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Submitted on
December 4, 2013
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Well. I can at least say that the average artist's mentality towards marketing never ceases to amaze me.
Either the guys here are young and naive --that's what I hope it is, since still being pure hearted in a time like this is good-- or they are willingly unaware of what's happening around them.

It all started with a question that came to my mind.
Would people be willing to pay a few point in exchange for a feature on a busy page?

How I got to the idea?
Well, I'm doing contests and giveaways now and then. Things for the community, you'd say. To get some feedback, feature stuff, promoting unknown artists, and that kind of stuff. In order to host those contests and giveaways I often need DeviantArt points. Now, I do get a lot of them by sheer donation. But that always seemed a bit empty to me. So I thought up some kind of idea. To give beginning artists the chance to get featured, and make use of the traffic on my page, in order to get their work viewed by people all over the website. Something like 10 points for a feature. Seemed pretty reasonable to me, considering I have to collect all artworks and update my journal regularly... and also considering the average amount of visitors on my page is somewhere close to 1600 a day -- if not more.

The reactions on that I got on the poll, however, honestly surprised me.
That it was like cheating to have people to look at your artwork via a feature, because they should've gone to your page and looked to it that way. It was even compared with being a whore. A bit far fetched, if you ask me. And a bit strange, because many of those people had their artworks submitted to groups. And I assume they didn't all get asked by those groups to put them up. No, they submitted their own work, in order to have them featured, at a group. So people would look at them, inside a group! Not on their own page!

I can imagine people being worried that a feature like that would not be because of skills. A pretty idealistic thought, if you ask me. But I can imagine that. But to my surprise it's those same groups that do a "Comment and I'll feature you" journal. And they're overwhelmed with people commenting in a desperate attempt to get featured. Those artworks are often just placed in the journal. There's no serious quality check, or whatsoever. It isn't about talent. Often you need to fave the journal, watch the artist, write a journal about it, and whatever kind of trick you have to pull off in order to get features. It's the same shameless form of promotion, and still everybody buys it, because it is not about points.

Well, let me tell you my point of view on this;
Those 10 points are worth $0.12. I'm well aware that there are people offering point commissions for those prices. You can find me complaining about that too, because I think those people are absolutely insane by devaluating their art to a mere $0.12. Come on... where's your dignity as an artist when you offer your work for prices like that???

But that aside. Have you ever thought about all those journals that say "watch me, fave this journal, write a journal about my action, and get featured". It's kinda okay if you watch them already. But imagine you don't. You have to watch them for the entire length of their contest. Which means having your inbox spammed with their stuff. Again; this is okay if you're honestly interested in their art. But I can tell you most people who join that kind of actions, aren't there because they like that artist so much. They just want their feature or prize. 
You have to fave their journal, for the mere sake of raising the number of faves and raising the journal to the front page of DeviantArt. You have to write about that shit on your own page, so all of your watchers will be notified about what action you join as well. And then you'll finally get featured. If you want to compare anything with being a whore...
It's similar to those "like and win" actions on facebook. And let's be honest... everybody hates people who do those all the time, and mess up your timeline with all kind of shit you aren't interested in -- not even to mention that there are no formal rules about those giveaways. They don't even have to give away their price. So the chances of winning that kind of stuff are smaller than having an airplane crash on your head. It's just another cheap marketing trick.

Taking all that into consideration, donating just 10 point without the whole watching-faving-promoting-whatever-thing all of a sudden seems very clean and transparent. You don't have to perform all kind of monkey tricks. You don't have to spam your watchers about shit you do halfheartedly, just to gain something. It's just donating a few points, that's all.

Maybe it's because I've worked in (web)advertising for years that I lost my innocent view on how people would think. But I'm well aware of how social media marketing works nowadays. I've seen big company's doing social media from the inside. With paid social media experts and everything. And I can tell you that even if a company appears to be nice and 'genuine', behind the mask it's all about phrasing words on social media in such a way that more people would like the company. So people will buy stuff they don't need, or accept sky-high prices just because "that brand is so good". No matter what you think, it's all about profit.

