Etsy seller group plans to strike over fee increases

They're calling on shoppers to boycott the service for a week on April 11th.

Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Etsy said it would raise transaction fees from 5 percent to 6.5 percent this April, and sellers aren't happy. The Verge reports over 5,000 Etsy sellers are planning to go on a week-long strike starting April 11th, the day the fee increase takes effect, in protest over both the hike and previous decisions. They're also urging customers to boycott the site during that week.

The company has drawn flak multiple times in recent years for policies that have hiked costs or put increased demands on sellers. It started automatically enrolling some sellers in an advertising service in 2020, slapping them with varying fees while denying them a chance to opt out. Etsy also launched a Star Seller program in 2021 that gives badges to sellers who can promise fast shipping, quick turnaround times and high ratings, potentially punishing shops that produce custom goods or otherwise can't realistically meet the criteria.

The strike and boycott might face some challenges. Etsy communications head Kelly Clausen claimed the higher fees would let the company "increase our investments" in marketing, support and policy enforcement to preserve the site as a "beloved, trusted and thriving marketplace." Previously, CEO Josh Silverman justified the fees by referencing Etsy's success to date, including a record high for sales per seller last year.

As protest organizer Kristi Cassidy noted, though, the strike is meant as the first step in creating a broader "solidarity support movement." In other words, this is an effort to give creators a stronger, unified voice that helps them push back against Etsy policies they see as harmful. In that regard, it's part of a larger movement to obtain more bargaining power from tech companies that previously held all the clout.