Etsy sellers are striking this week after the digital marketplace for artisanal-goods-turned-ecommerce-platform announced plans to raise its transaction fees to 6.5 percent, up from 5 percent. The strikers are asking consumers to not cross the digital picket line and buy anything from Etsy for one week.
“As individual crafters, makers and small businesspeople, we may be easy for a giant corporation like Etsy to take advantage of. But as an organized front of people, determined to use our diverse skills and boundless creativity to win ourselves a fairer deal, Etsy won’t have such an easy time shoving us around,” the collective wrote on the official strike website.
Kristi Cassidy, a seamstress from Rhode Island, told CBC News that more than 17,000 makers are a part of the week’s boycott. Cassidy also started the petition at the heart of Etsy Strike. “The post was basically asking when does this end because it’s just getting worse and worse and I don’t think it’s going to end unless we do something,” Cassidy told CBC News.
The Etsy Strike collective wants Etsy to cancel the fee increase, institute a “comprehensive plan” to deal with resellers, help seller “affected by extreme AI actions,” and give sellers greater flexibility regarding ads. Monday’s fee hike means sellers on the platform have seen usage fees double since July 2018.
Etsy’s fee increase is a part of a larger strategy to be an e-commerce platform first, not a makers marketplace. “One of my favorite investor questions is when someone asks what my big hairy audacious goal is for Etsy. Well, it’s to make Etsy the starting point for your e-commerce journey,” CEO Josh Silverman said on an earnings call in February. “We understand that’s quite a bold goal given that to make that ambition a reality, we must and are competing against the biggest names in e-commerce and all of retail for that matter.”
Another area Etsy sellers are trying to negotiate is the offsite ads program, adding an often “unpredictable” expense to a maker’s sale from 12 to 15 percent for each item sold. From the Etsy Strike collective: “Thanks to Offsite Ads, Etsy fees are an unpredictable expense that can take more than 20% of each transaction. We have no control over how these ads are administered, or how much of our money is spent.”
The group is the latest attempt at creators trying to wrestle some control from the site that hosts their wares. “As individual crafters, makers and small businesspeople, we may be easy for a giant corporation like Etsy to take advantage of. But as an organized front of people, determined to use our diverse skills and boundless creativity to win ourselves a fairer deal, Etsy won’t have such an easy time shoving us around,” the collective said in a statement.