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Upcoming Changes to Search: Your Questions Answered

Apr 29, 2008

by HeyMichelle handmade and vintage goods

In our recent announcement about the exciting upcoming changes happening to the way searching works on Etsy, we found you had some burning questions that weren’t covered as clearly as you would have liked.   Below you will find the most frequently asked questions from the community concerning the upcoming search changes and the answers you’ve been looking for.

If you’ve still got questions about how your items will appear in searches, join us Wednesday at 3:00PM EST in the Virtual Labs for a workshop on tagging. If you’d like to share your feedback about the changes, we’re holding two chat sessions on Thursday. One at 2:00PM EST and one at 7:00PM EST.

Will you be sending a mass email all users with this change?
We consider mass emailing Etsy users a very serious and sensitive matter and reserve taking such a measure for updates such as changes to our Privacy Policy or our TOU. A mass email also must be carefully timed to prevent having our emails marked as spam, blacklisting us from sending email to any users. We have taken your concerns under consideration and will be sending out a mass email to all registered Etsy users in the coming week that will in part discuss this upcoming Search change.

If you’re interested in getting more frequent emails about Etsy news, you can sign up for our opt in mailing list. The Etsy News mailing list delivers critical updates from The Storque straight to your inbox.

Since there will be no more category bleed, will people still be able to find my item in multiple categories?
Using the Categories browser is different from searching directly in the Search bar.  So, no, when shoppers are browsing Etsy by Categories, they will not be able to find you item in multiple Categories.  You will need to decide which top level Category best fits your item. Consider which Category shoppers are likely to look for your item when using the Categories function. It will only show up under the Category you select during the listing process. However, this does not affect Search: your item will still show up in direct searches that include your tags.

Do I need to tag all my items “handmade” even if they are already handmade?
No, handmade items do not need to be tagged with the word “handmade.” If your items are handmade and listed under their appropriate categories, they will automatically show up in the handmade search.  If you are selling handmade crafting supplies, it is optional but recommended to tag these items with the word handmade since there is a subcategory for handmade in the top level Supplies Category.

What other Category changes will be made?  Will all the other Categories we’ve been asking for be added?

These particular Search and Category Browser changes are separate from the categories themselves.  For any category, if you have suggestions for subcategories, or subsubcategories, please read this article on how to help us with your input.  This is an on-going project; subcategories and subsubcategories can be added all the time!  We are currently considering the best way to handle miniatures, collectibles, dolls, etc.

Will this change the order in which items are displayed? Will we be able to search by relevance now?
Search results will continue to be sorted by date listed, with the newest first. You may also sort the items by price, or reverse the order to see the oldest first. The search will work essentially the same as it does currently, just with separate searches for Handmade, Supplies, and Vintage. You will still be able to search all Etsy as well.

Why are my shop and my items being segregated out of the default search?
This round of Search changes is meant to make it easier for buyers to find the items they are looking for on Etsy. The changes come in response to several community requests and our evolving vision for Etsy.

By giving Vintage items and Supplies their own place on Etsy, we hope to ease buyer confusion when shopping for handmade on Etsy and at the same time make searching and shopping easier for those looking specifically for Supplies and Vintage.

Will this change work when people mistag their items? Is Etsy doing anything about mistagged items?
Users tagging their items correctly is vital to the success of these changes.  It is our hope that by announcing the changes in advance, our users will have enough time to take a second look at their items and determine if any of them need changes.  This change will make it easier for our Content Team to find and correct mistagged items. We still appreciate all of your work with flagging items.

You can help us by flagging any of the following:

1. Commercial Supplies that do not have the tag “commercial.”
2. Commercial Supplies listed anywhere but the Supplies Category.
3. Vintage items listed anywhere except the Vintage Category.
4. Vintage Supplies listed anywhere except the Vintage or Supplies Categories.
5. Vintage Supplies that do not have the tag “commercial.”
6. Random stuff that isn’t Handmade, Vintage or a Commercial Supply and doesn’t belong on the site.

Report it here and please briefly state why you are flagging the item (miscategorized, doesn’t have the tag “commercial”, etc.).  This will help our Content Team in making sure each set of search results returns the right types of items. Our Content team has recently grown, check out their Storque article.

Will mature items be next to be filtered out?
We have no plans to filter any additional items from the default search. Mature items are welcome on Etsy provided they follow our guidelines in the selling Do’s and Don’ts:

Mature Content:

  • Mature content is: sexual activity or content, profane language, or graphic violence as shown in an item.
  • These items must be tagged “mature.”
  • The first thumbnail image should be kept appropriate for general audiences; additional images in the listing may show the item in its entirety.
  • Mature content listings will remain in all public searches by default; users can restrict results by using the exclusionary search term “NOT mature” (“opt-out” search status).
  • Artful representation of the nude human figure is allowed. The context of the nudity determines if it is a mature content item (see above).
  • Items are subject to staff review on a case-by-case basis. If the staff evaluates the content to be mature, you will be asked to add the tag “mature” or remove the listing entirely.

You can also read this Storque How-toon photoshopping the first image in your listing.

Thank you all for your questions.  If you have a question you do not see addressed in this article, please ask it in this related forum thread or attend one of our sessions in the Virtual Labs

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