Startup Culture

Play With Me! Etsy Posts Prototypes in the Marketplace

guinea pigs Play With Me! Etsy Posts Prototypes in the Marketplace

Etsy users. (flickr.com/davidmasters)

Etsy may have lost its founder-CEO, but it hasn’t lost its drive. The startup is heavy on data and metrics and it has a history of turning its users into guinea pigs and slashing features that aren’t popular. Today Etsy announced three initiatives in one: Prototypes, an opt-in sandbox where users can “kick the tires” on new features; and the two inaugural prototypes, an HTML5 non-Flash version of the Color Browser and Seller Opportunity Tools, which allow sellers to see voids in the marketplace by displaying what people are searching for.

Similar to Google Labs, Prototypes are strictly opt-in. But that doesn’t save the rest of the Etsy userbase from being tested on. Says Etsy, on its blog: “Prototypes are different from experiments, as you have to opt in to join Prototypes, while experiments are temporary changes to your experience that are not pre-announced.”

Other prototypes available now include Shop Stats, a recommendation engine and Etsy in German.

At six years old, 80 employees and $400 million in sales, the Dumbo startup is at the phase where it must start actively striving to preserve the startup state of mind.

“My beta-tester heart is bouncing with joy,” one user wrote in the Etsy forum.

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