Some 14,000 Etsy sellers went on strike this week to protest the platform’s commissions. Etsy is the selling platform you know as a bazaar for often homemade clothes and decorations, second-hand furniture and more.
The site allowed people to start their shop online and charged a 3% transaction fee for a long time. A few years ago, this was increased to 5% and this semester to 6.5%. “We hope to get Etsy’s attention and make it clear that enough is enough,” Kristi Cassidy, one of the strike organisers, told Yahoo! finance.
Those higher transaction costs come in addition to an older measure that has upset many sellers, requiring sellers to allow Etsy to buy ads for their products on Google, Facebook, and Pinterest. Etsy takes an additional 12% transaction fee on every sale that comes through those ads.
Many sellers see the measure as a forced and unwanted extra cost because they have no control over which advertisements are placed and where. Ultimately, it becomes so unpredictable how much costs they still have to pay on each sale, Cassidy says.
Etsy has about 5.3 million active sellers, so if the strike is limited to 14,000, that’s not too much of a percentage. The attention for it, including boycotts, may have an effect, the organisers hope. The company went public in 2015 and has grown in revenue every year since then. Through CEO Josh Silverman, Etsy itself says the increased transaction cost is meant to increase investment in marketing, a larger help desk, and better security. The strike will run until April 18.