I am posting a blog post that Rob and I just wrote on today's concerns about purchase feedback and privacy on Etsy — and about the changes that we have made to the product based on your feedback. It is published on our blog at http://www.etsy.com/storque/etsy-news/rethinking-feedback-12472/.
Please share your questions and feedback in our site help forum at: http://www.etsy.com/teams/7718/site-help/discuss/6819608
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Adding to what's been published on the blog, we have put together this FAQ to address some of the concerns you guys have brought up:
* Why was this setting not opt-in to begin with?
We thought adding your real name would add more credibility to each transaction. We feel that being who you really are is an important part of trust on the Web. However, we now understand that for a variety of reasons, people may not want to share their purchase or feedback information. Once we realized that problem, we worked diligently to fix it. From now on, all purchases and feedback are set to private.
* Is it safe to use my real name on Etsy? Will my purchase and feedback history be associated with my real name?
It is safe to use your real name on Etsy. All purchase and feedback history will be private. When others view your feedback, they will not see your username, real name, or details about the item you purchased.
* How can I make my purchase history private?
You don’t need to do anything — your purchases and feedback are already set to private.
If you want to adjust other privacy settings on your account, you can do so here: https://www.etsy.com/your/account/privacy
* What about any feedback and purchase history that is out there now?
We are working to remove existing Etsy feedback pages from Google’s index. Feedback pages will not be indexed by Google and other search engines going forward.
* Why didn't Etsy tell us this was going to happen?
We did not make sudden changes without announcing them to the community. This is a combination of how things have always worked (feedback has always linked to items), with a feature we launched in October of last year (real names).
* What about seller protection, now that we can't see buyers’ purchases?
You can still check the feedback rating for buyers, and see the feedback that a buyer has left for other sellers. The difference now is that you will not be able to see the exact items/shops that the buyer has purchased from.
* What about shilling, now that you can't see who the buyers are on a seller's feedback page?
Sellers may not use alternate accounts to purchase items from themselves and inflate their own feedback rating. This is called "shilling." While the publicly viewable feedback will not show who made each purchase, Etsy Admin do have access to this information, and our Support team will continue to be able to investigate possible abuse, and take appropriate action if necessary.
* Should I alert my buyers to these changes?
If your buyers have asked you a question about this, you can direct them to the blog post, here:http://www.etsy.com/storque/handmade-life/rethinking-feedback-12472
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Here are answers to some questions that have come up in other forum threads.
* Can members opt out of search?
This seems to be a common point of confusion. You can opt out of being found by your email address, if you don't want to be found when someone imports their contacts to Etsy. This can be done via your account privacy settings:
Please note that there is no opt-out for search on Etsy.
Providing your name is optional and its sole purpose is for public display, as noted on our Help site:
'Your username, Etsy ID or alias is displayed throughout Etsy (and so available to the public) and is connected to all of your Etsy activity. Other people can see your purchases, items for sale, store, feedback, ratings and associated comments. You have the option to publicly display your full name.'
The sentence about your full name was added in October 2010, when members were given the option of adding their full name to their public profile.
After yesterday's update to Etsy's feedback system, we'll be removing the mention of "purchases" here, as purchases are no longer associated with members publicly.
* Why are "buyer-only accounts" returned in search at all?
Members are returned in search, whether they're buyers or sellers, because Etsy is a community as well as a marketplace. Every Etsy member has a public profile, indexed by search engines. This has been the case on Etsy since the site began.
* Is Etsy going to get old feedback pages removed from external search engine results?
Yes. We are working to clear old feedback pages and cached versions of feedback pages from external search engine results. This is expected to take a few days.
* Where is the option to keep your name private?
There is no option to keep your name private. If you provide your name for public display, it will be publicly displayed. Providing your name for public display is optional. It's really up to you. You can easily remove your name if you change your mind.
* How do I remove my name?
You can remove your name instantly by editing the name field of your profile.
* Why doesn't Etsy email all members about changes?
Etsy emails all members when substantive policy changes are made. This was done in January of this year in anticipation of the release of our Find Your Friends feature.
That said, we know we need to do a better job of communicating with all of our members, and we are working on some new approaches for that.