AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Fri Mar 11 2011 00:30:20

Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

Some Etsy users are unhappy after learning that anyone can now find them by typing their real names into the Etsy search engine. Even buyers show up in search results, letting people view their favorite items, favorite shops, and the "teams" to which they belong.

Etsy has been rolling out social features that have been unpopular with many of its users, including the decision to eliminate discussion forums and replace them with teams and getting rid of its Alchemy feature. On Thursday, People search was the latest controversial move.

"Does anyone use another retail or selling site where when you become a member just to purchase something you become searchable as a user?" asked one Etsy member.

You can find buyers and sellers by name by going to Etsy, typing a name (such as Jane Smith), and using the drop down menu to select "people," then hitting the search button. A search for Jane Smith brings back six pages of Smiths.

Note that users' names are not searchable if they did not include their real names in their profiles, but their User IDs are searchable.

For example, a search for my name in a People search on Etsy won't show my profile because I did not put my name in my profile (I suspect I'm in the minority). But a search for my user name shows the teams I've joined along with my favorite items and shops, even though I have only bought, not sold, on that account.

Aside from some concern over privacy, many users who commented about the feature wondered what the benefits were to searching by a person's name.

Let us know what you think. If the marketplace on which you bought and/or sold let anyone find you by your real name and displayed your profile, do you think that would benefit you?

Comments (55) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: Adam Brown
Web Site

Tue Mar 15 18:19:32 2011

Hi, Adam Brown from Etsy here.

Just wanted to let you know that we have resolved this issue. As of right now, all your purchases and feedback on Etsy are now automatically set to private.

You can read more about it in our blog: http://www.etsy.com/storque/handmade-life/rethinking-feedback-12472/R>

Perminate Link for Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: el at tantalizing stitches
Web Site

Tue Mar 15 19:42:55 2011

this is all getting out of hand. its so sad too.

etsy knows how to send emails to members about the next craft night but it can't send notices about changes????

there is no reason to make customers opt out - they can opt in if they want to share what they purchased.

same thing with sellers. if it is no big deal then just make it opt in???? if you want to prove to us that EVERYONE wants these changes make it opt in and show us that people actually opt for it.

Perminate Link for Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: Elise

Tue Mar 15 22:47:00 2011

Thanks Adam, but it's really too little too late.  Just saying it's resolved is really not good enough. Etsy owes a lot of people a sincere apology. This issue was brought to the attention of Etsy Admin long before it was implemented.  It's a shame that it took negative outside publicity for Etsy to finally take notice of this horrible decision.  

Etsy has done irreparable harm to it's relationship with it's sellers.  Simply saying the problem is now "fixed" is not good enough.  Etsy only did this because of bad press, NOT because it's the right thing to do!

Perminate Link for Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: just an Etsy seller

Wed Mar 16 01:55:09 2011


I sell lots of handmade stuff on Etsy. People like to buy it. It would be nice if such interactions could continue without having to deal with some kind of a shitstorm every week.

Perminate Link for Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: another side of the coin

Wed Mar 16 02:16:49 2011

So Etsy had the coral advocate, the foul mouth raping greeting card fiasco and then this privacy evasion. Wonder what next weeks Etsy's insult du jour will be. I guess Etsy believes bad publicity is better than no publicity. What a racket!

Perminate Link for Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

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

Thu Mar 17 07:36:51 2011

Similar to what I wrote on the ab forums - Etsy is already and will continue to take flak for this but in the long run, they're following the right road. They will look at their execution for sure and probably redact much of the things they've rolled out e.g viewing purchase history.

However, by moving toward and building around people, I think the people centric marketplace is far healthier than company centric or category centric. At Lifemall, we're also building our marketplace around our users - for me, it makes sense on numerous levels ignoring even the social transformation of the web right now.

Perminate Link for Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: JewelryOnTheRocks This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 17 07:57:07 2011

Adam Brown, do you REALLY think you've fixed things? I don't, any more than I think I can cure a headache by pounding my toes with a hammer. All you've done is insure that your sellers are exposed to more blatant feedback extortion and buyers are exposed to sellers who are shilling.

You need to totally rethink your approach to ecommerce, take care of your sellers and help them take care of their buyers. You couldn't drag me back to Etsy with a team of wild horses.

Perminate Link for Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: funnyone
Web Site

Thu Mar 17 10:14:53 2011

Thank you for the update!
Etsy reached out to AB in order to continue putting out false and misleading info concerning both the privacy settings AND what Etsy calls their "social experiment."

