Etsy's privacy Valdez: opt-out policy exposes users' real names and purchase histories - UPDATED

A recent, unannounced change to Etsy's privacy policy has created an avalanche of embarrassing disclosures for Etsy shoppers. Etsy hoped to make its service more Facebook-like and sociable, so it began to expose buyers' and sellers' real names, reviews,favorites and shopping histories. Among other things, this move has caused peoples' shopping preferences and histories to be linked to their real names in Google searches; according to one account, a shopper's sex-toy purchase appears on a Google search for her name "right after her online resumes."
Critics of Etsy's new policy seem to have a thing for searching for artisan dildos, but the point is pretty clear. Buyers have no idea that their purchases are being exposed, and they don't need to be embarrassing purchases to cause problems. We're reminded of the fallout from Facebook Beacon, the tool that allowed Facebook to show users' off-Facebook activities and purchases without their consent or knowledge. Facebook offered an opt-out for the service, but the damage was already done. Facebook eventually faced an FTC complaint and a class-action lawsuit--Facebook settled the suit in 2009 by shutting down the service and donating $9.5 million to an organization that fights for online privacy.

With this move, Etsy has hopped onto the Beacon roller coaster, and it may be too late to get off. By automatically opting in every user ever registered to the new system, Etsy is likely just one especially outraged user away from facing its own set of lawsuits and FTC investigations.

Update: Etsy CEO Rob Kalin responds in the comments:

What happened? Purchases are made visible via our feedback system, which has not been changed in almost six years. As part of building a trust score on Etsy, buyers leave feedback for sellers and vice versa. We've always linked to the item purchased when feedback is left.

Lots of people on Etsy have identifiable usernames. Many include their real name, or are a recognizable public persona. We saw this, and we also wanted to deepen the trust relationship between buyers and sellers, so we gave all members the option to enter their real name. We feel that being who you really are is an important part of trust on the Web.

We created the option for real names in mid-October. Since then, nothing around this issue has changed. If you put your real name in Etsy, bought stuff, and received feedback, it'd link to the item you bought. Google would also index this stuff.

Did we make a mistake here? Yes, and we worked till late in the night yesterday to take a step in the right direction and plan our next steps:

Etsy users irked after buyers, purchases exposed to the world (Thanks, Sethum, via Submitterator!)


  1. Last straw for me. I’m sick of Etsy’s utter lack of respect for it’s users personal information and their ever changing privacy policy. I’ve been a huge cheerleader of the handmade movement and their site for several years and have made hundreds of purchases there, but their recent jump onto the social networking bandwagon has been a huge cluster f*ck and these privacy breaches are absolutely the last straw. They’re trying to be the new Facebook- and they’re doing a great job… at user privacy violations, data mining and loss of customer confidence.

    Boo, Etsy!

  2. Is this different from the change to the privacy policy they announced at the end of January? I did get an email about that, and a link to how to change privacy settings. (I set everything to private and fwiw, I just googled myself and none of my etsy comes up.) Scary though.

    Why do all these idiot sites assume everyone wants to “network” all their shite. Especially a place like etsy, which *does* have adult stuff as well as handmade soap.

  3. This and other recent policy changes there are why Etsy is now dead to me. They destroyed the very community that helped to create them in the first place.

    At any given moment, you are likely to see at least one reseller on their front page trying to sell you ‘handmade’ jewelry that’s from Target’s clearance racks, or ‘vintage’ that was made last year. It’s a shame that so many wonderful handmade artists are being squeezed out. Check out other handmade venues (Zibbet, Artfire – just to name two).

  4. What I fail to understand is how a horrible idea like this gets put into motion. It would seem that anyone that sits down and thinks of it for a minute would say “nope, bad idea”

    I’m guessing there’s a much larger ulterior motive (financial?) that made them think it would be worth it.

    As a famous man once said, “Those who fail to remember Facebook Beacon are condemned to repeat it.”

    1. In my experience, these sorts of things are put in motion by the interaction of two groups who tend to have no concept of “Just because we can doesn’t mean we should”. Namely, developers and marketing. In fact, in this day and age, both groups are actually rewarded for not holding-back or objectively evaluating their ideas.

  5. Disasters like this don’t just happen. They are nearly always the result of clueless executives deliberately ignoring or overruling the advice of many people who accurately predict the results.

