I know that a lot of sellers resent the gift guides and for good reason. Many times the same sellers are featured over and over and smaller, less popular but equally talented shop owners don't get to have the same promotional perks. I don't know why this happens - maybe those who pick the featured items on Etsy do it by accident, maybe it's by design, or (most likely) it's somewhere in the middle ground. At any rate, it doesn't hurt to examine the photos of the shops who do get featured and see what they're doing right. Contact with fellow sellers and the shops of your competition should always be treated as an opportunity to learn.
(There is also a featured seller feature on the site where you can see all past featured sellers. This is something NOT available on Etsy and can be an additional source of information about people who Etsy sees as successful and worth showcasing to the community.)
By incomprehensible, I mean to the layperson like me who knows how to operate a computer and navigate the internet but doesn't know squat about codes and computer languages and technological jargon. For someone more sophisticated than me, this area looks like a gold mine. Tools4Etsy provides an Etsy Screensaver (need Silverlight to use it though), instructions on how to build your own Etsy search page, and some developer libraries. If this sounds interesting to you, be sure to check it out!
Tools4Etsy seems to have some interesting features if you know how to use them. Check out their website and see if they have anything you can use to improve the way you handle your shop.
Have anything to add or clarify about Tools4Etsy or their features? Let me know in the comments!