I need to get your opinion. On February 13, 2009, I joined ArtFire at the urging of my friend Mary Ann. We both got in on the $7 a month lifetime membership. To join now, the fee is $12 a month. And the "regular" cost is $20 a month.
I didn't do anything with my ArtFire shop until around the end of March. And since I opened shop, I have not had one sale. I almost had a sale, but when I contacted the buyer to gently ask her to pay, she wrote back and said she had clicked too fast and didn't realize she had actually made the purchase. So, still - no sale.
When I list the same item(s) in my Etsy shop on ArtFire, the item(s) in Etsy gets more "hits" than my ArtFire shop, and I'm getting some sales on Etsy.
So here's what I need your opinion about. Do I continue to pay $7 a month and keep listing on ArtFire, or stick with Etsy? OR, do I keep both and give ArtFire some more time? And if I stay with ArtFire, how long do you think I should give it before hanging up the towel?
- Has been the industry leader in providing a venue for buyers and sellers, and until recently, they've largely gone without competition, until Artfire arrived on the scene in 2008.
- Superior to Artfire in design and visibility.
- Has a clean, streamlined design that is visually appealing and easy to navigate.
- Their simple blue and white color scheme is uncluttered.
- The important links to buy and sell are at the top next to their unfussy logo
- Etsy wins in visibility and popularity. It has been around since 2005, making it a proven commodity.
- Its userbase of buyers and sellers is large and diverse.
- It has a Google PageRank of 7 out of 10 and returns over 11 million hits on a Google search.
- Etsy has been featured in the mainstream press and made over $90 million in sales in 2008.
- Etsy's size can be a negative to new sellers who find it difficult to get a foot in the door when there are already so many others selling similar items.
- Etsy has been criticized for "playing favorites" with their featured sellers.
- They have been accused of focusing on high-volume sellers, those who can put more into Etsy's coffers with the fees Etsy takes.
- There are no fees for buyers other than what they spend on an item, but it costs SELLERS!
- Etsy takes .20 for each item listed, then an additional 3.5% of the price for each item sold.
- Relisting items regularly can boost a seller's visibility and sales, but those fees can hurt profits.
- For a new seller, in particular, it's a double-edged sword!
- No additional fees - just $7.00 a month (or $12 if you join now)
- Artfire's homepage is also less discriminatory than Etsy's. It offers a large rotating gallery of recently listed items.
- Its item of the hour is chosen at random.
- Artfire is taking strides in integrating social networking. It makes it easy for sellers to integrate their listings with Facebook, Twitter, and other sites.
- Artfire's current homepage design is cluttered and overwhelming, although a new design is on the way.
- There are too many categories and the gallery is too big.
- It requires too much scrolling to get to other homepage items, such as the featured seller and Artfire's official blog.
- Artfire is still far behind in visibility.
- Its Google PageRank is 4 out of 10 and a search brings up fewer than 500,000 hits.
So, what do YOU think?Post Script: I just read (it's good to do that sometimes) that Artfire has a Basic Membership that is totally free where you can list 10 items at a time. Huuuuuum, maybe THAT'S the route I should go with them.