BBC Watchdog exhibits mass-produced items on Etsy


It’s unclear whether sellers should applaud or scoff at an Etsy briefing by British broadcaster BBC. A new BBC Watchdog segment is reporting on the availability of mass-produced items masquerading as handmade goods on the market – with a significant markup in price.

The BBC consumer reporter began his article with an interview with a shopper who purchased an item on Etsy listed as handmade. But the shopper discovered the item was from a retailer and was listed on Etsy at three times the price. “I kind of felt like a mug,” she said of feeling like I was duped into paying too much for a product on Etsy.

While sellers adhering to the site’s policies want Etsy to push harder to rid the site of mass-produced goods, it was clear that some sellers had serious concerns about the ramifications the BBC exposure might have. on their own sales.

In one tweet replying to BBC of his segment, one saleswoman said she was pleased to see him calling resellers, “but hopefully potential customers won’t be deterred from coming to see real salespeople.”

Etsy told the BBC Watchdog that it uses a combination of human and automated systems to remove items that violate its policies. He said resale was not allowed on his site and said he was expanding and strengthening his programs.

Sellers discussed the TV show on the Etsy Discussion Boards. A seller said Etsy was “drowning” in items that violated the site’s rules. “It’s much, much worse than ever, and the fact that Amazon fired a bunch of resellers for manipulating reviews is a big boost for this sudden surge as they search for new outlets.”

“Good,” wrote another. “The media coverage seems to be the only thing that moves them. It’s ridiculous how unhandcrafted Etsy is. And the vintage? Etsy has never met her.

Another said that once consumers lose trust in Etsy, it will affect all of its sellers.

The episode aired in the UK on Wednesday, it will likely be available on the BBC website.

Ina Steiner

Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is the co-founder and editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on e-commerce since 1999. She is a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is the author of “Turn eBay Data Into Dollars” ( McGraw-Hill 2006). His blog was featured in the book “Blogging Heroes” (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (September 2005 – present) and Investigative Journalists and Editors (March 2006 – present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send topical tips to [email protected] See disclosure at


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