Global Ecommerce April 4, 2019

EU Etsy sellers mobilize in support of sensible platform regulations — and win!

EU’s New “P2B” Rules Preserve a Fair and Trusted Business Environment For Etsy Sellers

Etsy is powered by the 2.1 million Etsy sellers–most of whom are women–who sell unique, creative goods to consumers around the world. Maintaining our sellers’ trust is core to Etsy’s business and success, which is why we support the European Commission’s efforts to protect those who rely on online platforms to run their businesses.

In 2018, through the Platform to Business (P2B) Regulation, the Commission proposed a new set of rules for online platforms like Etsy, requiring greater transparency and stronger protections for their business users (in our case, Etsy sellers).

Due in part to the importance we place on seller trust, many of Etsy’s practices already conformed with the new proposals. For example:

  • Our policies, known as our House Rules, are written in clear and intelligible language.
  • In 2018, we published The Ultimate Guide to Etsy Search, which explains the factors that we use to determine search ranking on our site and to help our sellers understand how to optimize their listings to improve their placement.
  • We also publish an annual Transparency Report, which documents the number and types of intellectual property takedowns, account reviews and terminations due to policy violations, and member disputes handled via our Case System in a given year.

These proactive and voluntary disclosures help build trust in the integrity and fairness of our marketplace for both buyers and sellers.

Unfortunately, one of the European Parliament’s proposed amendments to the P2B Regulation (Article 4) would have had exactly the opposite effect. This amendment required a 15 business day notice period for suspensions of business accounts, which would have undermined Etsy’s ability to effectively enforce our policies, including our Handmade Policy. Our sellers rely on Etsy to quickly suspend accounts that violate our policies, including resellers listing mass manufactured items. Requiring Etsy to wait 15 business days before removing these items would undermine our ability to maintain the integrity of our marketplace, and unfairly disadvantage sellers who play by the rules.

Fortunately, and much thanks to the active engagement of our seller community who sent over over 1,150 messages to policymakers, the final negotiated agreement recognises the important role that suspensions play in maintaining the integrity of a marketplace. Article 4 now limits the required 30 day notice period to account terminations. When it comes to account suspensions, platforms will have to provide a business user with a statement of reasons for suspension at the time of the suspension taking effect. We think this approach makes good sense.

We’re so proud of our seller community, who made a meaningful impact in this debate. At over 2 million strong, Etsy sellers may be small individually, but together add up to significant economic (and increasingly political!) impact. We’ll continue to support any policy effort to ensure a fair and transparent business environment for micro businesses in Europe and beyond, and to engage the Etsy seller community as advocates for themselves.

  • Economic Impact
  • Europe
  • P2B
  • Platform regulation
Althea Erickson

Althea Erickson