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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2500 - March 16, 2011 - ISSN 1539-5065    2 of 3

Etsy Controversy over Privacy Continues

By Ina Steiner
March 16, 2011

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After writing about Etsy users who were concerned about privacy resulting from the site's recent policy changes (on Friday and Tuesday), Etsy spokesperson Adam Brown reached out to notify us of its reaction to those concerns.

"I wanted to let you know that we have responded to this issue by making all purchase and feedback on Etsy private by default," Brown said, and pointed to this Etsy blog post written by Etsy founder Rob Kalin and Etsy COO Adam Freed. "We want to apologize. We also want to set the record straight about how our product works and about changes we made today in response to your feedback."

As AuctionBytes reported last week, many Etsy users were unhappy about the changes that made it easy for anyone to link an Etsy User ID to their real name if they had included their name in their profiles. Because Etsy's feedback system is similar to eBay's and displays items purchased in Feedback, people could see the identity of some users and what they had purchased.

But as Kalin and Freed explain in their blog post, it wasn't until the issue received media attention that they made the decision to address those concerns.

Despite the aknowlegement, apology and change in feedback policy, some Etsy users feel the company has still not fixed the underlying problems. An Etsy user wrote to AuctionBytes, "Contrary to what Etsy claims, users remain searchable by default and they have to opt-out. They have not changed any default settings." She continued:

"In addition, there is still a bug in the sign up form which prevents users from being informed that their real names are optional and will be public once filled in. With the way the form is done now, users are mislead into thinking that their names are required, and are not told that they will be made public. Again, this can be verified by trying to sign up- the warning message only appears sometimes."

Etsy users are commenting about the issue on this Etsy discussion board.

Comment on the AuctionBytes Blog

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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