UPDATE 9/17/18: In an email response to our inquiry, Etsy has confirmed this is a test. See below for a statement from Etsy.
Etsy sellers are concerned over a change they noticed a couple of days ago that they say gives short shrift to vintage goods. In certain cases, Etsy is displaying "Gifts" instead of "Vintage" on the navigation bar in the header that appears at the top of every page.
A reader upset with the change, said, "Etsy is comprised of sellers that are handmade artists, craft supplies, AND vintage. WHY on Earth would Etsy even THINK to take "Vintage" off the menu???"
We could see "Vintage" on the header nav bar on Etsy, but when we signed out and then went into incognito mode, "Vintage" disappeared and was replaced with "Gifts." Sometimes it appeared on the far right of the list of other categories, where Vintage usually resides, sometimes it appeared on the far left.
The reader feared the consequences of new users not seeing Vintage on the nav bar. Note that when viewing Etsy's site when not signed in, Etsy displays the following text underneath the header right above a super-sized search bar:
"If it's handcrafted, vintage, custom, or unique, it's on Etsy."
Shoppers can continue to filter by "Item type" when browsing a particular category or subcategory, with the following choices: All items; Handmade; or Vintage. "All items" was the default, though we have no way of knowing what kind of weight Etsy gives vintage items in search results when All items is selected.
We could only find one response from an Etsy moderator about the change, who jumped in to a thread to simply thank sellers for their reports and say Etsy was "currently in experiment with this."
The current discussions reminded us of an open letter we published from a reader
in 2011 to incoming CEO Chad Dickerson about what the site could do to support vintage sellers. A source told us that Dickerson took the letter to heart and sent it to all employees. Seven years later, consider this an opportunity to let the new Etsy CEO Josh Silverman know how you feel about the vintage category. (We believe the constructive nature of the 2011 letter was key to being taken seriously by his predecessor.)
Let us know what do you think of the change to replace Vintage with Gifts on the header. If you're looking for a vintage scarf, for example, do you click on Clothing, or do you first click on Vintage? And what do you think of the Gifts landing page, which you can also get to directly
We sent an inquiry to Etsy late this evening, we'll update the post as we learn more.
Update 9/17/18: An Etsy spokesperson provided us with the following statement:
"Buyers come to Etsy for items they can't find anywhere else, and one-of-a-kind vintage goods are a core part of our unique product offering. With 9.3 million vintage listings currently on the site, we believe there is still a lot of untapped opportunity in this category. We've seen a 70% year-over-year rise in searches containing the word vintage, underscoring that this category is in demand and that buyers associate Etsy with our great vintage offering. We intend to continue focusing on making Etsy a leader in the vintage category."