  6. Etsy has been filled to the brim with fail for quite some time. They usually just fuck-over the sellers, but I guess they decided to include everyone this time, how nice.

    I cannot believe people still use Etsy when there are better alternatives out there.

    1. What do you consider to be the better alternatives? Etsy turned me off quite some time ago.

      1. I like ArtFire. While I did find that views are generally lower, they genuinely seem interested in improving the site, especially for its sellers.

        BTW, if anyone would like to read up on all the /other/ times Etsy has implemented something completely stupid, without much planning, and then apologized for it later – I recommend

  7. “I’m guessing there’s a much larger ulterior motive (financial?) that made them think it would be worth it.”

    Can you say IPO?

    This is about the 18th last straw for me. Fool me once, etc.

  8. Hi all,

    I’m the founder & CEO of Etsy. I’d like to add a bit more explanation here, because we haven’t made any recent or unannounced changes. This is a combination of how things have always worked (feedback), with a feature we launched in October of last year (real names).

    What happened? Purchases are made visible via our feedback system, which has not been changed in almost six years. As part of building a trust score on Etsy, buyers leave feedback for sellers and vice versa. We’ve always linked to the item purchased when feedback is left.

    Lots of people on Etsy have identifiable usernames. Many include their real name, or are a recognizable public persona. We saw this, and we also wanted to deepen the trust relationship between buyers and sellers, so we gave all members the option to enter their real name. We feel that being who you really are is an important part of trust on the Web.

    We created the option for real names in mid-October. Since then, nothing around this issue has changed. If you put your real name in Etsy, bought stuff, and received feedback, it’d link to the item you bought. Google would also index this stuff.

    Did we make a mistake here? Yes, and we worked till late in the night yesterday to take a step in the right direction and plan our next steps:

    We did not suddenly make some changes without telling anyone. Our feedback system has always linked to items. Additionally, most people on Etsy don’t use their real names, and haven’t filled these fields in.

    We’re talking today about what we need to do better, and we’ll do it better.


    1. “Additionally, most people on Etsy don’t use their real names, and haven’t filled these fields in.”

      PLENTY of one-time buyers, and buyers that shop owners direct in use their real names under the assumption that their emails & names are not being broadcast out into the world.

      You ‘sir’ are a liar.

    2. are you freaking kidding me?

      You have done ALL OF THIS without letting anyone know, and then you send an email to SOME PEOPLE after the fact. And what about the casual buyer huh?

      How about the “oops we’ll just try out the new code on LIVE SERVERS and expose people’s REAL NAMES…”

      How about the Let’s have someone on the Storque, who will bash a large portion of our jewelry makers, while she doesn’t even have a STORE on Etsy, and in fact sells at FREAKING TARGET???

      How about the mutings? ANyone who EVER DISAGREES WITH YOU YOU BAN AND/OR refuse their posting priviledges…

      Shall I keep going???


      But you keep taking those dimes though don’tcha!

    3. That is a flat out, heaping pile, Rob.

      And if you think that ‘being who you are’ is so great, then how about revealing the purchases of all your staff members so they can be found in Google?

      Then when they run around with their hair on fire, you can tell them you sent an email and they didn’t pay attention to it.

      And then explain to them how dicking up the feedback system, which was find before this mess, makes everything okay again.

      You once famously stated that having an MBA isn’t all that when it comes to running a business. Go hire one, pal.

    4. >We feel that being who you really are is an important part of trust on the Web.

      Lol, Are you smoking crack? I don’t want everyone to know whom I really am, there’s lot of stuff that I’d like to keep private from different groups of people.

      For instance, I wouldn’t want an employer to know what purchases I’ve made.

    5. Rob, you don’t give a hoot about the sellers who have been paying for your lifestyle for last 5 years. If you did YOU would of have done something to show your appreciation.

      I only hope that Etsy goes down the tubes and other websites like Artfire or Zibbett will rule.

      Remember when you first started…YOUR dream? That dream has turned into a monster that even you cannot control anymore. You lack the knowledge and people skills it takes to run a company.

      I also read about how your treat disable people by closing their shops. Hope the word gets out on that one.

      One last thing…I hope all those investors read the truth about Etsy & YOUR performance.

      Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall…Humpty Dumpty took a big fall.

