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Old 10-16-2007, 08:14 PM
Warlober Warlober is offline
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Red face Re: Art Exchange.com ... any opinions?

Not problem "Its All Art" maybe I got a little offinsive too. I will not spend any more money there for sure. I was not intendin to sound like I was defending them. I was just telling my expierence with them, it did not look like anyone had actually gone with them so far so I thought my expierence my be helpful to others. I just cannot understand how a company with such " contacts" cannot sell my art. I sell alot of art on my own, I just thought that going to the shows with them would be easier than doing it myself. You know, pack the car, drive there, wait, set up, wait, work work work, wait, tear down, pack the car..... Plus they claimed to have relationships with big buyers. It just seemed so much more "artist friendly" and they claimed that ther "professional sales staff" would be marketing my art to these big buyers. I did meet the staff and I was so shocked to read your thread about their "COO" , what the heck does a COO do anyway?, I have heard of a CEO I really appriciate your response and I do feel a little more welcome now. They are still calline me about the next show in New York, something about hotels???? They are asking around 2000.00 to show 6 of my images on a screen. My marketing money comes from sales and so far with them, well nothing. I am still a little new to this bigger marketing stuff so I really appriciate your advice on this. And thanks to the thread you posted I am going to sit this one out for now, better safe than sorry!

By the way Andy, this is not about ART EXPOS, it is a company that takes art to the art expos for big dollar ammounts, and yes you can build your own booth at the Art Expo. If you go to their website it is under the SOLO section. I have done this before, it is alot of work but I DID MAKE SALES!!!
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Old 10-21-2007, 06:52 PM
Mazik Mazik is offline
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Re: Art Exchange.com ... any opinions?

I’m brand new to this forum, any forum actually. I joined mostly to reply to the threads about Art Exchange. However, what I’ve learned is that if I had joined this or almost any other artist forum, I would not have wasted my money and my time. I’ve read a number of threads in various forums that speak about listing artwork on the AE site or paying to be digitally represented at shows, but I haven’t read an account of someone who has paid to participate with them in trade shows, other than the recent post to this thread. I have a very different view from my participation. I hope by posting this, another artist will understand exactly what they would be paying for if planning to participate in a trade show in an AE booth.

I paid $3,750 to AE for a 5'X5' wall space plus one sculpture on the floor in their booth at the Las Vegas Art Expo show this past month (altho I split the cost with another artist). Not only did I pay for the booth space but I rented a van to deliver my artwork, stayed in a hotel (the day before thru the day after the show) and bought food. I was sold this deal based on a few things the Art Exchange telemarketer told me over the phone, but the biggest draw for me was the professional sales staff representing my artwork.

The professionally decorated booth was a mess. Their booth was crammed to the gills with artwork and one of my pieces was even hanging off the wall. They must have put the bracket up without measuring and then just left it that way. They did let me correct it tho. They used black crates with white stenciled “Art Exchange” on the sides to display artist’s sculptures and hold the monitors with the slideshows. Here are some photos of parts of the booth taken at the end of the show:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mazik32/

At the trade only VIP preview the AE booth only had some of the bios and price tags up on the wall. I was told the reason my bio wasn’t up until Sunday was because they ran out of printer toner. There were in fact 4 monitors with slide shows continually running. However, each monitor had different artists on it. There were young woman aggressively handing out dvds (this was the only attempt to sell artwork that I observed in the booth by AE employees). However there were 4 different dvds with different artists on each dvd. I was not aware until after the show that AE had sold space on the monitor and the dvd to artists that were not showing in the booth. There was a one in four chance someone would be looking at the monitor with my artwork or receive the dvd with my images. I don’t know what the deal will be at the NY Art Expo, but I would imagine they will sell many more spaces than they did for the Las Vegas show to cover their costs, which would make your chances worse than one in four. My biggest disappointment was the lack of services received by AE. I wrote them a letter outlining my disappointment. To save time, here is a piece of my email to them:

......you sold me on paying a huge amount of money to Art Exchange to “represent” my artwork...at the Las Vegas Art Expo..... you said Art Exchange employees would be in the booth to sell our artwork. The exact words you used were “there will be a salesperson just for you who will know everything there is to know about you and your artwork”.

I thought I had figured out all of your angles....I thought there would be a sales person in our area of the booth who would be representing our artwork along with other artists showing close to us. It just never occurred to me that you would take no steps what so ever to sell any artwork. After all, the artists covered your costs of the booth. If you did sell artwork, you’d get 10% of the sale. Pure profit....I couldn't imagine your company would be so blatant and shameless about it during the trade show.

