An important message about an upcoming feature and our Privacy Policy

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Original Post

sean11 says

Hi all,

As many of you know we recently launched a new feature, Circles, that lets you connect with other people on Etsy. When you add someone to your Etsy circle, you can follow along with their favorites in your activity feed. It's illuminating!

But it's hard to find people you know on Etsy, and we're going to change that. We're going to make it easy to connect your email address book to Etsy, so we can automagically find people you know who are also members.

If you don't want other folks to be able to find you on Etsy by your email address, you will be able to easily opt out through your account privacy settings. Your email address will never be publicly displayed. Only people who have emailed with you before would be able to find you on Etsy this way.

We're letting you know about this in advance, and plan to launch this feature in mid-February. We're in the process of emailing all Etsy members to let them know about this.

We have also revised our Privacy Policy in anticipation of this feature. You can review our Privacy Policy here:

www.etsy.com/policy/privacy

If you have any questions, please post in this thread and I'll help address them.

Thanks,
Sean

Posted at 7:49pm Jan 27, 2011 EST

Highlighted Responses What is this?

sean11 says
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cgstudio says:

sean, I know you are just doing your job. But I have NEVER EVER seen an Etsy seller ask if there was some way they could find if a friend sold on Etsy.

cmon. Why would someone want to know this? And wouldn't most know anyway?

---

I think you'll be surprised by the number of you know who are on Etsy that you weren't aware of.

But this will not just be for sellers to find friends who also sell. It will be for everyone, and especially the brand new members who are signing up in increasing numbers. Circles and the activity feed are going to become increasingly central to the Etsy experience for new members.

Just think: if you were brand new to Etsy, wouldn't it be compelling to find that there are people you already know here, favoriting and sharing things? They could help show you around. Etsy is overwhelming for a lot of new people and a little guidance can go a long way.

A great deal of the discovery on Etsy happens socially. Everything in the last 20 or so pages of my favorites was found that way -- through people I'm connected with favoriting things and appearing in my activity feed.

Sean

Posted at 8:10pm Jan 27, 2011 EST

HeyMichelle says
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Hi everyone,

We are receptive to your feedback about this and all features, but please keep this discussion respectful of other Etsy members. Thank you.

Posted at 3:06am Jan 28, 2011 EST

HeyMichelle says
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quirke says:
I want to be sure I understand how this works.

Let's say Bob is some guy I emailed about something three years ago. My email address is in his contacts. Bob is a member of Etsy.

1. Bob decides to allow Etsy access to all his email contacts.

2.Etsy imports his email contacts and cross-checks them against member emails they have on the site.

3. Etsy tells Bob that I am a member of Etsy.


Is that correct? If so, how is that not a violation of my privacy? Etsy gets to tell people that I'm a member here without my permission?

----

Unless I am completely misunderstanding, the answer is no, if you have opted out of the feature. My understanding is that is what opting out is.

Posted at 3:21am Jan 28, 2011 EST

HeyMichelle says
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CanadianRockies says

HeyMichelle, then will we be able to Opt-Out BEFORE that thing goes live?

----

I'll ask about this and see if there is anything we can do...

-------------------
quirke says:

I understand that if you opt out, the above doesn't happen. I was trying to clarify what *does* happen if you don't opt out. I found a comment by Sean later in the thread (after I originally posted the above) that confirms the above scenario to be true. Someone was just quoting me from many many pages ago.

----
Please see this post by Sean in the Announcement thread:
www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6762010

Q: What will happen if I choose to opt out of being found by my email address?

A: If you choose to opt out of being found by your email address, you will not be returned in results when someone with your email address authorizes Etsy to view their contacts.

--
It is possible that I am completely and totally missing something here. But this is what that scenario is addressing, correct? Which post are you referring to? I know he had a post in here that had a typo that completely changed the meaning of what he was saying. Which post are you referring to?

