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Fri Mar 11 2011 00:30:20

Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

By: Ina Steiner

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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) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: Joe Average

Fri Mar 11 00:47:29 2011

I guess they thought it would be trendy & cool to emulate facebook, at least to a degree?

It looks like eBay is not the only site floundering.

I am looking forward to the next Hitler spoof of "regretsy".

Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Fri Mar 11 00:48:10 2011

Rob Kalin has moire than screw loose.

This 'feature" is an invasion of privacy. At best, it should be opt in and reqwuire afirmative user action to implement.

If invasion of privacy is such a good idea, perhaps someone should research Rob Kalin's personal information and post it in all relevant places.

Making a user's personal information available publicly without their express permission could and should result in litigation.

What a jerk Kalin must be.

Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: another side of the coin

Fri Mar 11 02:10:26 2011

I think this will greatly limit sales IMO. At least on Facebook you know you are going there to socialize. Maybe Etsy does not want to be a selling site anymore and sellers should just quit and go to Artfire or other sites where they are wanted.

Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

This user has validated their user name. by: Bob

Fri Mar 11 02:37:59 2011

When I go to a shopping site, I'm searching for items to buy, not for people.  That is a creepy, invasive, useless feature that means I've crossed Etsy off my list of possible selling or buying sites.  

Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: HereAgain

Fri Mar 11 07:53:40 2011

Etsy wants to be like Facebook. eBay wants to be like Amazon. It looks like no one can invent something new, just try to copy another successful entity. Just how does that set you apart from the crowd? It does not.

When I am shopping for something,I want to shop, not socialize. I think that is true of the vast majority of my customers.

Better to focus on offering desirable (unique if possible) products at reasonable prices with good customer service. The rest is just fluff and often simply an unproductive drain on resources.

Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: walter

Fri Mar 11 13:04:57 2011

Kind of dumb to even waste time on trying to be like Facebook on Etsy.

I also don't like when someone favorites an item that is in your circle, you get notified. I have a serial favorite shopper in my circle that seems like she favorites everything on the site. Hundreds of items a day! No human could possibly need as much stuff as she favorites daily.

I almost want to remove her from my circle but I don't want to hurt her feelings.

I wish these sales sites would just leave things alone and stick with what is working already. No need for extra junky gizmos and gadgets that serve no real sales needs.

People (buyers) get used to where links they use are located and it's always best to leave everything where it always was. Constantly moving and changing things around confuses everyone and quite frankly stinks!

No sales site needs an over abundance of features. The search, the contact seller and buy it button should be the only click able links needed. No need to have dashboards, gauges, circles, weather reports, Dsr's, ect. ect. ect.

Ebay has more gadgets than the space shuttle and etsy should learn from ebay's mistakes.

Look what Best Match has done for 3 years!

Dononoodle has no idea how much money he lost for everyone with this stupid default. Amazon is very happy ebay chose to default to Best Match. They got a nice surge from it and are still growing :)

I shop Amazon more than ever now.

Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: viralworld

Fri Mar 11 13:17:10 2011

they want buyers to connect and use activity feeds, but buyers haven't yet interfaced with the site on that level nor do i think they want to do so.

how they set it up maximizes potential for the viral spread of new products. in a sense, that's more democratic and diffused.

the security/privacy creep is a problem. there are some "interesting" sellers on etsy who literally are in the forums all the time and stalking other sellers and buyers and trying to mess up people's business. this would be the main concern.

but luckily, product based social networking keeps the weirdness to a minimum. :D

with all the features you mentioned being public... they can be made private in the settings. no one is forced to participate in anything.

circles should have a private optional feature due to the creeps in the world.

Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: walter

Fri Mar 11 14:17:01 2011

I have started to receive TONS more spam mail on my email account. I'm not sure it's because of the Etsy changes or what but it seems to have happened around the same time these things went live.

Could be from something Ebay also so I don't want to blame Etsy in particular.

Also I get frequent Convos on the Etsy system from "buyers" (scammers) The Convo always starts with I am interested in the immediate purchase of your item.....please contact me at my private email address. It's always the most expensive item in my shop and from a newly registered person.

I have never responded because it's clearly bogus but it's slimy and bothers me. It's probably one of those fake check deals...gosh I hope nobody really falls for that one!

Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: whats the big deal?

Fri Mar 11 15:57:47 2011

As much as I dont like this idea, nor do I think trying to emulate facebook on a site that is sales oriented I do have to say that if your name is already listed in your profile for the public to view, how is it an invasion of privacy?????

You've already put your name in a publicly viewable profile, and did so by choice.

Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: just me

Fri Mar 11 16:08:01 2011

I never used etsy and i never will, but in general terms I feel that having  the real name/contact info in the listings or easily found on some profile page is a great idea.
(You know... the same way that a real company's name and contact info is shown on their ads).

Seems like  making that standard would cut down on fraud, fake IDs, accounts etc.

That was always a big turn off at ebay. Ridiculous made-up screen names instead of whoever they really are. (or are not). The days of me sending money to anonymous strangers with silly names (using a shady payment famous for fake IDs and fraud no less -LOL) is all over and done- whether ebay, etsy or anywhere else.

And to you folks who are all concerned about your 'privacy'... Haha! What do you have to hide?
If you are trying to sell things, ei; you want people to trust you and send money, using made-up names doesn't really make someone want to send you money or instill trust. Does it?

If sites/sellers want to be trusted they need more transparency, not secrecy and deception by design.

Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Fri Mar 11 18:25:50 2011

I think a BUSINESS name and a VALID phone number should be sufficient.

For people who work out of their homes and have valuable inventory there, why would they want to make themselves a target for a burglary?

