Etsy's Clean Up: What You Need to Know

Etsy's Clean Up: What You Need to Know

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Etsy's History and Challenges
  3. Signs of Change at Etsy
  4. Etsy's Commitment to Handmade
  5. Trust and Safety Measures 5.1. Increased Listing Removals 5.2. Impact on Seller Badges 5.3. Human Reviews in Enforcement 5.4. Invisibility in Search for Flagged Items
  6. Dealing with Non-Handmade Items 6.1. Identifying Companies Enabling Policy Violations 6.2. Direct Communication and Action
  7. Impact on Sellers and Designers
  8. The Importance of Clear Listings
  9. Addressing Concerns and Feedback
  10. Conclusion

Etsy: A Promising Shift Towards Handmade and Quality

Etsy has been a prominent online marketplace for artisans and creatives for years. However, it's fair to say that the platform has faced challenges in maintaining its commitment to handmade and quality products. Sellers and buyers alike have noticed a concerning rise in generic and mass-produced items, diluting the unique nature of Etsy. But is there a change in the air? In this article, we will explore the signs that Etsy might be trying to clean up its act and re-establish itself as a prominent handmade marketplace.


Etsy, a marketplace known for its charm and exceptional handmade products, has had its fair share of ups and downs. Over time, the platform seemed to distance itself from its original handmade ethos, frustrating sellers who were passionate about creating unique, one-of-a-kind items. However, recent developments suggest that Etsy might be making a genuine effort to address these concerns and return to its roots.

Etsy's History and Challenges

Before delving into the signs of change, it's important to acknowledge the challenges Etsy has faced in recent years. The platform started as a thriving marketplace for small-scale artisans, offering a haven for handmade goods. However, as Etsy grew in popularity, it faced the dilemma of scaling while maintaining quality control. Unfortunately, this led to a rise in non-handmade items flooding the marketplace, leaving genuine sellers and buyers disheartened. Etsy's credibility as a handmade platform was called into question, and something needed to be done to restore trust.

Signs of Change at Etsy

Despite past disappointments, there are indications that Etsy might be making genuine efforts to clean up its act and prioritize handmade items. An observant eye will notice small but significant changes in Etsy's copy and policy enforcement. Previously, the word "handmade" was often absent from their messaging, replaced by phrases like "unique" and "one-of-a-kind." However, recent months have seen a gradual reintroduction of the term into Etsy's copy, suggesting a renewed focus on handmade authenticity.

Etsy's Commitment to Handmade

One notable catalyst for change was Josh Silverman, Etsy's CEO, openly acknowledging that Etsy was no longer exclusively a handmade platform but instead an e-commerce platform. This statement generated concerns among sellers that Etsy was abandoning its roots. However, it seems that Etsy's senior management is now realizing the significance of handmade products and the value they bring to the platform's reputation. The recent focus on handmade policy enforcement indicates a shift back to Etsy's core values.

Trust and Safety Measures

To ensure adherence to their handmade policies, Etsy's Trust and Safety team has implemented several measures. These measures aim to identify and remove listings that violate handmade policies, restoring trust in the platform and encouraging customers to seek genuinely handmade items. Let's delve into these measures in more detail.

Increased Listing Removals

Etsy proudly announced that from January 2023 to September 2023, they removed a staggering 112% more listings for violating handmade policies compared to the previous year. This exponential increase demonstrates their commitment to weeding out non-handmade items and preserving the integrity of the marketplace.

Impact on Seller Badges

Etsy's dedication to maintaining quality extends to the recognition of honest sellers. Violating policies, including the handmade policies, can prevent sellers from earning the coveted Star Seller badge and Etsy Pick badges. These badges hold prestige and signify to buyers that they are supporting authentic handmade artisans.

Human Reviews in Enforcement

Etsy acknowledges the limitations of automated systems and has integrated human reviews into their enforcement processes. When a listing is flagged by automated controls for potentially violating the handmade policies, it remains active but becomes invisible in search results and recommendations. This provides Etsy specialists the opportunity to review the listing for accurate decisions. Generally, the review process takes less than 24 hours, ensuring quick resolutions.

Invisibility in Search for Flagged Items

Etsy's transparency shines through as they outline the intricacies of their enforcement process. If an item is flagged by the automated system, it can still be live but won't appear in search until reviewed by specialists. This bold move ensures that potential policy violations are thoroughly reviewed, promoting fairness and accuracy. However, it's important to note that listing visibility may be affected for up to 48 hours, which could be a minor inconvenience for sellers and buyers.

Dealing with Non-Handmade Items

Etsy understands the need to prevent non-handmade items from infiltrating their marketplace. They are actively working to identify companies that intentionally enable the listing and selling of mass-produced, policy-violating items. By taking action against these third parties, Etsy aims to preserve the integrity of its marketplace. Sellers impacted by such actions can expect direct communication from Etsy, ensuring transparency throughout the process.

Impact on Sellers and Designers

Etsy's focus on improving handmade authenticity benefits not only traditional handmade sellers but also pod (print on demand) and digital sellers who create and design their own products. The measures implemented aim to create a fair playing field and reward those who invest their time and effort into handcrafting unique items. By eliminating non-handmade competitors, Etsy is fostering an environment that encourages creativity and originality.

The Importance of Clear Listings

Sellers can take an active role in supporting Etsy's mission for handmade authenticity. Transparent and descriptive listings help both customers and Etsy specialists understand the nature of the product. By clearly stating manufacturing processes, materials used, and design origins, sellers can instill confidence in potential buyers. Additionally, fulfilling all of Etsy's required fields demonstrates commitment to transparency and cooperation.

Addressing Concerns and Feedback

Undoubtedly, sellers may have concerns and questions about Etsy's ongoing efforts to prioritize handmade items. Open dialogue between sellers and Etsy through forums and direct communication channels is crucial. This allows sellers to voice concerns, seek clarification, and provide feedback on any challenges they face due to the policy enforcement. Etsy's commitment to clear communication is paramount to maintaining trust and collaboration.


While it's too early to predict the full consequences of Etsy's newfound commitment to handmade items, there are promising signs of change. The increase in listing removals, introduction of human reviews, and measures against companies enabling policy violations indicate a genuine effort to clean up the platform. For sellers and buyers passionate about handmade and unique items, these developments bring hope and a sense of reinvigoration to the Etsy marketplace. As with any change, the true impact will become evident with consistent effort and time. Only then will we see if Etsy's promises bear fruit.

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