Posted at 3:44am Jan 28, 2011 EST

HeyMichelle says
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Yes, and this is correct - people must give specific permission for Etsy to import their contacts. It does not happen automatically- only if you want it to.

Posted at 3:50am Jan 28, 2011 EST

HeyMichelle says
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Also, we understand that some people want to remain private, and we take this concern seriously. This is why we are notifying all members via email. This will not happen until mid-February, and as Sean posted here:

www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6762010

we will post when we have a firm date to launch this.

Posted at 4:02am Jan 28, 2011 EST

HeyMichelle says
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LastChantsStudio says

I still don't get how anyone is guarenteed to receive the notification of privacy opt out to prevent automatic permission-->in the event that they had previously blocked getting etsy e-mails of any kind. or in the event that it gets dumped in a spam box and never gets seen. Please address this.

How many sellers and buyers will never know of the change?

----

According to the Etsy Dos and Don'ts, which everyone agrees to upon registering, members must have a valid email address on file which we can use to contact them.

www.etsy.com/policy/dosdonts#membership

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alyanna says

HeyMichelle says:
Yes, and this is correct - people must give specific permission for Etsy to import their contacts. It does not happen automatically- only if you want it to.

______________________________________________

But, but, but !!!! Michelle - it's me they are importing!!!!! And I say NO, NO, NO!!!! By what right does any seller have permission to data any buyer's contacts!

---
No one will be able to import the contacts of anyone else. Only their own contacts.

Posted at 4:12am Jan 28, 2011 EST

HeyMichelle says
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And they won't be able to import you if you have opted-out of the service. Basically, opting out and not using the service means that you are not in any way involved in this.

Posted at 4:13am Jan 28, 2011 EST

HeyMichelle says
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StitchesByKryss says

Michelle, we understand that. What we're saying, as loudly and clearly as possible, is that it shouldn't be opt-out, but opt-in. I know that completely screws what Etsy is trying to achieve here, but it's an invasion of privacy no matter how you look at it. My contacts list, and the contacts lists of those I have emailed in the past, is none of Etsy's business.

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Access to your contacts list is opt-in only. This would only happen if you consciously made the choice to do this.

Posted at 4:26am Jan 28, 2011 EST

HeyMichelle says
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eclipse says

HeyMichelle says:

Access to your contacts list is opt-in only. This would only happen if you consciously made the choice to do this.
------------------
WE KNOW THAT.
I think you also know that we know that.
And you know that is not what we are talking about.
We are not talking abut us importing our own address book. We are talking about other people importing their address books which contain our emails. THAT IS OPT OUT.
and it needs to be OPT IN.

-----------------------------------------

Please see the post I was quoting. She said:

"My contacts list, and the contacts lists of those I have emailed in the past, is none of Etsy's business."

----

What I am saying is that access to *your own* contact list is opt-in. This feature is only active if you choose to use it, aka, opt in.

I understand that some of you feel that people who are in your email contacts finding your Etsy shop/profile should be opt-in. I feel that it is very important that people are aware that this is happening and have the option to not be a part of it, which we are doing. I do understand what people are saying about people who don't check their email, however, this is why we require that members have a valid email address where we can contact them.

Posted at 5:16am Jan 28, 2011 EST

sean11 says
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juln says

That's the wonderful (aka dishonest and sleazy) thing about LinkedIn and Facebook invitations. They make sound like the person who sent the invitation personally selected you.

People signing up just click 'Yes, please spam all of my contacts for me' without even realizing what it means, though, because the sites make that look like the default action (like, "yes please spam" is green and larger than "no don't").

So, the site spams everybody, using their member's personal authority, and makes them take responsibility. Sounds great.

----

juln, the invitation portion of this feature will not be underhanded. People will not be selected by default. You will have to select contacts to invite, and you will be able to preview the invitation before it is sent. The process will be clear. Keeping the member using this feature in control is a critical requirement for the interaction design.

