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7 Apr 2022

Rachel Kraus, Mashable

Global: Over 12,000 Etsy sellers protest 'degraded' business changes after 30% fee increase

"11 Etsy sellers explain why they're going on strike", 7 April 2022

On April 11, thousands of Etsy sellers, many of whom work full-time selling their merchandise on the site, plan to go on strike by putting their shops in "vacation mode" and not selling their goods for a week. 

The shop owners are protesting a number of business changes Etsy has made over the past few years that sellers say have degraded the platform and made it harder for them to run their businesses and earn a profit. Most directly, the strike is in response to a bump in the fee Etsy charges sellers: On April 11, it goes from 5 percent to 6.5 percent — a 30 percent increase — as announced in February...

According to a campaign Cassidy and fellow organizers posted on Coworker.org...over 12,000 shops will be participating...

Etsy announced the fee hike at the same time that it posted record profits for shareholders. The company went public in 2015, and then underwent management changes and dispensed with its B-Corp certification in 2017, which is when many sellers say the platform began to change for the worse...

...Etsy defended the fee increase as a way the company will be able to put more back into services that will ultimately help sellers. 

“Sellers have consistently told us they want us to expand our efforts around marketing, customer support, and removing listings that don't meet our policies," an Etsy spokesperson said over email. "Our revised fee structure will enable us to increase our investments in each of these key areas so that we can better serve our community and keep Etsy a beloved, trusted, and thriving marketplace.”...

In addition to rolling back the fee hike, other demands include: 

  • "Crack[ing] down" on resellers, or people who sell mass-produced items on Etsy, which sellers say makes it harder for quality products to get seen.
  • Better seller support via an end to customer support decisions made by bots, which the petition says locks users out of their accounts without a way to appeal for months on end.
  • An end to Etsy's "Star Seller program," which requires sellers to maintain fast product turnaround times, among other customer service metrics that aren't always reasonable for Etsy's unique artisans. Falling short of Star Seller requirements results in less favorable treatment by Etsy's discovery algorithm.
  • The ability to opt-out of Etsy's mandatory offsite ads program. This charges sellers a 12 percent fee on all purchases made as a result of the ads, which some have described as so high that sellers end up taking a loss on items sold through these ads.