This dialog between Etsy users and Administration would lead one to believe that if an item is featured on the front page, the shop has been vetted by Administration and is safe to buy from.
From the Jan. 15th Q&A, the question (emphasis added):
Once an item is “curated” for Browse, finds, Front Page, blogs does anyone look beyond the photo? I ask as there have been numerous selections where the items don’t adhere to the TOU’s for various obvious reasons and this is the face that you are putting on the site.
and Admin’s answer (in part):
Yes, every item that is curated by a member of Etsy staff goes through different measures of vetting checks before it’s featured. We vet to make sure the item and shop are in good standing with site policies to ensure a positive shopping experience. I can’t give specifics about the systems we use, for security reasons, but we have our own internal vetting process and are also in touch with the Marketplace Integrity Team…
In this December 15th blog post, Rusetsy pointed out a reseller shop (vibrantleathers) featured on the front page.
Yesterday, the shop (vibrantleathers) was called out in the forums for not fulfilling a buyer’s order, and the shop has now disappeared from Etsy.
Rusetsy thinks those Etsy fraud prevention teams are about as useful as an About page.
This is outrageous! This much-deserved call out will soon be swept aside by Etsy; but Rusetsy intends it to stand. These thieves will not remain anonymous. It appears the same person (or entity) has opened several shops and flooded the Etsy marketplace (and search) with stolen designs (and photos) by this seller and others while also undercutting the original designer’s prices. All of these shops are from China which fact will most probably be scrubbed from the forum post.
All of these shops should be shut down by Etsy and there should be no second chance. This is not copyright infringement or trademark infringement by accident or ignorance; this is blatant thievery and should not be tolerated.
Instead of closing down the thread (which will soon happen), Etsy Administration should be closing down the shops.
This news story from Businessweek (dated November 7) reveals some very telling information about how the manufacturing approval process is going on Etsy (emphasis added):
“One of the flaws about the way we were working up until this point is that information about how things are made … was basically optional,” Dickerson adds. Now sellers interested in the new program must apply and get approval from Etsy, which says it will carefully review applications—500 so far—to keep out resellers or manufacturers of mass-produced goods.
Only 500? I’d be willing to bet those 500 are legitimate, honest, independent craftsfolk, and not reseller one! Looks like come January Etsy Integrity will have its’ hands full. All six of them
And as for this comment from Chad, I can only shake my head in dismay:
Sellers who violate the rules aren’t a big problem, Dickerson says. “We really trust the sellers at large.”