Etsy Sellers Concerned About Changes To Reviews

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


Etsy is expanding the availability of video reviews to more buyers, but sellers are very concerned about no longer being able to hide videos or pictures from reviews.

Etsy Testing Video Reviews
Etsy announces they are testing a new way for buyers to leave seller reviews with videos.

As part of the update, Etsy said:

Can I hide photo or video reviews?

Reviews are an important, transparent representation of buyers’ experiences and we want buyers on Etsy to shop confidently knowing that we’re a trusted marketplace. In order to ensure we’re being transparent with buyers while continuing to meet industry-wide legal standards, we are removing the ability for sellers to hide photo or video reviews.

If you find that a review is inappropriate or violates our policies, you can report it to our team for removal. You will also continue to have the option to respond to reviews if you feel you need to.

Sellers in the Etsy community took issue with this new policy, stating the 7-10 day waiting period for Etsy to act on reports still allows too much opportunity for inappropriate or harmful content to be shown on their shops.

Etsy taking away ability to hide photos and video review - A VERY bad idea
A recent buyer accidentally added a totally unrelated picture while leaving review - I sent a message - no reply so I hid it. WhY is Etsy taking that option away, I don’t get it. If I were to get Etsy to do it, I would still be waiting. The person posted pics that don’t fit with my brand or shop.…

A recent buyer accidentally added a totally unrelated picture while leaving review - I sent a message - no reply so I hid it. WhY is Etsy taking that option away, I don’t get it. If I were to get Etsy to do it, I would still be waiting. The person posted pics that don’t fit with my brand or shop. As an independent shop, I should have a role in what is displayed in my shop. It looks like Etsy is trying to control the ability of sellers to individualize their shops. These are not Etsy shops, so where is the clear line between providing a platform with traffic for a fee Vs micromanaging small businesses using said platform, it feels like Etsy is acting as the corporate HQ pushing a subsidiary to do something!

I get the need to creat trust with reviews as a platform and as a buyer I want to read real reviews, but we already have one! If someone leaves a good or bad review without visuals, it still stands.

The fact that Etsy can’t still manage to monitor its platform sufficiently, and yet is adding more things to monitor and arbitrate is mind boggling. If Etsy’s track record of response time is to be a benchmark, I am not convinced this will work out well.

What is the reason for taking the option to hide video or photo review? Etsy could ask sellers to justify hiding when they do, instead of cart blanc ban.

With over 100 responses so far, it's clear that sellers have some very passionate opinions on this topic - almost universally against Etsy taking away the "hide" option.

Etsy is a VENUE like a shopping mall. I do not understand their stance of going into seller's shops and messing with things and not allowing the seller any choice in the matter? I mean I GET not allowing certain items but that is not what i am talking about. When I rented shop space the landlord never came in and rearranged the furniture and put porn and other stores items in my front windows..nor allowed customers to stand in the windows and do performance art or tape up photos or play videos of their kids, dogs or privates?? This is such an overreach...even by Etsy standards.

Aside from the very reasonable concerns about inappropriate or adult content, other sellers pointed out there could be privacy concerns and copyright issues too.

How about copyright issues? Like a customer reviewing a product and copyrighted music in the background?

I had to remove a photo of a customer with the customer's name and address on it. I think it was a great customer service on my side to protect their privacy.

I would argue that there are better reasons for Etsy to continue to allow sellers to hide photos and videos at their discretion.

Reasons mentioned in prior posts: buyer pic included private financial documents; buyer pic included buyer’s name, address, phone number, and email; buyer posted close-up photo of a woman’s naked private parts; buyer could post video of sensitive product information like design aspects or pattern pieces that can then be exploited by someone pausing and taking a screen grab of said information; buyer posted pics of items not purchased in this shop; buyer posted irrelevant selfies not including products at all; buyer’s photo was so off on color that other buyers were alarmed over the color difference and eventually the photo had to be hidden.

None of these things call for Etsy mods to review and find in favor of. None of these things call for a back and forth between buyer and seller. All of them would be beneficially hidden by the seller, and that would be good for Etsy and the buyers. It’s not just about us as sellers.

Others questioned whether Etsy will really devote the resources necessary to handle reports in a timely manner and whether the review decisions will be fair and impartial.

Not good. The last time I needed help from Etsy the promised week to 10 days response time turned out to be 15 weeks! after they got utterly buried in their self inflicted bot removal issues. I don't know if my shop could bear a 15 week video assault should something like that take place.

This situation is ripe for unethical sellers targeting competitors shops with insulting reviews plus bonus! videos with audio. Difficult customers that we read about here in the forums now have more effective ways to assault a seller who has little recourse.

It's like the entirety of Etsy is a group of 15 year old IT bros, high on their coding supply: Live testing, new features no one wants or asked for, bots galore, more ways to tank sellers without recourse except the execrable "contact Etsy" option which we all know how that works here. So close to pulling the plug as it is. This is not my only sales venue.

I want to know who decides what is “graphic, mature, or obscene language or imagery” because I’ve heard the stories of people bringing complaints about reviews to Etsy that clearly violate these policies and Etsy shrugs and says nothing is violated and the review stands. In my opinion, it sounds like Etsy’s mods have zero idea about Etsy’s so-called policies and make judgment calls based on their whims.

So if you get a mod who finds the F-bomb obscene the review will come down, but another mod’s kay with it, so it stays up. Or what about someone calls the seller all kinds of names, but none of them contain actual offensive words that are obscene, so even though it’s clearly harassment, Etsy says it stays up. We would be naive to think that somehow this negligent attitude won’t transfer over to video reviews.

What do you think of this Etsy review policy update? Are sellers' concerns reasonable? Sound off in the comments below!

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Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of experience in online sales & marketplaces, providing expert commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Amazon, Etsy & more at Value Added Resource!