  9. I love etsy sellers, but this completely unannounced change really pisses me off. I’ve never bought anything particularly salacious on etsy, but I do buy a ton of gifts – things I don’t want revealed to people before I give them. Also: it’s NO ONE’S business what other purchases I’ve made on etsy, period. The fact that the change wasn’t clearly communicated and that it was an automatic opt in to sharing data is ridiculous.

  10. Speaking as someone who uses a persistent pseudonym for most non-work sites, this was a pretty massive invasion of privacy for no gain on my part. It makes Etsy a pretty unsearchable site, and frankly just annoys me because I had to find out from a third-party forum. I canceled my account, wrote a complaint to TRUSTe, and posted on my blog about the sudden need to remember if you jokingly favorited a sex toy in 2006.

  11. @Morrigan — “Plenty” and “most” are two different things. Yes, plenty of people on Etsy use their real names (including me and most Etsy employees). But the majority of our members, over 75%, don’t use their real names.

    I’m not saying this makes anything better, I’m simply responding to the last line of your comment. Inappropriately exposing the purchases of but one person is one too many for us.

  12. This blogger vents…

    the registration changed so that many new users are not notified which fields are required for registration, or which fields will be public.

    Users were NOT told previously that their names would become searchable even if they did not have shops.

    There was also a prior event where NAME INFORMATION from the billing files was put out in the open, and there was a landslide of unhappy users telling them it was NOT OK, and they still went ahead and pushed for users to enter their real names (either on existing accounts or tricking new users by not clearly stating that what went in the Name fields at registration WOULD be public OR that those fields didn’t have to be filed out.) and PUSHED their “circles” (again with an email notification set to “opt out” rather that “opt in” which should be the default).

    The email that went out about “findability” did not reveal how names would be visible to search.

    the changes to how feedback is shown, doesn’t actually fix the real problem, and may cause another one, where the sellers don’t feel that their feedback now has ANY meaning.

    THE PROBLEM ISN’T so much the FEEDBACK as the People Search and the ability to use the circles as a spam bot.

  13. Rob, the People Search is what’s new here. Yes, my username might have been a form of my real name, but it wasn’t easily searchable in a directory. You completely sidestepped that part of the process which led us to this fiasco.

    And I don’t even know how to remedy what you’ve done. Do I have to delete my account to make sure this never happens again? If I do delete, will all my history disappear too, or will I forever be worrying that my purchases might again be exposed for anyone to search?

  14. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone anywhere suggest that a company would be so stupid as to make all their privacy info publicly available on Google, and actually do it on purpose. That’s, like, a perfect storm of stupidity. You’d have to have someone smart enough to run a company like this but still stupid enough to think this is a good idea, a couple web developers who are at least willing to run with it, and I’d say a stupid enough lawyer except I doubt they even bothered to check.”

    1. That sums it up nicely doesn’t it.

      The people I feel the worst for, are those sellers who NEED this income they get from their shops…many of them are single mothers.

      What a load of shite.

  15. It’s really to bad for you Rob your powers to mute end at Etsy.

    You Sir, are not only a liar- your private failure is PUBLIC!

    I invite anyone reading this to check out the climate of Etsy in their own forums.

  16. “Indeed, any company taking the blowtorch to its privacy policy should strongly consider making the new creation opt-in, not just to appease its users, but to comply with the law. An FTC decision from an incident at Gateway Computers in 2004 specifies that companies must get opt-in consent from users before making a material change to privacy policies. An email sent out notifying customers of a change likely doesn’t count.”

  17. Rob, of course, doesn’t address the main problems here.

    1) No notification was sent that people would be searchable.

    2) There is no way to opt out of the search. Yes, you can delete your full name, and hide your favorites, and hide your purchase history (once you figure that out on your own), but your username is still searchable, so if your username is your real name, you’re searchable. Period. The only option then is to delete your account, along with all your history with buyers, convos, etc. There is no way currently to change your account name.

    3) It’s a shopping site, not a freaking social site. People who shopped in 2007 never anticipated that one day someone would decide that their history with the site made them a good target for social networking, and so probably weren’t thinking about ways to disguise their identity.

    Can you network on Amazon? Yeah, if you want, AND YOU OPT IN.

  18. ” I just found a woman who’s [sic] Etsy profile comes up on Google as the 5th link. I was expecting 6 or 7 pages down, but it’s on the very first page, right after her online resumes (four of ’em – so I guess she’s looking for work and this cannot be helping). She signed up a year ago, under the old privacy policy, and hasn’t logged in since 2010.