Your sales staff spent their time close to the computers in the back. I moved around the booth and listened in on conversations and 100% of the time those sales people were selling Art Exchange services not our artwork. On Sunday, we were told by another artist in the Art Exchange booth she noticed there were a number of people who seemed interested in our art and looked around for sales people, but no one was around. Of course there’s no guarantee a single sale would have been made in Las Vegas. But there pretty much is a guarantee that Nothing would sell if no one was there to sell it. I want to be very clear that my anger has less to do with the lack of sales and everything to do with not getting what we paid for. We paid you for professional sales staffing. If we had simply wanted booth space we would have gotten a 10X4 SOLO booth space which included the walls, a table and chair, drayage And 3 nights at the Luxor Hotel for $ 450 less than what we paid you. We did not pay you for the 4X4 booth space we got, though we paid for a 5x5 space. We paid for your professional services. And that we did not get. And that you had no intention of giving us.

The event that summed up the entire experience was on the last day of the Art Expo. One of your sales staff told me “there was a woman here who was very interested in talking to you about your artwork. I looked everywhere for you but couldn’t find you. I told her to come back this afternoon and give me her contact information and I’d give it to you so you can contact her next week. I can’t remember her name, but she’s in booth 300 something.” That last line has become a joke with me and my friends. A sales person who lets a potential client leave and asks them to come back to get their information. A sales person who is given the potential client’s name and booth number, but doesn’t write it down or try to remember it. A sales person who thinks that calling someone on the phone after the show is over is better than seeing the person in their booth face to face. Yep, that summed up the whole experience for me.....that sales person left the show early that day and was on a plane on their way back home before the show ended. If the interested person had returned, they wouldn’t have been able to give their information to them anyway.

I wish it was fair posting this on all of the artist forums, but I understand that’s spamming. So if you are on another forum and someone asks if they should respond to an Art Exchange telemarketer, please send them over here so they can make an informed decision.
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Old 10-22-2007, 07:29 AM
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Re: Art Exchange.com ... any opinions?

Wow, that is just mind-boggling and quite sad to hear about your experiences with Art-Exchange.com

I'm trying to estimate how many artists they repped at that show at that price. You can be sure that if it were even ten that the space did NOT cost them $37,000, so imagine what profit they took from getting that amount of money from each artist. I would imagine it was more than ten artists on their walls, and many more on the CD and monitors... like I said above, their intent is NOT to sell art, it's very much IS to sell space to artists and nothing more.

I'd also be willing to bet that their staff is not commission based, which would make all the difference. Whenever I've seen a sales staff sitting around in any type of job, they are usually drawing a comfortable salary instead. Commission based sales people are usually fighting over customers.

In every artists career, there are the one or two times we get burned. It's a good idea to just ask as many questions possible, get references from others and if at all possible, tour whatever the show is before making a decision.
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Old 10-22-2007, 12:25 PM
Mazik Mazik is offline
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Re: Art Exchange.com ... any opinions?

Thanks for the kind words it'sALLart.

Actually I think I heard there were about 50 artist in the booth. Some of them were smart and got their booth fees down, altho they may have also paid for the monitor/dvd on top of their booth fees and we didn't, so not everyone was paying as much as us. Still that's 50 artists, in the booth plus enough artists to fill 4 monitors. If every artist got to submit 6 images and it filled 4 dvds, not cds, but dvds, it's hard to say how many artists got taken there.

I'm sure the sales staff was on commission, but not for selling art. They were really hustling not standing around. But they were aggressively selling their services. I didn't think of it that way before, if they were on commission for the art, what percent of 10% commission would a sales person actually get? Probably not enough to make the effort. I'm sure they all made a lot of money signing people up for their website.

I've learned a ton from the whole experience. I would have just chalked it up to another expensive learning experience and walked away, but I had to let other artists know what's going on (as embarrassing as it was to have been scammed). You can be sure I'll be searching the forums next time before committing to anything!
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Old 10-22-2007, 05:45 PM
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Re: Art Exchange.com ... any opinions?

Mazik,

Wow--sounds like you really did get burned by AE.

