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Marketing  Musings
on Art
1998 Year 1  No. 9 Okt 29
 
Growing Up
now monthly
ISSN 1437-1375
With Help from Friends
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See also the other journals:

Weekly Work 1.40 Art Journal 1.8 Creative Journal 1.8 Pablo Journal 1.7
571, Here We Come
Chagall: 
Cattle Dealer
A Piece of Modern Art
My Way
Bronzino / Stuck
Lust and Sin
Chagall, Cattle Dealer, clipping
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Growing Up

With Help from Friends

You know, my native language is German (information, not fishing for compliments). 

Dear Partners:

4 weeks is a long time on the internet. Much happened, and all things improved. Today I want you to get to know many of the wonderful people I met out there in the world. I'll tell you how they helped me, and you will learn how you can improve yourself. Also, I want to thank them for their help publicly.

This issue is really big, but I think it is worth each and every byte. Compare this to all the newsletters you know and read daily. How many do you get for a quarter MB? Do they really compare well? You judge.
 
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Amit Malik from Monday Magazine has invited me to write articles on art on a regular basis:

I want you to be Monday Magazine's official Art Consultant.

What a great honor! Thank you, Amit!

Also:

One of the reasons why people are in business is to revel in art. Literally! I want people to develop a good taste.

My first draft can be seen here.
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I informed you about the new design efforts, initiated by the review of Joan Sotkin. Read the review in full length.
 

Art Quarter was reviewed by Joan Sotkin Okt. 10 in 
The E-Commerce Advisor(tm) #10 

a free bi-weekly e-zine that offers articles, tips and resources for new Website owners. Read/subscribe here

Obviously, this review comprises areas I haven't even touched upon. But this is only a question of time.

Joan Sotkin
REVEIW 2. Art Journal http://art-quarter.com
I'm not going to review the design, which is basic and adequate -- obviously done with a WISIWYG editor. (One that does the coding for you.) Werner has put a lot of caring and effort into this site, and that shows.
  
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What I'd like to look at now is the navigation, ordering process and trust issues.

The Navigation:
On the home page, there are links to original art, posters, etc. Clicking on those links takes the viewer to text pages about original art, posters, etc. There is no link to any art. I finally found art when I clicked on "3 Great Galleries." I only saw lists of artists, not galleries, but that did get me to art. Lots of it. The site visitor should be able to get to the product much sooner and with greater ease.

The Ordering Process and Trust Issues
Each picture comes in various sizes and prices are listed with the word "Order" under each. When you click this, instead of going to ordering options or instructions, it brings up an e-mail window with this message: "Hello, I like to order (name of piece) price US$xxx. I understand that shipping, handling and taxes are included. I appreciate that you provide several order and billing options. Please contact me to negotiate procedures."

The site is obviously aimed at an American market because it is written in English and the prices are given in US currency. However, the only contact information is in Germany.

The site has a homemade look and feel and the business appears to be a one-person operation. (Werner does a good job of introducing himself and is humble about his lack of ease with English.) I would be very hesitant to send a few thousand dollars to a foreign country to a small business that I haven't learned to trust. Werner does offer free newsletters, which would help build up that trust. But there's something missing here.
  
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If the site had a more professional look, I would feel that the business was more substantial and might take a chance and order something. The free links-for-all page that is included cheapens the whole thing. I have the idea that an art site should be more elegant than that.

Werner might want to consider using a fulfillment house in the United States, since that seems to be his market. It would be more comfortable for Americans to order from a company in the states.

COMMENTS:
The trust issue brought up by both of these sites is at the heart of what is keeping people from doing more ordering online. The large companies with established reputations have a much easier time of it than small, unknown businesses with sites that look homemade. If you want to play with the "big dogs" on the Net, you have to do something out of the ordinary to gain the trust of potential customers. We will discuss this further in upcoming editions of The E-Commerce Advisor.

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Thank you, Joan!

My design efforts paid off. With substantial help of Steve Williams, modest man in the background. Thank you Steve!

Wanda Loskot wrote me a praise letter I included in the testimonials page. Wanda helped me a lot without knowing. I read her first article in InternetDay which got me on the track. This story has been told in my own InternetDay article, which in turn started other readers thinking.
 