    And now I know what dildo she uses. Right down to the curvature and coloring. ”

  19. “We did not suddenly make some changes without telling anyone.”

    hi Rob,

    um…I’ve been a seller since ’06 and I had to ask someone on twitter how to remove my name after finding out that both my shops were searchable by my real name. accidentally. so, I guess as a long time, fee paying seller I missed the email notification. some of us don’t have time to sit and wait for your forum announcements.

    thanks for keeping it real.

  20. If most people don’t enter their real names anyway, then what’s the point of doing it in the first place? My buyers trust me plenty becasue of the reputation I have built with them through good business practices, just as I buy from shops I trust because of reputable feedback, advice of others, etc. Knowing their real name is NOT going to make a difference.

    Etsy and Kalin are destroying that trust more and more with every step they take. Etsy was a viable, growing site for quality, handcrafted goods by harworking artists but apparently that wasn’t enough. While they may be doing all intheir power to position themselves well for a buyout or IPO, they have in turn destroyed that by leaving themselves open to a multi million dollar class action suit insteadm not to mention, destroying any trust their millions of buyers ahd in them in the first place.
    I hate to say this is a typical etsy screw up, but it is. A sure sign of maturity, especially in business is to consider ideas from all angles, long and short term, plan well, surround yourself with smart, quality, people and assure you know exactly what your doing and every possible repercussion before execution. The do it now, fix it later approach is that of a child’s mind.
    Etsy, Grow up!

  21. This is the pop-up message that members get when they click inside either the First or Last Name fields in their Etsy account Profile:

    Adding your real name can help people you know recognize you, and can establish credibility and inspire trust.

    Hipster Irony.

  22. Mr Kalin wrote

    “We saw this, and we also wanted to deepen the trust relationship between buyers and sellers, so we gave all members the option to enter their real name. We feel that being who you really are is an important part of trust on the Web.”

    So your solution to the long predicted Dildogate is to hide the real feedback of real Buyers from real Sellers? Awesome! Now I know the name of the buying member who has 96% positive feedback but I have NO IDEA why their feedback is less than perfect. Were they unreasonable? Did they do a unnecessary charge back? Did they make demands above and beyond the purchase? Did they fail to submit payment with something other than Paypal? Perhaps with Google’s payment system, a money order, personal cheque or cash?
    Who knows?
    And who cares?
    I mean, it’s not like etsy is an e commerce site whose goal was to help artisans succeed via their handmade goods.


    The community predicted etsy’s failure to think out privacy concerns, etsy’s unwillingness to abide by privacy laws
    (complaints are currently before the Canadian Privacy Commisioner in regards to sharing 3rd party email address without consent), the fallout from not explaining the possible issues arising from using your real name et all.

    Mr.Kalin predicted that etsy would either fly or crash and burn in a glorious fireball due to it’s change in focus from e commerce to social commerce.

    AS of yesterday, it looks like we were both right.

  23. I apologize for the typos above. I should know better than to multitask when speaking my mind so strongly

  24. morrigan,
    nothing about searchability/exposure of your buying habits listed there huh? Just the warm and fuzzy, hoping the rest gets swept under the rug?

  25. Rob Kailin says “because we haven’t made any recent or unannounced changes”
    seriously? That’s all you have done andfew of them relate to the lovely goals you set out to accomplish in your “I’m back” address.

    “This is a combination of how things have always worked”
    Now with this I agree. Etsy has definitely not swayed from the “give ’em the warm and fuzzies so they won’t feel you screw them while the sparkly handmade tiems distract them” approach

    “Did we make a mistake here? Yes, and we worked till late in the night yesterday to take a step in the right direction and plan our next steps:”
    Where was this approach beforehand and are you rethinking the “turn a deaf ear” to our entire community we so proudly brag of approach? A true response would to admit your arrogance and change the way you make business decisions overall, not just rectify this issue.

    Looks like this time Etsy screwed itself too

    We did not suddenly make some changes without telling anyone

  26. “I did NOT use my real name in my profile (since I signed up years ago when things were more clear and I did so very intentionally)

    My SISTER, who also got no email about this, was only just NOW aware that her real name was public… and since Wednesday SEARCHABLE.
    She bought one innocent item from a friend of a friend (If she want’s something of mine she says “for my birthday I want an ______”) and her field is such that no one is likely to be harassing her about her purchase since co workers are every bit as geeky as she is… no creeps, no stalkers.

    but yeah, a different situation and she could be dealing with a stranger who calls and says “I see you shop on ETSY…”

    feedback being visible is NOT a problem (though maybe give a CHOICE with each purchase whether or not the link back and photo of the item will be visible in the feedback)

    but real names re: a shopping site should NEVER be out in front OR searchable, with the exception of sellers who are just fine with their real name out there.

