Is Etsy Targeting Turkish Stores In Latest Round Of Automated Deactivations?

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


UPDATE 1-16-24

Etsy sellers are sharing their stories on Twitter as well as in the comments below - from the reports we're seeing in the last few days, this looks to be a widespread issue impacts sellers in Turkey.

Apparently, Turkish Amazon sellers experienced something similar recently as well, though it's not clear if there was a common thread or explanation like new financial requirements or regulations.

I've reached out to Etsy for comment and will update as soon as I have more information about this important issue.

Etsy sellers in Turkey report a troubling wave of stores being shut down with no explanation and no recourse for appeal - is this another round of bots gone wild on the platform?

Ecommerce consultant and Etsy seller Cindy Baldassi shared a LinkedIn post from a seller in Turkey indicating many shops have recently experienced sudden shutdowns, possibly due to financial records requirements.

In the post, shop owner Özgür Özsezer addressed Etsy CEO Josh Silverman and other executives as well as investors asking for help to have these account restrictions reviewed.

Özgür Özsezer on LinkedIn: #etsy #etsysellers #smallbusiness #etsyuk #etsyturkey #ecommerce… | 73 comments
Dear Josh Silverman and other Etsy managers, we need your help. Josh Silverman , Rachel Glaser , Rachana Kumar , Raina Moskowitz , Nicholas Daniel , Brendan… | 73 comments on LinkedIn

Dear Josh Silverman and other Etsy managers, we need your help.

Josh Silverman , Rachel Glaser , Rachana Kumar , Raina Moskowitz , Nicholas Daniel , Brendan Mulryan , Merilee Buckley , Colin Stretch , Deb Wasser, IRC

We write here to express our concerns and worries regarding the recently closed Etsy stores operating worldwide, and we request a reconsideration of the matter as we believe that several stores have been unjustly closed and it would be great if we could get your assistance and clarification on this matter.

We believe, that there hasn't been a fair review process carried out in the closure of the Etsy stores in recent times, and we truly hope this issue can be rectified. We also would like to draw attention to the issues in the processes related to copyright infringements. We really have some concerns about the arbitrary copyright claims and the mismanagement of this process.

It is possible that for some reason Etsy does not want (permanently or temporarily) new stores to be opened from different countries, such as Turkey for example, we believe there should be a clear statement about this policy. If such a policy exists, it would be fair if it could be explicitly stated and the community to be appropriately informed on this matter.

Taking these issues into consideration, we hope for a reevaluation of the store closures, a review of the copyright processes, and the disclosure of a clear policy concerning Turkish sellers. We truly believe in Etsy's fair and transparent structure. However, we have concerns about recent store closures by bots and the lack of transparency and fairness in the appeal processes. Therefore, we request a reevaluation of this workflow and some clarifications on these matters.

To all readers:
Please consider showing your support by liking, sharing, and, most importantly, commenting on this post. Your comments will amplify our collective voice and encourage Etsy management to address these critical concerns. Thank you for standing with us in this endeavor.

CC: Etsy investors.
We've added you out seeking your guidance to help us find a solution.

The post has garnered over 70 comments in three days, many from other Turkish sellers who say they are also experiencing the same issues.

The items in my shop are exclusively vintage rugs, each over 40 years old, crafted by Anatolian women in small villages. These rugs align perfectly with Etsy's policies for vintage items. They are authentic, handcrafted pieces with no association with any modern trademarks or copyrights, ensuring they don't infringe on Etsy's Prohibited Items or Intellectual Property Policies.

I totally believe my shop was caught by etsy's system accidently.

My rugs are vintage items over 40+ years. These rugs are not trademark or not prohibited item.

I hope they see our request and consider our situation again.

I opened my 3rd store on January 06, 2024 and it was suspended before I even uploaded any products. No email was sent to me. I objected many times and sent e-mails, but there was no response. I have read the store policies, I know them. I was meticulous when opening the store, but the result was delayed. We would like at least some information.

Closing my Etsy store, which had 950 sales and 350 5-star reviews in 2 years, without any apparent reason seems abnormal. Is it normal to close a star seller store without providing any explanation since its opening?

Etsy has been increasingly moving to AI-powered automation for content moderation and policy enforcement in conjunction with other cost-cutting measures, like laying off over 200 people last month.

Etsy Lays Off 11% Of Workforce, Including Chief Marketing Officer
Etsy has announced a restructuring plan laying off 11% of workforce, ~ 225 employes, including Chief Marketing Officer Ryan Scott.

Unfortunately these automated systems are wreaking havoc for legitimate sellers by mis-identifying items, flagging authentic handmade items as counterfeits or IP infringement, and removing listings without notice all while allowing disturbing AI-generated deepfake celebrity adult content to flourish on the platform.

Etsy Has Been Hosting Deepfake Porn Of Celebrities
AI-generated pornographic images of at least 55 well known celebrities were available for purchase until Forbes notified Etsy. Meanwhile, the company’s recommendation and “related searches” feature directed users to even more.

AI-generated pornographic images of at least 55 well known celebrities were available for purchase until Forbes notified Etsy. Meanwhile, the company’s recommendation and “related searches” feature directed users to even more...

...The listings were quite clear about what they were selling. “This package contains 40 high quality uncensored JPG images featuring many different gorgeous AI-generated, fully nude young women in different poses and different locations. No duplicates from other listed packages,” read one listing.

The site has also increasingly been targeted by spammers and scammers looking to take advantage of naive new users, leading Etsy to take the drastic step of taking their community forums almost entirely private and restricting certain uses of their APIs by third parties in order to try to combat the schemes.

Etsy Takes Community Forum Private, Limits API Access To Protect Users From Scams
Etsy is restricting access to community forums over security concerns, but will it shield the company from public scrutiny too?

Are these Turkish account shutdowns part of these efforts to fight fraud on the platform and if so, does Etsy have a bigger problem than they are publicly admitting?

If you're an Etsy seller in Turkey who has had your account shutdown with no explanation and no ability to appeal, I'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or contact VAR.


Liz Morton Twitter Facebook LinkedIn

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

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