There’s no commission fee charged when you sell your work, and in fact, there’s no system for payment through OriginalArtOnline at all. When a buyer is interested in your art, they contact you personally and then the two of you work out the details of payment and shipping.
Some artists might prefer it this way, but I think the next step for OriginalArtOnline is to add an integrated payment feature, just to streamline the art-buying process.
Instead of a commission fee, OAO charges by the month. A basic account is just $5.95 per month but only allows you to host 12 works. The featured account doubles the amount of artwork you can upload and costs $7.95.
Featured artists also receive traffic stats for their pages and have their artwork rotated through key areas of the website (beneath the main navigation, and at the top of the website). Of the 503 artists on OAO, 493 are featured members, so apparently the extra two dollars is worth it for almost all of them.
New artists aren’t left out of the special treatment either, and get prominent placement in the “new artists” column that appears on the right side of the website.
I found the uploading instructions extremely well-written and easy to understand, including a great explanation of exactly what size and type of image file should be used.
Unfortunately for browsers and buyers, the search tools aren’t as diverse as they could be. There’s no tag or keyword searches; instead, it’s all organized by subject, medium, and artist.
The presentation of the work is so appealing, however, that it’s not too hard to just browse. I was also impressed with the quality and skill of the artwork I saw on display.
OriginalArtOnline claims to have great SEO (search engine optimization) which should give them an edge in attracting visitors and buyers to the site.
Art websites often have problems with SEO because their content is largely images, not words—and words are what search engines search for. From what I saw, OAO is certainly trying to improve by adding forums and a place for artists to write articles.
But at this point the articles section is pretty empty, so it’s not doing much good.
What I don’t know for sure how much traffic they’re receiving right now ( although I’m guessing not a whole lot.) OAO does have a fairly good Google PageRank of around 4 or 5, and seems to consistently show up on the first page of Google with searches that include the words “original” and “art” but they’re not as successful with just the words “art” and “online,” or “buy” and “art,” so perhaps there’s still some work to be done.
It’s free to use their services for 30 days, so if you’re curious about how their tools and features stack up against other websites, go ahead and try them out.
And, if you currently use OriginalArtOnline.com to sell your work, please let me know how your experience has been and I’ll try to include your opinions on EmptyEasel at a later date.