    I have a pretty much one of a kind name (I did stumble upon ONE person with my same “real name” who is not in my area at all… ) I use the same screen name EVERYWHERE so in many ways my screen name is a different kind of “real name”

  27. and to finish that last one:
    Rob Kalin says
    “We did not suddenly make some changes without telling anyone”

    Here’s a little 411 for you:

    a minimal percent of your community read the forums and with the new circle jerk teams, they can rarely find the information they need even if the did. Furthermore, one lousy email headed to most people’s spam box (especially the ocassional or one time buyer) is not dissemination of important information. It’s a cop out in an effort to fly under the radar and accomplish an alterior motive subversively.
    There’s not Trust building in that!

  28. I posted on Etsy’s wall on Facebook with a link to the Boing Boing article.

    They responded:

    Thank you for sharing this. We pushed some changes last night so that feedback is now, by default, private. You can read more in Rob’s announcement here ( We take privacy very seriously here at Etsy and it’s important to remind our community that they are in full control of how their information is shared or not shared. We’ll have an updated post up very soon.

  29. Rob Kalin: “We feel that being who you really are is an important part of trust on the Web.”

    I think this sentence really spells out Etsy’s stance. They’re going to do what THEY FEEL is right, and they don’t care what their actual users want, or what common decency in terms of PRIVACY is.

    This has been around since October, and folks on Etsy have been complaining about it this whole time.

    It’s not until the entire internet makes a fuss about it that Etsy actually backs up and rethinks their position.

    Start LISTENING to your USERS, instead of just doing what YOU “FEEL” they want, Etsy!

  30. I bet lisajune and anee are sitting in a corner crying and peeing themselves without the power to shut this one down.

  31. I don’t think it was the internet fuss as much as someone making a massive lawsuit a realistic outcome.

    and seriously, who trusts real on the internet. For all we know Kain is an 80 year old Grandma with a pension for knitting. There’s no “real” on the web, doesn’t he watch them catch pedophiles on 60 minutes?

  32. I am a seller on etsy. when i saw this change i wanted to change my name from my real name to the name of my LLC that is the actual seller on etsy.

    they would not let me do that. my choices were to have my real name or nothing.

    rob time for a new pr company if you can not get your links correct.

  33. People who filled out their real names never expected those to be out in the open, and searchable, not to mention they never imagined them being linked to their purchases.

    I spend a lot of time online, share personal stuff when I want to. My real name is out there, and I don’t see much problem in that. But that’s me. I can not and will not judge anyone who does not feel safe in sharing their names online. You should not be forcing them in a position they don’t want to be.

    And no, I don’t care that maybe somehow by clicking a button nobody can find you might be able to switch it off.
    It should be OPT IN, and should have been announced before the fact.

    FAIL. Again.

  34. are they completely nuts? what kind of psychotropic substance you need to consume to even get the notion that’s it’s a good idea to expose your customer’s sensible data?
    facepalm is not sufficient here. repeatedly banging one’s head against the nearest wall neither.
    on a serious note, i’d sue the crap out of them, because probably they do not state in their terms and conditions that they will expose your private data to the internet community, or do they?

  35. I’ve been tormented by my love/hate relationship with Etsy for a long while now. When I signed up in Aug 09, Etsy was the greatest thing on the internet, as far as I was concerned. And then they started tweaking. Fixing what wasn’t broken. Ignoring what was. First there was the Syndication fluck up. Some shops got a Google Shopping feed and most didn’t. Kept promising syndication for all and a year and some later, it hasn’t happened. Then there was the big orange Gift Guide hullaballoo, where buyers were being lured out of our shops to look at Etsy Admin curated “guides”. Fast forward a bit to CoralGate. Then the privacy breach on the Treasury. And then they took away the popular forums and told everyone to join “Teams”. Not surprisingly, chaos reigned. All of these instances have in common the fact that the powers that be made some very ill advised changes to the site, but it is the sellers who have to bear the brunt of the repercussions.