Sean

Posted at 9:46am Jan 28, 2011 EST

sean11 says
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jamesmartin says:

I think a lot of people are missing real privacy problem.

The problem is not the accessing of emails of registered buyers and sellers. Etsy already has those emails, and already has the right to use them as they've written in their privacy policy.

This is the problem scenario:

I am a buyer/member. My gmail contact list has 200 email addresses. I see this "Findability" link and go "Cool, what's that?" and I click it and use it to search my address book. I find that 180 of the people in my address book are not Etsy members, so *I choose to send them an invitation, like sean11 suggested I should*.

In that scenario, I have just given Etsy an active list of email addresses that are not Etsy members. These are not bound by any privacy policy, as these are not members.

I will have put my friends' emails onto Etsy's commercial mailing list, without their consent.

Once I have given Etsy those emails, they are Etsy's to use as they want to, and those people are now on a mailing list that they don't necessarily know about, which Etsy can use or sell however they want. The only way my friends can get off this list is to unsubscribe to an email.

Quality mailing lists like this are very valuable assets. These are captured addresses of non-members, which will be willingly given to Etsy by its members.

That is where we are being enticed to breach the privacy of the people in our address books. The problem is the privacy of non-members' addresses, that members gift to Etsy.

----

Etsy is not creating a giant commercial email list from everyone's address books. Etsy is not going to sell the email addresses of your contacts to anyone. Not only would that be unethical, it would be dumb.

The purpose of this feature is to allow people to connect with people they know on Etsy. No mailing lists of any kind are being created by this feature. The only emails being sent through the use of this feature are those explicitly generated by the actions of the people using it. When you add someone to your circle, they will receive an email notification. When you invite someone to join Etsy, they will receive an email which you will be able to preview before sending. No emails will be sent unless you want them to be sent.

Etsy's privacy practices are regularly verified and vetted by TRUSTe, an independent, non-profit organization which helps make sure Etsy is in compliance with privacy laws around the world.

Honestly, there is nothing sinister going on here. I plan to use it to get my mom to join Etsy, so I can show her around the site and follow her favorites in my activity feed.

Sean

Posted at 5:10pm Jan 28, 2011 EST

sean11 says
Highlighted Post

Catbooks1940s says:

further, let's even say i did know about and understand this, and opted out. but my email address is in someone else's contact list, and that person opts in and allows etsy to access their contact list.

now i show up as not having an etsy account. that person could then spam me because they think i 'might be interested in etsy.'

----

In this example, you would not be returned in that person's results, because you had chosen not to be findable by your email address. You would not show up at all.

Sean

Posted at 5:21pm Jan 28, 2011 EST

Responses

Wow, facebook indeed.

Posted at 7:51pm Jan 27, 2011 EST

Claybykim says

It is not hard to find people you know. That comes from knowing them. I don't get it.

Posted at 7:52pm Jan 27, 2011 EST

LOL @ clay. I think they're hoping you might have some friends on etsy they you don't yet know are on etsy!

Posted at 7:53pm Jan 27, 2011 EST

ekonkar8 says

I cherish my privacy....I don't even like the circles. I'm not anti-social.....just sayin'

Posted at 7:54pm Jan 27, 2011 EST

Claybykim says

Then they are not very good friends.

Posted at 7:55pm Jan 27, 2011 EST

This place is getting stranger and stranger by the day!!!

Posted at 7:55pm Jan 27, 2011 EST

Umm... no. I know you say there will be opt out, but I seriously hope it is available as soon as this whole email feature gets released. I do NOT want my email addy to be used to find me.

Nuts! The whole world has gone mad.

Posted at 7:55pm Jan 27, 2011 EST

I'm seeing sellers entering former buyers email addresses and all manner of strangeness. I hate that feature of Facebook too.

Posted at 7:56pm Jan 27, 2011 EST

Can we opt out yet?????

Posted at 7:57pm Jan 27, 2011 EST