Etsy Privacy Blunder Reveals Users' Full Names, Dildo Preferences, and Other Less Embarrassing Purchase Information

Oh Etsy, Etsy Etsy, what have you done? Well, to begin with, this: you introduced "People Search," a new tool that makes your users (and their feedback histories) searchable by their real names, without giving anyone any real heads up that you were doing so. Uh oh.

Basically, anyone whose real name is associated with their Etsy account—it's technically optional when you sign up for the arts and crafts-focused retailer, though it's not indicated expressly as such, so most people presumably just type it in—and has left feedback for a purchase at any point is now pretty much guaranteed embarrassment of some degree. And not just via Etsy's People Search but via Google, too. Take this particularly unfortunate example from the Penny Arcade forums:

Oh god. I was looking for an example to give to a reporter that asked me for one, and I just found a woman who's Etsy profile comes up on Google as the 5th link. I was expecting 6 or 7 pages down, but it's on the very first page, right after her online resumes (four of 'em - so I guess she's looking for work and this cannot be helping). She signed up a year ago, under the old privacy policy, and hasn't logged in since 2010.

And now I know what dildo she uses. Right down to the curvature and coloring.

Yikes! I tested it on myself and found that yes, indeed, my Etsy account and attendant purchase history were now part of my Google footprint. All of my vintage belt buys there for the world to see (thankfully there's no way to tell from that purchase history that I use the belts for weird sex stuff).

Mary Sue of TheMarySue.com has a handy guide to changing your profile settings and hiding your account history, but let this be a lesson to us all: just because an online retailer is really twee and trades mostly in adorable knit hats that look like frogs doesn't mean they know how to protect your privacy. [Geekosystem]

Update: Etsy, noting that this invasion of privacy has made their users' hearts feel sad, has rolled back the new search.