Crisis Mgmt.: Netflix & Etsy

In the realms of corporate cultures, Netflix always stood out in the past for being unique. Accountability, transparency, both were at the top of the list. Now, Netflix has drawn a clear line between its own freedom as a private company to create content without restraints on speech, and the personal lives and opinions of its staff, which it asserts are firmly on the other side of that line. In a memo to staff, post-Chapelle, the company set new boundaries in its corporate culture informing applicants that if they are unable to work on content they might personally disagree with, that Netflix might not be the right employer for them. In a word, Netflix set some healthy, corporate boundaries, in a time when it is losing in other areas: subscriber drops in Q1, another row over a comedy special released in May 2022 (SuperNature), and a settlement over a retaliation suit with comedian Mo’Nique, who asserted that Netflix lowballed her with an offer for compensation for a comedy special and that it was discrimination. Netflix chose not to pursue her further. In turn, Mo’Nique filed suit alleging retaliation by Netflix for failure to continue to negotiate her compensation after the initial offer, which the parties then settled prior to going to trial. Netflix has had its hands full, and it seems timely that it begin to plug some holes in its ship.

Netflix is not the only tech company seeking to patch up its reputation: Etsy has as of 2 weeks ago conceded to making changes in one of its controversial seller policies, after seller’s banded together in unified action against the platform this year. In April, Etsy users left their accounts in vacation mode for a week to protest fee increases and other grievances on the popular platform for hand-made goods. Read a copy of the petition here. It does make one think, at what point do users become laborers of a corporation like Etsy, which benefits by taking up to 30% gross of the seller’s transactions on the platform. It is akin to charging a rental fee for using a stall at a pop-up marketplace in real life. But because the relationship is more symbiotic than dependent, the best these renters can hope for is either negotiating a better deal or switching to a better fit, competitive service, if one is in sight. For now, it appears that seller solidarity is yielding results.

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