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Tue Sept 27 2016 13:26:14

Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers

By: Ina Steiner

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Etsy wants to ensure its sellers have economic security and is advocating for a federal government portal to help individuals manage programs. It released a white paper on Tuesday and is bringing 16 sellers to Washington DC to lobby legislators.

Etsy proposes creating a Federal Benefits Portal, which would tie all benefits to the individual, providing a single marketplace to view, choose and pay for benefits, regardless of where or how they earn income.
Here are some stats from Etsy that show the makeup of its seller base:

"The vast majority of Etsy sellers - 86% of whom are women - are sole proprietors working alone out of their homes. While 30% of Etsy sellers focus on their creative business as their sole occupation, 65% said they started their Etsy shop as a way to supplement income. On average, an Etsy seller's creative business contributes 15% to her total household income."

Etsy proposes that the federal portal would bring together plans covering health insurance, retirement savings, tax advantaged savings, disability insurance, workers compensation, unemployment insurance, paid leave, Social Security, and Medicare. All plans would be registered on the portal, including private plans available on the individual market, employer, union, association and government plans.

Longtime readers may remember that in 2002, eBay's Meg Whitman announced the company would provide a health insurance program for PowerSellers to much excitement, but the eventual reality was underwhelming.

This isn't Etsy's first attempt to concern itself with sellers' well-being; it entered into an agreement with a health insurance broker last year.

You can read more about the proposal and find a link to the white paper on the Etsy blog - let us know what you think.

Should online marketplace advocate for seller benefits?




Comments (21) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers   Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 27 16:17:45 2016

Sure would be nice if these website would keep their noses out of the users business and run their sites.

The last thing I would want is health insurance from some website I run a business on.

Shades of Obama Care

Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers   Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers

by: toml3030 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 27 18:21:45 2016

Hey Etsy, if you really want to help US sellers, how about starting by keeping out fake Chinese stuff from your site?

Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers   Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers

by: ignatz This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 27 22:00:10 2016

Why does it need to be a FEDERAL GOVERNMENT portal?  If Chad believes it's such a great idea, why doesn't he set up a "portal" to bring together all this information in one place, and make it a benefit of being an Etsy seller.

Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers   Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers

by: marcello This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 27 23:28:15 2016

Etsy and their lofty ideas! Now I understand why the search engine on that site is 15 years behind the times. Who can be bothered with such mere mortal chores?  

Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers   Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers

by: Noneya This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 28 00:07:17 2016

Yeah, what they said. Keeping cheap Chinese garbage off the site would be MUCH more helpful.
After that, stop fudging up search every other month. Quit treating sellers like free test subjects.

At least they've stopped pushing the Quit Your Day Job fantasy.  

Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers   Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers

by: odona This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 28 00:30:56 2016

Judging from the earlier posts it would seem that some sellers don't want ANY support in this aspect of their lives. I actually think there is no alternative going forward for all independent business people - not just etsyites. The concept of the proud, independent, self-sufficient pioneer American no longer has much of a place in a completely interconnected world of almost 7 Billion people. This isn't trapping in the mountains of Alaska or independent farming in Montana and, unless one is 23 yrs old in perfect physical condition one can't afford to operate with no safety net. One actual illness can and will completely bankrupt you in the current environment...just saying. Bravo, Chad.
BTW - not holding out much hope - the reactionary neocons and Tea Party-ites in congress would crush this vision in a heartbeat.

Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers   Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers

by: Ichabod This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 28 01:41:15 2016

Am I the only one that sees the danger of getting the Federal government involved in online seller's lives anymore than it already is? If you bring in the government to tend to your retirement and healthcare needs as well as "looking after" your sales, you just aren't thinking far enough out. All you need to do is look at how well they have managed all of the thousands and thousands of dollars you have paid into your social security account. This would be a disaster, a virus in the ecommerce business world that would infect every aspect of it. Once the Feds get their mitts into this thing, rules and regulations and taxes and barriers to entry and complications of all sorts are sure to follow. People should manage their own money. There are tons of retirement and insurance plans out there in the free market. They are all, without exception, too damned high priced but they are available. And, and, and, if you are smart and competent enough to run an online business and profitably so, you should be smart enough to manage your other affairs.  

Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers   Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers

by: Flying Childers This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 28 07:38:12 2016

Etsy can't even provide a working search engine for their customers- the buyers and sellers.  Why would anyone believe they could succeed at something of this magnitude?

It's just more of their alt/Left progressive BS to try and hide the fact they've become the big, bad, greedy capitalists they've always claimed to despise.

Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers   Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers

by: VintageLady This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Wed Sep 28 09:02:45 2016

Etsy is overreaching and showing yet again a distorted self-perception, wanting to be something they are not and can never become. Who encourages these illusions of grandeur? A while ago Chad Dickerson declared Etsy a tech company! Now they are political lobbyists for sellers without being either qualified or entitled to do so. Did sellers give them the mandate or??? What is wrong with being just a selling venue doing what they are supposed to do to make it successful? How about  concentrating their efforts to clean up their website of cheap junk and clean up their act in the process?

Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers   Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 28 09:49:08 2016

Federal gov't is already too deep in your everyday life.
I think it is another ploy to get wall street attention. boost stock price.
Federal government involvement means high prices, and probably a failure.  Is Obamacare doing great as promised??  Social Security is hurting. Maybe if they had a seperate account for all the monies they collected Instead of just dumping into general fund then maybe SS would not be in the shape it is today. Chad, start running the company instead of worrying about how to increase your stock value.

Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers   Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers

by: NoFreeLunch This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 28 09:51:43 2016

" The most terrifying words in the English language are : " I'm from the government. I'm here to help." - Ronald Reagan.

Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers   Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers

by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 28 11:05:59 2016

OMG, Is this ever a horrible idea!!
DO NOT invite the government in to look at my sales! I have enough problems!
I can see it now, I put peanuts in a package or wrapped something in a plastic bag or someone thinks some item has too much of some chemical in it and now the government has decided I am dealing with dangerous goods and I have to pay triple Obamacare or are no longer eligible for social security or I am being hauled off to jail.
Google shopping disapproved one of my items yesterday for being a "dangerous weapon", it was candy mold of Halloween zombie fingers.
I do not expect the government to work any better than google.
No thanks, stay out of my life, if I need assistance, I will go ask for it.
Last night I heard some Washington goofball touting increased small business - I used to have a "professional" job, now since I can't get one, I need to do this full time. Small business ownership through necessity is not really a good thing as far as I am concerned.
I guess etsy just thinks since the government gives out billions for inefficient websites, they should get their share too.

Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers   Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers

by: Kt5510 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 28 13:16:35 2016

Funny coming from Etsy. They could be busy doing something that would actually help US Etsy sellers, such as:
- create a stable venue, that does not surprise constantly with bugs, privacy breeches and utter payment failures
- create a consistent Search algorithm
- stop rolling blackouts, or moving certain servers at certain times to the top of Searches, or whatever you want to label this sudden drop of all views and sales that happens to our shops now on a regular basis
- end the 10 months of involuntary testing of our shops every year
- get rid of the ''VAT included where applicable'' sentence and create an actual VAT tool for those who actually need it, instead of this nonsense for everyone
- fix the app so it actually keeps ''Item Details'' open so our buyers can read about what they purchase instead of sending endless convos to inquire
- get rid of resellers selling the same exact things using the same exact stock photos
- enforce your own rules
- figure out a way to block sellers selling counterfeit goods. 25% of my competition should not be copyright infringers
- fix Categories

Until then, sorry, not much trust in Etsy as the benevolent representative of the small business owner/ Etsy shop.

Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers   Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers

by: funkygrrl This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 28 15:30:07 2016

What they should do is advocate to change the laws that prevent small businesses from banding together to get enterprise class group health insurance rates.

Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers   Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers

by: Springtime This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 29 05:11:07 2016

Kudos to all who have posted here.
Great ideas! If Etsy is a "technology company"...fix the technology so it works for buyers and sellers. If the sellers sell, they can take care of themselves.

Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers   Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers

by: LeeLoo This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 30 03:36:05 2016

Yep, slotting that one way back into the solar scheme.
Another infinity stupid idea, Etsy,  who's social conscious only becomes apparent after the staff are puking their guts out after swinging about in the hanging chairs all afternoon, monitoring the forums, making tests n so forth.
This one was definitely thought up in the breathing room, or the sand pit.

 

Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers   Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers

by: LeeLoo This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 30 03:40:01 2016

Or is that brought up?
I'll have a mass imported Chinese roll with that one thanks - and don't spare the reseller.

Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers   Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers

by: Ankit singh This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 30 04:49:59 2016

Hey etsy i have so many notes by last digit 786 so if anybody wants to purchse then please inform me.

Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers   Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers

by: Flying Childers This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 30 07:57:38 2016

Great comments from the readers.  I wish that there was a way we could rate and respond directly to each one.

Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers   Etsy Wants a Social Safety Net for Sellers

by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 2 13:28:11 2016

Freakin' incredible. More hand-holding - unsolicited - from an on-line 'venue' - just what we DON"T need! This is nothing more than an invitation for Uncle Sugar to reach into your pocket for tax revenue.

If you're running a FT or PT biz, and you want bennies, you can set yourself up as a corporation or sole proprietorship. Hire an accountant or get QuickBooks. Buy all the insurance and contribute to retirement plans to your heart's content.

Then, do YOUR thing, and leave ME alone!

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