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Wed Jan 20 2016 14:34:51

Will Seller Advisory Board Help Etsy Hear Sellers Voices?

By: Ina Steiner

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Etsy created a 15-member Seller Advisory Board to provide feedback about the challenges sellers face and, in its words, "to play a key role in shaping the way future decisions are made." We spoke to Robert Brunson, Etsy's Community Outreach Program Manager about how the program will work - you can read more in Wednesday's Newsflash article

The program reminds me of eBay's Voices program, but with many differences. Voices was a secretive program - participants felt they were unable to even disclose they were members due to non-disclosure agreements they signed, even when talking to journalists. 

eBay Voices participants, who were able to remain members for many, many years, benefited tremendously from the program: 

- They received advance warning of what changes were coming down the pike. 

- They could also reach out to people at eBay to get any problems with their accounts fixed (and frequently did so, from what we could see).

Ultimately the eBay Voices program appeared to become more of a sounding board for eBay to help it package unpopular changes by knowing in advance what objections sellers would have.

Etsy's program is different in several key ways. The company is encouraging all sellers to reach out to advisory board members - it can be as simple as using the company's Convo messaging system to provide their feedback, which they will pass along to the company. 

While members of the board will have to sign non-disclosure agreements, Brunson said Etsy wants participants to discuss their experiences, while keeping quiet only about such things as products Etsy may be working on. Etsy will also share videos and be open about the board meetings.

Each SAB member will oversee one of 15 subcommittees, each made up of about 15 members, drawing more voices into the program.

And the term for Etsy Seller Advisory Board members is 10 months (through the end of 2016).

What do you think of the program? Will the transparency that Etsy is trying to bring to the board help it avoid some of the problems other such programs have encountered? Will you feel comfortable providing Etsy with your feedback through the program?



Comments (73) | Permalink

Readers Comments

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by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 20 14:56:13 2016

If the program like Ebays voices program is populated by the brown nosers IT WON'T WORK. These are people who think that they know it all and thats the way it is.

Etsy has enough my way or the highway types right now. What they don't need are more of them.

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This user has validated their user name. by: White Rabbit

Wed Jan 20 16:24:25 2016

Etsy Banned all the quality Talent from their forums years ago. Members that spoke out against the stupidity of the Etsy Management.

And Yes the advisory Board is made up of the Etsy forums cupcakes. They will be nothing but a useless rubberstamp of the Failed Etsy Management.

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This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Wed Jan 20 19:08:17 2016

Stay OUT of my business and Do NOT raise the take rate.
K.I.S.S.

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by: Biglouis This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 21 01:00:05 2016

Etsy announcement says that it included sellers ''active in the forums''. hahahaha. The poster who stated all the talented members got banned from the forums long ago leaving the cupcakes (AKA Etsy cheerleaders) was correct. Why did these members get banned? Racist or other offensive language? Nope. Trolling? Nope. Hate speech? Nope. Criticising Etsy policies? YES. Upsetting someone who was in the business of being upset? YES. Etsy forums are like a cross between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia in terms of the pathetic flying snitches and immature poorly educated mods.

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

Thu Jan 21 01:43:07 2016

So, it looks like the board, might be getting closer to REALLY wanting to know what's wrong with the site.

etsy's Admin is incapable of true initiative.

How many times have there been advisory things set up?
How many times did real advise get blown off?

I figure when the stock hits $5.00 the shirts might decide to truly listen, and then I will send letter number 3.

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by: alaska This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 21 01:43:13 2016

At least Etsy is trying. EBay would NEVER do this. They don't care what problems their buyers and sellers are having with the site.

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

Thu Jan 21 02:06:58 2016

@Alaska, there is DO OR DO NOT; THERE IS NO TRY!  :) Star Wars.

Until Etsy embraces "the force", there will be no real improvements. This is not the first time that they've reached out to sellers.

I'd rather they hired people who knew what they were doing and fired, probably 90% of who is working now.

Leave the dogs at home, buy your own freaking lunch, etc, etc, etc.

A few years back there was the Community council. Then there was a weekly Q&A post, that produced jack chit, also.

THEY NEED TO LOSE THE DWEEBY, "WE GOT BULLIED WHEN WE WERE KIDS" STAFF AND HIRE PEOPLE WHO UNDERSTAND THAT YOU NEED TO PRODUCE!!!

IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE A BUSINESS, BUT THEY TREAT IT LIKE ROMPER ROOM AND SESAME STREET.

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by: cvsharkey This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 21 05:10:36 2016

Whenever you put committees in place, you are creating a bottleneck of ideas. Committees are useless for getting things done. My opinion based upon many years of being in the corporate world. Ths is an Etsy band aid.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Jan 21 07:19:19 2016

Keep this in mind....once this company went public, they sold their soul to Wall Street.

In my opinion, that (and Donahoe) is what ruined eBay. In my mind, eBay corporate executives only know how to play the Wall Street game. They have never had a clue (nor do they want to) about what made eBay successful in the early days.  

I realize that this story is about Etsy but Etsy execs could learn something from eBay's mistakes.

