Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Aug 16 2012 16:41:11

Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign

By: Ina Steiner

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Etsy is testing what would be a major change to its search engine along with an accompanying redesign of its home page, and many sellers say they fear their listings would get less exposure as a result of such changes.

Etsy sellers list three main types of goods: Handmade, for which it is most known; Vintage; and Supplies. Its search box at the top of the page has a pulldown menu to help searchers narrow down their search, and Etsy's home page also contains a prominent list of categories.



Now, some visitors are no longer seeing a pulldown menu when entering a search term, and the category list has been reduced to only seven categories.



When those encountering the new Etsy test enter a search term, and search results contain items from all three sections - handmade, vintage and supplies. A search for "comic" today came back with 34,837 listings in search results. On the upper left-hand side of the page were radio buttons to narrow down results from "All Items" to one of the three main types of goods:

All Items
Handmade 28,253
Vintage 6,119
Supplies 1,394

Threads popped up in the Etsy discussion boards lamenting the removal of Vintage from the search drop-down box and upset over the removal of categories such as Vintage and Art from the category list. A moderator explained it was a test that was only some visitors were exposed to:

"Just jumping in to let you all know that some of you have encountered a product we have recently been testing. Occasionally, we test new products and tools on a small percentage of visitors to Etsy. This test is conducted to gather information and feedback on how they work. From this data, we can develop the product to the best of our ability.

If we learn anything valuable from an experiment and decide to make changes to the site, we will openly announce these changes, often on the Etsy News Blog, the Forums, or through other channels.

If you are a seller encountering this experiment, we recommend that you do not change your normal selling processes, as again the experiment is only exposed to a small percentage of visitors.

Let us know if you have additional feedback on this experiment, you can always send it to support@etsy.com, or leave it here on the Forums!"


Etsy spokesperson Adam Brown is researching the issue for EcommerceBytes, and we'll update this post when we learn more.

Note: See this followup piece from August 17, Etsy Reassures Vintage Sellers after Major Changes to Search.





Comments (21) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign   Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign

by: mylifeisgood This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 16 20:15:21 2012

Is anyone really really sure that Fleabay doesn't own or have controlling interest in Etsy. OR

is Etsy trying to be Fleabay??

Perminate Link for Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign   Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Aug 16 23:19:00 2012

@mylifeisgood - Here's what I found on the Etsy site. Do you recognize any of these names as being associated with eBay?

Board of Directors
Fred Wilson (Union Square Ventures)
Caterina Fake (co-founder of Hunch & Flickr)
Jim Breyer (Accel Partners)
Jonathan Klein (Getty Images)
Chad Dickerson (Etsy CEO)
Funding
$50 million from Caterina Fake, Stewart Butterfield, Josh Schachter, Albert Wenger, Union Square Ventures, Accel Partners, Hubert Burda Media, and Index Ventures.

Perminate Link for Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign   Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign

by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Fri Aug 17 00:07:48 2012

Man, thats a lot of funding.

But then again, etsy seem to be doing quite well saleswise.


Perminate Link for Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign   Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Aug 17 09:03:15 2012

If you think there are changes now, just wait until (if) they go public.   John Donahoe + eBay going public = disaster for small sellers.

Perminate Link for Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign   Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 17 10:38:56 2012

Okay - what moron came out with only 7 categories....ART is completely deleted!  If one wanted to browse thru paintings THERE IS NO CATEGORY FOR IT!  Its one of the largest categories on Etsy!  Did they hire ex-Ebay management?????

Perminate Link for Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign   Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign

This user has validated their user name. by: permacrisis

Fri Aug 17 18:44:21 2012

Why this war? Why this concerted, unified, across-the-board, extermination campaign to snuff out non- corporate items?

On second thought, GOOD- It will make the inevitable person-to-person "junk" based website that springs up as a result, shoot to the top that much faster.

MBA= Major Business A-Holes.

Perminate Link for Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign   Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 17 20:37:18 2012

@permacrisis - you do realize Etsy is predominantly a site for handmade, handcrafted items.  They do not carry corporate items unless they are vintage or supplies.

Perminate Link for Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign   Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign

This user has validated their user name. by: permacrisis

Sat Aug 18 19:34:20 2012

Yeah but think about it. What do elites think of vintage? Dirty, dusty, old rubbish. Let's get rid of that first. Oh, and those art people- we'll get them next.

We can sell the rest of 'em yarn.
"yes sir Mr Donahoe right away Sir."

Perminate Link for Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign   Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign

by: summer in the city This user has validated their user name.

Sat Aug 18 23:29:52 2012

I agree with permacrisis: this smells like Ebay.

There's a lot of fear and confusion:

http://www.etsy.com/teams/7718/site-help/discuss/107
75493/page/1

And
in the midst of all this, Etsy is suggesting sellers borrow money to invest in their Etsy shops!

http://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2012/getting-financing-for-y
our-business/?ref=fp_blog_title

Encouraging
naive young sellers to incur debt (in this economy yet!)  and invest in an unstable venue where they could be used as lab rats any day, any time, is unethical to say the least.

Perminate Link for Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign   Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 19 05:33:50 2012

If you think all of the handmade items on Etsy are actually handmade, you should check out the ''Not Remotely Handmade'' section of regretsy.com.  

Perminate Link for Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign   Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 19 16:35:17 2012

I have no doubt that Etsy will try something new.  Their search engine is atrocious - if you think you're unseen on Ebay you are sometimes totally invisible on Etsy.  Sellers need to keep relisting in order to get traffic at all!  I have some higher priced items I relist almost on a weekly basis - some relist daily.