Transparency is one thing. Contributing to your potential victimhood is quite another.

That's the big deal!

Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: STOP IMPOSING YOUR WILL ON US JD

Fri Mar 11 21:19:50 2011

@JUST ME - Hey, I disagree with you, I do not think any seller should have their name and address for shoppers to see, since the 1990's I have come across a few downringt scary customers, there is no way I want my name and address visible for the psychopath buyers, or competitors to come and put me out of business permanently.

Thousands of super customers but a fw, I have literally walked outside looking behind me and to my sides and front, over $10 purchases, that cost $70 in a store

Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: STOP IMPOSING YOUR WILL ON US JD

Fri Mar 11 21:23:13 2011

Oh, on another note about Etsy, I could care less what they do, they do not factor into my business at all !

2 Sales in 7 months hardly does a thing for me ! Do what you like Etsy, I do not care, cause I do not make money from your site

Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: Digby

Fri Mar 11 22:34:37 2011

I am not into hand made so etsy is of no interest to me.

But their listings are going up every day. They must be doing something right.

I could not believe how young their CEO is.

Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: Deeply Offended Buyer
Web Site

Fri Mar 11 23:02:50 2011

Etsy shoppers did not put this on their profile themselves, admin did. When you register you are asked for your first and last name, and told that if you want to you can make it public on your profile. Until a couple weeks ago, this was always, always confidential. On March 1st (announced on March 9th) Etsy made all first and last names of every registered user public and searchable on Google, as well as each person's buying history. To date, they *still* have not alerted registered buyers about the change in privacy. Furthermore, anyone wishing to change or delete their name must now wait 48 hours while their name change is 'evaluated'. Not username changes - the customers legal name they don't want online, and they are not allowed to change or remove it at their discretion.

Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: Unhappy User

Fri Mar 11 23:35:34 2011

@whats the big deal?
Unfortunately many new buyers enter their name when signing up (it's not required but Etsy doesn't tell them that on the registration page), and if you enter your name when signing up it automatically gets put on your profile.  Many new buyers don't know that, so they didn't actively choose to put their name on their profile.



@Walter--I don't think your email spam is related to Etsy, and people aren't notified when you un-circle them so don't feel any guilt about removing them.  (Folks don't 'like' things there just to buy them either-lots of reasons.)

Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: This Sucks

Fri Mar 11 23:52:29 2011

This is a rotten idea. It is possible to remove your name and purchases from public view as a buyer and as a seller but this should definitely be an opt in feature. The circles thing is also annoying. No value added with these privacy intrusions.  There is nothing on Etsy I need to buy and I am closing this account.

Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: Deeply Offended

Sat Mar 12 00:37:38 2011

Post Script:
Users are asked for their first and last name at registration, and told that they can include it on their profile if they choose. As of March 1st, however, all register members real names have been publicly posted on the site, connected to their buying history. Etsy has not notified shoppers that this has been done yet. If you know an Etsy shopper, please contact them and tell them about this exposure.

Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: Annoyed Buyer Only

Sat Mar 12 08:03:10 2011

Is anyone else disturbed that Etsy finds it okay to allow buyers to be searchable? Why should buyers and non-shop owners be searchable? Where's the purpose and benefit in that?

Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search   Etsy Users Face Identity Crisis with New People Search

by: Watching the Wheels

Sat Mar 12 08:30:34 2011

For starters, Thank you, Ina, for formatting this information in such a manner, that allows people the opportunity to voice their oppinions. I appreciate your gesture!

The people using this site, whether as a seller or buyer, are shown no true respect or courtesy by the staff. Every one of these rollouts winds up being OPT-OUT, and presented poorly, usually within forum threads, that bottom line offer no guarentee that ALL users will be informed.

But, unfortunately, when you get down to brass tacks, you can't exactly expect a person who felt the need to forge a school ID, (when he lacked the confidence to be able to get accepted into a school on his own merits)to have any real understandings of respect.

The word coward, springs to mind, when I think through the possible theoretical rationales of why someone would attempt this type of scam.

I also have to wonder about the potential levels of psychological dysfunction within his immediate family, that created such a dismal end result within this individual's scolastic career. I have read that his GPA prior to college was a stellar D average. WHY?

It doesn't help that the employees are rewarded with free lunches while the sellers go begging for viable tools with which to attempt to conduct an online shop.

Etsy also feel the need to continually create new ways to draw any single seller's traffic back out onto the main site with its ever increasing array of SHOP EXIT RAMPS, and all under the guise of sharing.

Funny, in my book, forced sharing falls more closely under being coerced into something that someone knows deep down inside, that I'd probably be unwilling to do, willingly. WHY? AND where is the much touted show of resect, here? Talk is cheap, and the site's actions are truly speaking much louder than words.

The brunt of the rollouts are also nowhere near acceptable levels with regards to true functionality. There are countless sellers still unable to get their items uploaded into Google Products, even though the transition to the new methods were announced by Google in September, 2009, and had a 3 month window for the host venues to get up to speed.

Etsy's new emphasis has been placed upon TEAMS. And again, with next to no functionality tools for the UNPAID Team Captains to work with. Sellers are expected to donate time towards the building of this site, while the actual employees are pampered and with apparantly next to no real quality standards in place to insure that things runs smoothly.

I have personally never seen such a poorly executed company in my entire life.

The workers got a stuffed toy filled room for personal calls, and yet, there is still no acceptable level of customer service being provided for either the BUYER or the SELLER.

And unfortunately, you can't condemn the staff, when it is blaringly apparant that their is NO LEADERSHIP within this site.

I would strongly suggest that concerned people try getting in touch with members of the Board of Directors. Afterall Kalin is but 1 vote out of 5 or 6 now.

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