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DiscoveredArtists.com is a new online marketplace for artists and art buyers, featuring original art, photography, and art objects.
I first heard about DiscoveredArtists back in May when Renee Castelluzzo (one of its founders, along with Brian Walker) introduced herself via email and told me a little bit about their plans for the company.
Naturally, I kept an eye on that domain for the last few months, and was actually pretty impressed when DiscoveredArtist.com launched in July with over 300 artists, 2500+ works of wall art, nearly 800 photographs, and about 120 art objects for sale.
I also liked that its founders are both veteran marketing experts, which of course is a big plus in this industry. (Brian was the Director of Marketing for a TV station in Chicago, and Renee worked for a direct marketing firm.)
From what I’ve gathered so far, Brian and Renee’s goal is to promote the DiscoveredArtist’s brand by approaching art buyers directly, through various advertising channels, instead of relying on Google or other search engines to bring in buyers.
So how does DiscoveredArtists.com compare?
Well for one, the design is solid—better than most of the art-selling sites I’ve reviewed. DiscoveredArtists.com has a pleasing layout of neutral colors and strong navigational cues to help people browsing or searching for art.
The three tabs at the top allow visitors to immediately choose between “wall art,” “photography” and “art objects.”
There’s also a list of quick links on the top left of the homepage if you’d like to see the newest artwork posted, find the best-selling artist, or search by artist name.
Click on “Search for Art” and you’ll jump right to the art. You’ll also find a long list of categories on the left to help you narrow down your choices.
I did notice that there were 79 different options listed under the “Medium” category, which I thought was slightly excessive.
In my opinion, artistic mediums like “Heat Set Synthetic Oils” or “Gum Bichromate” (which refers to a 19th century photographic process) probably don’t need to be listed, especially if there aren’t currently any works of art available in those categories—which was exactly the situation when I clicked on them.
I can imagine shoppers being frustrated by both the long list and the empty results, and from a programming standpoint, it’d be easy enough to hide those extra categories until needed.
I also tested DiscoveredArtists.com’s search function and it found that it worked about as expected. For example, if you search for “horse” you’ll get any artwork with the word “horse” in its description, but you won’t find art with the word “horses” even though that would be helpful.
That just goes to show how picky search functions can be, and it’s why I always try to emphasize that no matter where you sell your art, you should always describe it as thoroughly as possible.
Whether people are searching within the site itself or in Google, they CANNOT find your art if you don’t use all the words that describe it.
Pricing and membership plans:
DiscoveredArtists.com has five membership plans, all of which allow artists to upload an unlimited number of artwork.
Plan 1 costs $99 per year and has a 6% commission fee for every work of art sold.
Plan 2 is cheaper at $79 per year, but it has a higher commission fee of 8%.
Plan 3 costs the least at just $59 per year, but it comes with a 10% commission.
There’s also an Advanced Seller Plan (with negotiable commission terms) and a Student Plan ($50/year, no commission).
However—the way that these membership plans were explained on the website struck me as a bit counter-intuitive.
Plan 1 is supposedly for artists just starting to sell their art online, while Plan 2 is described as being for intermediate sellers and Plan 3 (which has the highest commission) is for experienced sellers.
But why would a more experienced seller choose a plan that has a higher commission rate? If you’re an artist selling 20 paintings online every year, at an average of $500 each, the best choice would be Plan 1 at the 6% rate, not Plan 3 at 10%.
Here’s another way of looking at it: with sales of $10,000, Plan 1 would only cost you $699 while Plan 3 would cost you $1059.
(Actually, at that point you’d probably be better off negotiating for an Advanced Seller account at a lower commission rate, but that’s not really the point I’m trying to make.)
My point is that you may want to sign up as an “experienced seller” if you’re not sure whether your art will sell at all, since that will only cost you $59 up front; and after looking at the math, you should probably sign up as a “beginning seller” if you think you’ll sell at least $1200 of art in a single year.
Final thoughts on DiscoveredArtists.com:
From where I sit, it looks as though there’s been a lot of planning and effort put into DiscoveredArtists.com, and I think that speaks well for its potential.
An improved search function and a slimmed down category section would do wonders for its usability, but those are really minor concerns at this point.
Instead, I’d simply like to see the founders hold true to their goals of consistently marketing DiscoveredArtists.com (and limiting membership when necessary) to make sure that their advertising efforts are effective for the number of members they have.
If they can do that, they’ll end up with a successful business and happy members.
Head on over to DiscoveredArtists.com if you’d like to learn more about the company, become a member, or browse through their original artwork.
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