The Daily Painters website seems to be experiencing growing pains which may yet prove to be terminal. Here's a suggestion - how about developing it into a website and a group blog for artists who post a painting a day? Some of you may appreciate the irony of that question........
The original Daily Painters blog was for displaying daily paintings by people who ostensibly produced a painting a day. It 'mutated' as it grew and more people had more opinions about what it should be. A big debate was had with artists who painted on a daily basis but who did not produce a painting a day. Suddenly it was no longer a 'painting a day' blog.
Overall, a lot of people signed up to join and there are now a few hundred members. However only around 100 paintings get posted each day. So that's a lot of people who aren't posting on a daily basis.
What "Daily Painters" has now got is a complete mix of people who produce a painting a day (pretty much) and a range of others who don't. The latter includes daily (professional) painters, semi-professional painters and hobby artists. Nothing wrong with that - except to me it seems a bit confused. Artists with a range of talent and abilities producing work in pretty much every genre, format and media.
Current arrangements are set to change. An announcement in the associated Google Group last week indicates that the owner proposes that, after a date later this month, all members should be invoiced a monthly membership fee (described as a 'low' US$29 per month/US$348p.a) in order to be a member of the group and invest in its future.
I'm very puzzled by the overall business concept, strategy and financial plan behind Daily Painters. On the basis of the current proposition, it's difficult to see what makes the Daily Painters site distinctively different and worth the suggested payment. Its development to date suggests it won't be unlike a number of other sites in the near future. The current proposition is that membership should be limited - presumably to avoid looking like everybody else. However I'm none the wiser as to how and why the site will be different (and presumably much better given the size of the proposed payment) than a number of other sites.
Most new internet products which rely on others to get it off the ground, generally have a beta period during which time people contribute to the development. In return at a later date if fees become payable for the product the beta group of early adopters generally get a free ride - or at least a significantly discounted fee. Not surprisingly the apparent lack of recognition for early adopters is resulting in a number of people indicating that they will walk away once a fee starts being charged. This number may well include a lot of the better known members who have a significant following - mainly generated elsewhere - and sell well.
For what it's worth, here's my two pennorth on what might be the options for the future:
- the "Daily Painters" site continues pretty much 'as is' and current participants pay a very small monthly fee to the owner to cover the cost of hosting and a limited service re maintenance of site. There is no investment in SEO other than that which all members contribute on a co-operative basis. In other words, the site offers additional exposure but does not set out to be major income stream for the owner.
- A small group of professional painters - who paint on a daily basis - and/or 'popular' painters develop a new group with joint ownership of the new website and service. This group may then admit a small number of additional painters who meet whatever criteria they care to set (maybe eliminating the hobbyists?). Such a group would expect their followers to follow them to the new site. Except what's the angle? You want people to buy your work for serious prices but show them other people's work? If it's a proper gallery arrangement then the site and service should be primarily funded by commission and the work should only be shown on that site until removed from that site. That way everybody knows whether or not the site contributed to the sale. Such a site might well have the potential to offer a viable alternative to e-bay but it may also be very difficult to lure people's work away from established means of selling work. There would have to be some sort of cost advantage - in the short and the long run.
- The Daily Painters website begins to look like every other hobby painters site - except it has a much smaller number of members and a much lower number of hits. I'm not sure what the attraction would be for the owner - although participants might well value the better exposure that their work gets on a site with smaller numbers. However this could still produce lots of work for the owner and the financial model probably needs to be based on a listing fee.
[Amended 05.02.06 to include links omitted in error yesterday]
- The Best Blog Project of 2006 Virtual Challenge Cup in Making a Mark: Blogging Art in 2006 - The Making a Mark Awards 30th December 2006
- Art Calendar and a Painting a Day 5th October 2006
- Making a Mark: The Daily Painters Blog 2nd October 2006