Wanda warned me and gave another lesson (obviously hard to learn for me): 

[...] As a trainer of assertiveness classes for years I've seen so much harm done through unnecessary criticism. You have no idea how sensitive people are - someone once said that all human race has the same thing in common - we all fear criticism and despise it. And I agree. [...]

[...] but generally when you express opinion of someone or something by bringing attention to the negative you don't build trust - you only diminish the positive. That's all. Building trust is a separate issue. [...]

Wanda  Loskot
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Excerpt from the testimonials page

10-18-98: 

Dear Werner, 

Your pages look STUNNING!
What a metamorphosis - wonderful job! 

(Yes, I knew, I didn't like it myself. And it was not my first site! It won't be the last improvement, either. 

But I needed help from friends very badly to realize the faults and get fresh ideas, and I got it. Steve Williams helped a lot, and Joan Sotkin wrote a review. This got me going. 

Need some more help, though, all along my way. We all need help from friends, don't we?.) 
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Actually - when you wrote that memorable "u" word the first thing that came to my mind "says who? - the guy with THOSE pages?" (but I didn't tell a soul :-) 

(She refers to my article in InternetDay. I called her page "ugly" which was actually an unknowing insult - when I later thought about it, I realized that I didn't really mean that. I'm really sorry now.

Wanda educated me a lot on that occasion. I admire her, she is a wonderful person. By the way, you can learn a lot from her, too, and she can really help you. Her site is worth a look every once in a while.)

Now, this is just perfect - it REALLY inspires the sense of balance and beauty! 

Congratulation! 

Wanda

Thank you, Wanda!
 
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There were more negative reactions, too. I wanted to find out more about this program. Therefore, I posted to the [affiliate-I] list, published in the last issue of this journal. It was rejected by the moderator, Mark J. Welch:
 

[...] I believe I rejected the message because you did not identify yourself (no company name). Also, the message is very strange - not clear, not well written, and it's not clear why you posted it at all. [...]

Later, I witnessed that some of my questions were discussed in this list, and I asked Mark about my English. Here's what he says:
 

[...] Yes, your English is very poor and difficult to understand. [...]
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Thank you for the hint, Mark!

Ok, I'll have to live with it. (I'd rather write and talk German. But it's exciting, too, to be part of a big international community. Amit lives in Bombay. John in the Netherlands. And so on. MarkeThink lists the countries and states as additional information. I added Hannover, Germany to my signature, hint of John.)

The Art Quarter affiliate program is listed now with four databases:

Associate Programs Logo
Refer-It Logo
CashPile 4 star
Mark Welch's
Web Site 
Banner
Advertising
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Happily, Allan Gardyne, owner of Associate Programs, had a second look at my affiliate program and recommended it in his newsletter (see issue 21). He is fond of two-tier programs. I, too. MLM seems insane to me, and one-tier programs silly. Am I right?
Allan Gardyne
*************************************************************
3. Two-tier program I overlooked
************************************************************* 

You've probably seen the name Werner Stürenburg popping up in mailing lists lately as Werner, who lives in a little village near Hannover, Germany, gets people thinking about selling art on the Net.

Although Werner has been generating a lot of publicity, he's far too much of a gentleman to blatantly talk about his two-tier associate program. He tends to focus on art and whether people will buy online. This article will redress the balance and tell you why it's in your own best interest to sell Werner's art.
  
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When you visit his web site he tells you that you can earn 15% commission selling posters, replicas or originals. However, it's not until you get way down the page that he mentions his strongest selling point: Sign up sub-associates and you'll *also* receive 5% of *their* sales.

(ArtUFrame and others have proved that art can be sold online ArtUFrame has a huge range of posters - I like the famous one of Marilyn Monroe cooling her legs above a grating. I've a version of it at http://www.AssociatePrograms.com/art.html . There's bound to be a poster that suits the theme of your site.)

Werner's site has a gallery displaying 10 different styles and techniques. Some items are cheap, some are expensive. Whatever your taste, from Picasso to photo-realism, there should be an item that will appeal.

