Many Etsy merchants are closing their virtual shops this week in protest of the platform’s transaction fees, which rose from 5 percent to 6.5 percent on Monday. CEO Josh Silverman announced the change in February, claiming the 30 percent fee hike would be necessary to enhance marketing efforts and improve other tools available to sellers, according to The Verge.
The new policy has many people convinced that Etsy intends to siphon as much money as possible from independent artists who rely on the platform to sell their work. More than 5,000 shops have pledged to join the strike, according to NPR.
“Etsy has become a downright hostile place for authentic small businesses to operate,” strikers wrote in an email to Silverman yesterday. “For both full-time and part-time sellers alike, the changes on Etsy have brought many of us to the brink of financial ruin. . . After giving Etsy two years of record profits under the most difficult circumstances imaginable, we’re tired, frustrated and ready to fight for our seat at the table.”
Protest organizers have outlined a list of demands including cancelation of the transaction fee increase, crackdown on resellers, and the authorization for all Etsy sellers to opt out of site ads should they so choose.
Participating merchants will have their Etsy shops in “vacation mode” for the week of April 11-18, and are encouraging buyers to support the strike by boycotting the platform as well.
Chief operating officer Raina Moskowitz said in a statement that Etsy values the success of its sellers.
“We are always receptive to seller feedback and, in fact, the new fee structure will enable us to increase our investments in areas outlined in the petition, including marketing, customer support, and removing listings that don’t meet our policies. . . We are committed to providing great value for our 5.3 million sellers so they are able to grow their businesses while keeping Etsy a beloved, trusted, and thriving marketplace.”