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Old 03-15-2011, 02:06 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Etsy users irked after buyers, purchases exposed to the world

Etsy users irked after buyers, purchases exposed to the world

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What would you do if you registered on a site to buy something, only to find months later that your user account was searchable and your purchases were exposed? That scenario is currently playing out for Etsy users, who are dealing with the fallout from Etsy's decision to roll out a new People Search tool. The site, dedicated to enabling crafters and artisans to sell their work online, has yet to notify its user base of the change that exposes users' real names and, via their profile pages, anything they have purchased and left feedback on.

The controversy began last week when Etsy flipped the switch on People Search as part of its effort to make Etsy feel more like a social network. Now, when users run a search for a person's full name, that user's account will show up in the search results, even if that person is only a buyer. The goal is to allow users to connect to each other and create "Circles," which then allow users to see which products their friends have favorited or purchased on Etsy.

The problem is that, aside from a thread in Etsy's forums (which is almost entirely used by sellers, not buyers), Etsy has not notified users of the change in privacy settings or policy. Previously, users could search Etsy for seller names, but the names of buyers were not exposed as part of the search. Not only are buyers searchable now, they're even searchable by real name if that info is in their account profiles—this is not a required element of the registration process, but there's nothing to indicate that it's optional. Most users enter it to enable a smooth transaction when they make a purchase.
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Why does this matter? Not everyone wants their purchases to be made public—and some purchases are definitely more private than others. "I just found a woman who's 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," wrote one concerned user on the Penny Arcade forums. "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."

A different user added later on in the thread, "Found an XXL glass dildo with veins and swirled gold coloring (beautiful piece really) and checked to see if anyone favorited it. Someone did. She also favorited some cosplay cat eat hats [sic] and a bell collar/necklace thing. Then I found her on Facebook."
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Old 03-15-2011, 02:11 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I dare say, someone might have some regretsy's.
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Old 03-15-2011, 02:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I detect lawsuits. If Netflix can be sued for "outing" people than Etsy can for the same reason.
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Old 03-15-2011, 02:27 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I dare say, someone might have some regretsy's.
I hadn't checked this site in a while but thanks! I now feel really great about my girlie parts! It’s The Great Wall of Vagina, Charlie Brown (NSFW) | Regretsy

And Etsy? WTH? What a stupid stupid idea.
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Old 03-15-2011, 02:34 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The Secondlife Marketplace is built on the same software.

Enjoy.
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Old 03-15-2011, 04:57 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The Secondlife Marketplace is built on the same software.

Enjoy.
Still about a BIZILLON times better then the old Xstreet based off postnuke (or was it PHPnuke? in any case )
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Old 03-15-2011, 05:03 AM   #7 (permalink)
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My automatic reaction was to delete my account. I don't really care about them making that particular data available about me, but that's hardly the point. I don't feel I can trust a company that pisses around with customer data like this.
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Old 03-15-2011, 05:30 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Honestly, how could this have seemed like a good idea? This is just the last in a long line of companies abusing trust and misusing personal information. I want to just delete myself off the whole internet when I read stuff like this. Not that there is anything online that I'm worried about in particular, just as a matter of principle.

Gah.
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Old 03-15-2011, 09:42 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Hi, Adam Brown from Etsy here.
Just wanted to let you know that we have resolved this. 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: Rethinking Feedback :: Etsy Blog
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:07 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Thanks, Adam.

I was getting ready to set up an account with Etsy and I'm pleased that your team jumped on things, hunted down posts made across the web to make certain that concerns of customers and members were taken care of.

That's good business. LL could learn a thing or two from you.
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:13 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Wow that's awesome. As an Etsy seller, I was really concerned about this and I'm glad to see that the Etsy team has stepped up to the plate. Thanks Adam.
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:14 PM   #13 (permalink)
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This reminds me of how Facebook periodically dips its toe in the share-everybody's-information pool and then quickly retracts it when it feels the violent reaction. Companies are chomping at the bit to share every piece of information they can about you ... and eventually they'll all do it (even if only for a day or two.)

Remember when filling out personal information online ... lie, lie, lie.
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:56 PM   #14 (permalink)
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The fact that Adam came here, registered, and posted an update is damn impressive. Though I have to admit that the tone of his blog post is annoyingly passive aggressive.
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:58 PM   #15 (permalink)
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The fact that Adam came here, registered, and posted an update is damn impressive. Though I have to admit that the tone of his blog post is annoyingly passive aggressive.
I just found it informative. I imagine the guy has been going nuts all day doing damage control.
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Old 03-15-2011, 08:11 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I just found it informative. I imagine the guy has been going nuts all day doing damage control.
Pretty much. I would have been more impressed if they didn't didn't try to pull the fast one in the first place ... but at least they aren't being obstinate about it (hi Mr. Zuckerberg!)

It can't be easy to personally hit every complaining forum with a little crow-eating. Credit where credit is due.
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Old 03-15-2011, 08:20 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Pretty much. I would have been more impressed if they didn't didn't try to pull the fast one in the first place ... but at least they aren't being obstinate about it (hi Mr. Zuckerberg!)

It can't be easy to personally hit every complaining forum with a little crow-eating. Credit where credit is due.
Aye, it's very impressive for him to follow up here and elsewhere. Kudos to Adam for a job well done.
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Old 03-15-2011, 08:31 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Old 03-16-2011, 02:12 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I'm not sure they really fixed the problem. I have been looking at their forum and their sellers are still upset. Also it looks as though they just underfed the feedback system. buyers apparently can still be searched by name & email and their favorites still show.
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Old 03-17-2011, 10:43 AM   #20 (permalink)
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This was timely and apropos;

Replies Can Change Customer Minds | Neuromarketing



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It turns out that the way companies respond to bad online reviews makes a difference, too. As reported by Mediapost, a Harris survey showed that 18% of those who posted a negative review of the merchant and got a reply ended up becoming loyal customers and buying more.

In addition, and perhaps an even bigger surprise, nearly 70% of those consumers receiving replies reversed the negative content either by deleting the bad review or posting a second positive one. Considering the power of word of mouth, and in particular negative word of mouth, that’s a stunning accomplishment.

While salvaging one out of five unhappy customers is a laudable goal (and, I suspect, a lot cheaper than prospecting for new customers), I have no doubt the benefits extend far beyond that number. Countless other buyers reading reviews will see a proactive response to a problem instead of an unanswered (and apparently ignored) complaint. (Indeed, when I’m evaluating an online purchase I usually visit the firm’s forum to see how quickly and effectively they respond to problem reports. Unanswered complaints are a huge red flag.)
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