Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Coralgate-another major etsy fail

If you are of my generation, you will remember sit-ins to protest the Viet Nam war and other injustices of the 60's and early 70's. The war ended and sit-ins as a form of protest quietly faded into the sunset.

Flash forward to today and the sit-in on Etsy over a blog post about coral. Doesn't sound like a big deal, does it? It is and I will tell you why.

Etsy used to be about promoting the handmade movement and to me, the individuality that goes with it. Recently, that has changed profoundly. Featured in the latest Etsy blog post, the Storque, or the Dorque, as some are fond of calling it, was a jewelry designer named Temple St. Clair. Now, Ms. St.Claire makes no claims at all to making her jewelry-she out sources it somewhere. Included in the blog post was a "don't use coral-it's endangered" comment along with a link to a petition to sign to boycott people who use coral in making jewelry or whatever they handcraft. Now, there are a lot of wonderful jewelry makers on Etsy who use coral in their creations and they were a wee bit ticked off to put it mildly. Etsy is basically backing a petition that goes against something they legally sell and took money from people who listed items with coral in them. Once again, they have stabbed their customer base in the back. That's something Etsy has down to a fine art by now. Another thing they have down to a science is violating their own TOU's when and where they please. It happened often with this blog post.

Threads calling for the post to be removed were quickly closed and all the "troublemakers" were shunted to one thread to post in. I tried to start a different post about it, but it too, was quickly closed. If you want to talk about coral, the shameful lack of response from admin. and why everybody is really pissed off now, this is the thread to do it in. This thread is now nearly 1020 pages long and growing. It has become a sit in. Etsy sellers worldwide are participating in it and keeping it going. I'm sure we will all end up muted and closed down, but since a lot of sellers have closed up shop over this, I don't think it will be a problem. It's my belief that Ms. St. Clair is wanting people to boycott coral so they will feel good when they go to Target and buy her mass produced petroleum based resin new line of jewelry.

In a nutshell, this is what the problem is:
1. sellers are upset because the storque article:
a. gives unclear and even false information about a material commonly used on etsy, and
b. urges readers to boycott this material, while
c. directing readers to an off-etsy website (which violates the terms of use) for self promotion.

2. sellers feel betrayed because they've paid their fees to list these items in good faith, and feel that etsy took & is taking their money while promoting this suggested boycott by leaving the storque article up.

3. many people are angered by the lack of discussion, answers, prompt attention, total disregard for the terms of use that we must abide by, and apologies that focus on small issues but miss the bigger picture.

4. many people are also angered by the complete glossing over of the fact that this is NOT about coral, and the fact that anytime someone mentioned this fact they were closed down.

Here is the thread I started titled "Etsy Dearest" that was quickly closed. (If you want to see more of the closed threads on this topic, go to the EB blog-you will find a link on the right of this post and then go to Closed Threads.)
This is titled after the movie Mommie Dearest in case you don't get that and it's an open letter to Admin.. I was going to put this in a blog post and still might, but I wanted to be sure admin. saw it. I know, I'm asking for my shop to be shut down by being a loud, dissenting voice here, but I closed my shop here months ago over the lack of respect etsy has for it's sellers-the ones who pay the bills.

You have shown time and time again that you have nothing but contempt for the people who have made etsy what it used to be-an e-commerce site for handmade items. Coral gate is the last straw-it's like spitting in the face of all those who have supported you the last 3 or 4 years. That's despicable behavior. If it wasn't for the wonderful people who created the handmade items you used to sell here, you would be nowhere. Instead, you have become almost a joke. Allowing people who sell mass produced stuff in sweatshops in here to sell disguised as collectives. Now, you allow a "guest commentator" or whatever you called her in that so called apology, to come in and post links to her off site sales when she doesn't even make the jewelry is selling. She designs mass produced stuff using petrolieum products. For crying out loud-remember the Gulf Oil Spill???

You are the most hypocritical bunch of people I have run across in ages. You have been hiding behind the curtain like the Wizard of Oz, but now, that curtain is being pulled back, and you are being exposed for the frauds you are. IMHO, you are slowly killing what you built by your constant thoughtlessness in your lack of response to sellers, your bland, robotic responses to sellers and all the other ways that you denigrate them. But that's right, you have the money and don't care. What do you expect from a guy who conned his way into NYU or wherever it was. I have to go dig out last Dec.'s Readers Digest. It's not a site I care to be associated with. I bet you will find in the coming weeks that I'm not the only one who feels that way. Don't worry, we will keep the starry eyed newbies up to date on how you are.

So now, click the sit in link and join us, if you would like to. We have marshmallows. If you are interested about coral and how it is farmed, just google "farming coral or bamboo coral". You will get some very informative links that will take you to other informative links.


Anonymous said...

Well said! You've summed it up very clearly.

Like you, I remember the 60s and it's heartening to see that spirit at work in the current situation.


Anonymous said...

Here's the thing: I make things out of resin, but they are recyclable. I hope my recent lack of sales has nothing to do with this backlash.

I think her article has hurt everyone. The admin over @ Etsy sucks, plain and simple. They are so stuck. They will never apologize for what "they" did. The article will stay forever, and now what? Resin is bad too? That hurts me, not just the coral sellers.

This bitch St. Clair should have NEVER been allowed to post such a misinformed article. It makes Etsy sellers look bad, me for example. I hand-make everything, I don't outsource my resin jewelry. I just want everyone to know that I'm not her, and that I've worked to hard to build a customer base that I greatly appreciate. The whole thing is sad. Sigh.


subeeds said...

Bethtastic, I don't think that article has anything to do with slow sales right now. I think people are just saving for Christmas spending. I seriously doubt that Ms. St. Claire and the minions in her "collective" are nearly as concerned with safely using resin as you are. They are probably more conerned with the bottom line.

Shpangle said...

Well said...this is exactly why I keep well away from etsy etc.