Amazon is exploring an online marketplace for handmade goods. The Web giant sent emails to Etsy sellers to gauge interest in the service last week but has released no further details on its debut. Pixabay

Etsy, the beloved online purveyor that allows users to browse charming virtual shops for handmade goods, may soon be threatened by one of America's largest Web retailers. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday Amazon plans to launch an online marketplace called Handmade that will specialize in artisan goods based on emails received by Etsy sellers. The missive invited them to complete a questionnaire for the new site.

Amazon did not disclose any a launch date, shipping rates or listing fees in the exploratory email sent to Etsy shopowners. The bulk of Amazon's business involves mass-manufactured goods that can be stockpiled at gigantic warehouses strategically located throughout the country.

Amazon has aggressively expanded its offerings in the past year, to the applause of shareholders. The company reported impressive 24 percent sales growth in North America for the first quarter of 2015 and revealed $1.57 billion in revenue for Amazon Web Services, its new cloud computing division. In December, the company launched Amazon Prime Now to offer one-hour delivery service in major cities.

Meanwhile Etsy, which began in Brooklyn, New York in 2005, reported disappointing sales and rising expenses soon after the company went public last month. Etsy's stock has dropped roughly 43 percent since its debut, leading some analysts to speculate about whether the company might be acquired while others have simply mused about the convenient opportunity this lackluster performance has offered to Amazon.

About 21 million customers have purchased a product on Etsy in the past year, but Amazon currently boasts more than 10 times as many active users at 278 million.