Issue: CC106
16th May 2022

Don’t click to buy

How to help Etsy sellers beat the system

This page is a public information poster of sorts, on behalf of sellers who use the online marketplace Etsy.

Etsy made its name as a marketplace for vintage and handmade items, though in true Carnaby Street style it’s appeal is leading to its downfall, getting watered down with big name brands and mass-produced tat. A few years ago at Twinwood Festival, as each Miss Vintage entrant sashayed across the stage, they were asked, ‘where did you get your outfit?’, and one by one they answered, ‘Etsy’. Proof enough that Etsy is the go-to online marketplace for fabulous vintage.

So what’s the bad news? Well, a couple of years ago Etsy made a big change to their Offsite Ads Program, deciding to advertise sellers’ shops across other websites (you know, the annoying little algorithms that stalk you as you go about your browsing day) whether the seller wants them to or not.

In a nutshell, if you see an Etsy advert pop up on Google, Facebook, etc., and you click on it, then any purchase you make from that seller during the next 30 days will result in them being charged a 12% fee. That’s an extra 12% taken from any and every order you place with them because you clicked on the ad that one time.

Items in Curious Orange Vintage’s Etsy shop

It doesn’t matter whether that advert was the first time you’d ever seen that seller’s shop, or if the algorithm only showed you the ad because you already follow the seller on their Instagram – either way the seller will pay for it, finding that their fees now total almost 30% of the order price. Oh yeah, and they’re taking that percentage fee off postage costs too…

As vintage clothing seller Curious Orange Vintage explains, they’ve got no idea what item they’ll have to pay the extra fees on, and it could end up being many items over the 30 days, “so theoretically you should put all your prices up by 30% as you have no way of opting out or knowing if someone will purchase your item from the ad they see.”

The fees are compulsory for any seller who makes sales of more than approx. £8000 a year, an amount COV points out, is far below minimum wage.

so be helpful to the seller
and be careful where you click
or they'll get a massive fee
no matter what you pick

Click for:
Curious Orange Vintage’s Etsy shop
Instagram @curiousorange_vintage_costume