People on Etsy come from many different walks of life: we’re an international, multi-cultural marketplace. On a website of Etsy’s scale, certain words and images need to be concealed. These policies are about keeping this community healthy — and growing. Reaching a diverse audience is essential to the success of our marketplace. You can view our policy regarding mature items in the Etsy DOs and DON’Ts.
After January 1, 2008, we will be working extra hard to enforce this policy and here are some tips for making your shop appropriate for all audiences! We will still rely on our community to help bring listings to our attention, so we welcome you to flag listings you feel are too risque for Etsy and we will be sure to investigate. For Etsy admin, we want to inform sellers (and all members of the community) about our policy.
Spidercamp, one Etsy seller known for her rude little bunny plushies, described how she felt the door to communication with Customer Support admin was open. For her, "it’s the difference between Etsy telling me I’m not ever allowed to swear, and Etsy asking me nicely not to swear so much in strangers’ faces. It’s a fair request. I haven’t changed the things I make, and my sales of these items have not suffered in the least."
Here are some tips to help you adjust your images, the instructions are for Adobe Photoshop, but other image editing programs like GIMP (gimp.org) and Picasa (picasa.google.com) are free and have similar tools. Remember to save your files as JPEGs in RGB mode or they won’t upload to your listings properly!
A simple option is to crop the image so only an "all ages" snippet of your photo is visible for the first thumbnail. For example, if you use vintage ephemera with nudes to create a collage, crop the image so you have a "zoomed in" image of one of the faces or another lovely detail. Then, in the following images in the listing, go ahead and show the whole she-bang.
To create the cropped image in Photoshop, you can use the marquee tool to select a portion of the photo…a portion with no naughty bits. Hold down the shift key if you want to keep the selection a perfect square and press the spacebar to move the marquee around on the image. Once you’ve chosen the area, copy the area inside the marquee (you can use the keyboard command Apple + C on a Mac, Ctrl + C on a PC) and open a new document to paste the selection into it. Save this image and you can use it as the first image on your listing, then upload the complete photo for one of the other images in your listing.
Then the full image of your artful nude can be shown in one of the following images:
Overlaying and Blacking Out:
Another option is to use the standard black square. In Photoshop, use the rectangle tool to make a shape (again shift will keep the shape a square), but you will have to wait until you create the shape to move it around. To adjust the size of the box once you have made it, go to Free Transform under the Edit tab. You can also make other shapes with the marquee tool and use the paintbucket option to dump a color into the shape.
Place the shape over the mature regions and save it to upload as the first image in the listing. Then use the original image as your second image in the listing. If you’re feeling extra frisky, you can use a "PG" image to cover up the mature parts.
In this one, I used a picture of my kitty Stella; you may want to use your avatar or something humorous instead of just a black box. This "shameless" kitty belongs to megrnc and we originally found the photo on the Etsy Pets flickr group.
For those of you with some knowledge of Photoshop and filters, you can try this method. Select the "questionable" area of your image using the marquee tool and copy and paste the selection into a new layer. Working on this layer, you can use a filter on just the selection to distort it. I used the Mosaic filter (under the Pixilate filters) to add a blurred bar over this naked puppy’s private parts, but many other filters can be tested out to find one that looks good with your image. This method is fun because it give that professional too-hot-for-tv look. We found curlygirlglass‘ sassy puppy on the Etsy Pets flickr group, too.
You can also write the word MATURE or other text over the area you’d like to conceal. Smuttons, an Etsy seller who makes buttons from saucy vintage imagery, remarked that using text as a graphic design element in this process actually helped her sales! "When I made these red banners over the naughty parts and wrote SMUT on them, it kinda stuck out. I got this convo from this buyer who wanted to get one of my buttons, but she even requested that [the SMUT be left] on it!"
There are other lo-fi methods, too. For Spidercamp, whose plushies have bad words embroidered on their tummies, she just blocks out the portion of her item with her hand. "My approach to ‘mature-izing’ my listings is pretty simple and crude…So far I’ve just been blocking part of the filthy language with my finger in that first photo."
If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to post in the comments or send me a convo. I’ll be glad to help with any Photoshop questions as best I can, and thanks to our beautiful models and their owners!