Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Why Etsy "Improves"

I had some comments and emails yesterday asking my opinion as to why Etsy messes with things. I only have my ideas but as I don't work at Etsy...I don't really know. Let's take another look at the feedback image from my customer's buying page:

This useless piece of crap replaced the following valuable tool:

I tweaked this google seller feedback image to hide names but seller and buyer feedback used to look the same. There were links to the item sold and an little picture, the date and a link to the buyer's account. While I miss this set up terribly, I can see the potential for abuse and I suspect that's why Etsy made the change.

Abuse? I can imagine a seller... let's say a soap maker for example... could go and check out her competition's sales feedback. From there you could see who is buying what and within a few clicks, be sending the competitor's customer an Etsy email saying "I see you love handmade soap. Come check out my shop!"

While I don't know if this is what happened that made Etsy make the change I do know of something similar that happened a few years back.

In lampworking circles, you often hear of the "crazy woman from Texas" who is currently suing lampworkers and other Etsy artisans! This all started a few years back when a glasser caught Miss Cookoo selling glass beads as her own, when in fact she had bought them on Ebay. The glasser filed a report with Etsy as this is a clear violation of Etsy policy. There was a big stink and it died down. The following summer, the nutjob decided to start a website and expose Etsy artisans as frauds.

She began making shill purchases under fake names all to get the name and address of the seller. She would then return the item or file a claim with paypal to keep from paying for the items. Supposedly, she called the tax boards of each and every seller to turn them in for tax fraud.

Full disclosure, she reported me. I have no idea how she got my address but I became a target after writing supportive posts about the artists she focused on. Funny thing: I'm the most overly honest human. The FIRST thing I did when I learned I was about to own a rubber stamp business is call my local tax board to see if the business license I already had to work as a freelance film and tv producer would be valid for selling merchandise. It was not and I was in their office the next day to get all paperwork in order a full month before I had any inventory to sell!  But I digress...

During this time, many people watched her purchasing accounts and as soon as she made another purchase, the seller was contacted... IN ORDER TO PROTECT THE SELLER FROM FRAUD! Yes, this was a violation of Etsy policy. But Etsy wasn't protecting anyone from this person! I'm sure people did what they felt they had to in order to protect the community at large.

All this is going to do is drive the sellers (and buyers) underground to protect one another. I belong to several glass bulletin boards and... we OPENLY post lists of sellers to avoid! I imagine, with Etsy rendering it's feedback tool useless, those boards are going to be very busy!

No comments: