Monday, February 15, 2010

herding cats...

a deep dark journey through the mind-fuck of the etsy treasury.
(this is a long one, hey, we warned you)

Making treasuries: a special case

Most of our recent posts have centered around issues that stem from the treasury. So, we'd like to cover some ground.
Someone (in some forum thread) asked "why bother to make a treasury?"
There is no short answer. But there are a panoply of interconnected reasons. It's relatively free (we'll let you decide whether or not you account for your personal time). It's a free feature on etsy, why not use it? To show other people stuff you like on a site sponsored format where no one should be accusing you of being spammy. To be altruistic and promote stuff by other people on a site feature where no one should be accusing you of being spammy. As a way to meet other etsians: both as a means to give a shout to and perhaps receive a response from people who make stuff that you admire, and also as a way to potentially meet all sorts of people who happen to like looking at stuff that other people like. In other words, make a treasury for the potential social interaction whether it's social networking, social marketing, or just being a people person. Because sometimes your treasury might make it to the front page: where the general public can click on the things that you like and perhaps also the link to your shop. Front page exposure for the people featured in your treasury may result in instant or future sales. And front page exposure in that you're credited for coming up with the list might lead to sales or future sales for you as well.

In essence, at its core the treasury is a tool for social networking, social marketing, and potential sales.

Now, don't get us wrong: we like the treasury. What we don't like is when people bastardize, monopolize, or just plain abuse the treasury.

So, we'd like to offer some advice with the hopes that those of you who happen to read this blog are altruistic enough to forward this information.

We see some stupid shit sometimes when we go to the treasury or when we read the forums and see people asking questions about the treasury. So, help your fellow etsians out and be honest with them.

"How do I know when the treasury is going to open?"
You don't. Yes, you can either go to page 17 and use your math skills to figure out how many down from the top constitutes 333. Or you can go to craftopolis and look at the treasury clock. Neither of these things is actually a guarantee as to when the treasury will really open.

"It's a fucking treasury clock, motherfucker, TREASURY CLOCK — why did you just tell me to go FUCKING look at a TREASURY CLOCK like it had the answer and then tell me not to believe it? What kind of a vicious asshole are you?"
We will cop to being assholes, I'm not committing to agree to the vicious part. Anyway, the reason that the clock or the time on the 333rd treasury on about page 17 aren't exactly completely accurate indicators of PRECISELY when the treasury will open is because etsy users who create treasuries have the ability to delete their own treasuries. So, if they want to make another treasury at the time around when they know the treasury is about to open, they may then delete their current about-to-expire treasury.


"So, then, what the fuck, when does it open?"
Well, look at when the thing is about to open and show up an hour before it's supposed to open.

"An HOUR? Are you out of your god damned mind? What do I have a warehouse that stores an endless supply of free time?"
Don't ever ask this question on the forums. Some sanctimonious asshole will tell you that you clearly have the wrong priorities. Yes, in all seriousness, they will tell you that if you do not possess a free hour to sit in front of your computer and wait for an opening on a feature that you, in fact, just don't have your priorities in order. Kids, scmids. Fucking kids... go, the fuck away, mommy needs to make a list of other people's crap in the vain hopes that mommy's list will make the front page so mommy can make some sales on this online marketplace with the crippled search feature... You can clean up the dog's piss later, and crochet yourself a new sofa cover to hide whatever the cat did while you were staring in vain at the computer. Job, you son of a bitch, jobs are for pussies? Sleep, motherfucker, sleep is for pussies. Crafting? Why the fuck would you take time to make your own stuff, you asshole, you're supposed to be making stuff for other people. Oh, and while your at it, go fuck yourself.
Yes, it's all about priorities.

Now, the forum assholes will tell you that supposedly there's something magical or fun about sitting in front of your computer waiting for shit to expire.
Here's a thought about these people: they're stay at home moms, or they live in a residence where someone else is taking care of the bills, amenities, etc. Because anyone who is currently employed is going to tell you that when the shift is over, there is no joy in coming home to whoville to sit down in front of a computer and waste an hour of your precious free time waiting for shit on the internet to expire. You are not crazy for thinking that the people who tell you that there is joy in waiting for shit to expire to get to use a feature are in fact retarded. That's like saying it's fun to stand in line at Christmas time at Best Buy. Only stay at home moms or people who otherwise don't have to leave the house to earn a paycheck would ever try to sell you on something so viciously false as the suggestion that metaphorically standing in line enhances the fun. It doesn't. Yes, Virginia, they are crazy retarded.