Want to have 100 or so sub-associates working for you? Perhaps you could interest business-to-business sites and suggest they promote the art as boardroom art. Would one of those pieces worth a few thousand dollars look just right in your boardroom?

Don't think you can sell art? The chance of earning 15% of a few thousand dollars should make it worth a little effort.
  
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Instead of sending people to Werner's site, he wants you to capture their e-mail addresses and then you'll earn commissions on that e-mail address for life.

For details, send an e-mail to: mailto:10136@art-quarter.com?subject=MMA

You'll be given your own ID so you can start lining up a few hundred sub-associates.

Thank you, Allan!

If you haven't visited my affiliate program's main page lately, do it now: I have added many details. It is important to understand the system which is slightly different from others. Also, I gave it a little twist to facilitate processing. You make your visitors send a letter to YourId@art-quarter.com, as you saw in Allan's review. Allan's ID is, of course, 10136.
 
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In I-Sales, Okt. 14, I read a sponsor message by Peter Temes and responded to it:
 

--------------------- SPONSOR'S MESSAGE ----------------------- 

~ Compelling Custom Content for Your Site ~ 

Looking for original content to attract and serve your unique audience? 

Our team of writers, editors, and Web marketing professionals can help. 

We plan, create, and deliver content for some of the most successful sites on the Web today. Chances are, we can do the same for you -- with lower cost and higher quality than any other alternative. 

Our content has helped make the difference for sites big and small, ranging from BankOne, Compuserve, and Signet Bank to 1Travel, The Learning Kingdom, and The Economics Press. Our work has won our clients hot-site picks from Yahoo!, MSN, USA Today and other influential guides. 
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Drop me an e-mail at mailto:peter@enterprise1.com, and I'll be happy to take a look at your site and recommend a compelling content strategy. 

Peter Temes, Enterprise Interactive 

------------------- Please Support Our Sponsor --------------------

 
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This is what Peter replied:
 

Greetings. 

The offer was to comment on your content -- and perhaps open the door for a business relationship. My company creates content for Web sites -- but frankly you don't need our services. 

I enjoyed your site very much, though, and expect to return to it again. 

best, 

Peter Temes

Thank you, Peter!
 
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Jan Crowell finally succeeded. I quote from my post to MarkeThink:
 

Jan Crowell kept urging me to produce a screensaver. I didn't get the idea. Then she sent me the URL of a screensaver featuring Impressionist paintings. Now this was a really great experience for me! 

After some research on screensaver producing programs, I made my first screensavers yesterday. It was easy and fun. I planned to offer them to the readers of Monday Magazine. But Amit had a better idea: Joint advertisement. 

You can download a sample I made for Monday Magazine here. In this saver, one image per artist is shown. I have savers for every artist, too.

Thank you, Jan!
 
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If you haven't heard of MarkeThink, check here:
 

MarkeThink Logo
Join MarkeThink! Meet great people.
John Gerits
Moderator

John is a wonderful person. Often I laughed out loud reading his comments. He really steers his ship like a master. A wonderful moderator. I guess we all love him. Notice: He presents himself small and pushed to the side!

Thank you, John!
 
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John asked about tricks. Here's my tip:
 

Have a product that is visually appealing, but needs time and exposure to be appreciated? No? Want to get your message through to your prospects nevertheless? Bundle your advertisement with Fine Art, photographs, cartoons and produce screensavers for free. It's easy, gets done quickly and comes really great. Distribution is easy and installation simple. If you need help, drop me a line.

 
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In a post to E-Publishers@onelist.com (by David Hallum) I wrote:
 

[...] Amit also had the idea of the screensaver as free give-away and advertising medium. 

Of course, anybody can make their own screensavers just as easily (PC required; I'd like to know if there is a similar program for the Mac or Unix). I was surprised how easy they can be produced, how much fun it is to have them running, and how much information can be transmitted with this fun tool. 

To my knowledge, screensavers have not been used for promotion so far. Of course, you must provide interesting pictures. Most screensavers play with technical features which bore very quickly. Art is a perfect candidate, because it is new and pleasing and interesting as a rule, and if quality is high, it does not wear off. 
  
