Sunday, January 30, 2011

You've gone too far, etsy

I think I've mentioned that I haven't been happy with etsy and they way some things are done there. They're making changes fast and furious now in trying to make etsy a social e-commerce site like just like Facebook (if Facebook offered shopping).

I'm quite upset about the latest change: they've announced that they're going to be adding a feature similar to Facebook's Friend Finder. Etsy members will be able to give etsy access their email account after which etsy will check the email against a list of etsy members and their emails to show which email contacts also have a username on etsy so that they can become part of a person's "circle". Etsy will email those email addresses not associated with an etsy account to invite them to join etsy.

On the surface, this seems like no big deal, right? Right. No one has to allow etsy access to their email account, so that's ok. And if someone has a lot of friends on etsy and they get a lot of emails inviting them to join etsy, that's... sort of ok. It would annoy me and I'd want etsy to stop emailing me, but etsy hasn't said anything about a procedure for people opting out of that email so I'd be out of luck.

The list that etsy will use to check whether an email is associated with an etsy username will be compiled of all etsy users and will be opt-out, which is not at all ok due to privacy concerns. No list of this type should be opt-out because it's a sneaky, underhanded tactic. Etsy has already said that the list will be opt-out because otherwise they wouldn't get enough people signing up and it wouldn't be a good first-time user experience. Hmmm.

Etsy is beginning to send emails to all members informing them that this change will happen in mid-February and that they can opt-out of the list when this feature goes live. They're starting with the members who haven't accessed etsy in a long time - one-time-only buyers and members who haven't visited etsy in years. How many people will remember to opt-out in two weeks or so when they haven't visited etsy in a long time? I call shenanigans.

I'm personally against the Facebookization of etsy and I'm strongly against this new service. Not only do I want etsy checking whether every single person I've ever emailed has an account on etsy, I don't want etsy sending them emails. From a privacy perspective, etsy has not specified who will have access to the emails they collect or what they will do with those emails and has not described a process for people to access their won information. These are required under Canadian Privacy laws (PIPEDA).

I know that etsy is running their own business and have to do what they think is right for it. However, I don't have to support them by giving them my money or by shopping there. Quite frankly, I don't like the direction etsy is headed and I've lost my trust in them.

Therefore, when I do start making and selling jewelry again (and I will), I won't be selling it on etsy. Instead, I'll put it up for sale on ArtFire, an online sales venue that is an etsy competitor with all the best things etsy used to have plus all of the features and functionality etsy needed. Unless I'm buying from friends or family, I won't be shopping on etsy again.


manchester fat acceptance said...

whaaaaaa? if i am not misunderstanding, etsy will be able to access my email account to spam my friends / acquaintances / family? EEEEEEK! it's like a frigging virus!


Chantelle said...

You're not misunderstanding. You do have to give etsy access to your account, but etsy wants to spam everyone you know. They're sad that everyone you know isn't an etsy member.

Love you,

Beachy Rustica said...

Thanks for posting this and helping to let people know about the upcoming privacy issue. There is another article about it here if you're interested: