More than 18,000 Etsy sellers have pledged to join a strike protesting a 30% increase in fees that takes effect today.
In a petition signed by nearly 50,000, the organizers are demanding that Etsy CEO Josh Silverman cancel the fee increase to 6.5% from 5%. About 18,400 people who signed the petition as of Monday afternoon identify themselves as sellers, the method organizers are using to track participants. They are asking sellers to go on vacation mode and buyers to boycott the crafts website from April 11 through 18.
According to Etsy’s website, sellers can start a shop for free but must pay fees for listing, transactions and payment processing. The company last raised transaction fees in 2018 to 5% from 3.5%. Meanwhile, Etsy’s shares have quadrupled in the last four years, closing at $116.58 on April 8 in New York.
Strike organizer Kristi Cassidy, who sells handmade wedding dresses on Etsy, said the platform can charge sellers more than 20% on items sold with hidden charges.
“It’s been one thing after another on the Etsy platform that just gradually makes it a worse and worse place to try to run a unique business,” Cassidy said. “The fee increase was the final straw.”
Etsy says it’s using the fees to make improvements for its 5.3 million sellers.
“Our sellers’ success is a top priority for Etsy,” a company spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “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.”
Several of Etsy’s competitors use monthly rates to charge sellers. Amazon charges businesses $39.99 a month to sell on the site, although it offers an alternative plan for smaller sellers that charges $0.99 per item sold. Shopify monthly rates vary, ranging from a $29 a month basic plan recommended for newer businesses to a $299 premium offering.
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