    As far as a class action suit, I think it would look good on Rob Kalin. Is a jury of 12 of your peers social enough for you?

  36. Rob, I would appreciate if users could more easily remove their real name. Many people signed up without realizing where it might be visible or that they couldn’t remove it. I did this myself, and didn’t see the fact that I couldn’t remove it until I’d actually saved it.

    I understand that it can build trust between people online, but it is also a big issue for sellers and buyers where it might effect their day jobs. A while back there was a forum thread where a woman was going to lose her job because the store she worked at didn’t allow selling on Etsy.

    Making buyer feedback private does not fix this. It just makes the security of the selling process more slanted to buyers than sellers. Ebay did the same thing and lost many sellers (to Etsy I might add) a few years ago.

  37. Everyone has eloquently expressed the frustration I feel as an Etsy seller. What I’m most struck by is the contrast between Artfire, where there are live humans enthusiastic about responding to seller concerns, and Etsy, which is like the worst nightmare high school clique–and everyone outside that group of 20 (50? 100?) is invisible, and ignored, when not actually bullied.

  38. Quite clearly Kalin isn’t listening to ‘his people.’ Or doesn’t care.

    Kalin says, “”We did not suddenly make some changes without telling anyone”

    That statement is a bold faced lie. Etsy has been so full of changes lately (including the ‘shutting up by muting’ of some of Etsy’s most faithful sellers)that our heads are about to pop off of our bodies!

    Sellers are moving to Artfire and other venues faster than you can say ‘Yokoo is on the front page again.’

    WTF? Wake up and smell the cupcakes, KALIN!

  39. They’ve apparently made some changes to cover their butts and have issued some sort of non-apology on the Etsy blog. But if you read the corresponding forum thread, you’ll see users are not having ANY of it, as many of the original privacy issues (that users have been complaining about for months) still have not been addressed.…6819608/page/1

    1. You have not resolved the problem. You ignored your customers for WEEKS and then through a damn bandaid over PART (not all) of the problem. That does not solve the problem. You can still find people by their real name, just no buyer history anymore. But you’ve also made buyers’ feedback private, which means a buyer can say anything on a seller’s feedback with no accountability at all. How about NOT SHOWING PEOPLE’S REAL NAMES????



    Wow. Wonder if the 2 dozen news/blog sites reporting on this had ANYTHING to do with that change?

  41. It will be on CNN next, Adam. Too little, too late. You should have listened when the Etsians spoke!!

  42. I honestly don’t understand why everyone is saying this is “new” or upsetting.

    For YEARS now, when I see something a friend has got on etsy, I will either guess their username, or ask them what their etsy username is, look at their buying history, find the item, and decide if I want to buy something from that artist as well.

    Your Etsy buying history page is public, always has been, and is indexed by Google, unless you turn it off.

    And I remember when Etsy TOS Privacy change email went out, about the new Circles feature, and figured out immediately that it was going to make the shared shopping trick I was doing easier.

    This is not at all like Facebook’s dirty tricks of taking what used to be private data and changing it so it’s public. This is just taking public data, and making it slightly easier to find.

    Get a grip.

    1. What’s new is people real names. Not screen names. REAL names. The most public example of this was an unfortunate individual whose real name in Google search brought up her Linkdin & resumes on the first four entries, and then her handmade dildo (yes, dildo) purchase from an Etsy seller. Do you really think that she wants prospective employers to see that?

  43. New or not new, opt in or opt out, what have you, Etsy has made it harder and harder for people to buy and sell over the course of the last year or so. They do not enforce their own TOU’s. The teams and circles bullsh*t, the change to the forums and other things have created a hostile environment for most sellers. Because the economy has been in the crapper for several years, a great percentage of sellers on Etsy are there because they need money to support themselves and their families. I am glad all those hipsters in Brooklyn are making money but lots of other people are really struggling. To make changes that reduce or destroy sales for the sellers is bad news for Etsy but really bad news for those who need the sales to stay afloat. If you are a buyer, just give it up now. Etsy has limited the search function. Search is miserable due to tagging being abused – tags that have no bearing on the product are frequently used. Resellers, copyright violation items, counterfeit handbags, garage sale left overs and other crap has crowded out real handmade items by making them impossible to find.
    Artfire doesn’t treat its clientele like this.

