If you’re keeping a close eye on your Etsy shop’s stats and not seeing growth as fast as you’d like, you may be tempted to artificially boost those numbers, just to give yourself a head start.
However, this isn’t a good way to get your shop a better placement.
In fact, it may even mean the end of your shop completely.
Can Etsy Stores Fake Sales to Look Better?
There are a few ways to fake sales on Etsy, but they’re not without hoops to jump through. Not only that, but it’s highly frowned upon by Etsy, and they keep a pretty sharp monitor on their shops to prevent this kind of shifty business.
Is it Possible to Fake Sales on Etsy?
While it’s highly discouraged, it is possible for a shop owner to fake sales on Etsy in order to boost their placement.
In order to do this, a shop owner would either have to make fake profiles on Etsy and purchase their own products through these profiles, or they would have to have a third party make a false purchase.
This third party could be a friend or family member, or anyone whom the shop owner compensated for the sake of making a purchase and/or leaving an inauthentic review.
Are There Fake Accounts on Etsy That Manipulate the Numbers?
It is possible for sellers to make false accounts in order to make fake purchases or write themselves positive reviews.
However, Etsy has firm policies about this that are stated explicitly in the House Rules section of their website. If a profile is suspected of fraudulent activity, Etsy can terminate or suspend the account.
Remember that if you make fake accounts to boost your own numbers, it’s not just the fakes that will be shut down, but you run a risk of losing your legitimate Etsy shop as well.
Etsy is not required to give any warning before terminating or suspending an account.
What Are the Rules on Etsy Regarding These Things?
Falsely boosting your sales and reviews is called shilling, according to Etsy.
Etsy categorizes shilling as:
- Making false sales on your Etsy shop through fake profiles.
- Asking your friends and family to make purchases on your profile in order to boost your numbers.
- Coercing or bribing another third party to make purchases on your profile.
- Prompting any of these false sales to also result in an inauthentic positive review on your shop (as one can only leave a review when they’ve made a purchase).
However, this doesn’t mean that purchases and reviews made by your friends and family are prohibited! As long as the purchase is genuine and the review is true and accurate, it doesn’t constitute shilling.
So if your mom wants to order those earrings you made and leave you a glowing recommendation, tell her to go ahead!
Is it Illegal to Buy Fake Reviews?
Technically, it is illegal to buy fake reviews for your Etsy shop.
If a shop owner buys fake reviews for their Etsy store, they’re in breach of contract, which gives Etsy the right to cancel the contract by terminating the store that’s in violation.
How Do You Recognize When a Shop is Faking its Numbers?
Etsy has ways of internally recognizing suspicious behavior that might indicate that a shop is shilling. However, from the outside, it’s difficult to tell if a shop is faking its numbers.
A shop may seem suspicious if it has only perfect reviews or if the reviews seem to be too similar as if they were written by the same person under multiple profiles.
However, without a fail-safe way to prove that a shop is faking its numbers, your better option is to stay the course of your own shop, keep refining your product line and listings, and keep selling!
Do People Order Fake Reviews for Etsy Stores?
Some sellers may coerce or bribe someone to create fake reviews for their Etsy shop, but in order to do this, the one writing the review would first have to make a purchase.
Typically, the shop owner covers the cost of the item themselves. However, not only is this a breach of contract with Etsy, but it’s also quite a hassle and often a costly one for the shop owner.
An Etsy seller’s time, resources, and effort would be put to far more effective use if they were put towards building an exceptional shop with a strong reputation.
How Do You Report a Store if You Suspect They Are Faking?
If you suspect a shop is shilling or committing some other kind of fraudulent behavior, you can report the shop for abuse.
Each shop has a button its profile marked, “Report this Shop.” It’s that easy.
But make sure you don’t report a shop without a good reason. It can be difficult to know for sure if a shop is faking its numbers, and the risk of having another shop be suspended without cause is not one to be taken lightly.
While other shops might be your competitors, independent sellers and artists also need to look out for each other.
When in Doubt, Check Etsy’s House Rules
Etsy’s policies are thoroughly outlined in their Seller’s Handbook, so if you’re concerned that an action is in violation of your contract, you can always refer back to be sure.
And remember, selling to your friends doesn’t count as shilling!
So, promote your shop on social media and show off your products to everyone you know!
Don’t forget to request that customers leave a kind (but genuine) review, and never pay for reviews.