Perminate Link for Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign   Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 20 01:18:18 2012

What I have noticed on Etsy this past year is that half the items or more are mass produced and from China or other Asian countries and being sold through European markets or touted as being European. Of course, according to Etsy, their sales are up and if you look, it is because they are selling the mass produced items. And so it is clearly more profitable for them to do so. In the long run that is the bottom line. U.S. sellers are tolerated, but not necessarily needed.    

Perminate Link for Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign   Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign

by: truehandmade This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 20 03:25:15 2012

Etsy doublespeak is so tiresome and so unoriginal, no wonder they secretly dislike real handmade.  Unannounced tests are nothing new but what most sellers who don't sell on Etsy should know by now is that tests are based on promoting more of the same sellers that Etsy personally likes, have liked for 7 yrs, and continue to promote for free to the detriment of 99.9% of all other non-liked sellers.  Etsy tweaks the site so that only 1% of promoted sellers continue to sell and the rest do not.  Etsy manipulates shoppers and steers them to the sellers that sell because Etsy constantly promotes them.
The inside info Etsy has took 7 yrs to develop and it doesn't benefit sellers, it benefits the same sellers that Etsy likes to promote.  And testing or tweaking of the site just solidifies this highly choreographed arrangement.  The listing fees provide the profit, the promoted sellers provide the false sense of entitlement.

Perminate Link for Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign   Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign

by: mtnbrk This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Aug 20 05:42:57 2012

I am just one person located in a very rural part of West Virginia.  I have been selling my handmade items on etsy since 8/2008 and eBay for over 13 years.  All this hue and cry about etsy just is not true.  Sure, there are some minor things I would like changed, but on the whole I do better on etsy right across the board then eBay and it costs me less with much less hassle and attempt to control my business on etsy then eBay.  

Perminate Link for Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign   Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign

by: Watching the Wheels This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 20 05:57:57 2012

I can't see Etsy getting rid of vintage. The vintage keywords get people to the site, and I'm sure that that's why it was added as a product line in the beginning.

What Etsy desparately NEEDS is a LEADER who isn't afraid to make for real decisions and who has HANDS ON experiance in the Brick and Morter World of actual retail. It needs someone who has actually worked with the public on the actual floor of ANY TYPE OF STORE, face to face with real people.

The money that pumped into the site from the VC tier was because FINALLY a venue had come along that had differentiateed itself enough from Amazon and Ebay to present a golden opportunity for the financiers to make money.

Unfortunately, these people know numbers and odds. They don't strike me as being a bad lot, but they're ignorant and possibly too dependant upon reading results from spread sheets.

Etsy is possibly even more "smoke and mirrors" in its approach than Ebay. And with Ebay, you can at least find what you are looking for.

Etsy has NEVER been upfront with its sellers. They don't know how. I also visit the about pages, occasionally and there also seems to be a fairly high turnover rate of employees. This is also a sign of a poorly run company.

To all sellers posting here;

Instead of continually starting thread in the forums, when you already KNOW the BS response, try writing the Board Members. They also have their money on the line, like we do.

I think it's shameful for a group of mere EMPLOYEES to have any control over the profits that either the "official investors" or the "sweat equity and inventory" investors --- US.

Write board members. Temperment wise and function wise WE are more closely aligned in our thinking that either one of us would be to the site's EMPLOYEES.

BUSINESS OWNERS? Y'all need to start thinking like one.

Perminate Link for Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign   Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign

by: Good Grief This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 20 09:45:35 2012

I left ebay to go to etsy, honestly it seems like they have MORE problems than ebay. I didn't even think that even possible?

I have one store in handmade but also wanted to open a supplies and a vintage.  I'm ready to go back to ebay about now for gods sake!

All in all I think the actual problem is that at least a thousand (or more) are signing up for etsy every month and the hipsters/hackers/coders just cant handle the traffic.

Perminate Link for Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign   Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign

by: Noneya This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 20 12:08:31 2012

Threads on Etsy are being shut down left and right by admins and  those same admins were still sticking to the party line form-letter of ''Occasionally, we test new products and tools on a small percentage of visitors to Etsy.'' and telling sellers who had valid concerns that this was only a test and only a small percentage were seeing this ''test''. However, from Ina's most recent post on the 17th of August Etsy spokesperson Adam Brown told EcommerceBytes that Etsy had rolled out the change to the search experience to 100% of Etsy on July 11, and said the browsing experience is still in the testing phase - ''we're gathering data and community feedback.''

So is it only a small percentage or 100%? Etsy regularly double speaks to it's sellers and the highly valued ''transparency'' Chad speaks so highly of seems to be inaccurate at best.  

Perminate Link for Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign   Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign

by: Watching the Wheels This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 20 13:56:06 2012

@ Ina,

Don't you find it odd that a site as large as Etsy only shows 28,000+ items when someone tries an all items search?

I had noticed that the other day, and when discussing that with another seller, SHE noticed that the items in question had the word ''ALL'' within their titles.

When you get updated by Adam, could you find out about the chop job done to an ''all items search''?

Perminate Link for Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign   Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign

by: Watching the Wheels This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 21 05:05:36 2012

@JackSparrow,

Fred Wilson has a stake in Twitter and Breyer in Facebook.

Perminate Link for Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign   Etsy Tests Major Change to Search, Homepage Redesign

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 21 17:39:51 2012

I buy a LOT at Etsy. It has the worst search logic I have ever used. You cannot select multiple fields without undoing one field after another--for example ''vintage/jewelry/brooch/cameo'' Try it--you'll go nuts. They really need to start over because it is worse now than it was before. I can still find the results I seek, but it takes the most obtuse iterations of basic query syntax!  

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