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Etsy Transparency Report Shows 168K Account Shutdowns

One thing is clear from the results of the online handmade marketplace’s transparency report, which was published Tuesday (July 14), Etsy takes its company values, responsibility to members and legal obligations very seriously.

The company closed 168,288 user accounts for non-IP policy violations last year, in addition to the 3,993 shops it has shut down for repeat violations of its intellectual property policy. Policy violations include spam-related shop listings, distribution of non-handmade products and shops selling prohibited items.

Etsy’s first-ever “2014 Transparency Report,” which outlines the actions it took last year related to intellectual property takedowns, policy enforcement, resolving member disputes and requests for member information, stands as a “reflection of our core values, which include operating as a mindful, transparent and humane business,” the company’s general counsel, Jordan Breslow, said in an Etsy blog post.

“We’re not only including information about requests for member information and intellectual property takedowns — which are both generally associated with transparency reporting — but we’re also providing insight into how we strive to keep our marketplace a reliable, trustworthy place to shop and do business as well as how we offer protection to buyers and sellers,” Breslow continued.

In 2014 alone, Etsy removed or disabled access to 176,137 listings, from 42,526 sellers, as a response to almost 7,000 intellectual property takedown notices. The company said about one half of 1 percent of all listings on the marketplace were affected.

Etsy also reported receiving 305,762 flags, both internally and from its users, spanning individual items as well as entire shops or accounts, sometimes seeing multiple flags for a single listing or account. The company manually reviewed approximately 73 percent of those flags, leaving the rest to be processed via its software systems.

The report itself points to the challenges that come with operating an essentially open marketplace.

“Etsy does not choose the items that Etsy sellers list for sale. Selecting or previewing listed items would be nearly impossible: As of March 31, 2015, more than 30 million items were listed for sale; we had 1.4 million active Etsy sellers, doing business in nearly every country in the world. But we do have policies and guidelines about the type of items that belong on Etsy, and we work hard to enforce those policies,” the report stated.

But earlier this year the company’s stock price took a hit following analysts’ warnings that as many as 2 million goods for sale on the arts and crafts marketplace are either fakes or violating trademarking laws.

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