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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Fractallicious Reborn

Well, I finally did it! I'm out of the stock sites. As some of you know, I have been experimenting with selling my artwork online through half a dozen stock photography and microstock sites for a couple of years. While they were generating income, the experience has never been ideal. Uploading was time-consuming, especially with so many sites. It was frustrating to have certain sites reject an image for utterly arbitrary reasons, while others accepted the very same image. And I certainly didn't enjoy giving away 50% of my income to these companies for the privilege of hosting my art. I felt none did a good job of marketing or promoting my work.

I had already had my own site, Fractallicious, up and running for about a year, functioning primarily as a signpost to direct interested people to the various stock sites and other places, such as CafePress, where they could buy my fractal art. Fractallicious was successful in that regard, but once potential customers landed on one of the stock sites I had sent them to, I became a tiny fish in a huge ocean of competitors. Income trickled in in dribs and drabs.

So I set out to be my own stock site. Turns out, I sadly under-estimated the challenge involved in turning a static web site into a full-blown ecommerce application. It's been a long tough slog, with numerous technical difficulties, but we're finally there! The company we chose, Volusion.com, provides a turnkey ecommerce platform, allowing you to create an online store with a powerful database back-end, shopping cart, and merchant account services. The Volusion technology is robust, complex, and highly configurable. Because of this very complexity, it's also far from intuitive and comes with a steep learning curve. The company scores an A+ for the superb quality of their 24/7 technical support.

So, starting this week, I have eliminated the middleman! (And, no, this is NOT an April Fool's joke.) I'm partnering with my sister on this endeavour, and we're not only selling gorgeous (if I say so myself) high-quality image downloads, but also certain images printed on a variety of merchandise, CafePress-style. My rainbow designs have been very popular with the gay and lesbian community, and we're starting with three of them printed on 1" buttons, and attractively packaged as a three-pack for gift giving.

Drop by Fractallicious.com, and have a look. If you like what you see, please feel free to spread the word!