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Etsy sellers strike to protest transaction fee hike

BRAZIL - 2021/07/12: In this photo illustration the Etsy logo seen viewed on a smartphone. (Photo illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/Light Rocket (Getty Images)

Etsy sellers are on strike this week after the digital marketplace for craft goods-turned-e-commerce platform announced plans to increase its transaction fees from 5 percent to 6.5 percent. The strikers are urging consumers not to cross the digital picket line and not to buy anything from Etsy for a week.

“As individual artisans, makers, and small business people, we can easily be taken advantage of by a massive corporation like Etsy. But as an organized front of people determined to use our diverse skillset and boundless creativity to strike a fairer deal, Etsy won’t have an easy time pushing us around,” the collective wrote on the official strike website.

Kristi Cassidy, a Rhode Island seamstress, told CBC News more than 17,000 makers are part of the boycott of the week. Cassidy started those too petition at the heart of Etsy Strike. “The post was basically asking when this is going to end because it’s only getting worse and I don’t think it’s going to end unless we take action,” Cassidy told CBC News.

The Etsy Strike collective wants Etsy to cancel the fee increase, implement a “comprehensive plan” for dealing with resellers, help sellers “affected by extreme AI actions,” and give sellers more flexibility around ads. Monday’s fee hike means usage fees for sellers on the platform have doubled since July 2018.

Etsy’s fee increase is part of a broader strategy to be primarily an e-commerce platform, not a maker marketplace. “One of my favorite investor questions is when someone asks me what my big, hairy, bold goal is for Etsy. Well, it can be done Etsy the starting point for your e-commerce journey,” CEO Josh Silverman said on a earnings call in February. “We understand that this is quite an ambitious goal as to achieve this goal we must and will compete against the biggest names in e-commerce and retail across the board.”

Another area Etsy sellers are trying to negotiate in is the offsite ads program, which adds to a manufacturer’s sale by an often “unpredictable” cost of 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 account for more than 20% of each transaction. We have no control over how these ads are managed or how much of our money is spent.”

The group is the latest attempt by creators to wrest some control over the site hosting their wares. “As individual artisans, makers, and small business people, we can easily be taken advantage of by a massive corporation like Etsy. But as an organized front of people determined to use our diverse skillset and boundless creativity to achieve a fairer deal, Etsy won’t have an easy time pushing us around,” the collective said in a statement.

https://jezebel.com/dont-buy-anything-from-etsy-this-week-1848779255 Etsy sellers strike to protest transaction fee hike

Andrew Schnitker

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