Reselling Walmart Shirts on Etsy

Last night I was shopping for shirts and found one with a distinctive pattern on Etsy. The seller SofinaCottonShop advertised the shirt as handmade and their landing page advertised “Unique Patterns & Quality Designs.” To find more shirts with a similar style I pasted the product’s image into Google lens and the first result was a listing for the exact same shirt from Walmart. The Etsy seller was buying shirts from Walmart, marking up the price, and listing them on Etsy as “handmade”. I looked at the seller’s other product listings and found they were all from Walmart or AliExpress. For example compare the product listings for this dress:

Etsy Swimsuit Product Listing

Etsy Product Listing

AliExpress swimsuit product listing

AliExpress Product Listing

This was my first time browsing Etsy and I was hoping to find unique, artisanal products, and was disappointed to find drop shipper junk instead. Having worked at YouTube I’m aware of the challenges in moderating junk user uploaded content and don’t see any easy solutions. A naive solution like banning or down ranking any product that is listed elsewhere on the internet does not work because a drop shipper could buy from a legitimate Etsy seller and post on Amazon and the legitimate Etsy seller would be blocked because of someone else’s copy cat post.

Yesterday my brother told me a similar story about a classmate from college whose get rich quick scheme is writing a bot to download popular videos from TikTok and reupload them to YouTube. Accidentally buying junk from a drop shipper or watching a reuploaded video isn’t that terrible, but it does make me sad to see otherwise useful platforms polluted by sleazy scumbags.