I've never gotten involved with them, but they always struck me as being a sleazy, money-grubbing bunch. They used to call and e-mail me. The last phone call, the guy (I think it was Eric) described AE as an online gallery. So I asked if they get paid when the art sells, just as a physical gallery would. He said no, they need their money up front because they need to pay their operating expenses etc etc. I told him a real gallery has expenses too, but they run entirely on commissions which they get AFTER they make the sale. That essentially ended the conversation, and I haven't heard from them since.

To me, any online service that wants money up front makes it very similar to a vanity gallery where you pay for wall space. In both cases, they should be making their $$$ from sales, NOT from fees from artists (who don't usually have much money to begin with!)
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Old 10-22-2007, 07:50 PM
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Re: Art Exchange.com ... any opinions?

ArtExchange also did a full page ad in the Sept issue of Art Business News.

I am familiar with ArtExchange. and ArtExpo having experience with both.

If people read this thread in the future and are seriously considering paying to have someone else represent their work at ArtExpo, look at the SOLO booths at ArtExpo. I am not sure about the latest booth rates, but you owe it to yourself to compare.

I had a local artist call not too long ago, and asked me about Art-Exchange. I told her about my experience. She signed up, saying something like, "My work is so much better and different than what's out there."

Oftentimes, people have to learn these things for themselves.
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Old 10-23-2007, 01:49 PM
Mazik Mazik is offline
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Re: Art Exchange.com ... any opinions?

junge040649 you are SO right. I was thinking of it from a different angle. I thought if everyone covered AE's costs, there would me more incentive for them to sell the artwork because anything they sold would be profit for them. But of course what the artists did was pay their costs making it really easy for them to sell their own website services. It makes total sense to me now after seeing it, but I couldn't see it before the show. I'm just grateful I attended the show so I could see for myself what was going on.

I wonder if there were any artist's paintings in that ad and whether they paid for the ad with those artists money. I find it interesting that AExchange has a monthly newsletter but they never have recaps and photos of the trade shows they attend.

I wish I had the confidence of the artist who said she's a much better artist than anyone else. I haven't met many artists with that attitude and I really envy her. But let's say she really is the next Picasso it still wouldn't matter. Even Picasso's work wouldn't stand out in a booth that looks like the back stage of a rock and roll show. Showing in the AE booth would mean she would have to attend the show to make sure she got the amount of booth space she paid for, was placed in a good spot (not in one of the inside rooms within the booth), had her bio and tags along with any other marketing material with her in case they didn't get printed by AE, she'd have to aggressively approach people as they came into the booth and help them over to her artwork (remember the booth is crammed with art so it's nearly impossible for anyone to see the art whether it's good or not) and then she'd have to do her own sales. I went with AE because I didn't think I'd have to do any of those things. As long as I do, I might as well get my own booth with more space for less money, which is what I'll do at the NY Art Expo.

It's true that sometimes people have to learn for themselves. But for those of us who'd like to avoid an expensive pitfall like this, I'm sure glad there's a forum like this one.
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Old 10-25-2007, 03:54 PM
boomtastic boomtastic is offline
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Unhappy Re: Art Exchange.com ... any opinions?

From a first-timer so I can add my Art-Exchange experience.

I was at Art Expo Las Vegas where I met a very disgruntled Mazik. Inspired by Mazik's victimization, I will chime in on my Art-Exchange (AX) experience for the record from the beginning. Earlier this year, I was in NYC at Art Expo NYC representing my father's paintings. I left Expo a day early and my father searched around the last day of the Expo for some potential representation from industry pros. He instead found AX.

Days later, he was signed up and thoroughly excited about the new partnership. Prior to signing up, neither my father nor myself checked references or any art forums for 'Art-Exchange' feedback (mistake #1). He paid his upfront membership fee and I proceeded to kill 5-6 weeks getting his profile and art set-up on the very cumbersome AX site. While I was building his profile, he was constantly getting barraged by his AX rep. He ended up blowing a few thousand on some art show in Chicago called NeoCon (mistake #2).

We never attended NeoCon and at this point fully trusted AX to get the job done for us in our absence; hence the AX service in the first place. Prior to the show, our reps Buffy Troxel (no longer working there though her family started the operation) and Barbara convinced my father to do additional marketing/promos for NeoCon which included a "giclee" of one of my father's pieces to be handed out to the "buyers". We received a "giclee" sample by mail after the show and it was an 8.5 x 11 ink jet copy of his painting! We were stunned. But when my father called AX, they said his art was "well-received" and a buyer representing "Donald Trump's new furniture line" had retained AX for their "exclusive" art buying needs. And those art buying needs included the subjects that my father specialized in. We were hooked (mistake #3).

