Online retail site has joined the likes of Facebook and Twitter in terms of blocking the free exchange of ideas—or in this case merchandise—with which it doesn’t agree. What started as a way to target Cody Wilson, that’s hoping to keep the code for 3-D guns off the internet, has now turned into a full-fledged attack on the sale of guns and accessories.
Shopify sent Wilson an email advising him that his Shopify store, defdist.myshopaphi.com, had been closed. A day or so later, it issued a widespread policy essentially shutting down the sale of all guns and accessories on its platform.
Wilson has been in the news lately because he won a battle to be able to publish code for making 3-D guns.
Remember when we were naïve enough to think that e-commerce would be the wave of the future because it would brighten access to everything? Looks like the monopolistic entities that control the cyberworld are doing their best to not only control commerce but also to have a big say in approving what people can buy.
Wilson, for his part, is looking into the possibility of suing shop a phi. He sought an exclamation for his accounts termination, but apparently has not yet received a legitimate response.
Regardless of what happens in the legal realm with Wilson, though, the latest policy change leaves many businesses In the lurch, and it could even be a death knell for some. Spike’s Tactical, for example, built its entire business on the Shopify platform, which has essentially been pulled out from under the gun shop.
“This decision will have significant ramifications to our business and should concern every online retailer and Second Amendment supporter,” Cole Leleux, general manager of Spike’s Tactical, said of Shopify’s latest edict.
And, thanks to the proprietary nature of some online sites like Shopify, transferring to another online platform can be challenging.
The latest mandate represents a 180-degree shift from something Shopify said just a year ago, when it stood by its decision to sell products for Breitbart, even though the Shopify management disagreed with Breitbart’s position. “We don’t like Breitbart, but products are speech and we are pro free speech. This means protecting the right of organizations to use our platform even if they are unpopular or if we disagree with their premise, as long as they are within the law,” Shopify CEO Tobias Lütke said at the time of that contentious issue.
Now, though, we can only guess that Shopify has cast that business approach aside.