Thursday, March 29, 2012

Update on Sad to say, but its goodbye to Folksy

Well I had a surprise,  James from Folksy ( yes THE James, CEO)  commented on my blog  Sad to say, but its goodbye to Folksy  I was a bit taken a back but was quite pleased he had made the effort.  I replied and he then commented on what I had said.  I thought it was interesting as I am so rarely on the forums these day that it was nice to get an update and to see that they have actually been thinking about the problems and solutions to them.  

I wanted to share it with you as I think some points are interesting.  I realise that those of you on the forums will already be very aware of these things already.

So for your interest here is the comment James made on my blog followed by my reply and all the comments in purple are James's replies.

Think what you will,  but I was happy he made the effort and although I will not be jumping back into Folksy at this time.  I will definitely be watching and seeing what happens.

Hi Janice,

Thank you for posting your thoughts. I totally understand your frustration with the re-design. It would be really good to understand more about what you mean by "the good old days" of Folksy. A number of people have made the same reference. What do you mean?

It seems with some of our selling customers we've made some mistakes and we'd like to put that right. We have the weekly Q&A on the forums which is helping us to get your feedback more directly, but perhaps we could have a session for disaffected Folksy sellers to understand why we're not working well enough for you and your ideas on how we could improve? I'm up for having a live web-chat or some such thing. Or perhaps a specific Q&A?

We still believe we do some things really well but these don't seem to be noticed (in which case maybe we should put our resources elsewhere?). And it's fair to say we can't compete with the likes of Etsy as they have a huge amount of venture capital funding. We have to try and be different by design, think differently, and not ape them. We believe we have good ideas for how to do that but we'd welcome yours too.


James @ Folksy
Thanks James for taking the time to comment on my blog 

I am happy to put in my tuppence worth about how you can improve as I
think folksy was a brilliant platform  and I would hate to see if
suffer because of what I see as a few issues that if resolved, could
bring it back to a great place to sell handmade work.
Hi Janice,

Thank you for your feedback on Folksy, it's appreciated. I've replied
in-line to some of your comments (so it's easier to read).

Best wishes,

James @ Folksy


I personally was happy that mass produced items were cut down on as I
always felt its strengths lay in the individuality and uniqueness of
items offered. And I am pleased to see more interaction with sellers
and better communication, that would have perhaps cut down on the
confusion and bad feeling. However it doesn't seem to extend to those
of us who can't spend all day on the forums finding out information, I
have no idea what is going on any more  so  I feel a sellers e-mail
with updates would be useful.

Good point. We're launching a new "community" area next week and this will bring together lots of the information you need to know as a Seller and also focus on announcements. We do have the monthly Seller email too and we'll be making this more informative (and making sure, at least from next month, all sellers get it as some did unsubscribe from the other email which bumped them off this one).

Information is key and  I agree that I can get more information from
google analytics with regards to shop views.  but the views on folksy
especially on individual items were not only useful but an instant
link to the folksy site.  Its ease of use to see if people were
looking at my newest listed items,  made me visit the site.   Once
there I would browse the site, buy and interact on the forums.  When
that was removed then I had no need to actually visit the site, so my
buying also stopped as I wasn't on the site browsing.  So reinstating
some kind of stats information would not only be helpful in knowing
what was being viewed but would keep people connected.

We're going to be bringing back basic analytic information in the summer so you can see who has seen your work.
We've also - yesterday! - brought back "recently listed" items as a view on the site, accessible from the home page

But I think the main problem I have had is with the technical know
how.  When I started selling on folksy I didn't need to know anything.
I could just sign in, add items and I wouldn't need to know anything
else. I learnt how to promote through the help on the forums which
helped me get sales,  but I still didn't need to know anything
technical.  It was quite simply, simple to use. I didn't know how it
all worked but it just did.
Since the changes I now feel I have to understand, google analytics
and believe me after being on it for over a year, I still haven't got
a clue!! I have to understand how to tag items in order for them to
show up on google and other search engines,  I have to understand
paypal,  I used to just get an email and it told me everything I
needed to know, now apparently  I have to search for the information.
The illusion now is that if I knew everything I now need to know to use
folksy, I could actually set up my own online shop .
I know its a terrible stereotype but us Arty farty crafty folk, can't
create and do technical stuff at the same time,   I  just want to be
creative and all this time trying to find out how things work takes
time away from that.

Good point. It should be easy and we want to make it simple to use. Some things we're doing:
1. The Seller Pack we're introducing in April will help here (which
will be prominent on the new community portal). We've taken keywords
away because they were complex and because they weren't good for
Google search and people misused them. This meant some people thought
their work wasn't being seen and people (wrongly) jumped to the
conclusion Folksy didn't work well with Google search. It does. Just
describe your item well and it will appear - think what someone will
search for and use those words.
2. PayPal is reverting back to the way it used to work and we're
making the emails more informative for you, to make your life simpler
(we're testing this to make sure they will be more useful).
3. Guest Login will mean the platform is simpler for buyers to just
buy too, something Etsy and others don't offer.
4. Listing - the listing process is due to be made simpler with faster
upload and also simpler postage options.
5. We're going to be bringing in re-stocking of items which will mean
no relisting - just update the quantity of the item.
However, there is some complexity we can't avoid. Legal issues for
one. We're launching a better way for sellers to comply with the
Distance Selling Regulations in the next month which will help
everyone, but complying with Safety law around toys and cosmetics is
something we can't help with.