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This user has validated their user name. by: White Rabbit

Thu Jan 21 07:20:09 2016

so the plan was and is..

remove 100% of anyone in the forums that even appears to slightly complain.. including any condescending attitudes as perceived by the Nazi Moderators under Chad's orders..

then take a few of the largest kiss azzes that are mostly reselling alibaba slop on Etsy...

put these biased morons in a peer group and claim they represent the sellers.

this will result in NOTHING but more of Etsy BS and is a PR trick to scam the Press.

the good news is Etsy is about ready to collapse financially.  

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by: Flying Childers This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 21 08:09:43 2016

Great comments guys and gals! We sure won't be fooled again. Like everyone is saying, Etsy long ago removed anyone from the forums who had any good ideas or spoke the truth. Chad is not interested in the sellers, unless they are Chinese sweatshops who can ship their crap for free (see related article) and who can sell it for less than $5. They Etsy further screws us by allowing them to call it "handmade" or "vintage"

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This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Thu Jan 21 09:05:24 2016

You have to wonder what these idiots are thinking.  If I keep digging, surely I'll get out of this hole...

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by: Garcia This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 21 09:25:35 2016

Etsy removed me from the forums long ago.  Removal is a life sentence no matter what you do.  Much of my favorite team has been removed from the forums that is why we have a team so we can discuss what Etsy doesn't want to hear.  Another useless attempt and appearing as if Etsy cares.  Nothing new and nothing good will come from this advisory board.  How could it if Etsy is running it and chose its members.

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This user has validated their user name. by: White Rabbit

Thu Jan 21 10:19:38 2016

what they did to members on the forums was a certain Death sentence to Etsy as a site and they have no way to support the site with out the members they screwed over.

they turned a magical internet awakening for merchants into a pig sty by using Nazi moderators serving out life sentences to those that had the gall to speak out against management stupidity.

now their stock is in the $6 a share range.. they are slightly aware of what is going to happen to the site.. all 700+ employees that cant function normally..

I suspect when the stock hits $3 we will hear a lot more about all of this.. and maybe a new CEO and apologies and reparations to those sellers the screwed?

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by: Mongoose This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 21 11:53:08 2016

Hey, it could be worse Etsy sellers, you could have your "Seller Advocate" completely sell his soul to advocate for every company policy bad for sellers like its the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Or even try to convince you that a crack negotiation team got great rates from the USPS, even though the rates are exactly the same as everyone else's.

Or that when a company buys postage at the Commercial Plus pricing, and then gives most of its sellers only the Commercial Base pricing, it didn't pocket the difference.  Maybe those millions of dollars it made on postage it gave to orphans?  Is that the story this week, Griff?

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by: NoFreeLunch This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 21 12:43:56 2016

Etsy, runs their site like a Communist country.
They have it rigged so when people  set up shops,their items can be used as
advertisement to bring shoppers into the site as a whole, i.e. the commune.
They float the idea that everyone on the site belongs to the " community," when in fact those who do not spew the party line are muted in their forums, or booted, you know, sent to Siberia..
What you are left with is a bunch of newbies, who don't have a clue, and the butt kissers.
That's the way Etsy wants it.
It's all pretend sunshine in their forums.
Nothing negative to see here, we are all just peachy keen, trendy,  and love those unicorns who poop sparkles and frolic in rainbows..

On the other hand, Etsy says it's " just a venue" and a " tech. company," when it suits their purpose.

The truth be told, they don't have a clue as to how to technically keep the site up and running, or conduct a profitable business, let alone advise their shops how to do it.
Now they ask for a Sellers Advisory Board.
Are you kidding?
Have you ever attended a work meeting where they ask for worker input,but already have their plan made up and ready to implement? They just want to make it look like they have asked for input.
Plus there is always that group they keep for such thing, their  " select shops."
They also send out little gifts in the mail to people, just for nice little pats on the head. Kind of like getting that token favor from the King.
They throw them a bone, so they tow the party line, just like in Communism, they belong to " the party."

The site is a two tiered system.
At the bottom are shops in the gulag plugging away hours upon hours, making listings in hopes of selling, reworking title and tags, buying Etsy's shop services, like Promo Ads, shipping labels, using DC, which is now becoming mandatory, etc.
The top tier doesn't want to hear any grumbles from the comrades.
It's like working for the old coal company, where they own you.

On the top are the Etsy employees, who have catered lunches, a yoga room, benefits , great pay, etc.

Then there's the B Corp thing, which is a whole other farce.

Somewhere in their forums, there was  post about the " illusion of listening."

I think that's what we see here.

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This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Thu Jan 21 13:14:39 2016

Corporations are dictatorships.  Etsy operates in a fascist country and is therefore a fascist dictatorship.  Any pretense of representation is a farce.

"Communist" is the most abused word this side of "smurf."  Just because small businesses are sometimes hurt doesn't make the state out to destroy all commerce.  When was the last time that a _big_ business didn't get its way?

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by: NoFreeLunch This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 21 13:54:41 2016

The difference with Etsy is that corporations are dictators to their employees, not their customers.
Etsy's customers are the shops who list there, even though Etys treats them like entry level employees.

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This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Thu Jan 21 18:45:50 2016

You mean they don't dictate to shopkeepers and shoppers alike?  They don't impose changes, even retroactively, without your input or consent?  They don't exile or otherwise silence dissent?

They're a dictatorship.

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This user has validated their user name. by: White Rabbit

Thu Jan 21 19:02:19 2016

well the two of you are way too kind.. I will keep "my" description of them to my self. it is not as pretty. LOL :-)

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