I can understand the whole artist's view on things. Many people around here are willing to be popular for their talent, and their talent alone. To gain recognition of other people for what they do. Not how well they market their selves. I can honestly imagine most fun comes from people discovering your page by itself and following you, because they like your art. But what wrong would it do to get yourself known? Would anyone know Pokemon if it was never advertised? It's true that most buzz was created when the missingno-thing went viral. But even that was anticipated. Would anyone know that famous writer if his books were never mentioned in the media? People are paid to review books, you know! Would anyone know that famous anime artist if he/she never showed up at a local convention or art workshop?

If you want people to know you, you can't just sit down and expect people to come to you. There are 12 million members on DeviantArt alone. You can't expect people to just magically find you in that maze of user profiles. Not in 2013, when the internet is social media, and every single site is filled with people screaming for attention or recognition. No, they would most likely find your work in a friend's favorites, a group, or a feature. They'll find you, because your work is at a place they could see. And they somehow watched you, because they saw your stuff somewhere, liked it, and clicked the link to discover you had a lot more in your gallery that they liked.

I see most artists having the idea that that marketing is bad. The idealistic thought the attention for their work should be 'genuine', and that marketing makes it less genuine. Although I wouldn't know why marketing would make your work less genuine. If people didn't like your work, they wouldn't watch you, even if you expose them to it. People nowadays are critical about where they spend their time on.

As a marketeer, I can say that many artists possess poor marketing skills. They've always been that way. That's the reason many artists never got the fame they deserved, until they died and somebody else promoted their work. That's the reason they devaluate their work to a mere $0.12 commission. The sole reason why the prices for art are so low. They allow people to see it as a 'fun job', and not take into account the many years of practice that went prior to that. Please don't fall into the same trap. The modern internet era makes it possible for everyone to get their selves out there. To do your own campaign. Yes, it might cost you a bit. Either in time, or money (Or both. Time = money). But the costs are nothing compared to what it was years ago, before the internet era, when you still had to hire an advertisement company and pay for printed media.

Web 2.0. is all about the users. 
You not only allowed to join; you're expected to!
So don't sell yourself short because of some stupid ideals.

(And for the many people asking about the feature for points. I'm not sure about that yet. But if you're interested and want to stay tuned; follow my journals ^^)
Add a Comment:
himekanoda Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Hmm.. Good article
samxi Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I do agree. Selling your self short is like looking down at your own work. If you think your art are great, go for a higher price. :D
lAmayal Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I don't think this is whoring out at all! Wth... DA is all about having other people help you promote your art. That's why there are groups. People will never see your work if you keep it under a rock, even if it's amazing!. I've seen a lot of good artists who don't have that many watchers or commissioners and then I see other artists who have really low quality art and they have a tonne of watchers... It sucks but you have to put yourself out there and I think your idea is more than fair!
HaysiaHaruzan Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2014  Student Digital Artist


flutist Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2014  Professional General Artist
I think feature system is ok, valid and nothing shameful.
even random feature without quality check is okay (it is up to the page owner afterall).
but from a semi-idealist point of view it's like accepting a standard of no standard (if you understand what I mean)... and that is a valid opinion too.

:iconlazeplz: So while I'm too lazy for organizing a contest, I'm thinking of some kind of giveaway/beta-comm with game, something like this though that one is designed to favor friends than new people. I don't know... I'm still experimenting with this.
AdaStreet Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2014  Professional General Artist
Very good! I love it when you talk about this kind of topic, even though I sometimes let all kinds of things build up in my message/notifications inbox and don't read and respond to everything in a timely fashion. anyway, keep up being smart and awesome like you are!
FreeMech Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
very insightful.
LJartisticintentions Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I am keeping all of my art supply receipts so I know how much I should charge for a single painting of mine let alone if I get hired on to a project that will pay me to do a certain kind of art. that they want me to make for them.

By the way, I made a portrait sketch of a dragon of my own design if you wanted to see it, let me know. ^_^ (I made it in about 30 minutes yesterday evening.) used pencil for it.
earthbelowthewolf Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2013  Student General Artist
I have nothing more to add here ;)
daftdivision Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
As an artist who is also an aspiring musician, I feel like this should be read by all who want to get their music noticed, too.
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