"Okay, so I sat there for a fucking hour (my cat has thoroughly humped my leg), now what?"
Did a box appear on your screen?

Then type a title in it as quickly as possible and either click on "accept" or hit return or enter depending on whether you're using a mac or a PC.

"What kind of a glutton would I have to be to have a PC? That's like having the internet through the landline."
We know, and that wasn't a question, let's try to keep this on topic. Pretty soon someone is going to come in here passing out imaginary drinks and cupcakes...

"Fine, although I could go for a cupcake... So, I typed in my title, now what?"
Now you can begin to make your treasury. Either copy and paste URLs from your favorites or some list you may have complied for yourself or use the items in your poster sketch.
We have some recommendations about the items you use for your treasury:
Make sure the listing are ACTIVE; check your treasury choices before you put them in your treasury. Seriously, no one is going to enjoy clicking on your treasury if all they get are a bunch of error pages. Also, make sure the items are NOT SOLD. We cannot stress this enough. As etsy users (and, gasp, the occasional makers of treasuries) it boggles our minds when you tell me that you have featured an item from my shop in your treasury, I click on the link, and then I start clicking on the items in your treasury and see that they literally sold like a week ago. ALWAYS USE CURRENT LISTINGS WHEN MAKING A TREASURY. Do NOT place sold or inactive items in your treasury.

Most importantly: have 16 different items from 16 DIFFERENT sellers. Yes, we know, only 12 of those items show up in the treasury that the average etsy user clicks on. Alternates are for if in general something from your treasury sells, or are necessary if you expect your treasury to ever be in the running to be promoted to the front page of etsy. We're not fucking with you. You need 12 different seller's items for the part that everyone can see, and 4 more different seller's items for the part that only you and the etsy staff can see. USE ALL 16 slots, USE 16 different items by 16 different sellers.

"It says at the bottom of the treasury that I may include one of my own items."
If you don't want your treasury to have a chance at making the front page, then sure. Yes, Virginia, it's a catch 22. If you're only making a treasury apparently just to make one and you have utterly no hope of having your treasury be on the front page, then by all means, include your own item... The fact that your shop name is credited with making the list — that is supposed to be enough. Featuring yourself in your own treasury negates your chances of making the front page. We advise against the practice.

"So, what should I put in my treasury?"
That's up to you. We really have no interest in telling you who or what you should feature. No, really, we're serious. What we do suggest is looking for things that you like with listings that are well executed. Yes, to a certain degree the pictures count. I mean, the listing really does need to have A picture, because, quite frankly, the treasury that you make, whether it's just in the treasury or makes it to the front page is essentially a collection of 12 gallery style thumbnails. Yes, there is tiny text, but really, what I'm looking at is a gallery-sized thumbnail. So, when I look at it — I need to be able to identify the item.

So, to summarize:
Use all 16 slots with different items by 16 different sellers.
Wanna be on the front page: no sold items, no inactive / error message listings, must have discernible pictures, don't put your own items in your own treasury (from you or any alternate accounts), we advise against religious pandering, nudity, and generally offensive shit. This is, after all, etsy (the place to buy and sell all things handmade), not the fetishistic ass-less chaps pantatorium (where, of course, nudity is a precursor).

"Yeah, but you assholes will still bitch about whatever I picked if it makes it to the front page... especially if I'm fond of your beloved repeats or part of the Treasury Mafia."
You're right, we will. But then, we don't expect to stop you, hinder you, or slow you down, buckaroo. If we see your name attached to a list of repeats on the front page repeatedly, will we be asshole about it? Absolutely. But you know what? We shouldn't. And it's not us, and it's not you: it's the etsy staff. Unfortunately for you or me or us: etsy does not disclose the empoyees who curate the front page. Like some assholes running some sort of vitriolic blog devoted to issues stemming from their unhappiness with the way features are being run with no transparency to the methodology — they do it anonymously. Believe me, we'd happily skip all you motherfuckers over in a heartbeat to get to the heart of the matter.

