More Bullshit: Etsy in the News

Another op-ed piece on Etsy, Inc. from The New York Times. This one was written by Elizabeth Wayland Barber, who, according to Wikipedia is an author and “expert on textiles, as well as Professor emerita of archaeology and linguistics at Occidental College.”  Now, just ask yourself. Why would the very well-educated author of such works as Prehistoric Textiles: The Development of Cloth in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages with Special Reference to the Aegean (1992) and The Dancing Goddesses: Folklore, Archaeology, and the Origins of European Dance (2013)” write an op-ed piece on such a lowly little subject as Etsy??  Rusetsy suggests the answer is cronyism and that somebody, somewhere asked her to write this article. I hold serious doubts this is something Professor Barber felt compelled to write.

You see, when a company is backed by billionaires who daily rub elbows with other billionaires, those billionaires have a lot of power and a lot of reach into the business world. Easy enough to get the company message out through the media. Again and again.

I see this as a desperate move on the part of Etsy, Inc.  Etsy can’t convince the public to accept their new definition of handmade, so perhaps a textiles expert/author/archaeology professor can?

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8 thoughts on “More Bullshit: Etsy in the News

  1. I left the following comment, but I has not been posted yet:

    This op-ed piece reminds me very much of the premise of the first Jurassic Park movie, where a millionaire investor manipulates academics into “penning a wee testimonial” for his project.

    I have to wonder if Dr. Barber is being compensated in some way for this “wee testimonial” of hers, and wonder if some interesting connections might be unearthed between Dr. Barber and the Etsy Board and investors if an investigative journalist was to do some digging.

    As far as I and, I am sure, countless other handmade artisans are concerned, however, Dr. Barber’s piece does nothing to prop Etsy back up after its disastrous decision or to restore its credibility. In fact, writing it has only compromised her own credibility and undermined her reputation.

    I closed my Etsy shop the day after the “Etsy Town Hall” announcement of the new Guidelines because Etsy is no longer a handmade venue suitable for my original handmade artisan jewelry. I prefer to support the “purer artisan site,” as Dr. Barber correctly referred to Zibbet, and to adapt the Assyrian woman’s letter: “whatever jewelry I can manage I will send you with later caravans.”

  2. Awesome comment Lisa!! Hope it gets published. My suggestion that perhaps Professor Barber had some prompting to write the piece doesn’t show up in the comments section. And I don’t expect it will.

    • My second comment was: “Perhaps the NYT could actually report real news on Etsy… maybe something along the lines of “Etsy to Partner With Chinese Woosai” which the media has neglected to mention.” Highly doubt that one will appear in the comments section either.

  3. The funniest response that I saw in the forums was to make a handmade pie first invent the universe.
    Well Said Lisa such an apt comparison.

  4. The NY Times has closed the comments. Wonder why.

    Reflecting further on this piece, I have to say that I am appalled that a linguist would misuse her alleged expertise by attempting to manipulate the definition of ​the word ​handmade​ for the benefit of big business​. What a disgrace. Noah Webster’s definition of the word is perfectly clear to the rest of the world, and both Dr. Barber and Etsy would do well to stick with that and forgo the ham-handed attempts at obfuscation.

  5. Yep … as “self-predicted” …. comments were closed after over 165 overwhelmingly critical ones were submitted and posted. The avalanche of exceptionally well-written comments completely swamps the badly skewed original piece. In effect becoming a hazard for Etsy rather than a boost.

    I find this quite amusing. The opposition is strengthening .. and the less credible “whiners” have largely disappeared. What is obvious now is that there is a large cadre of well-informed professional crafters who have a genuine axe to griind.

    And they are grinding it very well indeed.

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