EDITOR’S NOTE: Prices and information below may be out of date. Since launching Foliotwist (which provides portfolio websites for artists) we no longer feel unbiased enough to continue updating or reviewing other art website services. Visit the website below for their most recent information.
RedBubble.com is an Australian based website that creates art prints, art cards, and t-shirts from artwork uploaded by its member artists. I first came across RedBubble a few months ago when they were only offering their services to Australian artists.
I decided not to review them until they went global which they did at the end of July, opening their doors to artists all over the world and adding offices in the US and the UK. So, without further ado, here are my thoughts on RedBubble.com.
(Full disclosure: RedBubble is also a current advertiser on EE.)
The first thing I noticed on RedBubble’s homepage was all the art. 18 works of art filled the front page (randomly rotated each day, I presume) and below those were another 18 artists along with 7 recent blog entries.
(NOTE: RedBubble’s homepage has changed slightly since this review. . .)
Not only does RedBubble give members their own blog, but it has a forum as well, so it’s obviously not JUST a place to sell your art.
Plus, by selling more than just prints, RedBubble gives artists several outlets for creativity. The art cards for example seem likely to be popular with the artists themselves, as a way to market their work.
Members can also design their own t-shirts, which to me isn’t that exciting, but I understand that these type of “designer” t-shirts have a large following online (with companies like Threadless leading the charge) so it makes sense that RedBubble would want to include t-shirt fans as well.
I’m most interested in the art print market, and I can already see RedBubble competing with Imagekind for that group of artists.
Both RedBubble and Imagekind are fairly new online but they certainly have their differences. For instance, while Imagekind claims to be an artist community in addition to selling art, RedBubble is actually much more community-oriented.
On the other hand, when it comes to framing options, Imagekind wins hands down. RedBubble only has 7 frame colors (in two styles) and three matting options—that’s a lot less than the hundreds of available frames and mats that Imagekind offers.
RedBubble’s pricing model is similar to Imagekind’s since artists can set their own price. Artists decide whether to sell prints for $20 or $200 and keep everything but the base price that RedBubble takes for each artwork sold.
The one thing that really sets RedBubble miles ahead for me, though, are the member blogs. That’s because even though most artists on RedBubble seem to just be blogging about random topics, those blogs could actually be used to bring in traffic from search engines.
For example, check out this blog post titled, Joy of Light, by Victor, an aircraft pilot and photographer. Although he probably didn’t intend for this to happen, if you search for Joy of Light in Google his blog post comes up number 12th in the rankings.
Getting ranked 12th is pretty good, especially considering that there are 24,900,000 results for that search!
Here’s another blog post that’s doing pretty well: Melinda Kerr’s quick update on the Australian Digital Photography Awards comes up 4th for Australian Digital Photography Awards, 19th for Australian Photography Awards, and 23rd for Australian Digital Photography.
Check out these tips on how to blog about art for those of you interested in making the most of RedBubble’s blogging feature (or just increasing traffic to your own blog).
Overall, I think RedBubble deserves high marks for its artist community and integrated blogs, but I do think they need to work more on the art selling aspect—an advanced search feature would be nice, along with more art printing and framing options.
Oh, and if you didn’t notice, they’re still in “preview” mode, kind of like a Beta I think, so it’ll be interesting to see what changes take place at RedBubble in the next few months. Head on over if you’d like to join up or find out more.
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