2 minutes

Etsy CEO Josh Silverman outlined the marketplace's policies as part of the company's mission to "keep commerce human."

As online marketplaces proliferate and new global players including Temu and Shein put pressure on incumbents, Etsy announced new policies that it hopes will refine what’s being sold on the platform.

The changes were detailed by Etsy CEO Josh Silverman in company blog and video announcements. In the announcements, he laid out specific criteria that products will need to meet to be listed on Etsy’s marketplace.

Etsy total gross merchandise value (GMV) by year

Etsy is No. 20 in Digital Commerce 360’s Global Online Marketplaces Database. The database ranks the 100 largest such marketplaces by third-party gross merchandise value (GMV). Digital Commerce 360 projects Etsy’s total total GMV in 2024 will reach $11.94 billion.

New Etsy policies

“The common thread that weaves through all of the creative goods allowed on Etsy is human imagination and involvement,” Silverman stated in his message. “We are, and will remain, the marketplace for original items from real people. To reinforce what we stand for, so that everyone who comes to Etsy sees why we are different and what makes us so special, we’ve reorganized our policies into new Creativity Standards.”

Silverman framed the standards as “clarifying what is allowed on Etsy, not changing it.” Also, he said that Etsy is “not allowing new items that were prohibited before.” Specifically, the standards stipulate that anything sellers list on Etsy will need to be one of the following:

  • Made by a seller
  • Designed by a seller
  • Sourced by a seller
  • Handpicked by a seller

In addition, Etsy will add item details to its listing pages, including labels corresponding with those standards:

  • Made by ShopName
  • Designed by ShopName
  • Sourced by ShopName
  • Handpicked by ShopName

Why Etsy introduced its creative creative standards

Silverman underscored Etsy’s “mission to keep commerce human” in updating its policies.

“I have incredible conviction that these updates position Etsy to lean even more deeply into what sets us apart in today’s ecommerce landscape: original items from real people,” he said.

To explain the decision, Silverman compared sculptors’ chisels and painters’ paintbrushes to modern digital tools, including 3D-printing techniques and generative artificial intelligence, referring to “human imagination and involvement” as the “common thread that weaves through all of the creative goods allowed on Etsy.”

Ultimately, he assessed that tools do not define what Etsy sellers can list. Instead, he noted how Etsy will prioritize the role of each product’s human creator. In doing so, Etsy will emphasize the need to define human work from individual makers.

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Moreover, the CEO characterized feedback from Etsy’s sellers who indicated that “search can feel like a ‘black box.'” As a result, Etsy moved to respond by adding the new listing details. He said the fields relate to “specific factors that signal a high-quality listing on Etsy,” which Etsy in turn expects to boost visibility and sales.

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