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Etsy is the largest online forum for selling homemade and vintage wares, but in some cases, bigger isn't necessarily better. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, many of Etsy's merchants, who have been able to expand their businesses based on their success on the site, no longer fit within the parameters of authentic craft. Attempting to stay faithful to their "handmade" promise while still allowing business growth, Etsy has expanded the definition of "handmade," as it pertains to their marketplace. Last month, the company blog wrote a letter to it's users, attempting to clarify the change:
Etsy is a diverse marketplace made up of many types and sizes of shops. Some shops involve multiple people who work together at the place of business to make items, promote the shop, provide customer service and fulfill orders. Our policy for multiple people within a shop is intended to accommodate businesses that chose to bring people in to the business in order to grow.
Etsy says they've cracked down on those merchants who violate the rules, which include the banning of factory-made goods—difficult for Etsy to define, but it has to do with how much manpower goes into producing an item and where the production happens (see their definition of collectives)—items that violate copyright (duh), or offensive material (think Nazis and porn). The process for filtering out those that don't comply will be managed by beefed up investigation teams and new software.
· Busted By The Craft Cops [WSJ]
· All Etsy Coverage [Racked]