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The history of Fine Art America...
 
 
 
Sell Prints from Your Own Website - Unlimited Uploads - Unlimited Galleries
The History of FineArtAmerica.com
In September of 2006, FineArtAmerica.com was launched with little fanfare and became one of the world's first online art sites for independent artists.
With a few simple clicks, artists all over the world could upload their images to the web, create an online portfolio, and immediately begin selling prints and originals to a global audience of art collectors.
My name is Sean Broihier.   I am a self-taught programmer and web designer, and I built FineArtAmerica.com over the course of many long nights and weekends in early 2006 while working full-time as a manufacturing engineer in New Jersey.
Like most people, I was an artist in my younger days, and although I tell people that FineArtAmerica.com is "my art"... I have never been a traditional artist by any means.   I am an engineer with a passion for web design, programming, and doing business efficiently.
Back in 2005, I wrote some code which allowed people to upload text and images to the internet and build webpages on their own.   This was still a fairly novel idea in the pre-FaceBook days.   I used that code to launch a web business in my industry (manufacturing) with modest success.
At that same time, my older brother was working as a salesman for an art gallery in Chicago (my family is from Illinois).   I built him a simple website to help him advertise the gallery business and the artists that he represented.   Each time one of his artists would debut a new painting or announce a new public appearance, my brother would call me to update his website.   That's when the light bulb went on.   I realized that there were millions of artists and art galleries all over the world who wanted the exact same thing - an easy way to upload their content to the internet and offer their artwork for sale.
So... I took the code that I had written for my manufacturing web business... made a lot of changes over the course of many late nights... and sometime in the middle of 2006 (I can't remember exactly when), FineArtAmerica.com was launched.
From 2006 - 2008, FineArtAmerica.com grew steadily by word of mouth with absolutely no press coverage.   I continued to work full-time as an engineer throughout those years and, as a result, was not in a position to be conducting interviews or promoting FAA due to my job commitment.   In fact, I wasn't even in a position to answer FAA phone calls or e-mails during regular business hours!
In order to prevent people from finding me at my real job and calling there looking for me during normal business hours, I started using a pseudonym when corresponding with artists and buyers.   With very little creativity on my part, I combined my brother's first name with my Mom's maiden name... and Brian McDunn was born.   In hindsight, I regret not going with Sean McDunn.   For all these years, people have been calling me Brian in e-mails and online posts, and I'm sure it's a little awkward to start calling someone by a new first name.   I learned early on that a lot of artists use pseudonyms, as well... that made me feel a little bit better.
During those early years, other websites appeared on the scene offering features that were strikingly similar to FAA (e.g. ImageKind.com, RedBubble.com, MyArtSpace.com, ArtistRising.com, and others).   Many of these companies where backed by millions of dollars of venture capital, staffed by 15+ employees, managed by experienced management teams, and advised by well-connected boards of directors.   Some of these companies garnered significant media attention, grew rapidly, and then sold to the highest bidder.   Others simply faded away into obscurity.
I was a one man operation with absolutely no money and no connections in the art world or internet world.   I had built FineArtAmerica.com completely from scratch and didn't even know a single programmer with any web experience.
Side Note: For those who are wondering how I could possibly fulfill all of the print orders each day as a one-man operation... from the very beginning, I partnered with Graphik Dimensions (http://pictureframes.com) to handle all of the orders.   Graphik Dimensions was founded by a group of artists over 44 years ago and, today, is widely respected as one of the premiere printing and framing companies in the world.   I have a dedicated team of printing and framing specialists on staff at Graphik Dimensions who ensure that all FAA orders are manufactured to highest standards and shipped on time each day.   Simply put - the quality of their work can not be beat.   Ask any of your artist friends who have bought from FAA or ordered directly from PictureFrames.com.
Back to the story...
