Etsy Sellers on Strike Over Fees

Things are looking a bit feisty on the labor front lately. First it was Starbucks and Amazon workers trying to unionize. Now thousands of Etsy sellers have closed up shop because they’re irked at higher fees being charged by the popular crafts site.

Marketplace Pulse research reports that only a few thousand Etsy sellers are participating in the work action, a tiny slice that represents less than 0.1% of the nearly 5 million active sellers.

The Etsy sellers are protesting an increase in transaction fees from 5% to 6.5%. That’s in addition to other fees that can gobble up to 15% or more of sales revenue.

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“Greedy and overzealous”

Market analyst Bill Gurley said in the Markplace Pulse report that excessive fees lessen the advantage of selling on a patform.

“The most dangerous strategy for any platform company is to price too high — to charge a greedy and overzealous rake that could serve to undermine the whole point of having a platform in the first place,” Gurley said.

Even so, there aren’t too many options fore Etsy sellers. The platform has built a strong position with buyers and it is a difficult and expensive task for craftspeople to build and manage their own online outlet, not to mention attracting enough traffic to make it worthwhile.

Amazon and eBay have also had some grumbling from their marketplace sellers lately but they haven’t experienced the media exposure that has helped boost the visibility of the Etsy action.  

The sellers say they’ll be back on the job next week.