sellers” AND  “keep successful sellers on the site”

  • Although everyone understands that the purpose of a business is to make money, in Etsy’s case promoting and safekeeping ambitious and successful sellers regardless of where and how their items are produced (say factories overseas mass-producing finished items), is wrong and not what their mission statement, core values and how they present the site is about. Even worse is their discrimination when shutting down certain shops with no legitimate reason but leaving those “successful” ones opened.

This article also features a few sellers, one of them makes “handmade” bamboo clockfaces, these are laser cut by a company in New Zealand, but when Dickerson is asked “Couldn’t the laser cutter be an anonymous factory in China, though? Dickerson says No, because that would violate “community standards.”

  • What is he saying then, that a seller can use a factory from New Zealand but not one in China? This is all very confusing and can only be interpreted as he talking out of both sides of his mouth.
  • They seem very confused themselves in this race of theirs not to loose certain sellers but at the same time throw others out (the expendable ones), to pretend they care and are protecting the integrity of the site.

 Here is one more incongruity:

 “The front line of enforcement is the community itself, users who flag a given shop for insufficiently handmade behavior. But if the shop’s practices are deemed to be “in the spirit of Etsy,” as Dickerson puts it,………

 And then in other part of the article he says: “Some purists may not like it, he explains, but the site can’t just be a parallel universe where crafters quibble over what is truly handmade”.

  • First, how is that any seller/member is given the power to judge and report what is “insufficiently handmade behavior”
  • Second, if no one can define what “handmade” really means and they don’t want people to quibble over it, why ask them to flag shops for not being “sufficiently handmade”
  • Third, why is that Dickerson doesn’t define once and for all what exactly is “the spirit of Etsy”

And about this statement: “The changes are a work in progress—”We’re still figuring out how to express it in policy language,” Dickerson say

  • The question is:  if they don’t even have their policies down pat, what the heck are they doing shutting down stores, under what set of policies? Oh that’s right, the same way they have been doing for years, X polices apply to certain sellers and Y policies apply to the rest.

And lastly: Sellers have to think bigger if they are going to “change the way retail works from the inside,” Dickerson say

  • Do they really think people are that retarded? They are not changing a thing just going back to the good old factory-made/mass-produced items. Which is totally the opposite of what Etsy started as and how they present the site, this is not a sin, but if this is what it has become, then they have to define the site accordingly and stop the abuse and double standards.

You judge for yourself!