Etsy Sellers Urge Boycott Over Fee Increase


A vocal group of sellers on Etsy, the craft-selling site where jewelry has always been a mainstay, is urging both buyers and sellers to boycott the company for one week in April to protest the increase in the transaction fee paid by its sellers.

An online petition, which at publication time had over 21,000 signatures, urges buyers and sellers not to use the platform April 11–18.

Petition organizer Mattie Boyd tells JCK that “8,600 Etsy sellers have signed on to strike as of this morning, but we expect that number to continue to grow.”

Etsy recently announced it was increasing its transaction fee from 5% to 6.5% on April 11.

“Etsy’s last fee increase was in July 2018,” complained the petition. “If this new one goes through, our basic fees to use the platform will have more than doubled in less than four years.”

It also noted that Etsy recently launched an Offsite Ads program, and charges a 12%–15% fee for each item sold through the program. Bigger sellers are not allowed to opt out of the program, it charged.

It also called on the company to “crack down on resellers.”

“AI [artificial intelligence]–powered bots shut down legitimate seller accounts seemingly at random, while Etsy looks the other way on resellers who undercut authentic makers by peddling sweatshop-produced junk in clear violation of the spirit of the Etsy community,” it said. “Rather than rewarding the sellers whose hard work has enabled Etsy to become one of the most profitable tech companies in the world, Etsy gouges us, ignores us and patronizes us.”

Etsy did not respond to a request for comment from JCK by the time of publication.

However, a spokesperson told Gizmodo the petition “represents less than .03% of its total seller base and that the organizers’ perspectives did not match the point of view of all sellers on the site.”

The site has 7.5 million active 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,” the statement added. “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 a blog post, CEO Josh Silverman said, “We don’t take fee changes lightly, and we believe that these investments will enable Etsy, and our seller community, to continue to grow.”

The company went public in 2015.

Top: An Etsy strike label (photo courtesy of the Etsy strike blog, credit: Harry R. Burger)

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By: Rob Bates

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