Etsy sellers are making good on their promise to go on strike. The Wall Street Journal says that some crafters are protesting the marketplace’s latest fee hikes by putting their shops into “vacation mode” for a week ending April 18th. Organizer Kristi Cassidy and others are also asking for customers to boycott Etsy for this period. We don’t know just how many sellers have taken this action, but a petition to CEO Josh Silverman has almost 54,000 signatures as of this writing.
This is all about a transaction fee hike from 5 percent to 6.5 percent. This might not sound like much, but Cassidy noted that this fee will have “more than doubled” in under four years. She and other sellers have also complained about a sometimes-mandatory Offsite Ads program that charges extra fees for items sold through that system, and a Star Seller program that pressures shops into meeting sometimes unrealistic shipping and support goals as well.
They also see the hypocrisy in Etsy’s expectations. While the company wants sellers to respond within 24 hours, Cassidy notes that it sometimes takes “weeks or months” for Etsy to answer urgent support requests. She also argued that Etsy’s AI sometimes shuts down honest sellers while letting resellers of “sweatshop-produced junk” continue.
The striking sellers want Etsy to revoke the fee increase, cancel Star Seller, let people opt out of Offsite Ads, and clamp down on dodgy resellers. They also want an “automatic fast track” for appeals to AI decisions that limit their ability to do business on the site.
Etsy has defended the fee hike by claiming that it would roll the extra money into the business rather than boost profit margins. These contributions would help “maintain the human touch,” according to operating chief Raina Moskowitz. But many sellers don’t buy this. They see Etsy as “one of the most profitable” tech companies. They also see the strike as the first step in a greater show of solidarity that they hope will give them more negotiating power. It should be interesting.
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