EDITOR’S NOTE: Prices and information below may be out of date. Since launching our own art website service for artists atFoliotwist.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.
At AbsoluteArts.com you’ll find art articles, a discussion forum, an art directory and more. It’s a part of WWAR.com (World Wide Arts Resource), which has been around since 1995 and was one of the first “art portals” online.
When I saw that artists could set up a portfolio on AbsoluteArts.com to sell their artwork, I wondered whether it was worth it and took a more detailed look around.
I’ll give you my opinion in a minute, but first, here’s what AbsoluteArts.com offers:
1. A free portfolio, located within AbsoluteArts.com with 4 images of your artwork, your bio, and your artist statement. If you choose to sell directly through Absolute Arts using their credit card transaction services, you’ll pay them 35% of the sale price.
2. An artist portfolio costing $44 per year with up to 40 images of your artwork. You’ll get the same bio and artists statement as the free portfolio, along with a lot of other perks: a list of your exhibitions, a slideshow, your own art blog, video uploads, an email account, and a few other things. In addition, the cost for using their credit card services is only 25%.
3. A premiere portfolio for $100 per year and one-time fee of $25. The premiere account gets everything that the regular account does, but allows 3000 images instead of 40 and includes a stats counter (so you can see how many visitors you get). They also knock another 5% off of the credit card fees, making it 20% for premiere members, and feature your artwork on the home page and other locations around AbsoluteArts and WWAR.com.
Unfortunately, AbsoluteArts.com is very poorly designed, aesthetically speaking. There are plenty of links on every page so the actual navigation isn’t an issue, it’s just not a visually pleasing environment for people to view and buy art.
The good thing is, they’re still getting a lot of visitors—at least for now.
You can see that both WWAR.com and AbsoluteArts.com seem to get a little more traffic than Imagekind and Yessy, which is obviously very appealing to artists who want more exposure. However, as an “art portal” AbsoluteArts.com and WWAR.com most likely attracts several groups of individuals, including art historians, art students, and artists themselves, in addition to art buyers.
Despite that, it’s safe to say that premiere users should get at least some good exposure for their artwork since their artwork will appear on highly visible locations of the site. Everyone else will have a much tougher time of it.
Yet my biggest concern is this: both WWAR and AbsoluteArts.com are old, and their traffic numbers have been constantly slipping over the past few years.
Plus, several of the artist testimonials I looked at contained dates from 2003-2005. . . It’s nearly 2008, so how relevant can they be? I’m just not convinced that artists are selling as well through AbsoluteArts and WWAR as they used to.
I also believe that Imagekind, BoundlessGallery, and other websites specifically made for selling art will continue to grow and take the most valuable traffic (the art buyers) away from sites such as this.
Why? Well, for three reasons.
First, because of improvements in the search engine algorithms, which are now better at telling the difference between general art sites and specifically art-selling sites; second, because of changes in how art buyers search for art online (using more specific terms for finding what they actually want) and third, because of AbsoluteArts poor design (which won’t retain visitors nearly as long as other websites.)
So in my opinion, unless you want to gamble on the premiere package (with its higher exposure) for $125, I’d say skip AbsoluteArts entirely.
The two other portfolio options will just give you a few cluttered pages inside a huge site, and ultimately I think there are better choices available.
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