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Etsy’s handmade sellers successfully protest in silent solidarity
On May 10, more than 4,400 Etsy shops held a silent protest to voice concern over resellers in the handmade marketplace.
Less than one percent of Etsy seller joined Thursday’s protest. But the participants are still having an effect.
Community members arranged the protest last week to make a statement to Etsy that they won’t stand for resellers in the handmade marketplace. After Etsy promoted a collective shop with ties to an offshore factory, some sellers worried that the globally expanding shopping network would soon leave them behind.
Last week, only a few dozen sellers vowed to join the protest. But according to the latest numbers at the silent protest’s headquarters, Protesty.com, more than 4,400 sellers agreed to participate in the May 10 protest by putting their shops in vacation mode for the duration of the day.
When shops are in vacation mode, products can’t be purchased, but they can still be viewed in Etsy Treasury Lists, community-member curated shopping lists.
To commemorate the occasion, protesters created lists to showcase products from the thousands of shops in vacation mode. In fact, so many similar lists have been created that handmadesolidarity is currently a top 10 trending topic for Etsy Treasury.
While the protesters account for just one percent of Etsy’s 875,000 active shops, organizers at Protesty noted that they were already seeing a difference:
“We have already noticed some improvement the last few days in Etsy’s behaviour, starting to close resellers shops, promoting new undiscovered shops in Etsy Finds, promoting authentic legit collective shops, even featuring a treasury showing hands of artisans on the FP. We are being heard! Together we are making a difference. Congratulations to us, let’s hope things will get back on the track and we will have our old Etsy back.”
It makes sense that Etsy is making the effort. Last week a spokesperson told the Daily Dot that it planned to take protesting sellers’ concerns seriously.
“Every single seller on that list is important to us,” Etsy administrator Juliet Gorman said. “Right now we think the best way we can address their concerns is to focus on clarifying our policies in the ways our community has requested.”
To resolve the issue, perhaps that’s all Etsy needs to do. According to Ki Mae Heussner at GigaOm, the protest is a positive problem for Etsy, indicating a passionate userbase willing to even lose sales to fight for their ideal marketplace.
“In a way, Etsy’s problem is one many startups would love to have,” she wrote. “It’s nurtured a passionate community of users who care enough to protest the company because they’ve grown attached to a vision of what they want it to be.”
Photo by Etsy
Lauren Rae Orsini is a web culture reporter who specializes in anime and the business of fandom. Her work has been published by Forbes and Business Insider.