In all actuality, there is nothing wrong with your crappy treasury filled with front page repeats. Sure, we'll waste 32 seconds of our time opening it. We might click on anything that's not a repeat that by our own personal standards isn't exceptionally terrible, but really, we're not the kind of assholes who post the stupid fuck comments in your treasury. Yeah, we've read about those assholes who do that shit on the forums; we're not them.

No, the problem isn't with your crappy treasury chock full of front page repeats, the problem is 2 fold. It's the treasury system itself and it's the etsy employees choosing the front page treasuries.

Regarding the etsy employees who are curating the front page, as some asshole said: get a spreadsheet. Or fuck, spend less time fucking up the convo feature and invent yourself a program not unlike a spreadsheet where in which sellers make the front page will be tracked by date and which employee put them there will simultaneously be tracked. That way, the lone etsy employee with the actual ability to feature the depth and diversity of the talent available on your site won't be dragged down by the assholes who keep hitting me over the head with Lirola, maclancy, toybreaker, etc.

Regarding the treasury system itself: it sucks.
The previous text wherein we explained catch 22 facts assumed that nothing goes wrong when you go to make a treasury. We know this isn't the case. Not only have we read over the years scores of threads with etsians bemoaning blank or missing spots in their treasuries. But we have also read of the numerous times that someone has sat there for an hour waiting for the number to dip below 333, typed their title into the box, hit enter, and got no treasury. What the fuck is that?
Because, you know, first that person had to figure out when the treasury was going to open. Sit there with their thumb up their ass waiting for the damned thing to open. They type in their title, hit enter... and nothing. Would that really make you want to try again? Because how pissed do you think you would be? We figure you'd be really fucking pissed. You don't, as it turns out, have an imaginary warehouse with an endless supply of free time. And you just spent an hour in line to wait for what turned out to be nothing. How utterly disappointing.

There is rarely a week that goes by without one of these tales of woe. And these people aren't fucking with you. They didn't make this shit up because they were lazy or had the wrong priorities or wanted to come to the forums and whine like assholes. This shit happens every week.

So, when is etsy going to fix the treasury so that more people can participate? There's a proposal out there that would almost completely eliminate everything that we decry here. It involves opening up the treasury to everyone, essentially whenever. Because, if anyone could make a treasury, then we imagine, just about anyone actually would make a treasury. Yes, we know, even the ass-less chaps people. We don't begrudge them their regular treasury, as they are trying to sell their (presumably handmade) ass-less chaps. That's right, none of us are in the handmade ass-less chaps business, so what the fuck do we care? We just don't want to see it on the front page.

We imagine that if everyone could make a treasury that the treasury would pretty much be the same but different. It would be different in that it would be harder to find the same 40 people who ALWAYS have a treasury and a treasury west going at the same time. You know, the assholes you meet on the forums who think their treasuries don't suck shit so much that they should have 2 going at the same time all the time. Yeah, the assholes who really think their opinions matter, and they're entitled to it or some such shit because their "priorities" are in order. Those stupid fucks, the ones who keep putting the same people in their treasuries, who ALWAYS have time to wait for the treasury to open and make one, the ones who are always featured on the front page because they're in the treasury so frequently that the staff knows them by heart... yeah, we'd like them to be harder to find. We'd like to destroy their echo chamber, because we're really tired of the cacophony of the same old crap.

We'd like to be able to see all of you make 1 treasury that lasts for only 48 hours at the only treasury on etsy. And when your 1 treasury expires or you delete your own treasury then you can make another. Oddly, we have a reasonable amount of faith in all of you, because we know that you all don't like exactly the same things. You are a diverse crowd, so don't be crowded out by a small group of people who are so exclusive to one another that they can't be bothered to be honest or altruistic enough to include you.

Go forth and make treasuries, and make the kind that have a chance at being on the front page:
  • 16 different items from 16 different sellers
  • none of your own items
  • no sold or inactive listings
  • nothing offensive
  • no listings without discernible pictures