Many Etsy sellers are going on strike to protest the increasing seller transaction fees and other practices that leave sellers disadvantaged, according to the strike organizers.

Driving the news: An online petition, which has more than 60,000 signatures, was started by Kristi Cassidy and urged the online marketplace to cancel the transaction fee increase from 5% to 6.5%.

“We’re hoping to get Etsy’s attention that we are fed up,” said Cassidy, an organizer of the strike, in an interview with Yahoo! Finance. 

Details: Cassidy admits that while 14,000 sellers out of 5.3 million isn’t a lot of people, “it’s also quite a bit for just people trying to spread a movement online with no advertising. The amount of support we have gotten when we put this out into the world … people are sharing, it’s spreading entirely organically.”

  • Starting April 11, the sellers have put their shops on Etsy on “vacation mode,” a setting that lets users put their shop on hold for a temporary time period, per CNN. The strike will continue through April 18.

What they’re saying: Etsy chief operating officer Raina Moskowitz told CNN on Monday that “sellers’ success is a top priority for Etsy.”

  • “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,” the statement added.
  • “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.”

Yes, and: Another big issue is the company’s advertising policy that began in February 2020, making it compulsory for sellers making more than $10,000 to enroll in Etsy’s advertising on websites like Google, Facebook and Pinterest. While this opened doors for Etsy sellers, they were forced to give the marketplace a 12% cut for every sale referred.

  • “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,” Cassidy wrote in the petition.
  • She also mentioned the Star Seller Program, which she said came across as “a bizarre attempt to micromanage the terms of our engagement with our buyers and audiences. Meanwhile, Etsy sellers routinely report waiting weeks or months for responses to urgent Etsy support tickets.”
  • Currently, strikers demand a cancellation of fee increases, a crackdown on resellers, a better support system for pending tickets, an end to the Star Seller program and for sellers to be allowed to opt out of offsite ads.

Flashback: In a memo from Feburary, CEO Josh Silverman said that “active sellers increased their sales by 23% on average compared to 2019, and in 2021 alone, we showed more than 90 million active buyers worldwide,” which is why the company has taken a decision to make investments in marketing, seller tools and better customer experience. In order to support this new goal, the company announced an increase in transaction fees.

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