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Etsy Has A Real Problem With Its Witches

The magic is literally gone from Etsy.

Transforming from crunchy startup to to publicly-traded company has proved to be a bumpy road for Etsy, and now it's pissed off some serious witches.

According to numerous reports and an amazing user forum discussion on its own site, the Brooklyn-based online flea market has stepped up its enforcement of a rule that bans the sale of metaphysical goods like hexes and spells.


Etsy has been shaking up its community of virtual shop-owners in the last few weeks by placing a ban on the sale of metaphysical items such as spells, hexes, potions, and crystals. Shop-owners who were offering such items began receiving emails in the second week of June, stating, "We've recently clarified our spells-related policies in a way that impacts your shop. Because of this, your shop has been suspended."

What is Etsy's "spells-related policy" you might be asking?

Here it is:

Any metaphysical service that promises or suggests it will effect a physical change (e.g., weight loss) or other outcome (e.g., love, revenge) is not allowed, even if it delivers a tangible item.

The idea that Etsy has to even deal with people trying to sell potions for revenge sex is pretty hilarious, but it actually speaks to the ongoing battle for the company's soul in its post-IPO life.

If you remember (or if you care), Etsy has been concerned about maintaining its rep as a nice and open-minded platform that empowers cat ladies and other shut-ins to sell their strange wares and perhaps even start small businesses. The tug of war between helping people and serving its new friend Goldman Sachs is very real inside the soul of Etsy.

And by singling out witches and warlocks, Etsy has created a situation that opens up a new front of discussion about just how lame and corporate it's become.

Also, that conversation is happening on an Etsy forum and it is amazing.

Here's a taste:

But it's not the "flimflammers" and "charlatans" that have driven the spirit of magic from the landing pages of Etsy, it's the legal demands of the investment bankers an equity guys.

Oh... wait.

The real kicker in this whole affair is that Etsy could use a spell to repair its struggling stock price, and now it has nowhere to shop for one.

Etsy's new ban on the sale of spells is incredibly confusing [The Verge]


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