The first meeting of the second seller Community Council is in the books, and it has been and is a learning experience for all of us. More than anything else, this first month and meeting has been devoted to orientation and assessment. Members of the Council have had a chance to introduce themselves to one another, but were very quick to jump into the task of getting feedback about Etsy from the community. They consolidated the thoughts you provided into a small series of broad topics that were referenced most often on a discussion thread created for this purpose in the Etsy Forums. I’ll go into those in a little more detail in just a bit.
Vanessa, editor-in-chief of Etsy’s blog, gave the Council an early look at her recently published article on spamming to make sure that the tone was lively but not too harsh. Council members enjoyed the article as it was written and thus didn’t have any major recommendations for it. Additionally, we all talked a little about basic spam standards and the even more recently published blog reader survey.
Before delving into the bulk of what we discussed, I have to acknowledge that it’s a challenging time to be on the Community Council. Much is changing under the direction of Rob Kalin as Etsy sets about gathering the resources to work on projects that are priorities to the community and also to Etsy staff. Rob covered many of these in his recent Q&A Forum announcements. As more work is done we’ll be able to discuss individual projects in greater detail. Consequently, we didn’t really talk specifics at this first meeting; I hope we’ll be able to discuss those more over time and bring them to you as well.
So what did we cover? The first broad topic was seller tools. Among the most referenced topics on the Forum thread were batch editing tools and currency conversion tools. The Council recognized that there were many, many other tools beyond these two that would be helpful to sellers. Etsy recognizes this too, as Forum moderators in particular keep track of features and tools that the community asks for. Though we at Etsy have made efforts to provide individual tools in the past, now we are creating a seller tools team focused just on building tools like the ones referenced above.
Policy enforcement was also a topic that was very strongly represented. Though everyone on the Council wants to see Etsy do a better job in cleaning up persistent or blatant policy violators, some said that this should simply go without saying; it shouldn’t have to be a topic of discussion. Frankly, we at Etsy agree. It’s a matter that we’re not happy about, and along with multiple new positions to assist the Support team we’re also assembling a specific, multidisciplinary team for this task: the SCRAM (Systems for Catching Resellers and Abusers of the Marketplace) Team. The solutions to this problem require both more people and better tools, and we will get both.
The third strongly represented topic was Checkout, and this too encompassed a few different phenomena. There was a general consensus that the Checkout interface should be easier for first-time Etsy buyers to understand. Additionally, we discussed our want to avoid problems with non-paying buyers by not removing an item from a seller’s shop until the buyer pays for it. Some Council members expressed concern in a system like this over artists who make one-of-a-kind pieces that multiple buyers may attempt to purchase at once. I’ll make sure that we’re looking out for our artists making OOAK pieces as this particular project goes forward.
There are many other topics that we wanted to cover but couldn’t due to time constraints (search, privacy controls, etc.). The Council will continue to take input from the community for topics of discussion over the coming months, though the way that we collect those thoughts from you may change in order to make that process both easier on you and on the Council. I’ll be back with another summary next month, and in the meantime the Council and myself will continue to advocate for you, the Etsy community!