Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
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by Ina Steiner, Editor of
Sun May 12 2024 20:22:22

Etsy to Update Policies and Expand Enforcement

By: Ina Steiner

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Etsy is going to review and update its marketplace policies in Adult Content, Hate, Violence, and Off-Platform Transactions, and it vowed to expand its non-handmade enforcement this year. In a post on Wednesday, Etsy said it knows it's frustrating for both buyers and sellers when they see items that don't follow the Handmade policy and explained how it improved enforcement last year, including introducing a new metric called VVR. 

Etsy said reducing the visibility of items that don't belong on the marketplace continues to be a top priority for the company. Categorizing the Handmade policy so that it's clearer what can and can't be sold on Etsy will be among the actions it will take.

It also explained, "Now, when a listing is flagged by our automated controls for potentially violating our Handmade Policy, it'll remain active but not appear in search results and recommendations in order to give our specialists time to review the listing. Our team will determine if it should be removed, or if it can be sold on Etsy and be made visible again. The review process typically takes between 24 and 48 hours."

eBay launched the "Not Handmade Violative View rate" (VVR) a year ago  (April 2023) to estimate how often users may be seeing listings that might violate the Handmade Policy before it has the chance to remove them. By the end of 2023, Etsy reduced the VVR to the low single digits, a 60% improvement from April.

Speaking more broadly, Etsy said "In 2023, we made our internal automated detection systems five times more precise than they were in 2022. This enabled us to remove more than double the number of listings (3.8M) for violating our policies compared to the year prior, while reducing the overall number of flags by 10%."

It also relies on community reporting, "and we want to equip our members with the right tools so they can more easily play their part in keeping our marketplace safe," it said. "We launched an updated member flag interface that better aligns to our marketplace policies. This way, members can more specifically identify the reason they're flagging the item so it gets to the right team more quickly for a manual review."

Has Etsy been successful in cracking down on violators of its handmade (and vintage) policy, without inadvertently having legitimate sellers get swept up?

Automatic detection ("bots"), manual reviews, and reporting by other users is all a part of how Etsy plans to improve its site in 2024. The recently published Transparency Report for 2023 is available in this PDF file.

As Etsy prepares to make changes to existing policies and enforcement practices, let us know what you see.

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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Etsy to Update Policies and Expand Enforcement   Etsy to Update Policies and Expand Enforcement

by: MIscetal This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 13 00:42:45 2024

Oh for Pete's sake -

There are rug sellers on Etsy with dozens of different "hand made" rugs of identical design in multiple shapes and sizes using the site as advertzing - you find that out when they are always out of the rugs they list.

Handmade - someone ties on the fringe?

It used to be fun, when you felt you were buying and selling within a community of at least a few common values.

At this point, it's Walmart Online

Perminate Link for Etsy to Update Policies and Expand Enforcement   Etsy to Update Policies and Expand Enforcement

by: Shikari This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 13 00:54:05 2024

Yes--thats all to the good but absolutely no mention of policing the counterfeit fake artists that are proliferating on Etsy.
Particularly hard hit is the jewelry market where numerous bad actors are using terms like "AAAA grade" or "Natural Gem" in their headings on obviously fake items with fake authenticity certificates offered at 10 to 15% of the price of the real thing.
People are buying them thinking they got a huge deal and then give the fake artists five star reviews which aids even more buyers buying fakes.
Worse yet Etsy is offering up these fakes in their "Gift Guide" emails.
Reporting these fakes results in nothing.
I mentioned to Etsy in a reported item that most of these fakes were originating from India and that resulted in getting me banned from the forum--calling me out for "Hate Speech!!!
Hopefully Etsy will find some way of combatting these deceivers--maybe using AI --but a friend selling on Ebay reported a fake and the answer from Ebay was that their AI system saw nothing wrong with the fake.
Thats my rant for the day for whatever good it does.

Perminate Link for Etsy to Update Policies and Expand Enforcement   Etsy to Update Policies and Expand Enforcement

by: LDWCallsOut This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 13 09:39:31 2024

Did you mean to type ''eBay'' in paragraph four?

What I've seen:  

-- Reseller listings disappear, and then reappear, in search results.  I see many obvious reseller products that are finished goods being relocated to Supplies.  

-- Vintage is worse than ever.  Items pretending to be vintage can have a date -- say, 2006 -- in the title, and then show that the item is ''vintage from before 2000''.  Obviously, Etsy's bot can't ''do the math''.  Also, the bot sees nothing wrong with ''vintage'' 2024 presidential campaign items.  Reseller items that are not relocated to Supplies are being pushed into Vintage.  Authentic Vintage items are a challenge to find now because the pages are saturated with new items the shop owner purchases wholesale by the case lot.

-- It is still super easy to see listings that violate Etsy's rules for what can be sold on the site by simple visual inspection.  I do a simple search and just scroll down the page, and the reseller items are clearly visible.  Too bad Etsy staff hasn't got much of a clue as to how to teach their bot to find reseller products.  

Perminate Link for Etsy to Update Policies and Expand Enforcement   Etsy to Update Policies and Expand Enforcement

by: Shanna This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 13 18:22:56 2024

The leadership at Etsy got a free taste of mass market items being sold on their platform. People were buying them, sellers continued to list them, and Etsy made good money on them. Without that hit of Mass Market Crap (MMC), they would not have been able to show investors that their site is growing and makes money.

Now they are addicted to MMC, they have to have it to survive. They can talk every day about getting clean, going back to the way it was, but they have that extra stash hidden in the toilet tank, in the glove box, and on top of the kitchen cabinets. No one they can go cold turkey at this point, they will talk about it for a month, then they will bring their fix back out for all to see.

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