I’ve spent the better part of an hour exploring a promising new website called Art Fire which, in no uncertain terms, has set out to compete with Etsy. There is a familiar layout…categories to your left, a showcase of listed items in the center, and a featured seller near the bottom. Additionally, they are cataloging tutorials, have an entire section dedicated to supplies, an array of features for artist interaction and even digital badges to recognize accomplishments by members. With a basic account, you can list and sell without fees or commission. Their current price for a verified account, which lets you fully customize your profile/shop and participate in the online community, is $7 a month.
Most notable in our neck of the woods, is their partnership with Trees for the Future, a non-profit that is helping in reforestation efforts around the world. Art Fire will have a tree planted for every new member that signs up.
This is awesome, don’t get me wrong. But I’m not going to endorse a website when it appears to over publicize it’s involvement in a relatively hands-off environmental effort. These programs have popped up on Twitter and Facebook as the effortless donation of ad revenue. Click your mouse, and plant a tree. It’s a wonderful idea, but Art Fire romanticises the impact. Case in point:
“Your click is like a small stone in a large ocean. The ripples of what you do here today will stretch hundreds of years and affect thousands of lives. All with the power of your click, and your awareness, nothing more is ever expected from you!”
Based on the prominence of green themed magazine ads, graphics, and links to this static information page filled with paragraphs of warm fuzzy optimism, I am expecting more from you, Art Fire. This is an honest suggestion, you’re still in beta.
Also, who are “over 25 of the internet’s premier suppliers and importers of craft and art products” that “provide and sponsor” the site? Just askin’!