So in 2007, I found myself competing against multi-million dollar start-ups with experienced management teams and well-connected advisory boards.   In order to level the playing field, I could have solicited money from outside investors, but I had absolutely no interest in doing that.   The minute you accept money from large investors, you're often on an inevitable path to selling or losing control of your business.   ImageKind, for example, accepted $2.6 million from outside investors and then sold the entire business to CafePress within 18 months.   RedBubble.com accepted millions in venture capital, as well, and unless they can start returning hundreds of thousands in profit to those investors each year, they will inevitably have to sell, as well.   Your investors eventually want their millions back (with interest), and often times, the only way to do that is to sell the business or take it public with an IPO.   I had no interest in doing either.
Therefore, in order to remain competitive and grow the business, I decided to focus all of my efforts on developing new features as quickly as possible.   I focused on giving artists everything that they needed in order to be successful online, and I knew that if I could do that, word-of-mouth would be all that I needed to grow the business.
For the next several years, I continued working on FAA at night and on weekends and was able to deliver 2 - 3 new features per month.   As a result of that effort, FineArtAmerica.com was able to provide artists with a host of tools that did not exist anywhere else online: HTML e-mail marketing, automatic location detection for events promotion, 3D image rendering, full-resolution previews, and much more.
Sure enough... in 2009, FineArtAmerica.com surpassed all of the other art sites as the most-visited, fastest-growing art site on the internet.
At the start of 2010, I finally hired a customer service department, quit my job as an engineer, and decided that this would be the year that I took FineArtAmerica.com to the masses.   In order to continue to drive visitors to the site and increase sales for FAA artists, I needed to launch a formal marketing campaign and reach out to the media.
Right now, when people think of buying books online... they think of Amazon.com.   When they think of buying shoes... they think of Zappos.com.   When they think about buying art... first of all, they rarely think about buying it online... and if they do... absolutely no website comes to mind.   99.9% of the art buying public has never heard of FineArtAmerica.com, ImageKind.com, RedBubble.com, Art.com, or any other online art site.   I want to change that.   I want to make FineArtAmerica.com a household name.
Transforming FAA into a household name is a double-edged sword for the existing members.   If I launch a big marketing campaign that drive millions of new visitors to the site, the existing members will benefit through increased sales... but inevitably, tens of thousands of new artists will join the site, as well.   With each new artist that joins, it becomes that much more difficult for existing artists to stand out in the crowd.
In order to avoid this, I set out to build a "great equalizer"... something that would put all FAA artists on an equal playing field, no matter how many artists join the site.
In March of 2010, I bought the domain name ArtistWebsites.com and gave each member of FAA their very own Artist Website (e.g. skip-hunt.artistwebsites.com).   These websites are the most powerful selling tool you'll find anywhere online and are going to change the online art market forever.
You get your very own website (e.g. your-name.artistwebsites.com) which you can use to showcase your images, sell prints with custom framing and matting, sell greeting cards, issue press releases, advertise your upcoming events, post blogs... and much more.
You get the full power of FAA packed into your very own, fully-customizeable website.
Best of all... everything that you upload to your website also gets uploaded to FineArtAmerica.com... where it can be viewed, commented on, and purchased by the millions of visitors who stop by FAA each month.   Your Artist Website is not an island in an enormous sea of lonely, rarely-visited websites.   It's part of the world's fastest growing online art community.
When you receive an order for one of your prints, we take care of everything for you, including: printing, framing, matting, packaging, insuring, shipping, collecting payments from your buyers, and sending you your profits each month via PayPal or check.
For me, personally, developing Artist Websites was the final piece of the puzzle that needed to be put into place before I could launch a major marketing campaign.   I wanted to pack all of the features of FineArtAmerica.com into these individual websites in order to ensure that FAA artists continue to be successful online... no matter how many artists sign up to use FAA as a result of the increased publicity.
So... after all these years, it's finally time to launch a major marketing campaign and put FineArtAmerica.com and our artists into the public conscience.   I think that we have a very compelling story to tell.   FAA is home to tens of thousands of independent artists, and in my (biased) opinion, people love to support independent artists.   Why buy another Monet print from Art.com when you can buy from a living, breathing artist and support your local artist community?   Who knows... you might be buying from the next Monet?
