While some have decried that as being less-than handmade, and not very creative, the action does include unique assemblies, and I've always supported it. I've not been among the chorus of "that's not handmade".
Then a few years ago there was the Chain Uproar, where Etsy (rightly) determined that selling just the chain, even if it was to be used with one of the pendants in the shop, was neither selling a supply nor handmade, because the chain was an item, finished, and complete in itself. Fine. It made things inconvenient for some sellers who wanted to offer variety of chains to their customers, but it had too many chances for abuse. A compromise, of sorts.
Hundreds of posts in dozens of threads have been written by folk decrying the sameness of certain iconic findings, the sparrow, the swallow, the octopus, the owl, who have been added to necklaces created by Etsy sellers. In the day, each of those were different, attached to a different chain chosen by the seller, and obtained by the seller independently. In the same threads, many other Etsians advise the others that Etsy defines adding a pendant to a chain as handmade --that's considered assembling, albeit the most basic implementation.
But then how can Etsy ever determine whether something "handmade" came purchased from a supplier already supplied with the chain? That's the chain loophole. It appears that they can't. If that's so, wholesale-supplied pendant+chain can be sold with impunity here on Etsy, with the seller, often proudly, proclaiming that they do all their own photography? As if that were the handmade component of the listing?
Several months ago I was searching for a popular bright color combination I was using in a Treasury. When I chose that magic word, I was stunned that my results had pages and pages of identical items, often with identical photographs. All the beautiful, creative, stunning and original handmade creations by Etsy artists were hidden like diamonds in a sandpile, since the inexpensive, mass-produced items build up frequent sales, and so, as "renew sold" dominate the first 30 pages, relegating the gorgeous creations to far down in the pile. It was sickening, really. So I did a Treasury, for my own comparison, of identical pendants, and carefully chose those which had identical chains or pictures, from a large group of sellers, some with sales in the 1000's, others, just opened a month ago, with sales in the 100's. I was sternly warned by MIT never to do that again, the consequences being dire. Since they had taken that Treasury (which I had a private copy of), I thought it would be clear, and after all the flags they received, that the resellers therein would be closed. One (out of 16) was.
Last week I stumbled on another such Treasury -- and I recognized the sellers' names from before. I also saw a spate of new random-letter-user-name resellers. A redoing the search from above revealed a huge number of new resellers of those identical items -- perhaps it's all the same reseller, with hundreds of the mass-produced pendant+chain in each shop, since each listing has a code that seems consistent across many shops. Now one can choose from among at least 30 resellers, all selling the same basic variety of items, sometimes slight variation in the manufacturing lot of the identical items. But taken as a whole, with the overwhelming number of items with chain length-linkage identical, it's clear to hundreds of Etsians that they are resellers. It's possible that a couple of them started out as genuine supply sellers, and branched out when they realized they could. And all the others follow because they see they can. too.
I will be flagging the above, but I wanted to get this thread started to add to my flags. It's an issue that clearly bothers many who sell here.
I'm not calling out a country, because I've seen the identical items sold from several, including the US. Of course sellers from a country of origin are going to find it easier obtaining those items for resale. And I'm not calling out those who buy those finished pendant+chain and add a charm or bead or two -- they, too, are abiding by the rules.
Please don't call out an individual in the thread, nor bash a nationality, since resellers (and cheaters come in every nationality. And please don't use this thread for a soapbox of "my handmade is better than your handmade".
I'm interested in a discussion that might actually have a solution to The Chain Loophole, that will close it while allowing basic crafters to continue.