Nov.18, 2013

For those of you who design 3D printed items and sell them on online marketplaces, here's a good news. Etsy, one of the Internet's largest marketplaces for handmade products, has made some new policies to give vendors more control over how they run their business, and to allow them to use an outside manufacturer to help make their goods. Most notably, according to Etsy's "marketplace criteria" for sellers, Etsy gives a wider definition of "handmade" - now, 3D-printed objects that you create yourself is considered to be as handmade as ceramic pots or sterling-silver jewelry.

Etsy has 30 million registered users and over US$1 billion in total annual transactions, and there has already been a number of 3D printed object sellers on Etsy. But Etsy has now more explicitly clarified its acceptance of 3D printing. According to CEO Chad Dickerson, the new guidelines is to "lure back sellers who "felt Etsy's policies were too intrusive and restrictive." But some Etsy users are outraged by what they see as Etsy's abandonment of its commitment to human handicraft, with some jumping ship for purer artisan sites like Zibbet.

In a recent NPR article, Dickerson says he hates to lose sellers because of the new policy. But in the eight years that Etsy has been online, the creative world has changed. For example, some sellers are creating jewelry using 3D printing.

"Those are handmade, I think, in spirit, even though they're designed on a computer and printed," he says.

Talking about why these changes make sense now, Dickerson says, "Etsy sellers are at the heart of a growing revolution. More and more people around the world are interested in supporting local, mindful, independent businesses. Buyers increasingly want to know where their goods come from. At the same time, makers have access to an ever-growing array of methods to create their items, everything from laser cutters and CNC routers, to manufacturers who do small runs of high-quality items. Artists are integrating these new technologies with some of the oldest hand-making processes in the world in surprising ways. Makers are banding together to collaborate, sharing workshops and tools, and building their own production facilities.

"We believe these trends are going to continue and we want Etsy to lead the way. As we reimagined our policies, we wanted to give Etsy sellers the ability to take full advantage of all these incredible developments." Dickerson explains.

He says Etsy sellers can now turn their hands to whatever innovation comes next.



Posted in 3D Design



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