Etsy is claiming today after the press attention that they are making changes, however, they are not.  Privacy and account settings on the site have not been changed NOR have any account holders been informed by email of any changes --- none have been made.

While Etsy claims now that privacy "is of great concern" their employees continue to post several times a day on the site encouraging sellers to USE the social tools on the site which are in direct violation of privacy laws.

Etsy is telling one thing to AB, but they are doing something completely different behind the scenes.

Etsy is also spending a great deal of ink telling sellers how wrong they are!  Any contact from Etsy should be regarded with increasing skeptisicm.  

In the meantime, don't spend a dime on Etsy.

Perminate Link for Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: funnyone

Thu Mar 17 10:15:06 2011

Thank you for the update!
Etsy reached out to AB in order to continue putting out false and misleading info concerning both the privacy settings AND what Etsy calls their "social experiment."

Etsy is claiming today after the press attention that they are making changes, however, they are not.  Privacy and account settings on the site have not been changed NOR have any account holders been informed by email of any changes --- none have been made.

While Etsy claims now that privacy "is of great concern" their employees continue to post several times a day on the site encouraging sellers to USE the social tools on the site which are in direct violation of privacy laws.

Etsy is telling one thing to AB, but they are doing something completely different behind the scenes.

Etsy is also spending a great deal of ink telling sellers how wrong they are!  Any contact from Etsy should be regarded with increasing skeptisicm.  

In the meantime, don't spend a dime on Etsy.

Perminate Link for Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: Et tu, Brute!

Thu Mar 17 12:04:05 2011

I can almost guarantee a class action lawsuit looming and every seller and BUYER ever associated with Etsy will be approached to sign on!  ''Buyer'' being the operative word.  The payout is going to be astronomical!

This blunder is MASSIVE!  Kalin as CEO is showing himself to be not only a complete moron but an unscrupulous entity without conscience !  I cannot even imagine the ripple effect this piece of stupidity will generate.  It's gone viral now and it will get worse.

It has taken years to assure the public that purchasing online is a safe venture, and in one fell swoop Etsy has reprehensibly undermined that effort!  I suggest everyone file a complaint with TrustE to start and to also contact the FTC as this is a complete violation of privacy!

There needs to be a clean sweep from the CEO to the etsy administration because they appear to be birds of a feather flocking together!

Perminate Link for Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: Et tu, Brute!

Thu Mar 17 12:13:21 2011

By the way, what has hiding feedback got to do with fixing a problem where a person's name can be Googled along with a purchase of a sex toy, the description, the date, along with -- on the first Google page -- the individual's resumes for an employment search???  It only takes a few moment's to destroy a person's reputation, and THIS incident too has gone viral!!!

Perminate Link for Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: Rachel

Thu Mar 17 12:26:59 2011

Et tu, Brute! says:

It has taken years to assure the public that purchasing online is a safe venture, and in one fell swoop Etsy has reprehensibly undermined that effort!  
-------------

It is hard for consumers to know when their information is truly safe.  But privacy and online shopping, even social commerce, can co-exist peacefully.

Shoply has made a blog post in response to the latest privacy outcry, which can be read here:  http://blog.shoply.com/2011/03/social-commerce-privacy-security/

Perminate Link for Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: Et tu, Brute!

Thu Mar 17 12:32:23 2011

Thank you, Rachel.  I'll be checking that out.  :)

Only a couple clicks and I was on a non-selling site and I was lead to this:  http://www.eylerwerve.com/2011/etsy-com-publishes-real-names-and
-purchase-history-of-buyers/

Is
there a term worse than "virul"?

Perminate Link for Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: Watching the Wheels

Fri Mar 18 09:24:12 2011

I dunno, how much faith that I'd be willing to give Liad of Shoply. he can already be found posting in fred Wilson's blog. OR should I say ingratiating himself there.

Venue owners will tell users what they want in order to serve the needs of the venue.
I have not found a paragon of virtue, yet.

This is business, and everyone needs to think with their heads NOT hearts and ego.

Perminate Link for Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: ETSYuser
Web Site

Mon Jun 13 14:59:04 2011

This is still going on with Etsy and they have hardly done anything to fix this issue.  

I had a run-in with them regarding this exact issue today.  When my name is searched in google, etsy comes up and number 2 and 3, displaying my purchases and feeback.  I emailed them as well as spoke with a live chat person who didn't seem to care and told me that I would have to contact google myself.  Are you kidding me?

