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Etsy Bans Popular Third-Party Listing Tool BETSI

Etsy is pulling a popular listing-management tool from its API program. In a surprise email to users on Thursday, the marketplace told sellers the third-party applications BETSI and BETSI lite will no longer have access to the Etsy Application Programming Interface (API) as of May 18, 2015.

“This means that, at that time, BETSI will no longer be able to access your shop account or take actions, such as editing item listings, on your behalf,” Etsy said in its email.

It’s a significant move since it is likely to disrupt many sellers’ ability to post and bulk-edit listings. However, Etsy recently launched its own Listing Manager and will end support for its older listing tool on May 15th, 3 days before it pulls BETSI.

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The email indicated the developer had violated its terms: “Ensuring that members who build tools with Etsy’s API adhere to our Terms of Use is a top priority,” the company wrote.

Etsy confirmed the decision but declined to explain to EcommerceBytes the reason behind it. In response to our inquiry about the unusual development, Etsy spokesperson Sara Cohen emailed the following response, “Thanks for getting in touch. Because this action involves an Etsy member’s account, we can’t provide further details. Ensuring that members who build tools with Etsy’s API adhere to our Terms of Use is a top priority. This only applies to BETSI and BETSI lite; the API is still available for use by other third-party applications, and those apps can be found in our app gallery.”

BETSI is a popular listing tool for over 30,000 Etsy sellers, helping them be more efficient (see this EcommerceBytes article from December.)

BETSI is the brainchild of developer Graeme Grant and his wife Jacinta, who sells on Etsy. They have been using the Etsy API since it was introduced in beta in 2009 – their Tools4Etsy website is over 5 years old, and the BETSI apps are 4 years old.

Grant told EcommerceBytes he was unable to comment on the matter due to legal reasons. “All that we can currently say is that we are disappointed that we were not contacted prior to and given the opportunity to discuss with them to clarify any concerns that they may have.”

Sellers are bemoaning Etsy’s decision to end support for BETSI on Twitter, Etsy boards, and letters to EcommerceBytes.

“I’m really upset about this because BETSI is a great product and the person behind it is a nice, responsive person who is making a living by providing Etsy users with a product they can really use,” wrote one reader. “Even if you don’t consider that, it is going to take me hours upon hours to make any changes to my shops now. I haven’t researched this out, but it really feels like Etsy is trying to force the “little guy” out for their own gain.”

Most of the comments from sellers on the Etsy boards, such as this thread, appear to be supportive of BETSI with sellers reporting they had received excellent customer service.

Comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

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Ina Steiner

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. Send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.


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