What You Can't Sell on Etsy
There are some items and services that Etsy doesn't allow you to sell. Because you can sell items you've made by hand, vintage goods, and supplies, you may assume, then, that as long as your item fits into one of those categories, it's acceptable for sale on Etsy. But you know what happens when you assume!
Any number of items may meet the aforementioned criteria but aren't permitted on Etsy. One obvious example is items that are illegal; every Etsy seller is responsible for following all local laws. Other prohibited items include the following:
Drugs, druglike substances, and drug paraphernalia
Firearms and weapons
Live animals and illegal animal products
Motor vehicles (automobiles, motorcycles, boats, and so on)
In addition, Etsy prohibits the sale of items that
Promote hatred toward people or demean them based on race or ethnicity, gender or gender identity, disability, or sexual orientation
Promote or glorify illegal activity
Promote or glorify harmful acts
Here are some other guidelines that will help you determine whether your item is appropriate and how to meet listing guidelines:
Selling mature items on Etsy: Although Etsy prohibits the sale of pornography, it permits the sale of NC-17 items — think goods that involve a depiction of male or female genitalia or sexual activity, a depiction of graphic violence, or profane language. However, sellers who list such items must comply with certain policies to ensure that Etsy remains appropriate for a G-rated audience. Specifically, items of this sort must be tagged with the word mature and must contain the word mature in their titles. That way, users can restrict searches to omit these listings by including the exclusionary term "NOT mature" in their searches. Furthermore, the first thumbnail image of the item must be appropriate for general audiences, although additional images may show the item in all its mature splendor.
Also, although you can sell items that contain mature content or profane language, you may not use this type of content or language in your user name, profile, item titles, item tags, avatar, banner, shop announcement, or shop section titles.
Selling only certain services: In general, you can't sell your services on Etsy. The site is designed as a marketplace for goods. So even if you're the best dog-walking, house-sitting masseuse this side of the Mississippi, you can't list your services on Etsy. You're not even allowed to avail yourself to members seeking your skills in the realm of tailoring, restoring antiques, retouching old photos, and the like.
If, however, your service results in a new, tangible item, you may offer it for sale on the site. For example, you may sell your services as a graphic designer, offering custom logos for clients, delivered via a digital file. Or maybe you give workshops; in that case, as long as participants leave your class with an actual physical object — an instructional booklet, a finished project, or what have you — it counts.
If you list a prohibited item or service on Etsy, vigilant staffers or other site members may flag it for Etsy's review. In extreme cases, Etsy may delist your item immediately. More typically, however, Etsy will contact you to attempt to remedy the problem. Generally, you'll simply be asked to remove the prohibited item from your shop. If you fail to do so, Etsy will remove it for you. In egregious cases, Etsy may also suspend or even terminate your selling privileges. Note that, as a seller, you will still be responsible for any outstanding fees if Etsy removes an item or suspends or terminates your account.