Etsy's senior manager of public relations, Nikki Summer, sent the following email in response to our latest episode. I'm posting it here in the interest of transparency.
Thanks for sharing the link. And thanks for including us in the discussion of these topics, which we take seriously and try to approach as thoughtfully as we can here at Etsy. We’re eager to engage with our community on these and other issues. I did want to clarify a few points:
Starting at 5:30, you introduce the topic of how Etsy “weeds out the bad actors,” including those who violate Etsy policies and those who violate IP laws. Heather then goes on to discuss how Etsy does that with our engineers, community-generated flags, etc., referring to items that are flagged for violating Etsy policies, not for violating IP. As I mentioned to you in my follow-up email to you after the interview, Etsy cannot remove items for IP infringement until and unless we receive a proper takedown notice from the IP rights holder. From 5:30 to 7:10 in the segment, the issues of removing items for violating Etsy policies and for IP reasons are conflated, which is confusing and misleading to listeners.
It’s important to acknowledge, as you did, that IP as a whole is “squishy,” but it would have been helpful to your listeners to refer to the stats from our transparency report, or at the least mention the transparency report.
We’ve heard, and continue to hear, from our sellers about our policies allowing sellers to work with outside manufacturers. We know it is a sensitive issue for many, and we’re so grateful to have such a passionate, invested community. For many sellers, working with an outside manufacturing partner has allowed them to grow, expand and diversify their businesses in a way they couldn’t have done before. The Rendered segment, however, features none of those voices.
It’s also worth noting that as of June 30, we have approved 4700 sellers (out of 1.5 million total active sellers) to work with outside manufacturers.
When discussing the fact that Etsy reviews outside manufacturing applications, that would have been a terrific opportunity to mention that we have a whole team, the Responsible Seller Growth team, made up of maker specialists who review each and every application to ensure the seller is adhering to our principles of authorship, responsibility and transparency.
As you say in the segment, our sellers are the lifeblood of Etsy, and we cannot overstate how much we value them, their perspectives and their incredibly hard work. If you’re planning to explore any of these issues further in depth and give them the breadth of discussion they deserve, we’d love to work with you.