Wanting to see AX in action, we decided to book Art Expo Las Vegas through AX and attend it in person (mistakes #4 - #500). Yes, my father had to complain, complain and complain about true inadequacies by the AX staff to help get his costs down for NeoCon and AE Vegas. Regardless, my father is out of pocket $6000+. Long story short (I know, too late), our experience at Art Expo Las Vegas with AX was exactly what Mazik described: AX employees selling memberships and abandoning the art on the walls and the artists in attendance. The end result was AX signing up a dozen or so new members and selling 0.00 pieces of artwork. To date, my father's artwork has never been sold to Donald Trump or anyone else through AX. My father is still in shock and we feel embarrassed and ripped off.

Earlier this year, I was receiving my fair share of spam after posting my resume on some job boards. While reviewing the anti-spam info on the CareerBuilder site, I came across some verbiage that perfectly describes the kind of fraud Art-Exchange.com is involved in. Under their Common Scams section on CB, they describe "Mulit-Level Marketing" as the following: "Also referred to as Pyramid Schemes, these marketing ploys involve recruiting new members to earn money. There are legitimate MLM businesses operating (often called Network Marketing). These are based on selling products or a service, however the business is in danger of performing illegal activities when the process of finding new recruits becomes more important than the product or service itself. At that point the Federal Trade Commission may consider the business a pyramid scheme, in which case any and all employees are guilty of fraud!" (complete info is here).

For $6000, you can hire someone to create your own on-line art gallery and have enough money leftover to exhibit in a 10 x 10 booth at an art show or two. Anyway, we won't be making anymore mistakes with Art-Exchange again. And I hope you don't either.
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Old 10-25-2007, 10:33 PM
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it'sALLart it'sALLart is offline
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Re: Art Exchange.com ... any opinions?

Wow... I can't imagine how these people sleep at night. Zero regard for anyone, especially artists.

After seeing these stories and others like them, I'm doing more research for an article on these scammers and trying to get it published in a major art magazine. I've gotten some interest from a few regional pubs, but I want the big ones because I want the entire world of artists to know what these people are capable of, both good (if any) and bad.
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Old 10-25-2007, 11:40 PM
Mazik Mazik is offline
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Re: Art Exchange.com ... any opinions?

Thanks for chiming in boomtastic. It's funny you would use the term pyramid scheme because that's what I kept thinking the whole time I was watching them. What I've noticed from all of the forums that have addressed AE is that AE will Not answer people's questions in writing. They respond to emailed questions with "give us a call so we can talk about it". I even saw AE respond with some pretty rude emails when the person keeps trying to get them to answer their questions in writing and refuses to call them. That was my experience as well (not the rude part...at least not yet). I signed a contract with them for the Las Vegas show, but it only states that I paid for booth space not the services that were offered to me over the phone. And the website is very vague. So I'm not sure how these people can be taken down unless someone in power presents themselves as an artist and then observes the scam behavior. They claim to have increased sales by XXX% over the years, I've seen that in writing, but it seems theres no way to prove they aren't talking about actual art sales and not their website. I think this is a big enough problem (and a new one since the internet has created new twists on old scams) that the media Should spend some time on it. I think law enforcement should too, but like I said, I don't know how they'd catch them. I wonder if the federal trade commission would do anything about it?

The thing that's so interesting to me is that my AE telemarketer is really an amazing sales person. I think he could make a ton of money if he sold something legitimate, but instead he uses his skills to scam people. What a shame he spends his day as a con-artist.
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Old 10-28-2007, 10:22 PM
Warlober Warlober is offline
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Re: Art Exchange.com ... any opinions?

I think the problem at the Las Vegas Art Expo was that I did not see ANY buyers. Did anyone else? The crowd was genraly local artists. I know this is not ALL the fault of art exchange forsay, but the fact is you can't sell art without buyers, could a company this "large" not promote better? Even the solo boothes were suffering and did not see much buyers.
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Old 10-29-2007, 01:13 AM
Mazik Mazik is offline
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Re: Art Exchange.com ... any opinions?

