Thousands of artists who rely on Etsy to sell their work are staging a strike as fees become too burdensome to bear.
The campaign, planned for April 11, will see full-time crafters place their stores on “vacation mode” and stop selling wares for a full week. This way, the marketplace will experience a noticeable plunge in transaction fees.
April 11 is when Etsy will officially increase fees from 5% to 6.5%, forcing merchants to cough up an additional 30%. The announcement for the spike was made in February, the same time Etsy touted unprecedented profits for shareholders.
As Fortune points out, the protest isn’t legally a “strike”—since it’s being launched by non-employees—but that’s the closest word independent creators have in mind as the platform remains a significant part of their livelihood.
Shop owner Kristi Cassidy calls the move “the final straw” for many sellers, as quoted by Mashable in an interview. Cassidy has started a petition with fellow members calling Etsy to “cancel the fee increase.” At the time of publishing, the page has amassed over 35,000 signatures by Etsy sellers intending to join this boycott.
“Increasing seller fees by 30% after two years of record sales is nothing short of pandemic profiteering. After the planned increase, our fees as sellers will have more than doubled in less than four years,” organizers of the petition lament.
Ludicrous fees aren’t the only thing Etsy users have been frustrated about. In their terms, they also urge the company to “crack down” on resellers who are hawking mass-produced goods and therefore diluting the value of the handicrafts market; stop threatening artisans’ ‘Star Seller’ status when handmade goods cannot be fulfilled quickly; and to implement a support system that isn’t run by bots.
“Etsy can’t bill itself as a folksy, handmade utopia while AI bots terrorize sellers whose livelihood depends on reaching buyers on the platform,” campaigners detail.
The platform has since defended the fee increase, telling media outlets that the new structure will allow it to boost marketing efforts and support for sellers.
This content was originally published here.