“Etsy, the online marketplace self-described as ‘Your place to buy and sell all things handmade, vintage and supplies,’ is the latest brand to suffer a full-on image meltdown,” according to Shelly DeMotte Kramer PR author and contributor on prbreakfastclub.com.
To summarize their crisis simply, earlier this January Etsy allowed vendor, YouStupidBitch, to post a number of very offensive greeting cards on their site which caused a very public outcry from consumers and merchants alike. These cards ranged from mean such as, “Congratulations! She’ll make a great starter wife!” to the insulting “Congratulations, Your kid has Down Syndrom”.
The issue originated with the merchants who upon discovery of the cards demanded they be taken down for their potential to drive away customers. After no response the issue spilled into the consumer’s realm and even resulted in the creation of a petition on Change.org requesting the removal of the cards. To date the petition has 16,801 signatures.
This lack of a speedy response continued to directly affect sales and was finally remedied very quietly with a change in company policy that brought down the most offensive cards.
[Before somebody throws the 1st Amendment at my head, keep in mind Etsy is a private company and is not violating any 1st Amendment rights, which are not intended for retailers but instead directed towards the government.]
Why does this matter to Pricefalls? As a marketplace with a similar merchant model to Etsy the possibility of acquiring a vendor with products offensive to some is possible but in our case not likely. However, as a precaution since coming across this ‘issue’ I have been doing some research as to where the legal implications begin and end.
In the end, because of their original non-response Etsy is the most recent company to join the ranks of what I call the ostrich club. This club is a group of brands such as Apple, Tiger Woods and Volvo to name a few that have responded to a crisis by sticking their heads in the ground.
What do you think? Is this an overreaction on the part of consumers and merchants? Do the cards offend you?
Until next time buyers, sellers and friends!
Josh *theLVD Weaver