I dont mind the shipper seeing and knowing my first and last name, but does my business partners and well as siblings, etc. need to know everything I purchase through etsy???

This issue is BEYOND me.

Mind you, I had absolutely NO IDEA about these privacy issues.  I only googled after I was given no satisfaction and found all of these articles.

FYI.  Here is the conversation between myself and the etsy rep:

Jessie: Hi, my name is Jessie. How may I help you?
Customer: Yes hi
Customer: Is there a way to block my full name as well as purchase history/feedback from showing up in google when my name is searched
Customer: I would assume that something like personal purchases would be a private thing...It is amazing to me that it is public.  That is kinda like amazon displaying my entire purchase history to the world, which is absurd
Customer: Please help me with this
Customer: i have even changed the way my name is displayed on etsy
Customer: from my full name (First name initial, Last Name), yet my etsy profile PLUS purchase history still shows up under my full name search
Jessie: I can remove your full name one sec
Customer: okay, thank you
Jessie: There is a slight cache time w Google so if they have not picked up the info since you changed it your old info will be displayed.
Jessie: Okay the real name is blank now.
Customer: no I've actually changed it about 2 weeks ago....and ive checked back todau
Customer: *today
Customer: and it still comes up when I do a full name search..I totally understand that etsy has to market, promote, etc
Customer: but i believe the feedback/purchase history being public is a little too much
Customer: when I google my name my ebay account doesnt come up and neither does my amazon and these are huuuge, major companies
Customer: i dont need my business colleagues searching and knowing about my small, personal purchases
Customer: This is very strange to me... that this is even allowed
Customer: i mean, with all of these privacy issues in today's society, i was tooootally blown away when I initially discovered this
Jessie: Google specifically searches our site and provides the info. You will need to contact them directly to remove the info more quickly if you would like it gone immediately.
Customer: so i have to contact google?
Customer: that makes no sense...they specifically search your site because you allow them to
Jessie: That is correct, we have made all the changes we can from here to end the search.
Customer: many, many other sites can say/do the same thing
Customer: im sorry but im not satisfied with that answer
Customer: or the fact that etsy can just run away from at least looking into the problem
Customer: or at least trying to help me to solve this issue...its really sad
Customer: im very disappointed
Jessie: Let me put it this way. You are contacting Etsy about info that Google is providing. We have removed the info from teh Etsy site. As Google is a third oparty site you will need to contact Google directly with your concerns regarding the info Google provides. We can not change info on thrid party sites nor can we answer for them.
Customer: Let me put it this way... I know who i am contacting and I understand what you are saying, however, I believe that etsy feels more comfortable with the ''advertising'' than protecting their clients privacy concerns....and regardless of what you say, no disrespect, but I am still very, very disappointed that you would not even to say, speak to or have your manager speak to some higher ups to somehow manage this issue.  I make online purchases from over a zillion sites and this is the first i have ever seen anything in this nature.  
Customer: Okay.......before i let you go, because i know you really want to get rid of me, can you please email me this transcript?
Jessie: I am sorry, but we have removed your name , it will no longer be available in search. Once Google scans the site again for info your info will no longer be provided.
Jessie: I am happy to continue the discussion with you, you will be emailed a transcript once we end the chat.
Jessie: Etsy is very soecific because you are a member of the community as opposed to a user of the site.
Jessie: which is why your info regarding Favorites was on Google.
Customer: and i am not against your company..i love that it provides a different and special variety of items and sellers...but i like my privacy.  Normally when my name is googled, nothing about me personally comes up and i make certain that it is that way.  And for etsy to come up is really beyond my scope of understanding'
Customer: I dont we are on the same page because i am a member of many community sites and have the right whether or not I want my information made public
Customer: *i dont think we are on the same page
Customer: and sorry i dont have time to go back and forth, but just need for you to please email me this transcript, thank you
Jessie: Right and with your request we have removed your info from our site. Now you will need to go to Google directly and make the same request
Customer: Jessie, thank you again
Customer: and again i am not going back and forth
Jessie: Once we close the chat you will receive the email. Can I assist you with anything else today?
Customer: can you PLEASE, for the last time, email me this transcript
Customer: Thank you
Customer: and no thanks I am fine
Jessie: I will take that as a no, good day!

Click to view more comments
1 2 3 


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.