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What Happened After the 2018 Fee Increase?

On Thursday, February 24, 2022, millions of Etsy sellers opened their inboxes to find a new email from Etsy’s CEO. It was smug. It was self-satisfied. It rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. For instance:

I also felt deja vu. Specifically with this part:

Excerpt from email, 2022

This isn’t the first time Etsy has increased its fees. The other time was in 2018. I distinctly remembered them saying the same thing to us back then, so for shits and giggles, I looked it up.

Excerpt from announcement, 2018

Yup, there it is. They did indeed promise to work on bringing us more buyers in 2018.

But did they? Let’s check.

Hmmm. Are you noticing something? There’s an upturn in the Etsy seller chart that isn’t really happening in the buyer chart. Let’s make it more clear with a trendline.

Trendlines show you what you would expect if all continued as it had in the past. The blue line shows us what we would expect to happen, had Etsy not had more of our money to spend.

They lied to us in 2018. They promised to try to get us more buyers.

Yet, as you can see by the tiny bump between 2018 q3 and q4, and the subsequent near-parallel line, they only focused on buyers for a few months. Afterwards, they seem to have focused on getting themselves more sellers.

Additional buyers means we sell more, and we pay more in Etsy fees, and they earn more, right? Why would they focus on attracting sellers over buyers?

You should know, that’s how MLM’s work. When you join a pyramid scheme, they don’t actually want the customers you’ll be selling those products to.

They want you.

It’s disturbing to think of Etsy operating like a pyramid scheme, but let’s table that, at least for now.

What do you think Etsy plans to do with the extra 30% they take from you starting April 11? Do you believe them when they tell you they’ll bring you more buyers? Do you really believe any of the promises in that email?

We need to wake up.

The data in this post was taken from Marketplace Pulse, who referenced the Etsy Quarterly Report as their source. If you would like to check it for yourself, click here for buyer data, and click here for seller data.

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