Etsy has been one of the top websites for crafters to sell their products for many years. As a result of that popularity, many nefarious sellers have used the platform in order to sell knockoff versions of trademarked products.
The problem of counterfeit items on Etsy is not new and they have been struggling with this issue for years. Many believe the platform has not done enough to curb these issues. In fact, as recently as January 2023, Etsy was sued by Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute (CCMI) claiming they were advertising the sale of counterfeit items. Citron Research has said Etsy’s actions are “borderline criminal.”
Etsy says they are taking various measures to address the issue, such as updating its policies and implementing new technology to detect and remove counterfeit items. Despite these efforts, counterfeit products still find their way onto the platform.
In response to this ongoing issue, Etsy has recently announced new initiatives to tackle counterfeiting. These include:
- Introducing machine learning (AI) to scan images and product descriptions to search for counterfeit items.
- Work with law enforcement agencies to help take action against those who violate Etsy’s terms of selling counterfeit items. Hopefully, if punishments for these sellers are harsh enough it will make others think twice.
- Educating sellers and making it more clear what is and is not allowed to be sold on Etsy
- More strict verification of sellers to ensure they are who they claim to be and are selling genuine products.
Hopefully, Etsy is more successful at rooting out counterfeit products from their platform as their reputation, and possibly the livelihoods of many sellers who depend on the platform are at stake.
How I can be sure I am not buying counterfeit items on Etsy?
- Read reviews – If others have purchased before it’s possible they have commented on realizing the product was counterfeit.
- Do not buy works clearly copied from major corporations – For example, you are not allowed to sell items from major corporations like Disney on Etsy, so if you see something that is clearly from one of their trademarked products do not buy it.
What does this mean for sellers on Etsy?
For most Etsy sellers, counterfeit items will not directly affect a seller on Etsy. Sellers offering these products are often selling major brands and not custom crafters the site is intended for. However, Etsy’s reputation may take a hit if they are not able to get this problem under control. This could result in lower overall visitors to the Etsy website and thus fewer eyes on your products and dollars in your pocket.