July 4th, 2019
When English is not your native language it is difficult to express and write down your thoughts about it, but it is worth to give it a try.
The main reason behind this post is the whole billboard contest that was supposed to hold from the 2nd of July to the 31st of July 2019. People got excited about it. We started promoting it and asking from friends and family to support and vote our chosen images. I even started running a paid promotion on Facebook encouraging people to vote my images on FAA. After all, you are not supposed to be a member of the FAA as everyone can log in and place a vote with the Facebook name and password. And that was the sweet thing about it because I received 35 (so far) votes from Facebook. Others could receive more as they use more platforms, have a greater audience or have many thousands of followers and are more capable of marketing.
Also, Abbie, the administrator, was told that we could ask for votes within the community as the voting was unlimited. One vote per image for an unlimited number of images. So various community discussions started and we all went to promote our images and vote each other in order to reach the threshold of 250, which was the limit to enter the finalist's stage. Then, when the first artist passed the 250 votes, the unlimited voting rule suddenly changed. During the contest a rule changed! So at first they gave us a bait, we all got frenzied as for a couple of days we lost our sleep promoting our images in any way we could do it, getting votes from everywhere. And suddenly we could not vote any more images from fellow artists. They placed a limit of 25 votes in total. And if we cannot vote other artists' images then this thing will not reciprocate back to us. Thus leaving us only the option to ask for votes from outside FAA. But how many of us have this ability or the community outside FAA to urge for votes? Because we 're not talking about 30-40 votes, but for 250 in total. This means that the total contest was a scam from the beginning. They know that only a handful of people have this strong community outside FAA and that most of us rely on each other's votes, but they did not tell us this thing from the beginning because the contest would never start. Every logical person understands that with a limit of 25 votes in total no-one could ever possibly reach the 250 votes. So, we were cheated. I also feel like a fool, as I sent personal messages to many friends on Facebook, I got my brother and my sister in law to promote me, a couple of others shared my links and now I am at a point that I do not know what to tell them when they ask. That we have been cheated? My brother has already asked me. This is so unprofessional!
So far I've run 6 promotions trying to get people from all over the world into my FAA account. Regarding all this Fine Art America concept I've paid a little more than 150$ to promote, buy prints to show to people the quality and pay for a decent pixels website. It is not a huge cost I admit it, but it's all I could afford. Some people who have managed and are already selling prints using FAA, they never did a paid promotion. I know it because I read the community discussions. At some point in time, I almost get a sale from 3 persons but they did not proceed. Do you know why? Because of the shipping cost. When I ordered my own prints from the FAA, I paid 9€ or 10$ to get them from the UK. Now the cost for the same simple prints has risen to 19€ or almost 21.5$. And I am talking about simple prints. Imagine if anyone wants to order a canvas or a metal print or a framed print where the shipping cost goes to more than 40€. Certainly, this is a serious reason to lose customers. When I contacted the customer service and complained about the increase from 9€ to 19€ to get the prints from the UK to Greece, they said that this thing works automatically and that they cannot do anything about it. You know this is what we are told each time here in Greece when we're trying to do dealings with the public services. Same attitude, same response. Wonderful!
The indexing system. I am talking about the search field on the Fine Art America site that we can put relevant keywords and search for images. At some point in time, the indexing system had a serious problem for many weeks. People could not find their images. Not even by using the exact title of their image. Some also were complaining that they were losing images from their collections and had to create their collections of images from scratch. It seemed that FAA site was having a DOS attack. Of course, there is nothing we can do about it if a site is being attacked by hackers. But we did not have any official explanation. No one came up to explain what was going on. We were left in the dark. They could send a newsletter, they could put Abbie to write a post in the Discussions Page, nothing, nada, silence. Moreover, I have to mention that there are companies that cannot be touched. No matter how hard I am trying to get my images high in the search, I cannot compete companies like 1X.com which has thousands of outstanding images (more than 14000) from artists all over the world and those images are always on top when doing a relevant searching. For example, I may have an image with 25 comments, 60 likes and 50 favs and my image will still keep being far bellow an image from 1X.com which does not even have one like on it. It feels like being in the sea and suddenly I have to fight for my life against a whale-sized monster. Who is going to win? I'll be swallowed. Some people will laugh though. Why a sea monster and not a giant dragon for example. Because earthy beings you can see them coming and you can estimate the danger, but sea creatures you cannot see them until it's too late. So, yes I didn't see it coming.
Curated art collections. What is this thing? I once made a post in the Discussions to ask how anyone could get in a featured gallery? If there was any way that we could apply for it. I mean to get our art curated by someone and have a chance to be featured. Abbie said that we cannot apply. This is not something people can request.
So from all the above, I conclude that seriously now, Fine Art America is not made for everyone. And it is not only a "struggle" against other fellow artists but a "struggle" against the FAA itself. Fine Art America puts barriers and makes it quite difficult for our work to be seen. They keep saying that we have to promote outside FAA to get a sale, but why work then for FAA if we are so capable of doing promotions and marketing to so many people. If my art was selling like a hot bread I wouldn't need FAA, I could do it by myself. I have come to Fine Art America with the hope that this platform will help me promote my work in a better way to a greater audience and not ask me to find ways to promote my work to get a sale for them. If I have to do all the promotion and all that stuff for Fine Art America to keep Fine Art America running, then what FAA does for me? It keeps sabotaging its artists and their efforts?