EDITOR’S NOTE: Prices and information below may be out of date. Since launching our own art website service for artists at Foliotwist.com, we no longer feel unbiased enough to continue updating or reviewing other art website services. Visit the website below for their most recent information.
It’s a fairly simple online gallery that doesn’t charge commission. Instead, it costs artists $59 per year to exhibit unlimited artwork, plus a 10% transaction fee when buyers purchase through Yessy.
I first came across Yessy a while ago (before I started EE) but never considered it as a means of selling my work online mostly because I had a poor first impression of it. I felt that the layout looked a little “cheap” for fine art, and that the logo and navigation were sort of “tacked on” to the top of everything rather than integrated well with the rest of the design.
However, after doing some additional research for this article I was surprised to see that their traffic numbers were better than any of the other art-selling websites I’d compared before.
Below you can see Compete.com’s comparison of Yessy, Imagekind and BoundlessGallery. I know traffic isn’t EVERYTHING, but when you’re trying to sell something on the internet it’s certainly the biggest part of the equation.
(You might want to check out the latest traffic comparison graph too.)
On the other hand, there’s also a LOT of art on Yessy—nearly 225,000 individual works at this point. That means visitors will have to wade through a lot of other art before seeing your work; and even when browsing by sections, there’s still a ton of art. The Painting & Prints section, for example, has over 107,000 works.
There are subcategories for narrowing down further (like abstract, still life, etc) and even sub-subcategories beyond that, but it seems to me that as far as browsing goes, visitors will probably have a tough time just happening across your art.
There’s also no way to pay for better placement or advertise on the home page, although Yessy does randomly pick one work of art to display on the home page every time someone visits it.
However, that probably won’t do much—there are just too many works of art on Yessy for yours to be chosen very often.
Of course, the more art you have on Yessy, the better your chances; and if you’ve recently created a gallery or uploaded some new images, a link to those will appear on the home page until newer works replace them.
Once they’re off the home page, the search bar on Yessy is probably the best way for potential buyers to find your art. Yessy’s advanced search options allows searching for art in a certain price range, by geographic area, by category, and a few other options.
Unfortunately there’s no color search, so artists should ALWAYS describe their artwork by color in addition to talking about the subject, style, emotion, and anything else they think someone who would like their art would search for.
I also found that Yessy has an affiliate program which will give you a little kickback (5% of the sale) if you send buyers to Yessy from your website or blog. And that counts even if it’s your own artwork that they’re buying.
I’ve written about affiliate programs before in regards to Imagekind and BoundlessGallery, and it’s an obvious thing to do since most artists drive traffic to their artwork anyway.
I found myself comparing Yessy to BoundlessGallery throughout this review (since both sell original art) and in general I thought it fell short in several ways. Yessy’ not as well designed, it has a lot more artwork to compete with, and it lacks a color search.
However, with twice as much traffic as Boundless Gallery (and more than Imagekind too) I think Yessy’s free 14 day trial is definitely worth trying out.
I don’t know if two weeks is enough time to adequately judge how well Yessy works, but it can’t hurt to give it a shot.
I also have a hunch that for artists who can create good artwork of popular subjects (lighthouses, horses, pets, landscapes, etc), Yessy may be the right place for you. Why? Because with the amount of traffic that Yessy gets, no doubt there are people already searching for those exact things.
So if you join Yessy, make sure to describe your artwork as thoroughly as you can to pick up all the searches possible. If your artwork is good enough, some of those searchers will like it. And if you price your artwork in the same range as similar art available (or at a reasonable price, anyway) it may even sell.
Ultimately, being successful at selling art online depends a lot on whether or not there are people already looking for art like yours. With Yessy, I believe the odds of that are better than most, simply because there’s more traffic to begin with.