Etsy sellers go on strike after company announces higher fees

Etsy is facing a notable blowback from its sellers after it raised the commission it charges for the first time since 2018.

More than 47,000 sellers have signed a petition protesting the move, with some temporarily closing their online stores in protest of the move. Effective Monday, Etsy began charging 6.5% on each sale, versus 5% previously.

While 47,000 upset vendors is nothing to sneeze at, that number represents just a fraction of the 5.3 million sellers who work with the company. Etsy officials say the fee increase is necessary to boost marketing spends and expand the services available to sellers.

The tempest in a hand-thrown teapot comes as Americans are pulling back some from e-commerce and returning to brick-and-mortar stores. That’s threatening revenues for Etsy and other e-tailers who saw their numbers surge during the pandemic.

Sellers tell The Wall Street Journal they don’t want more advertising, though: Some of them are already at order capacity, since all items are handmade. They’re also upset at what they say is a growing number of people selling mass-produced goods they do not design themselves on the platform, and the pressure to offer free shipping, among other things.

The protesting vendors are asking Etsy regulars to support their efforts by boycotting Etsty from April 11–18.

“What began as an experiment in marketplace democracy has come to resemble a dictatorial relationship between a faceless tech empire and millions of exploited, majority-women craftspeople,” the petition reads. “Even though it’s the hard work of Etsy’s sellers who’ve made it the massively successful company it is today, we have fewer rights and less of a voice in our workplaces than ever.”

Etsy reported revenue of $717 million in the fourth quarter of 2021, $32 million more than analysts were expecting.

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