Sunday, July 31, 2011

Crowdsourcing Publicity, cont.

One of our members kindly pointed out that it would likely be a journalistic, if not ethical, breach for stories to be solicited on our behalf by our members and visitors, if we pay them.

I can see this and so am clarifying and evolving the idea. This is why I am blogging about this, so I can receive ideas and feedback, and then improve the approach, as needed.

So, here is version 2.0: DPW would pay for anyone who gives us a media contact that results in a story with appropriate national exposure. In this way, we write the proposal, solicit the story, and then pay the person who provided the contact - there is no conflict.

It has been suggested that we hire a PR firm. Well, it may come to that. However, we have always envisioned DPW being very affordable. The trade-off of course, is there isn't a lot of money to spend on paid-for advertising and PR.

As I said in my previous post, I am a big believer in what a large group can get done, and DPW, now at about 450 artists, is a fairly large group.

As always, your feedback is welcomed.

- David

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Crowdsourcing Publicity

"Crowdsourcing is the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to an undefined, large group of people or community (a "crowd"), through an open call."

I've been thinking a lot about  publicity for DPW lately. My understanding is having contacts in the media this profoundly important and that is why companies hire publicists. Unfortunately, what I don't have is contacts.

At the same time, I am a big believer in what large groups of people, such as all of you, can do, such as with the Help Japan Challenge, which raised over $30,000 in a relatively short time.

So, I am working on a plan to put out a call to our members and all our visitors to help DPW by getting articles and news stories about us in major publications, such as USA Today, Time, News Week, NPR, Network TV, etc., in exchange for payment for each story.

The idea is, to be considered, participants would email us with the target publication and the story proposal. Then, with approval, anyone whose efforts resulted in a story of a certain significance (yet to be determined) would receive a cash reward. At some point, we would stop, for the time being, accepting any more proposals, depending on the success of the over all undertaking.

What do you think? I welcome your feedback!

- David

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Traffic Report

After one week in the wild, our first ad on has delivered just over 1,100 clicks. This seems pretty good to me, given that the demographic of Design*Sponge is very much tailored to DPW, and many of these folks are likely to subscribe to the daily email and return day after day.

In continuing the good news, our traffic has also made a big jump in the last couple weeks, from a hovering average of around 2,700 to now over 5,100! We are talking about unique visitors a day.  Not only is that a very big jump, but it is quite a lot of folks. The biggest gain in traffic has been from all the blogs linked to us, followed by Facebook (got to love them), and then finally our well-qualified visitors through our new ad.

While I continue to let the ad simmer, I am going to move on and start working on some press releases. I was successful this last June in getting a full page article in Professional Artist Magazine (formerly Art Calendar) and so will continue my PR work. A good article in a large publication is worth so much more than an ad, and it is free to boot!

- David

Friday, July 22, 2011

New Currency Converter

More and more, artists from all over the world are joining us and buyers from all over are buying.

To support them I have added a currency conversion widget to both the painting pop-up window and the DPW Auction page.

- David

New Featured Artists

I am proud to announce our new featured artists:

Roger Akesson, Theresa Bayer, Debra Becks Cooper, Carolee Clark, Rita Curtis, Jinghua Gao Dalia, Tatsiana Mikhailava, Cathleen Rehfeld, Monique Straub, Faith Te, Tilen Ti

Originally, back in the early days of DPW II, say around this last Jan, we had intended to take submissions from anyone and everyone for joining the featured artist group. I am very happy to say that because of the overwhelming amount of talent among our general members, we have been able to select all our new featured artists from our general membership.

At this point, our target is to have about 50 permanent featured artists, with the goal being serving up the optimal plate of terrific art on the Featured Art page - not too many and not too few. I feel like a kid in a candy store, though - it is hard to stop inviting!

- David

Germany and Sophie

As those that follow my wife, Carol's, blog already know, we have been in Germany since July 5th. The quick back-story is I was adopted from Germany in 1965 and found my non-English speaking German birth-parents about three years ago. We visit once or twice a year -so far six times - and are gradually improving our German all the while.

It is startlingly beautiful here in the Black Forest, in the south-western-most corner of Germany. You simply have to just stop and be dumb-founded several times a day. And what's strange, is we are surrounded by people that actually live here and just go about their daily business. Is a daily commute simply a commute if it's through paradise?

So, this talk about our time here in Germany gives me a chance to introduce my oldest daughter, Sophie, who as our first employee, has been helping me tremendously as our full-time front-line support person. She is still learning on the job, and has to pass some issues on to me here and there, however she is smart, sweet, kind, and is really dedicated to helping. Thank you Sophie.

- David

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Advertising Status Report

I think the ad is performing well. The first two full days have generated just over 300 clicks. While this may not sound like a lot, keep in mind, this is from a demographic that is a very good fit for DPW and these folks may return day after day!

Further, after much tweaking of the search interface, including adding the Quick Search sidebar,  I am seeing a significant uptick (10 fold) in the number of visitors that are searching vs. simply viewing the default pages. In fact there are more searches, now, than simple default views.


- David

A Further Change in the Daily Email

After feedback from buyers and collectors, I have modified the layout of the Daily Email, once again, with the goal to maximize traffic to DPW. The featured artists are now at the top of the Daily Email, followed by the general members. Additionally, and again, to maximize traffic, the featured artists are also now at the top of The Day's Art page. Please keep in mind that the featured artists generate much traffic for DPW, and pay more than general members.

Based upon the feedback from buyers and collectors in the short time this has been the case, it seems to have been a good thing to do.

- David

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The New Ad is Up and Please Enter Your Prices

The first ad of the new, expanded DPW is now live! You can see it here.

One important bit of feedback I have been hearing lately, is that buyers want to see your prices. They are frustrated to have to contact you just to see how much a painting costs.

So, even if DPW is auto-pulling from your blog, please go to your Art Tracking grid each day and enter in your price. However, if you are using DPW Auction, there is no need to, as the starting bid serves as the price until bids are placed.


- David

Monday, July 11, 2011

The First Ad is Done!

Well, the ad is finally done and will appear in beginning next Monday.
There are three different versions, each with four different rotating images. The challenge was to fit the four images within an animated gif with a size under the blog's 60k limit.
Here's one:

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Change in the Daily Email

Starting tomorrow morning, the daily email will contain the work from all our artists for the previous posting day, instead of just the featured artists.
I think this will make the email more compelling as it will include many paintings and not just a few.

- David

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Getting Ready to Advertise

You may have noticed the recent changes to DPW, some subtle, some big, such as the new buyer friendly DPW Auctions landing page. All are intended to focus and present DPW as more of a place to come, explore, and buy great fine art, than just a community of wonderful artists, which DPW will always be.

My wife, Carol, being an artist, and myself being a software artist, or at least I like to think, well, it has been easy to craft a website with the artist in mind these past four years.

Now, the challenge is to get into the perspective of the buyer and make it clear what DPW is all about - a place to buy great art.

You can all help by doing what you can to promote DPW - post about you being part of the group in your blogs and add the DPW widgets, if you haven't, post to Facebook, like other folk's paintings, and tweet, if you must!

The changes are pretty much being wrapped up today. Then, after a 12 hour flight for a month's stay in Germany (after 10 months of non-stop programming, I need a vacation) we will begin advertising as promised. Ready your best work!

Auf wiedersehen!

- David