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Etsy clarifies policies on reselling goods, factory-made items

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It’s clear that Etsy has seen remarkable growth in both traffic and transactions in the last few years, tripling its user base to 30 million and growing to a billion-dollar company. But its had some growing pains in the process, and its base of independent vendors has lashed out against what they fell is the company’s apparent inaction towards resellers and factory-made items.

In response, the Brooklyn-based company released new guidelines Tuesday aimed to help ease the tension between long-time independent sellers and Etsy’s newer, more production-oriented options. The changes also came with an apologetic blog post by Chad Dickerson, who admitted that the company hasn’t done a good job vocalizing or enforcing policy abusers:

As a young company (still), we’ve spent too much time debating and figuring it out inside our offices and not enough time discussing it with you. We’re committing to fixing that — starting with regular quarterly updates to share with you what we’re planning on working on and why.

In its new policies, Etsy has called for transparency from all of its vendors, requiring each shop to list all people who help make each item on the front page. Etsy now provides shipping fulfillment (similar to Amazon’s vendor options) and even partnerships with small manufacturers to produce a greater number of products, but those details must also be apparent on a seller’s website.

The company has also instituted a mandatory application process for all vendors working with outside manufacturers, aiming for full compliance by 2014. This is a change from the original policy, which allowed sellers to have “partial production assistance” without disclosure to buyers.

In addition to the new changes, the company also released a blog post tackling the problem of resellers — people who buy products (either on Etsy or elsewhere) to be resold on the website. Stressing that reselling remains prohibited from the site, the post says that the company won’t immediately take down any reseller for duplicate images, but it will continue to investigate each flagged shop.

It’s clear that the tension between Etsy the company and Etsy the community reached a breaking point, and the changes won’t quiet all complaints. But, it’s a process the company needs to begin if it wants to keep thriving.

13 Responses to “Etsy clarifies policies on reselling goods, factory-made items”

  1. This is a real shame. Inhave never used Etsy but was thinking about it once I had created enough things. Afyer reading this and other complaints on WordPress I can say that I’ll be waiting it out in hopes this changes for the better.

    Does anyone know of another marketplace that actually has the original Etsy guidelines and doesn’t shamelessly open its doors to Chinese factories?

    Seriously, such an unattractive move, Etsy just killed everything they stood for. Enjoy your cheap imitations, I hope you sleep well knowing you just created new jobs for more Chinese factory slaves.

  2. Tangerine

    Etsy is an out and out fraud. It has been claiming to sell handmade,vintage and supplies but has always welcomed resellers to the detriment of the buyer who thinks the fact that the site says they are a handmade site means that what they purchase as handmade is actually that. This has not been the truth for a very long time. What Etsy has done is rose colored the truth by making it sound like shops must report if the manufacture their items. Do not expect to see any shop billing itself as handmade to say their items are manufacture and don’t expect Etsy to make them do it. This is an underhand, sneaky way of changing the site from a handmade site to a reseller site just like Amazon, Ebay or any other commercial site that accepts any seller who wants to set up a shop and allows them to call themselves whatever they want.

    Smoke, mirrors, lies, half truths under the guise of being transparent. Sad but true.

  3. Etsy has turned into Ebay and has turned its back on the artisans that made it successful. Now it is a field day for mass produced knock off crap Made in China. Time for artists to close their shops and go elsewhere. So sad that greed has taken over Etsy. There is no way to contact management, no phone number nor are emails answered.

  4. Vintage Seller On Zibbet

    If this is such a brilliant move than explain why Zibbet crashed due to the exodus of Sellers looking for a Venue true to Etsy’s original idea? Sellers are leaving in droves.

    And for those of you who think that Zibbet is not worthy or too small because it crashed……Etsy has site outages & crashes with regularity from BUGS their own Hackers create. Apples & oranges. One was born out of massive activity, the other out of Etsy carelessness.

  5. Etsy basically just changed it’s business model from handmade to “handmade in a factory in China” My customers have moved to where they still know what “Handmade” really means.

  6. Etsy considers itself a young company, yet in the short few years it has existed, they have decided to fully embrace everything they fought for years to avoid. Etsy now aims to cut out the middle man ( resellers ) and pass the savings on to the unwitting American consumer by allowing the “designers” at large Chinese / 3rd world low wage factories to blow out mass produced product at rock bottom prices. Etsy is another company who is clearly in bed with the Chinese economy. Etsy is banking on the stupidity of the average American and aims to use the sleek facade of the Etsy site, and its former credentials to get America hooked on the concept. Most newcomers to Etsy will have no idea that most of the goods being sold by American sellers will be designed by an “artist”, but produced by low wage workers in China and sold at ridiculous profits. The next layer of the problem is that China can overshadow the Americans looking to outsource, by simply designing their own low quality junk to pawn on Etsy themselves. The fact is , that all Etsy requires is that the person who designed the product is involved in the process at some point, and since every product ever made has a designer, it pretty much means that anything can be sold on Etsy. This company, Etsy defines the word GREED and Chad Dickerson is just another American looking to head a billion dollar company, regardless of how much soul is lost in that process.

  7. LukeEss

    I’m starting to think GigaOm owns a piece of Etsy or vice versa. Stop coddling and regurgitating everything they spew out.

    Etsy has not really changed. They’ve only changed some wording. “Collective” and “Vendors” are now “Factories” and “Third Party Shippers.”

    Everyone on Etsy knows the site is overrun with factory made goods, fake vintage, and faux handmade. They don’t say anything because of the above. Did I mention manipulation of search results or mention manipulation of seller ads on their site.

    The factories have always been there. It was always “DON’T ASK DON’T TELL.” It’s just more spin with the announcement of the shiny “new” policy of allowing factories.

    The new policy is “self-reporting”. Sellers have to admit to selling factory made for Etsy to screen. It’s just as easy to say all merchandise is handmade.

    They’re not going to go through all the factory made on the site now to “authenticate” they won’t do so going forward especially if it’s only for self-reported factory goods. They are also not going to go back and screen all the factory sellers on Etsy now for compliance.

    Maybe the one difference now might be that “Vera Bradley”, “Kate Spade”, and “Martha Stewart” can apply for shops and item listings if they are transparent. Really, what is the point then.

    The most distinguishing feature of Etsy, handmade and vintage, was mostly a fraud after 2008.

    They’re doing this to justify their valuation. They wouldn’t have been able to continue to grow especially how they have treated their customers. Read on the comments about them across the web. Look at the real thumbs up on those comments (even fake articles like the ones GigaOm loves to post on behalf of Etsy’s marketing and PR).

    • Vintage Seller On Zibbet

      I have often wondered if Gigaom & Etsy share board members, there is no other explanation of the lack of research. It’s always hook, line, and sinker for Etsy policy.

  8. Tammy R. Secor

    Andrew. I can see what your saying… Allen`s postlng is unimaginable, last tuesday I got a great Ford Mustang from earning $7875 this-past/five weeks and more than $10 thousand this past munth. this is really the nicest work Ive ever done. I actually started eight months/ago and practically straight away started earning at least $72 per-hour. browse around this site…..>>>>…… http://â„­uttâ„›.it/tvtmbce

  9. The changes are making things worse for authentic handmade artisans, not better. Now, we will have to compete with small factories. Dickerson said that a store can now have a design team, meaning more than one designer, as well as outsourcing production.

    How is this handmade?

    • Tearfang

      Who cares if it is handmade. Etsy is a place to find interesting niche market and custom built things. I really don’t care if human hands, robots or martians make the stuff.