Over the next 10 days, Etsy is requiring all users to transition from usernames to real names. The goal is to swap anonymity for personal, genuniely social interactions. As a buyer, I welcome the move to real names. I recently purchased a custom cake topper from Blue Butterfly Designs on Etsy. We had a 26 email exchange (on Etsy) and I sent her photos, my name, payment info and personal address, but she never told me her name. It didn't stop me from buying and frankly, didn't feel strange at the time, but it's odd to converse with someone over and over again when one party remains anonymous.
Etsy is a fundamentally social place -- it's full of passionate creators and highly focused but totally open buyers -- so using real names feels natural. And I imagine sellers will be able to cross reference their names to avoid sinking back into oblivion. It will be interesting to see if using real names will make Etsy a more social place. If so, perhaps online dating should follow suit?