Etsy sellers say strike is about ‘free speech’ as ​​platform faces boycott

Thousands of Etsy’s sellers are on strike this week after the online marketplace moved to charge a fee from each transaction, prompting sellers to protest a lack of proper communication and representation.

Etsy, a niche online marketplace known for its focus on handmade goods sold by creators and artists, announced that it has increased the fees it charges sellers from 5 percent to 6.5 percent on every transaction, effective Monday.

A petition was made to cancel the fee, stating that “ETC fees are an unforeseen expense that can take up more than 20% of each transaction.” The petition has garnered over 54,000 signatures till April 11, the day the strike began.

Matty Boyd, one of the organizers and participants of the strike, told newsweek“We’re paying more, and we’re not getting what we deserve.”

Thousands of Etsy sellers went on strike on Monday after the site increased the fees charged for each seller’s transaction. In this photo, an Etsy marketplace is set up in Times Square outside the NASDAQ to celebrate Etsy’s initial public offering, which opened to the public on April 16, 2015.
Richard Levine/Corbis via Getty Images

Boyd started his Etsy shop in 2019 to sell self-designed and graphic T-shirts, making it his full-time job in 2020. Because of the increased fees, Boyd said, “I’m at the point now where I’m going to have to figure out if I can, you know, work it out on Etsy. [or] Might be able to find something on other platforms besides this, or put more in my own website or whatever.”

“It’s not for lack of money,” Boyd said, “it’s for lack of, I don’t know, lack of representation or fairness. And that’s something I think we can do. I really I am reluctant to quit, but something has to change. And that is the purpose of this strike.”

Longtime Etsy craftspeople Geoffrey and Valerie Franklin said the increased fees only hurt the seller.

“It’s just making stuff unreasonably more expensive for buyers, customers, and it’s making our own stuff less competitive which is something we’re doing because we have to cover our costs,” Valerie said. newsweek,

In addition to eliminating the increased fees, the petition asks that Etsy shut down its offsite ads, which Valerie said are now competing with her personal website.

“We have no ability to get out of them,” Valerie said. “That’s why we’re paying for ads that compete with us.”

“We felt like it was taking away our free expression,” Valerie said. “Our stuff was being advertised on Facebook, we don’t want it to happen, but there’s nothing we can do about it.”

In 2020, big brands like Ford, Adidas and Best Buy temporarily suspended spending on ads on Facebook through massive boycotts. The boycott prompted other social media sites to stop paid ads as well.

Another major issue with the site, sellers said, was its goal to grow into an Amazon competitor.

“Etsy, or the corporate structure at Etsy, really seems kind of hell-bent on turning Etsy into Amazon, where there’s really no assurance of handmade or quality or anything like that,” Boyd said. “Anyone can come in and sell basically whatever they want.”

Boyd added that “there’s an increase of resellers or drop shippers coming on the platform and posing as a small handmade business, when in fact, when you place an order from them, they know you, Alibaba or something offshore.” Ordering from sweatshop. Factory.”

beyond demands The petition statesBoyd said he hopes a future petition and strike could win short sellers on Etsy “a seat at the table” for hearings.

“I think we can make these places better and better places to do business through this kind of collective action,” he said.

Etsy Chief Operating Officer Raina Moskowitz told newsweek“The success of our sellers is a top priority for Etsy. We are always receptive to seller feedback and in fact, the new fee structure will enable us to increase our investments in the areas outlined in the petition, including marketing, customer support, and Removing listings that do not conform to our policies. We are committed to providing great value for our 5.3 million sellers so they are able to grow their business while keeping Etsy a beloved, trusted and thriving marketplace.”

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