Human Commerce

After over ten years of selling handmade products on an e-commerce site specifically designed for handmade goods, one that touts the importance of keeping commerce human, while continually and methodically removing any empathy from reviews or oversight from actual human beings, it is clear that a linchpin moment in the change to a less qualitative and human experience in the marketplace was the transition to starred reviews by customers in late 2013. With this, there was also the removal of the option to rate or review customers by a seller.

As a business owner writing this overview of the impact of starred reviews, I wanted to share my insights as an individual shop being rated on an ever-changing platform in an economy that not only demands constant growth but also perfection. I am a professional, and negative reviews are generally a place to learn and grow; they certainly don’t bother me like they used to — as of this writing I have over 23,000 sales, over 3,300 reviews and over 10,000 followers on social media, a community built organically over a decade around our brand. As a result of our success as a brand, we have never had to take on outside funding, loans or debts. We have been extremely lucky and grateful for the tools that we have used to get us where we are today. So much of what we do, sell, and market has success or failure based on algorithms created by other publicly-traded companies. Since this is my current full-time employment, I will not be using the name of the company in this chapter, as it is against their current user policies to do so in a negative (albeit truthful) way.