Warlober, I don't know how much time you spent in the AE booth near the "sales" staff to hear what they were selling and how much time you spent on the floor of the rest of the show, but I saw a ton of red stickers at that show, not to mention people carrying art they had purchased. True, the Las Vegas show was not well attended, but there was a lot art being sold in other booths. I was even in a couple of booths where almost everything was sold. One of those artists was well known, the other was a 1st time exhibitor. There were sales people trying to make sales in every other booth at that show. I was watching all of the booths not just AE. I can guarantee you there will be NO sales in a booth where no one is selling art. Of course AE did manage to sell plenty of services. I'm really not sure how anyone could mistake what AE is doing at these shows as anything other than selling themselves and blatantly ignoring the artists.
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Old 10-29-2007, 02:15 PM
Mazik Mazik is offline
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Re: Art Exchange.com ... any opinions?

Warlober, I'm curious, where have you seen AE advertising? Can you link some of the ads they've placed to us? They told me they spent a lot of money advertising but I didn't ask them where and I haven't been able to find anything. I'd really like to see what they are talking about and I think it would be very helpful for other artists making decisions whether to spend money with AE to be able to see the ads. Best to get all of the facts out there.
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Old 10-30-2007, 07:14 PM
Warlober Warlober is offline
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Re: Art Exchange.com ... any opinions?

I have not seen them advertsie anywhere other than the art business news that Andy mentioned (only AFTER he mentioned it did I know) Thanks Andy! I looked back on the art business news website, it was there. I cannot beleive they did not promote more than just that ad, im am APPALLED that with ALL THAT MONEY they made off of artists no one knew they were going to be there.

I did not see many red dots, but maybe I was not really watching for them. I was mostly waiting for my art to appear. I did see a couple sales rep in the Art Exchange booth doing their best to sell art (for a sec). I have one of their cards, his name is D. Aaron Hulin, or that is what the card says at least. I was not introduced to the others. He, is not MY rep. MY "rep" I have never seen or met at ANY show. His name is Nikki Troxel. I have left MANY voice messages and he does not even return my calls now that he has my money. I don't think ANY art sold in the Art Exchange booth, at lest not while I was there. I know they were promoting their company mostly. And I do not want to seem to be taking their side, because I am NOT! but I do know that SOME of the reps were trying because before they realised I was an artist they tried to sell art to ME. I was EXTREMELY upset that they did not know who I was (after all the money I gave them) but I was releived that they were trying to push art (by the way it was not MY art they were pushing (ticked again)
I am really sorry to hear that so many of us had a bad expierence.

Last edited by Warlober : 10-30-2007 at 07:30 PM.
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Old 11-05-2007, 12:46 AM
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BarneyDavey BarneyDavey is offline
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Re: Art Exchange.com ... any opinions?

Having attended ArtExpo both in New York last March and Las Vegas in September, I've been following with great interest this thread and the other current one here regarding Art-Exchange. That's because I talked with artists at both shows who were pretty disgusted with the level of service they did or did not receive from the company.

I have been contacted by artists asking my opinion about A-E and I used to refer them to Art Scuttlebutt where there were some very informative, if not inflammatory threads regarding the company. The comments were pointed and far from flattering. Unfortunately, Art Scuttlebutt recently was hacked and it had to shut down the forum for several weeks. It's back up now with new software and to date, its treasure trove archives are not online. That makes these threads here on WC more important as cautionary tales for artists who might be lured to do business with A-E.

The size of the A-E booth area at both ArtExpo shows has been impressive. It is a testament to the marketing capabilities of the company. It also represents a huge chunk of real estate for ArtExpo. If A-E is as good at negotiating lower booth prices for itself with Expo as it is in selling booth space to artists, it is doing quite well on both counts.

I have written extensively about ArtExpo on my blog as it is one of the premier shows artists can use to ratchet up their careers. What I have seen going on at both New York and now Las Vegas is disturbing. There are artists still doing well at the shows, both newbies and established. However, due to a wide range of challenges, the way the shows are coming off now, it has become increasingly more difficult for artists to make the effort pay off. That is a disturbing trend as the options and alternatives to ArtExpo are not in the market. It is creating a void and something will ultimately come in to fill it. Until then it is important for ArtExpo to maintain its ability to deliver buyers for artists. I can't see how having A-E swaying lots of influence with its large booth purchases at the shows is a good thing for ArtExpo.

A-E's marketing helps fill the show with more booths, but I've been concerned that what they offer artists is not in the best interest of the artist. I am not aware of any marketing it does to drive traffic to the show other than its ad in ABN which could very likely be part of a negotiated package deal with ArtExpo and ABN.

I agree with Andy, if you need to go to ArtExpo, go SOLO or go with another artist on your own and avoid the A-E marketing siren song.
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