We used to rely on each other for information,  but the forums have
died a bit of a death as people now worry about what they say.  So
perhaps some online videos would help. Joining instructions when you
start to explain some simple information with links  ( apologies if
you do this now but when I joined there was nothing)  I think you need
to remember that most people starting out are terrified and have
little or no understanding of selling online.

Good idea. We'll be bringing in videos with the Seller Pack and have already started our monthly video updates (we're not the most polished presenters yet, but we're trying and you can see we're human beings not robots!).
The forums can be so helpful but they can also be a source of mis-information which can be very frustrating to us (the Google search threads were one such issue). It's not possible to be in the forums all the time but we do try and manage them. The forums were really unpleasant last year (we had to ban a few people because of their behaviour) and we've worked hard to make them more useful and productive and supportive. The weekly Q&A hopefully helps and we're working on better ways to communicate our announcements and gather feedback so there will be less misinformation. The new support system (green tab on the right of the site) allows people to nominate and vote on new features, for example.

I hate etsy,  I really do.  I opened a shop to try it and I never used
it as I thought  they were impersonal and faceless and far to big and
corporate, to get noticed on,  everything I thought folksy wasn't.
They also weren't British, something very personal to my heart. But
with the changes,  rightly or wrongly I thought you were trying to be
like them.   I have to keep an online presence if I want to succeed in
my business,  and they are the only real alternative, easy to use,
cheaper  and I don't have to think about it, I just have to use them.

No, we don't want to be Etsy. We want to support Craft and not be a faceless corporate place that allows people to re-sell lots of non-handmade things. We have to be different to Etsy and in the next year you will hopefully see more of that. That's not to say Etsy don't do some things very well, they do, but we believe that we can support craft and the work of designer makers, better.

I am sure that none of  this is news to you,  but thanks for making
the effort to ask.

Contact me if you want to do a Q& A but I  don't think a web chat
would in my case would  be effective as I would spend ages trying to
figure out how on earth it works!!

Thanks again for your feedback.

Best wishes,



  1. brilliant news! thank you so much for sharing :o)

    now james....get that information out and public!!! ;o)


  2. Thank you for posting this Janice, very interesting and Thank you James, it is great to read your thought on these issues and have an update on the progress on Folksy :-)

  3. Thank you for posting this - it's a really useful insight into what's going on. And you explained the issues we are all affected by really well. I've been on Folksy in one form or another since more or less the beginning and I really hope it's going to blossom.

  4. Interesting post, thanks for sharing. I confess I didn't read your previous post because I'm trying to avoid the negative air around those who leave with a last shot across the bows. Maybe I misjudged - apologies! I have to admit I don't enjoy the forums as much since it seems to be more fashionable to knock folksy than to try and be positive and supportive these days and if you dare to make a comment which isn't part of the moaning then you get shot down. But for all the moaners on the forums there are many, many silent sellers who just want to get on and do what they do best. From what I've read on the forums you seem to be doing really well. So, with or without folksy I wish you all the luck!

  5. Thanks for sharing Janice. I am genuinely pleasantly surprised by the whole exchange. I don't think the "good old forum days" will come back although I am so glad that it was there when I started as I learnt so much.

    I feels as if I have a love affair with Folksy and I can't quite walk away...I'm just biding my time without having my eggs in 1 basket but I really think that James deserves a lot of credit for bridging the gulf that had appeared and in communicating with us:o)

    Dottie x

  6. Thanks for sharing this Janice- it made very informative reading. You came up with some excellent questions and points to discuss with James. I am impressed with the whole dialogue and it's good to hear of the positive changes due.
    Good luck again with your studio.
    Louisa x

  7. Thanks for sharing this and lovely that you got this feedback. I'm still not convinced but will see what happens. It is a shame they didn't try to talk to us like this before they made all the changes. I do welcome the idea of a discussion with the disaffected sellers but I worry it may now well be too late.

  8. Thanks for sharing this, Janice, and it's good that James is showing some concern. However - just in case James reads these responses! - I have no idea why he thinks that Google search is working. IT ISN'T. I include relevant words and phrases in every listing, but not one single item of mine appears in Google searches now. Yet before the changes last November, my Folksy shop was second on page one (just under my website. I can't even find it now! To prove I'm not passing on 'mis-information', all he has to do is to type 'handmade Kindle case' for example into Google. I've contacted admin twice with this suggestion already and (months later) am still waiting for a reply!

    Sending hugs, Janice. :)

    Rosie. x

  9. This is a great post with lots of interesting Q & A.
    I haven't been on the forums much and missed lots of what is going on. Good luck with all you do.

    Jan x

  10. I didn't realise you were considering leaving folksy!
    But I understand where you're coming from with the google analytics thing...I'm still absolutely clueless!!


  11. This has been a really useful read, thanks for making sure we can all get to see it. Just as I was beginning to reconsider my Folksy future, once again feel inclined to stick with it at least a little longer!

  12. Thanks for sharing this Janice. Good luck with your studio.

  13. Thank you for highlighting this on the forum. I understand entirely your 'Good old days of Folksy' comment. Its how I feel! I am attempting to return to daily listing - following the return of 'newly listed items'. You are entirely correct about views info engaging us with the site. I do use GA and get more detailed info from it, but I keep my Etsy shop page open, refresh/check/comment/respond to support/comments from others - as I used to do with Folksy and yes it was the view counter and forum which keep my Folksy page open and active. I think Folksy made too many assumptions about what was important, from their business point of view as well as ours, without asking us - until everyone was so dismayed by the changes.

    Keep in touch with Folksy - it now has a prospect of recovering its old self I feel. Good luck elsewhere in the meantime.