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Therefore, screensavers with art have an educational aspect, too. You can see the works very often and get to know them very intimately without any effort on your side. In my experience, music I love most and ever more each time I listen to it, was not at all easy to hear the first time. Same with art. 

As little as 30 years ago, reproductions in books were very expensive and of low quality. Things have changed much. Not only are books abundant, cheap and of high quality, we can show anything at virtually no cost on the internet to a huge audience worldwide. I'm curious about the impact this has on art and artists and art lovers and art buyers and the art market.

David urged me to speak out what I meant with screensavers. Thank you, David!
 
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Allan Gardyne mentioned it in his newsletter. I tried to discuss art business in several lists. Happily, others were interested, too. Marilyn Strong promotes art and Joan Sotkin produced two web sites for galleries. I posted with respect to her report in "The E-Marketing Digest #232", moderated by George Matyjewicz:
 

Joan Sotkin said: 
> None of the sales have been made without a lot of 
> interaction.

The examples given can be continued: Look at ArtNet - Testimonials

If you have a look at the sites given, you will notice the same type of advertising used offline, too. Lists of famous museums, customers, general hype. 

All galleries operate from an offline shop and work with merchandise well known in the market. The online site is an experiment. If it does well, fine. Buyers look for ware and hit upon the artist. The demand is already there. 
  
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George asked: 
> What about new artists, how do they get noticed?

This problem is not an online problem. Actually, it is much easier to get noticed online than offline. Offline activity requires huge amounts of time, energy and money. Quite the contrary with online activities. 

My experience with sales in general suggests that sales cannot be produced. There is always some kind of magic to it. If you read the testimonials of the ArtNet site, you see that all the merchants sense and refer to this magic. 

If you want to get noticed offline, you are always dependent on other people. (FYI: You can read about normal artist's experience with galleries here.) On the internet, you don't depend on anyone except yourself. You can concentrate on your art and neglect hype. Of course, you can boost hype and neglect your art as well. 

You can learn from your experiences very fast. You can reach numbers of people you will never have a chance to contact offline. You will find out if and how you can sell online. 

If you exhibit offline, you still have to find out if you can sell. If you can't, chances are you have lost a substantial amount of money. Not so on the internet. 
  
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The biggest objection to sales of art objects online is the obscure representation on the computer screen. But images in catalogs are not much better. As sales of art via catalog is well established even in Germany, online sales should be no problem. 

Also, printed images are expensive. On the web, only bandwidth is precious, and thumbnail/blowup technique handles this problem well. If necessary, any kind of large scale enlargement can be supplied.

It turned out that the son of the moderator of "The E-Marketing Digest", George Matyjewicz, is an artist, so George was interested in the subject personally. He always lists interesting questions in In The E-Marketing Digest, so I took my chance on this one and posted on

"Can art be promoted on the Net?":
 
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Yes. Why not? It is all the time. Thousands of sites out there promoting art of all kinds, even performance, concept, you name it! Almost every day I stumble upon new sites promoting art. There is even new art only possible on the net, not existing anywhere else. 

I guess the question in mind is not: Can art be promoted on the net, but rather: Can art be sold on the net? 

To my knowledge there is no substantial sale yet. Most sites don't even try to sell. If they do it is very often an extremely clumsy procedure. Professional galleries are not on the bandwagon yet, but as auction houses are doing a professional job already, it may be only a question of time. 

Of course, for professional galleries, the question is if the customer is on the net. I bet not (yet). But as auctions are held via phone and catalog, why should not sales happen via web and email? 

Professional galleries have their store front, participate on art fairs, and that's just about it. The web gives them the same unlimited opportunities as other branches of retail. 

They usually don't think big in numbers of customers, they can live from very few, utilizing personal contacts. In fact they are all businesses living from the personality of the owner, very much in contrast to auction houses. 

But they do think big in prices. For all not acquainted with this biz, I give a prime example. Christie's offers a painting by German painter Gerhard Richter, described as follows: 1982, 31 ½ x 39 5/8 in. (80 x 100 cm.) Estimate: $740,000-980,000 
  
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Do people planning to spend a million on a painting roam the net? I bet not. Not yet. The stock market shifts to the net. This kind of biz has much to do with the stock market. They will shift to the net, too. Takes some time, though. Many people will have to pave the path. 

