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Etsy Bans Duplicate Shops to Eliminate Advantage in Search

Sellers, if you have more than one shop on Etsy, pay attention to the latest news. Etsy has created a “multiple shops” policy, and in some cases, sellers will have to close some of their shops.

What’s the problem with having more than one shop? If they offer the same types of items for sale, it could lead to confusion for buyers and give sellers an unfair advantage in search, Etsy said.

“Many of you have brought this concern to our attention, and we agree that this practice violates our transparency requirement, so we’ve clarified our policies accordingly.”

Etsy’s new Multiple Shops Policy prohibits duplicate shops. “To be clear, this does not mean that you cannot have more than one shop on Etsy. We understand that there are many reasons to have more than one shop and we still allow and encourage them for distinctly different businesses. For example, rather than combining vintage items with your hand-made jewelry, it may make more sense for you to have two separate shops with different marketing strategies. Or, you may have two clothing shops – one for adults and one for children. For these reasons, it is perfectly within the limits of our policies to have more than one shop, as long as they are not duplicate shops.”

What Etsy didn’t say is the most likely reason why sellers are now complaining about duplicate shops. Because of a known issue with its search engine called clumping, it appears it is using a quota system in which it limits the number of listings from any one shop shown on each search results page.

That means sellers with more than one shop selling the same items could get more exposure in search than one-shop sellers.

The new Multiple Shops policy is found on the Etsy website.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.