Etsy is one of the largest online marketplaces in the world, with over 5.3 million active sellers as of the 3rd quarter of 2022.
Not only is Etsy a great place to buy vintage, handmade, and craft supplies, but it's an excellent place to sell, with a customer base of around 40 million.
This makes it an excellent place for small businesses looking to start or expand. However, a big challenge comes when Etsy sends you an email notifying you that it has taken down one of your listings.
What Happened To My Listing?
As an Etsy seller, receiving a notification that one of your listings has been deactivated can be frustrating and confusing.
Listing deactivations can happen for various reasons, including policy violations on handmade items, prohibited items, and intellectual property.
This article will explore these reasons in more detail and provide tips on what to do if your Etsy listing is deactivated.
Importance of Understanding Listing Deactivation
Listings are the lifeline of an Etsy shop and, thus, the seller. If your shop listings are constantly getting deactivated, it might be time to get back to the drawing board and figure out what's wrong.
Reasons Why Etsy Deactivates Listings
Violation of Etsy policies
One of the most common and prominent reasons for Etsy to deactivate a listing is a violation of Etsy policies. Etsy has a set of guidelines and policies that all sellers must follow to ensure a safe and fair marketplace for everyone.
The most common policy violations that result in listing deactivation include selling prohibited items, intellectual property infringement, participating in trade with sanctioned countries, and inappropriate content.
Having medical claims on your tags or title can also explain why Etsy may deactivate your listing. Regardless of accuracy, Etsy has a prohibitive list of claims that are not allowed on items. Some of these claims include,
- Claims that a product can prevent, remedy, or cure severe or terminal medical conditions like cancer or heart disease.
- Claims that using a product can cause weight loss or significant changes to one's body.
- Claims that a product can improve or enhance sexual performance, cure sexual dysfunction, or augment, enlarge, or enhance primary or secondary sexual characteristics.
Etsy has a long list of prohibited items that should not be sold on the platform. Some of these items include items that promote illegal activity, animal products, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, internationally regulated items, and drug paraphernalia, among other things.
Intellectual Property Infringement
Etsy takes intellectual infringement seriously. If your shop is found to be in violation of this policy, Etsy will deactivate the listing. As a rule of thumb, if you're unsure whether your shop's content infringes on someone else's intellectual property, seek legal counsel or contact the owner.
Etsy may also deactivate your listing if they feel that it contains pornography or mature content. However, they have house rules concerning listing mature content correctly. This includes,
- Having a listing with mature content tagged as ‘mature ‘
- Not having mature content appear anywhere near the public areas of your account
- Having the first thumbnail of your image be appropriate for all ages.
Handmade Policy Violation
Another reason why your listing may get deactivated is a violation in the handmade category. When you list an item, a pop-up usually asks you who made the listed item.
The options are you, a member of your company, or someone else.
If you pick, I made the item tab, and somehow, they find out you were less than truthful; these are grounds for deactivation.
Etsy does not have a problem with sellers selling items that they did not handmake themselves. However, they need to communicate that to sellers explicitly.
Upcycling and Recycling
Although not on the official Etsy website, Etsy might deactivate a listing of an item that has been upcycled. Whether that's a Prada bag or putting a couple of stickers on a tumbler mug, Etsy may take down these listings. This is still a gray area, so it's best to keep your eyes on their policies and talk to various community members as things change.
Similar to intellectual property, a listing may get pulled down if the owner believes that it contains a trademark. This can range from Witches brew from Harry Potter to Disneys, Mickey, and Minnie hats.
The site allows items such as kitchen knives and letter openers. However, for listings with words or items such as swords, Etsy is more likely to take them down.
Its a Mistake
At times, you may wake up to find that Etsy has deactivated your listing, and even after reading through all of their policies and guidelines, you may not see where the violation is coming from.
For the most part, listings are filtered by an algorithm, and sometimes mistakes happen.
This could be one of those instances, so it's best to reach out to customer support to avoid having a violation on record.
What to Do if Your Etsy Listing is Deactivated
It is important not to panic when you receive a notification that one of your Etsy listings has been deactivated.
Here are some steps you can take to address the issue:
Review the Reason for Deactivation
The first step is to review the reason for the listing deactivation. This information will be provided in the email notification you receive from Etsy.
It is essential to understand the reason for the deactivation to take the appropriate action. If you can't find the email in your inbox, check your spam /junk folder.
Make the Necessary Changes
Once you understand the reason for the deactivation, you can make the necessary changes to your listing.
For example, if the deactivation was due to a policy violation, you must remove the offending content from your listing. If the deactivation was due to poor quality, you might need to take new photos or rewrite your product description.
Afterward, you can contact Etsy either through email or phone and have them take a look at your new listing. If they find everything is up and all systems go, your listing should be on the site. This might take a few days to sort out.
Contact Etsy Support
If you're unsure of the reason for the deactivation or need further assistance, you can contact Etsy support. They'll be able to provide more information and help you resolve the issue.
Appeal the Deactivation Decision
If you believe that Etsy deactivated your listing in error or if you have addressed the issue and your listing is still not live, you can appeal the decision. Etsy has a process for appealing listing deactivations, and you can find more information about it in the notification you receive.
How to Avoid Listing Deactivation
The best way to avoid listing deactivation is to be proactive and take steps to ensure that your listings meet Etsy's policies and guidelines. Here are a few tips to help you avoid listing deactivation:
- Read and Understand Etsy's Policies and Guidelines: Many sellers either skim or don’t take the time to read the sellers' handbook. Take the time to review and understand Etsy's policies and guidelines. Ensure you are familiar with the prohibited items, listing requirements, and other policies that may impact your listings.
- Familiarize Yourself with Etsy Policies: Ensure you understand Etsy's policies and guidelines, so you don't accidentally violate them. Keep in mind that these policies can change over time, so it's a good idea to review them periodically.
- Stay Up-to-Date with Copyright and Trademark Laws: Make sure that you are familiar with copyright and trademark laws and that you are not infringing on the intellectual property rights of others. Many other shops sell copyrighted items, but it's always best to stay away from them as they can end up costing you thousands of dollars and leading to the closure of your shop.
How Does Etsy Handle Intellectual Infringement Notices?
Once the property owners or agents of the owners of the Infringement property make a claim to Etsy about the infringement, Etsy sends an automated IP infringement notice to the seller after the deactivation of the listing informing them of the action.
After deactivating the listings, Etsy usually sends an email that details which listings were affected and provides the contact information of the intellectual property owner. It's up to the owner and seller to agree on how to proceed
If the property owner and seller resolve the issue, the seller may relist the items. However, if the case still stands, repeat infringement reports may result in losing your account.
Additionally, if you list different items and get infringement notices on other items in your shop, Etsy may shut down your shop and all other shops you manage.
In this case, speaking to the property owner beforehand is crucial. You can consult a lawyer to ensure you're not in a gray area.
In conclusion, having your listing deactivated on Etsy can be a frustrating experience. Still, it is all a part of the platform creating a safe and accommodating marketplace for sellers and buyers.
By following their guidelines and policies on proper Etsy listing, you can increase your chances of having a successful and long-lasting presence on the platform. Remember to review and adhere to the policies; in doing so, you can hopefully avoid a world of trouble.