I'm committed to making FineArtAmerica.com a household name for the benefit of all our members, and I'm committed to developing an endless stream of new features to help you be successful online.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.   I hope the background story of FAA gives hope to all of the struggling, independent artists out there who read this.   Although I am not a traditional artist, I have spent years and years alone at night... toiling away in obscurity on "my art"... hoping that someday people would find it exciting, useful, and a little newsworthy.   Isn't that what all artists are looking for?
Best of luck to everyone in 2011!
Sincerely,
Sean Broihier (Brian McDunn)
Fine Art America Unveils ArtistWebsites.com
What happens when the world's fastest-growing art site packages all of its best features and makes them available to you through your very own, fully-customizable website?
The domain name says it all.   FineArtAmerica.com has just released the world's most powerful artist websites for only $30 per year.
You get your very own website (e.g. your-name.artistwebsites.com) which you can use to showcase your images, sell prints with custom framing and matting, sell greeting cards, issue press releases, advertise your upcoming events, post blogs... and much more.
Your website is fully-customizable and built using the same technology that transformed FineArtAmerica.com into the world's fastest growing art site and earned the devotion of tens of thousands of artists and art collectors around the world.
If you have been wanting to purchase your own website but didn't know where to start... the wait is over.   ArtistWebsites.com provides you with the world's most powerful artist website at a simply unbeatable price.   You can launch your website and begin selling prints of your images in less than five minutes - yes, really!
As you probably know, there are literally hundreds of companies out there that offer to help you build an artist website (e.g. SmugMug, ZenFolio, ArtSpan, FineArtStudioOnline, etc.) So why is an Artist Website from FineArtAmerica.com so much better?
You can read about all of the reasons at the bottom of this e-mail, but I'll name the most important one here: you're actually getting two websites in one.
You get your own website:
http://yourname.artistwebsites.com
and you get a website on FineArtAmerica.com, as well:
http://yourname.fineartamerica.com
Why is this important?
Let's say you open an account with SmugMug or ArtSpan or any of the hundreds of businesses that offer to help you build a website.
When you're done building your website with one of these companies, there's one enormous problem.   How do you get people to see what you've done?
Each time you upload a new image, how will anyone know?
When you offer a special discount... or issue a new press release... or advertise an upcoming event... who is going to read about it?
With other website companies, you're completely on your own.   The only people who will see your website are the 5 - 10 visitors who stop by each day because they know you or happen to find you via a Google search for your name.   Those visitors are nice, but they already know you.   You want visits from the hundreds of thousands of people who are searching for your type of artwork (e.g. landscape photos, skyline paintings) but don't know your name.
Your Artist Website from FAA brings these visitors to you... and it's thanks to the partnership with FineArtAmerica.com.
You get two websites... you're own website (e.g. yourname.artistwebsites.com) and you're FAA website (e.g. yourname.fineartamerica.com).   The two sites are perfectly synchronized.   When you upload something to your website (e.g. new image, new press release, etc.)... it also appears on FineArtAmerica.com.   When you upload something to FineArtAmerica.com... it appears on your website.   They're perfectly synchronized.
Why is this important?
FineArtAmerica.com is the world's fastest growing online art site.   FAA gets millions and millions of visitors each month who stop by to find beautiful works of art from professional and up-and-coming artists.   There are also tens of thousands of artists who log on each day to participate in our vibrant online community.
When you upload content to your Artist Website... you're also uploading it to FineArtAmerica.com.   Now... instead of putting your artwork in front of 5 - 10 visitors per day... you're putting it in front of hundreds of thousands of visitors per day!
Your images will be shown to millions of people per month... your press releases and upcoming events will be broadcast to the tens of thousands of art collectors who subscribe to the FAA weekly newsletter... you'll receive comments and feedback on your images from tens of thousands of artists who participate in the FAA online community... the list goes on and on...
No other website creation tool can do this (e.g. SmugMug, FineArtStudioOnline, ZenFolio) because no other website creation tool has a partnership with the world's fastest growing art site: FineArtAmerica.com.
The power of this partnership is enormous.
