After getting somewhat roundly slammed and thrashed by the media and the blogosphere over the past 24 hours, Etsy.com has backpedalled and apologized for its recent change in privacy practices. I’d say that it was in response to its members’ complaints in their forums, but the reality is that there were tons of complaints and yet Etsy did nothing until sites outside of Etsy.com started reporting on the situation. And a lot of the credit for that goes to “Deeply Offended,” an Etsy.com member who contacted this site and other media sources to ask us all to call public attention to what was going on.
On their blog today, Etsy writes:
Yesterday and today there have been a handful of articles reporting that purchases on Etsy are public. The articles have led to concerns by members of our community. [Well, that may be true, but there were already tons of concerns expressed by members, but they did not result in meaningful change until the media piled on – Dissent].
We want to apologize. We also want to set the record straight about how our product works and about changes we made today in response to your feedback.
Are my purchases on Etsy public?
No. As of right now, all your purchases on Etsy are private.
You can read the rest of their apology and explanation here.
As I noted yesterday, this is not the first time that I’ve been contacted with privacy complaints about Etsy.com. And it’s not the first time they didn’t respond to attempts to contact them to get clarification or a statement. I don’t know if TRUSTe will have a quiet word with their client about being more responsive more promptly to privacy concerns or privacy inquiries, but I hope they do.
Update: I just received a reply from Adam Brown to the inquiry I had sent Etsy on March 13th:
We have responded to this issue by making all purchase and feedback on Etsy private by default. You can read more about it in our blog post http://www.etsy.com/storque/etsy-news/rethinking-feedback-12472/. I think that should answer your questions, but if you have more, just let me know.