How can we help you?

Preventing Shilling on Etsy

Shilling is prohibited on Etsy, as outlined in our Buyer Policy and Seller Policy.

There are multiple types of shilling, including, for example, when a seller does the following:

  • Has a friend or family member purchase and leave a biased, inauthentic, or untruthful positive review

  • Compensates a third party through free or significantly reduced items, samples, cash, or other compensation, to purchase and leave a biased, inauthentic, or untruthful positive review

  • Opens additional accounts posing as an independent buyer to purchase from and leave a review for the first account, deceptively favorite the first account's shop or listings, or take any other actions to artificially inflate the first shop’s reputation. This is also called “sock puppetry.”

Transactions between friends and family

Transactions and reviews between friends and family are not considered shilling as long as they reflect the honest, unbiased opinion of the buyer and meet the following criteria:

  • The transaction must occur on Etsy.

  • The buyer and seller may not share a material connection (such as a shared bank account, credit card, or financial interest in the shop being reviewed).

  • The buyer must not be paid or otherwise compensated for the review.

  • The sole purpose of the transaction may not be to leave a review.

API developers and shilling

Please see our API testing guidelines for more information about testing on production.

Shilling resources: FTC Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, FTC Act Section 5: Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices, European Parliament Misleading and Comparative Advertising Directive, European Commission FAQ on Misleading Advertising

Was this article helpful?

Still have questions?