Posted by: Lisa | January 9, 2008

A Review of EtsyLabs and Virtual Labs


I joined the EtsyLab hosted Virtual Labs for a round of critique participation today. And my advice to those who are looking to look for shop tips? Skip it.

Not only did I waste 30 minutes where I witnessed 66 shop owners in a room all trying to talk (er, type) over one another, the questions asked by participants were only given short general answers, then sent a Storque link for them to read. The Labs probably went on for more than half an hour, but I couldn’t take much more of the fast scrolling type, the spinning avatars, the paper airplane, cookie, hearts-throwing actions of so many. I had to leave because it started hurting my eyes.

If this was a paid business seminar, I’d want my money back. I feel bad for the newbies who had no clue on 1) how to participate in the Labs, and 2) what exactly they are looking at on the screen. All EtsyLabs said to them was, “Go read the Storque articles,” as if that would magically give them knowledge on the inner workings of a fast-paced chatroom, what the heck all those buttons on the bottom of the screen mean, and why there is stuff all over the place. At least give them a primer.

And did I mention that not once did I see a link to an actual product listing to critique? Links to Storque articles or someone’s site don’t count. Maybe there were more productive critiques after I left, but from my perspective, I can get twice as much help in half the time just posting a “Can I get an honest opinion” post in the Crafting & Business section of the forums. At least I can bookmark a thread and read it at my leisure.

And trying to participate is like trying to wave to a blind person. EtsyLabs tried to cut off the chat function when someone asked a question, then enabled it again once the question was highlighted on the screen. This resulted in a barrage of text that scrolled and scrolled and slowed down the entire chat room causing even more confusion. I don’t even know if it even helped the person who asked the question.

It’s apparent to me that, while the theory of Virtual Labs is a great idea, the practice of critique participation should be limited to a certain number so that anyone who decides to participate at least get something out of it other than a headache from all that activity.

Pros: Live group participation
Cons: Too many participants, no real structure, no newbie assistance

Grade: D



  1. That is good to know. I was thinking of attending one, but it would be during my normal work hours. So I am happy I didn’t waste my time.

  2. Ooh useful blog. That’s half an hour I won’t have to waste!! Thanks

  3. I sat in one myself, I agree, it should be smaller classes, and maybe scheduled, so they could offer more to a fewer amount of people at a time.

  4. You know, I’m glad you touched on this. I was going to attend yesterday, and something came up so I was unable to.

    I thought it might be quite interesting, glad I didn’t make it.

    I too, think it’s a great idea but, it does need work. Also, having something like this a couple different times throughout the day would be a lot better once they get things set up right.

  5. Thank you! for the advice! I actually “went” there today but didn’t understood what was that so leaved… now I know that is normal to feel lost in there and even if you do is not worth it…once again…Thank you! :))


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