Sunday, December 4, 2011

Artists Market Online Review - What the Heck?

Have you guys used the Artist's Market Online? What's your impression? I signed up for it, got access, and it's... well, underwhelming.

I'm curious about other people's reviews, so please post a comment if you've used it now or in the past.  It's so sparse and under-functional that I'm wondering if maybe I just totally missed the point. I mean, a site like this can't possibly exist in 2011/2012, right?

The Artist's Market has been around since 1975, providing a list of all sorts of places that buy artwork from magazines to greeting cards to product designers. I've got 6 or 7 of these from the last 20 years in paperback form.  It's published by F+W Media, the same people who bring you North Light Books, Wet Canvas, HOW and The Artist's Magazine... In other words they've been in the business forever, so I would assume this would be the go-to marketplace for illustration/arts markets.

Actually, I'm afraid to use it, which is why I was hoping you guys would chime in. Has anyone gotten a good contact from there that resulted in a job? It appears to be simply a database that spits out the same listings you would find in the book. It doesn't have the sort of robust functionality and marketing tools I would expect from such a heavy offline resource, such a huge publishing consortium.

Here are my issues/concerns/observations:
  1. You can upload "portfolio" images (up to 5 per named portfolio, like folders). This suggests you're creating a marketing space, but the photos are it - no contact info, bio, resume, space for impressive blah blah blah...
  2. You can save contacts while browsing listings. But you can't contact them directly from the listings. I mean, you can grab their name and email them with a nice cover letter etc, but you can't send them back to your portfolio inside the site.
  3. If you save the contacts from the listings, you can go back to your portfolio and send them one of your portfolios.... But without a cover letter or the other things that make industry contacts polite and occasionally successful.
  4. You can't page to the "next" entry. You have to hit your back button and pick the next one. (To me, evidence of shoddy programming).
  5. You can't see a giant exportable list of all your contacts.
  6. The listings really, really don't seem complete. I suspect the database isn't being properly queried, or the entries were made too specific. Are there really only 60 artists reps? Only 260 magazines?

I'm not sending anybody my work from inside this site if I can't see that it looks professional and nice.

I really get the feeling this is a half-assed attempt to get digital, with all the monthly or yearly subscriptions that come with that, with little to no thought about usability or product development.  It seems like the programming was ported over from another site, because sometimes the page titles sound like they might be from a writing site. Oh come on.

I read the FAQ, hoping there would be a "How to use this site" entry to help me figure out whether I was just missing some subtly awesome functionality. There isn't. In fact the fonts aren't even consistent from question to question. (Seriously! Is this 1998?)

So, please, please - if you had an awesome experience with this, please let me know. Otherwise I want my $19.99 back and I hope everyone else just avoids it.

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1 comment:

  1. hi. im glad you posted this, because I was just about to subscribe to the online market. thanks so much. now I dnt have to waste my money. too many scammers out there. its hard for us artist. if you know of any leget sites, or anything thing, plz respond