Etsy Reveals Controversial Policy Change, Upsetting Some Sellers & Users |

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Etsy Reveals Controversial Policy Change, Upsetting Some Sellers & Users

04 October 2013

Online marketplace for handcrafted items, Etsy unveiled some controversial new policy changes that will affect the site’s overall rules of operation. The new policy permits sellers to hire staff to help run their business with the possibility of using factories to assist with production. To many of Etsy’s sellers and buyers, this change violates the very core of the website, undermining the original idea of only selling “handmade” goods.

Etsy insists that the site will still revolved around the distribution of “handmade” goods—but they’ve redefined that key phrase. In fact, Etsy’s guidelines for sellers recently increased from just 4,000 words to 14,000 words. The old guidelines explain that sellers may use “partial production assistance”, a phrase that had been left open to interpretation and confused many sellers on their rights.

But the updated guidelines clearly mandate that a seller may hire staff, involve a third party in shipping their goods, and partner with manufacturers. Although the “handmade” aspect that made Etsy so unique has been threatened, the site believes the changes reflect the best interests of the sellers. Basically, as long as the “handmade” item was based off of the seller’s original idea, they can sell it through Etsy, even if someone else makes it.

However, any seller who is working in partnership with a third party business must fill out an application that Etsy will review and must approve in order for the seller to continue posting their items on the site. Etsy currently attracts 60 million unique visitors per month and has a listing of over 18 million “handmade” items for sale.

Although the initial public reaction to the changes has been largely negative, CEO Chad Dickerson has reportedly been considering these adjustments for quite a while and is confident in his decision.

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