  44. Etsy has not altered the default privacy settings. You are still automatica­lly opted-IN to People Search, automatica­lly opted in to Circles (after Etsy removed the ability to opt-out originally­), opted-in to their tool to find people using email, and no notice has been emailed to Etsy’s community to alert them to privacy issues.

    The only thing that has changed is a negative blanketing of feedback. So any statement that Rob Kalin gives to say otherwise is a direct falsehood. The concerns that have driven all of the articles and complaints remain. All they’ve done is a rushed, token move to try and deflect further media coverage. Don’t be fooled. Do what journalist­s do and investigat­e.

    In the announceme­nt on Etsy, Rob attempts to state that these changes were brought about because the articles in the media caused concerns for their customers. This is at best, partially true. I am certain Rob made changes because of the media attention, but his customers have been voicing concerns on this for many weeks, and Rob/Etsy have continuall­y chosen to ignore those concerns, to mute those who speak out (and in some cases, close their shops involuntar­ily), and to condescend­. All further proof that Rob/Etsy do not have their customers best interests at heart – it shouldn’t take a media outrage for them to understand this.

  45. I was inadvertantly involved in the Etsy treasury privacy breach and my name and many others were out there for the world to see.

    Now this…

    I left Etsy last fall after 5 years on the site as a seller. My business ethics did not align with theirs any longer. Etsy obviously does not care about their reputation but I care about mine.

    Rob Kalin IS a liar…many times over.

    I also think that Etsy may have lost it’s TrustE seal. It used to be on every page. Now it’s only on the Policies and Privacy page. Now isn’t that a laugh!

  46. I have three shops on etsy. I never received anything regarding my real name being out there. There are simply some things that should never be put out there without specific permission from a person. It should have been opt in from the beginning starting with circles. Oh, but wait, it was, then apparently not enough people were participating so they made them mandatory. The name thing is just unbelievably stupid and quite frankly, after the last year or so, I don’t believe a single word that comes out of the mouths of anyone who works for etsy.

    It used to be a great site, I have had shops their since 2007. Now, I am working on moving everything elsewhere, namely artfire and zibbet.

  47. I walked away from ComeNGetsy a long time ago..and when I tried to delete all my personal info, I couldn’t..just like FB…here’s hoping all of you who still foolishly assume that there will be no repercussions from this are right, but as for me, after the orange button travesty, started to realize that I was a dupe, decided I didn’t like the feeling, and found a new home at ArtFire

  48. Rokali quit trying to put a positive spin on it. You might be able to mute me on the Etsy forums for speaking my mind and pointing out where Etsy needs to improve, but not here. Maybe if you started listening to the users in your forums, things like this wouldn’t happen. But no, if you aren’t an Etsy cupcake and you say something slightly negative, you get warned and then muted. Crash and burn baby! Crash and burn and watch as your seller’s move to Artfire…and your buyers too…the

  49. I just signed up with etsy early January and have been keeping up with all the shit that is going on there, and I have to say that I will be closing up shop really soon and will be telling my customers where to find me. Etsy really sucks!!!! I DO NOT want my info to be made public Rob you stupid dumb fuck! It won’t be long when Etsy will mo longer be around, and I hope to hell it FAILS!!!! You guys(sellers) If I were you go and sell or open up an account with Artfire and or Zibbet!

  50. Etsy…shame on you! Ebay hits news all the time with their changes, the way they do things, their fees, etc. But, they do not have this kind of issue with privacy & feedback as you are! Ebay has an issue with feedback in regards to who, what, how, why, when, and etc. But, yours is an excuse.

    Your issue is privacy, and the many many violations you have committed against many sellers who have protested with you about all of this. I feel sorry for the buyer who knows nothing of what you are doing there. They might have bought last year, year before, few months ago, etc. Their emails have changed, and therefore they know nothing of what you are doing with their good names either. I would absolutely hate to find my name in google search without the consent of my name being used!

    Many many articles have been found about ALL of your wrong doings, but as usual you are ignoring all of it, and trying to confront it with something that makes no sense, and is not an issue. PRIVACY is an issue, a big one, and let’s see….there are government regulations for this too. When you are thinking of your changes that you are doing, do you think of something you like, and put it into effect? There is no way it has been researched in full! If it had been, you wouldn’t be looking at just the numbers regarding money, but you would be looking at EVERYTHING it involves! One of those researches would include the legality of things, and if you can really do it.

