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These days, creating and selling crafts can involve anything from a trusty Cricut machine to cutting-edge artificial intelligence tools. But with great technological power comes a responsibility to… well, not flood Etsy with generic, AI-generated gibberish.


Here’s the wrinkle in the fabric: AI art is having its moment, and the creator’s marketplace acknowledges that there’s no stopping it. As such, the platform is giving the green light to sellers who wish to use AI tools in their creative process, as long as they’re upfront about it.


The company recently rolled out a revised seller policy with a focus on transparency and authenticity. This includes a new set of ‘Creativity Standards’ that categorize products based on the level of human involvement in their creation.




Made by a seller: Physical items made by a seller by hand or using personal or computerized tools.


Designed by a seller: Sellers’ original designs that are produced or printed by a third party or offered as a digital download.


Handpicked by a seller: Vintage items, items from nature, and certain collections of items that a seller personally selected and curated for sale.


Sourced by a seller: Items that enable buyer creativity, including craft and party supplies and items that are personalized with a buyer’s custom text or image.



The category you should look out for is the new ‘Designed’ label, which now incorporates “seller-prompted AI creations.” Etsy defines those as:



Creations that were generated using AI tools (e.g. AI image generators such as Dall-E) based on a seller’s original prompts.


Sellers must disclose within their listing description if an item is created with the use of AI.… Eg. A fantasy scene based on a seller’s original prompt or inputs, produced by an AI generator; a custom portrait of a buyer’s pet generated using AI tools.



However, the marketplace isn’t letting the robots take the wheel entirely. Listings that simply sell AI prompts themselves, such as 5,000 best ChatGPT or Midjourney Prompts, will have no place on the platform. At the Q1 2024 earnings call, CEO Josh Silverman summed it up neatly: Etsy remains committed to keeping “commerce human.”


This move reflects a delicate balancing act for Etsy. While it wants to embrace creativity in all its forms amid the evolving e-commerce landscape, it also recognizes the importance of the handmade spirit that built the platform.





Images: opening generated on AI, subsequent image via Etsy

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