Etsy sellers threaten strike, ask customers to boycott site

An online petition is asking Etsy sellers to go on strike in April, and asking customers to boycott the site in solidarity.

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More than 16,000 people had signed the petition by Wednesday afternoon. The petition is largely focused on Etsy’s fee increase, which will increase transaction fees from 5% to 6.5%, a 30% increase. Additionally, the petition calls for the company to make its “Offsite Ads” program optional.

Etsy’s “Offsite Ads” was introduced in February 2020 and was billed by the company as a way for small companies to expand their reach on the platform. Though the program and its 12-15% fee is optional for some shops, any shop that makes more than $10,000 in sales in a 12-month period is required to participate and pay the 12% fee.

“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 petition says.

The petition calls for the strike to begin April 11, the same day the new fees go into effect, and invites shoppers to boycott the site from April 11-18. More than 5,000 sellers have agreed to strike, whether for the full period or just a day, The Verge reported.

“The strike is just action number one,” Kristi Cassidy, an active Etsy seller and creator of the online petition, told The Verge. “What we really want to do for the future is form a solidarity support movement — peer support, artisans supporting each other.”

In a statement to MarketWatch, Etsy said the raised fees are designed to help the site help small businesses: “We’re committed to supporting our community of 5.3 million sellers around the world by helping them grow their businesses. Sellers have consistently told us they want us to expand our efforts around marketing, customer support, and removing listings that don’t meet our policies. Our revised fee structure will enable us to increase our investments in each of these key areas so that we can better serve our community and keep Etsy a beloved, trusted, and thriving marketplace.”