Our House Rules

Get to know Etsy's legal terms and policies

Our House Rules

Shilling

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 an item 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 or uses additional accounts posing as an independent buyer to take inauthentic action on the first account. This could include purchasing an item to leave a review for the first account, deceptively favoriting the first account's shop or listings, upvoting positive reviews on the first account in order to position them more prominently, or taking 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, unless this is available to all buyers (such as a discount offered on next purchase for leaving an honest review).

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

API developers and shilling

Please see our API testing policies 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

Last updated on Jan 9, 2020