Etsy Sellers Launch Strike Over Increased Fees

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More than 18,000 Etsy sellers pledged to join a strike protesting Etsy’s treatment of sellers last week. Sellers put their shops on vacation mode starting April 11, and those who can are striking for the whole week, with the following demands for the online selling platform: cancel the transaction fee increase, crack down on resellers with a transparent comprehensive plan, give ‘Golden’ support tickets to sellers affected by extreme AI actions, end the Star Seller Program and give all sellers the ability to opt out of off-site ads. These terms are outlined on the strike’s website, and in their petition, which currently has over 80,000 signatures.

Sellers are encouraging buyers to support the strike too by boycotting Etsy for the duration of the week and looking for ways outside of Etsy to support sellers.

The strike follows Etsy’s late February decision to increase fees charged to sellers for accessing some of the platform’s services by 30% beginning April 11. Etsy told investors in February that the additional revenue from the fee increase would be reinvested in different company initiatives.

In a statement this month, Raina Moskowitz, Etsy’s chief operating officer, doubled down on that statement, saying the platform is “committed” to supporting sellers and helping them grow their businesses. “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,” Moskowitz said.

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Despite this sentiment, Kristi Cassidy, who, alongside other Etsy sellers, started the week-long protest, said she was unconvinced that the fee increase will result in platform changes. The company last raised transaction fees in 2018 from 3.5% to 5%, and the payoff has been minimal, Cassidy told CNBC.

In addition to these transaction fees, Etsy sellers must additionally pay listing fees, payment processing fees, and shipping fees. Etsy sellers are charged an additional fee of 12 to 15 percent as part of the company’s Offsite Ads program whenever buyers make a purchase after clicking on an ad for their goods.

Cassidy said she didn’t anticipate the seller strike to gain traction as quickly as it did; however, after talking with other sellers during the strike and seeing that they shared many of the same grievances, she and other Etsy sellers are now considering forming a workers’ union. Although Etsy sellers are not true employees of the company, they believe that by banding together, they can better lobby for reform on the online platform.

“It’s been this huge, eye-opening experience just to see how much all the other people that are on this platform trying to make a living with me agree and how much my customers support me,” Cassidy said. “We are all in it for the long run.”


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