Etsy is a Changing

Here is an update on the earlier 'Insensitive' blog post I wrote. Etsy has responded by changing their TOS. It is still vague and wide open to interpretation. Here are the new TOS:
Every Etsy seller is responsible for following the laws that apply to you, your shop and your items, including any shipping restrictions for your items.
There are some types of items that we don't allow in Etsy's marketplace, even if they are legal and otherwise meet Etsy's selling criteria. Some things just aren't in the spirit of Etsy. The following types of items may not be listed on Etsy:
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Drugs, drug-like substances, drug paraphernalia
  • Live animals, illegal animal products
  • Pornography
  • Firearms and/or weapons
  • Recalled items
  • Real estate
  • Motor vehicles (automobiles, motorcycles, boats, etc.)
  • Items or listings that promote, support or glorify hatred toward or otherwise demean people based upon: race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, disability, or sexual orientation; including items or content that promote organizations with such views
  • Items or listings that promote or support illegal activity or instruct others to engage in illegal activity
  • Items or listings that promote, support or glorify acts of violence or harm towards self or others
Even beyond these standards, Etsy members are responsible for making important moral or ethical decisions regarding what they buy and sell on Etsy.
We reserve the right to remove listings that we determine are not within the spirit of Etsy. Such listings will be removed from the site, and the member's selling privileges may be suspended and/or terminated. If Etsy removes an item listing for violating Etsy policy, the seller is still obligated to pay the listing fee for that item. Suspended or terminated members remain obligated to pay Etsy for all unpaid fees per our Terms of Use.

I know I said this on the forums, but this is my response:
I am going to be guarded... because to me, the products that have been removed did not glorify, support or promote said things. As for the "otherwise demean people"... I worry about that. Literally EVERYTHING can be seen as demeaning. The world is not cupcakes, roses and unicorn farts. Heck, a lot of humor is demeaning and disparaging by nature... will all joke items now be removed when they offend someone? I have a feeling when anyone rises a big enough stink, that something will just disappear and so will artistic expression. I will stay for now to see how this plays out, but I have one foot out the door.

I think I will start to think about moving my Celebrate Odd Etsy shop to either my blog here or my other website.
I am not off Etsy yet, but this move worries me. What do you think?

More Links:
Forum Announcement
Etsy Blog about it and comments

**UPDATE** I guess historically significant WWII items is now deemed inappropriate (according to a comment in the article).

"I did have an item removed that is now in violation of Etsy's new policies—a German WWII Luftschutz helmet. I hope they are going to refund listing fees for items that have been pulled since they were listed when they were not in violation of any policies."

Etsy is starting to slip on the slope pretty darn fast. I wonder how many Mammy dolls and African-American efimera (why the heck cant I remember how to spell that word!?!) will now be removed.


  1. I've posted on Etsy and Twitter about this as well as emailing Etsy with my concerns after they reached out to me on Twitter.

    The new rules are way too broadly written, a strict interpretation would ban not just items poking fun but a wide range of other items.

    Just the phrase "content that promote organizations with such views" would prohibit any items posted supporting Islam, the Catholic Church, Mormons, the Republican Party, American Atheists, etc. because all of these organizations have positions which are offensive to one (or more) of the classes of people mentioned. The wording about "demeaning" is also ridiculously broad and could even be construed as prohibiting an item that says "God Loves Gays" because most Christian denominations believe homosexuality is a sin and saying it isn't demeans their faith.

  2. These new rules are so gray that they're absolutely unenforceable, really. I sell pendants made of vintage pocketknives. These could be used as weapons, I suppose, although that's not my intent. Even "weapons" is gray, although not as gray as "demeaning." I can understand why Etsy has changed their rules, especially if they're planning on either selling or going public, and especially after the CNN story. However, it's kind of silly to put in new places that they either (a) can't enforce, or (b) won't enforce.

    Face it, they don't have the staff to get rid of resellers. How are they going to control this? Whatever this is.

  3. I think one of the items they wouldn't mention was featured on ONTD_Political a few weeks ago- a seller promoting "You Got Bad Touched!" cards, with a woman sobbing in a shower on them. Tasteless and triggering to say the least.

    WW2 paraphernalia is something I see gray area with because it's a part of history. It is a learning tool, not necessarily a prop for Glenn Beck's next tirade against reality. It's important that history is not forgotten, that history is made explicit so that people better understand what happened, why, and how to stop it from ever happening again.

    Also, Etsy has bigger issues than this to consider. Which is why I am also leaving soon.

  4. Why don't we ban Jane Velez-Mitchell as a "demeaning" source! I don't watch her show, but when I'm unlucky enough to surf by it, I'm usually offended by her strident yelling on things she is not smart enough to discuss! Etsy has certainly opened up a huge "gray" area as well. They need to use their lawyers to define what they want. Do they know what the "spirit of Etsy" really is?!

  5. I can only see this as a step in the wrong direction. I wonder what the next shop/item will be that rubs someone the wrong way? Break out the torches and the pitchforks.


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