But for galleries, I'm not sure if they are really interested in anonymous contacts on the web. For artists, the most important question is if they can sell at all and if they can sell enough to be able to live. It is of little importance if this happens offline or online. 

In financial magazines, you can find lists of successful artists. There are plenty of artists having all sorts of jobs, taxi drivers, teachers or professors. I'm surprised to have met non famous artists on the net who are always sold out. Offline, that's why they can't offer work online. 

People love rules. One is: "You can sell online, what can be sold offline by mail order." Art can be and is sold by mail order. It should be possible on the net. Somebody will prove it to us soon. 
  
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+++++ [Moderator's Comments] +++++ 

Very insightful post Werner. I think the major difference between art on line and the stock market is not the value, rather the graphics. To properly display a piece of art (or a financial statement) you need to see it online. However financials load easily, whereas art doesn't. I guess we will have to wait for Mr. Gates to develop high speed loading of graphics when he exhibits his multi-million dollar art collection.

George Matyjewicz
Moderator 
George Matyjewicz

Thank you, George.

Let's see if we can prove it to the world. In my draft to Monday Magazine, I reported how I tracked down Niki de St.Phalle. Her gallerist in Paris (France, of course) is a nephew of a famous present. His name is Mitterand. His gallery is in the process of going online. With ArtNet®.
 
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This week, I dropped the advertisements for affiliate products like Corey's marketing course or Daniels' book. Instead I placed more ads for works of art and added information including price like here with artist Robert Schaefer (see Weekly Work 1.40).

 
Megan


 

Original Work 

   by Robert Schaefer in Gallery Daguerre at Art Quarter

Photo Glicee
Price US$ 789, no hidden cost, shipping, handling, taxes or duties included. 
Full 3 month no questions asked money back guarantee, 80% lifetime money back guarantee. 
Order or inquiries here. Phone .

Robert got me going with galleries. I still remember his first email. Thank you, Robert!
 
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You could copy that advertisement to your site. Try if it works. Note the guarantee statement. Read the Terms of Business in full length. Make an argument of it.

Notice that I included my phone number. Also an American number. It's the number of Kathy Kahre, president of ArtQuest.
 

Sunday is November 1st. 
Kathy will announce the winner of the monthly draw and show the 

featured artist of November. 

Guess who? It's Joe Doe. He donated a painting worth US$ 4,500. You might want to register for the next draw. When I went to ArtQuest to look for an image of Kathy, I saw one of my paintings as the first of the little show they play every time you log in. This is a very nice feature (not for people with JavaScript turned off). The images are automatically selected randomly from the database.

Kathy is a wonderful person. We exchanged mails for months now, filled with :-) and ... We'll keep in touch.

Thank you, Kathy!
 
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As Joe Doe is featured there, consider featuring him yourself. What about this one?
 
 

 
568, Good Luck


 

Original Work 

   by Joe Doe in Gallery Beck at Art Quarter

Oil / Linen, 100*195 cm 39x77"
Price US$ 21,300, no hidden cost, shipping, handling, taxes or duties included. 
Full 3 month no questions asked money back guarantee, 80% lifetime money back guarantee. 
Order or inquiries here. Phone
See also Weekly Work 1.39

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Wanda sent me a small booklet: "Treasury of Quotes". I choose one of them as a closing today:
 

"It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thank you, Ralph, for this wise observation. Wish you good luck 'til next month!

Truly yours,
Signature Dr. Werner Stürenburg, Germany
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If you are interested in contemporary music, you might be join a moderated discussion list on Music and Spirituality owned by Christos Hatzis

I listened to some of his music Real Audio streaming technique directly off his site yesterday evening while working. Sounds more like radio in the thirties (despite ISDN), but nevertheless I was delighted. 

My wife not. I'm sure she will by time. Good music like good art doesn't open up easily. You can get acquainted to it. Same as with art. Use screensavers. I'm glad to make custom savers for you.

Christos Hatzis

Thank you, Christos, for that wonderful music! Also, I'm sure, he will teach me some important lessons, very much like Wanda. He already did.
 
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