    Facebook was naughty, had a lawsuit & settled. FTC said No No to Gateway Computers, and now you are to opt-in for such changes, and EMAILS DO NOT COUNT! What part of english are you not reading, and understanding?

    For those who have closed their accounts with Etsy are still facing issues. Some of those accounts are still showing in google searches. Some accounts that are up to 4 years ago were closed are still showing. What on earth are you doing with the privacy of people, their livelihood of things, their way of living, their way of life?

    Shame on you! I am curious…..Can I/We do all of this to you as you have done to others? Would you accept all of this wrong doing as you are forcing others to accept?

  51. Kalin, you seriously need to stick to your core skills, and trust me, running a business does not seem to be part of those. A business leader should *always* err on the side of caution when it comes to privacy. Saying some people use their real names is a cop out. If there is a name field during registration, I automatically fill it out, and as someone that pretty much lives online I can tell you that NEVER ONCE has a website made my name public and searchable by Google without explicitly mentioning that.
    Sure some people use their real names on Etsy. Some people use their real credit card numbers too, their real addresses and their real phone numbers, so what next, because people entered that info while creating their profile you think you can make that public too? Give me a break, even you can’t be that clueless. Just because something is real does not mean it should be public.

  52. I enjoyed selling on Etsy until the day someone accessed my husband’s account, and sent harassing “convos,” to me pretending to be him, when he was clearly sitting next to me.

    What’s even better, is not only did Etsy delete his account, but mine. How does that make any sense what-so-ever? My account wasn’t compromised. We didn’t even use the same credit card information. You can’t. I’m just glad they did at least ONE thing I wrote them in an email about, {which took 3 days for Etsy to respond to, they don’t work weekends or have a customer service phone number}.. To make users SIGN IN AGAIN whenever they want to access their personal information area, just like on yahoo and facebook.
    When you sign into your account and change the password it doesn’t take effect, if the other person that’s on the account doesn’t logs out. What Etsy should have done was deactivate my husband’s account, and then re-activate. Instead, they decided to deactivate both of our accounts without so much as a reason why.

    Poor customer care service, absolutely the worst.
    Also, I’d like to make mention, I paid for services that were not rendered.

  53. You know what? Rob Kalin is an arrogant ass, but part of the blame for this stuff must lie on the shoulders of sellers who are aware of what’s going on and continue to sell on Etsy.

    Every week Etsy does something stupider than the last thing. People yell and scream about it, but they keep their shops open and continue pumping dimes into E’s coffers. WAKE UP.

    Email all of your customers with links to articles like this one. Explain to them that you are moving shop to protect yourself AS WELL as your customers. Include a link to your new shop location, and move on. Etsy can’t screw you over if you are not there.

  54. Many sellers have left or emptied their shops, I am one of them, But I still have to worry , that someone who bought from me 2yrs ago could end up with personal info on the Internet because of it.
    I was one of the many sellers who tried to make Esty listen before they made these horrible changes. For a lot of us it was the last straw of many.
    Rob Kalin is full of it ,plain and simple. they knew exactly what they were doing. He thought/thinks he and etsy are so great they can steam roll over any one and get away with it. Well I hope Etsy gets sued and pays big… Many of us will be watching and laughing.
    Sellers have been treated just terribly over the last 3yrs, and it was the sellers that brought all the business in. The sellers that made the site grow, while waiting for Kalin to fulfil all his unkept promises.
    I understand that some sellers stay because they need the money they make there, but how some off them continue to praise Kalin and Etsy is beyond me.
    Many wonderful Etsy sellers have moved to Art Fire. A site that cares about their sellers, and their sellers customers. A site that will protect your privacy not try to use it for their own personal gain.
    Kalin and Etsy have been making childish and unthought out changes for yrs, ignoring the pleas of their sellers.. When those changes go wrong, he says he sorry when the forums get too hot, makes more unkept promises, along with excuses, and moves on to the next dumb mistake…
    But they have gotten a little smarter… They have changed the forums to keep all the members in line, and if anything is said that dis agrees with what they are doing the thread is shut down in a flash….
    No thanks Etsy, I do not want to buy, sell, or social network on your site.

  55. Etsy is very prejudice against disabled people too.

    We wrote Rob Kalin a letter because someone by the name of “Jim” closed our shop for no reason given. Customer service never answered.

    Rob never answered either.

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