Etsy sellers are looking for answers about how the company is sharing their information with shoppers and have been getting few clear answers. This thread
kicked it off on Monday when a seller noticed a new field called Seller Details in the new Shop format that pulled incorrect information (her personal information instead of her business information) and appeared to make that available publicly.
What was most concerning to many sellers was that the information included home addresses.
There were lots of questions: What was this new field, where was it pulling information from, what about sellers who didn't want their information made public? Did this have to do with the European Union directives and what about sellers who don't sell to Europe? And why weren't they able to permanently delete or change the information in Seller Details?
Questions and concerns grew, and nearly 24 hours later, someone from Etsy's legal team showed up in the thread and tried to offer a clarification. But despite ending with this reassurance, "Etsy will not make the Seller Details available to buyers unless the seller saves the information submitted in the Seller Details field," seller questions and concerns remained.
We reached out to Etsy yesterday afternoon. We received a response when we reached out again yesterday evening: see today's article in EcommerceBytes
. As we noted, Etsy provides a guide for those selling to Europe and you should understand and follow EU regulations. But likewise, Etsy should make it clear to sellers what information they are making available publicly and how they can go about verifying what information is being displayed to users.
It's a big deal to have your home address published online, but Etsy is doing little to explain and reassure sellers about those concerns. I searched Etsy's help pages for information about the Seller Details field and found nothing.
One seller on the thread said she must be missing something. "For quite some time EU regulations have been in place where your name and address are shown to EU buyers. So what is truly the issue here. Is it just that many did not know of this regulation? or what?"
Another seller responded, "It is not being shown to "just your buyers" It is being shown to anyone who clicks on your seller info. I am not a buyer, and I can see your address. You might be okay with that, but a lot of people are not. That info is also being auto-filled from "somewhere" which many of the addresses being shown are wrong in many ways. Also, many people are finding it difficult to delete or change"
A reader explained how you might check to see if your address and phone number are being made public. Go to the bottom of any Etsy page and to the left of "Help" it shows your Country, Language, and Currency (United States, English, $USD in my case). Click on Country and change it to United Kingdom.
Then, go into a seller's Shop and click on Policies - if you are logged in as "United States," you won't see a field called "Seller Information" with the person's name and address, but if you are logged in as "United Kingdom," you'll see Shop owner's addresses and sometimes phone number - but not for every single user.
The reader who wrote to us said it was happening even in cases where Shops don't ship to the EU. "I removed EU countries from my shipping profiles and my info was/is still there. Etsy is saying it will only be shown to EU buyer, but that isn't true. By doing the above, anyone can see that info. And they are pulling from our credit card information which is completely unacceptable. Many of us use our business names and a business address, not our personal names and home addresses."
We'd like Etsy sellers to help us by asking their questions here. Are you clear about the EU directives, and are you clear about how to toggle your settings so your address remains private if you wish?
UPDATE 3/23/16 2:08 pm ET: Etsy has updated the thread on its forums to provide much greater clarity. But as we point out in the update we added to today's Newsflash article, make sure you understand what Etsy means when they say, "Information entered here will only be shown to buyers in the EU."
UPDATE 3/23/16 @ 10:02 pm ET:
Etsy has backed down and will no longer auto-fill sellers' addresses in the Seller Details field, see Thursday's Newsflash article available now