Etsy has strayed a very long way from its founding vision, according to sellers who launched a strike Monday to protest the company's latest hike in transaction fees. The rise from 5% to 6.5%, which comes a few years after a rise from 3.5% to 5%, was the last straw for sellers who have started a petition urging Etsy to " work with sellers, not against us," TechCrunch reports. The online marketplace, which focuses on handmade and vintage goods and is positioning itself to be a major rival to Amazon and other e-commerce giants, says the fee rise will be invested in the business, not used to pad profits, reports the Wall Street Journal. The rise took effect on Monday.
"We are really focused on investments in areas that will enable us to maintain the human touch that defines Etsy’s brand," Chief Operating Officer Raina Moskowitz tells the Journal. But sellers have many other complaints, including an advertising program that sellers making more than $10,000 a year can't opt out of and a slow support system that sometimes leaves sellers banned for months with no explanation, according to the petition. "Etsy can’t bill itself as a folksy, handmade utopia while AI bots terrorize sellers whose livelihood depends on reaching buyers on the platform," the petition states. Sellers also accuse Etsy of failing to crack down on resellers violating site rules on selling mass-produced goods.
At least 15,000 sellers have signed the petition and many are planning to close their shops for a week in protest. Organizer Kristi Cassidy tells Yahoo! Finance that while it isn't a big proportion of the site's 5.3 million sellers, "it's also quite a bit for just people trying to spread a movement online with no advertising. The amount of support we have gotten when we put this out into the world—people are sharing, it's spreading entirely organically." Sellers protesting higher fees note that revenue has more than doubled at Etsy over the last few years and the company has seen record profits and made a few high-profile acquisitions, including the purchase of the Depop platform for $1.6 billion last June. (Read more Etsy stories.)