Let's say you're a landscape painter and that you want to sell prints of your artwork online.   What do people do when they want to buy a landscape print online?   Keep in mind, 99.9999% of the art buying public has never heard of FAA... or ImageKind... or RedBubble... or SmugMug... or ZenFolio.   They have no idea that these websites exist.
So... what do they do?   They go right to Google and do a search.   Try a google search for landscape canvas prints.   Who's the first link in the search results?   FineArtAmerica.com.
That's where you need to be... period... and that's exactly where you'll be with your new Artist Website.   When you upload a landscape image to your Artist Website... it will instantly appear for sale on your website... it will instantly appear for sale on FineArtAmerica.com... and it will instantly appear at the top of Google's search results.
It doesn't get any better!   No other artist website can do that.
With other artist websites, you're uploading your images into the giant vacuum of the internet.   No one knows that you've uploaded anything unless you specifically drive them to your site.
With FAA's Artist Websites, you upload your images, and then... they can be commented on by tens of thousands of artists worldwide... they can be purchased by millions of visitors who stop by FAA each month... they appear in Google searches within a matter of hours thanks to FAA's obsessive search engine optimization... they appear in the FAA newsletter... they appear for sale on Amazon.com (yes, really!)... and much more.
No other artist website can do that.   Period.
Your Artist Website is fully-customizable and built using the same technology that transformed FineArtAmerica.com into the world's fastest growing art site and earned the devotion of tens of thousands of artists and art collectors around the world.
When you receive an order for one of your prints on your website, we take care of everything for you, including: printing, framing, matting, packaging, insuring, shipping, collecting payments from your buyers, and sending you your profits each month via PayPal or check.
To view a complete list of features that are available, please visit ArtistWebsites.com or continue reading, below.   If you have any questions regarding ArtistWebsites.com, FineArtAmerica.com, or the services that we offer to artists and art collectors around the world, please send an e-mail to support@fineartamerica.com for a quick reply.
Website Features
When you open an account with Artist Websites, the first thing we do is instantly activate your website!
You get to choose the URL of your website (e.g. abc.artistwebsites.com), and as soon as you press submit on our sign up form, your website is instantly up-and-running on the internet.   Yes - we can really do that!
Want to change the appearance of your navigation menu?   No problem.   Want to upload images, blogs, events, and press releases?   No problem.
Your website is fully customizable and requires absolutely no experience to make changes.   You can make changes and create beautiful webpages in seconds using your online control panel.
Upload your digital photos and instantly create beautiful artwork pages which are meticulously designed to encourage sales and attract high search engine rankings.
You can start selling prints of your artwork immediately - yes, immediately!
Simply set your prices for all of the available print sizes, and you're instantly in business.   Your website is powered by FineArtAmerica.com, the world's largest, most-respected giclee printing and framing company.   We take care of processing all your orders for you.   It's really that simple.
Create HTML e-mails in seconds, send the e-mails to everyone on your e-mail list, and then track to see who opens the e-mails!   Each e-mail can be customized to include your headshot, samples of your artwork, images from other websites, and more!
In order to sell prints online, you need your webpages to be visually appealing... user friendly... optimized for search engines... and designed to draw in your visitors and encourage them to place an order.
Each Artist Website has its own built-in search engine that allows your visitors to quickly search for images by keywords.   Your search engine is the exact same search engine that has transformed FineArtAmerica.com into the world's fastest growing art website.
You can upload as many images to your website as you want to... and you can group your images into an unlimited number of galleries in order to make it easier for visitors to browse by common themes.
There are absolutely no limits whatsoever.
Allow visitors to view full-resolution previews of your artwork in order to help them make buying decisions.   This unique preview algorithm allows visitors to see the finest details of your images while still protecting the original files from theft.
Add watermarks to your low-resolution images for added security.
Upload your upcoming events to your online calendar, and they'll automatically get included the Fine Art America weekly newsletter, as well.   Fine Art America has developed a unique algorithm which allows the newsletter to automatically detect the location of the e-mail recipient and then instantly tailor the content of the newsletter to that location (e.g. Chicago).
Have you been in the news recently?   Post your press releases to your website, and we'll also post them to Fine Art America for increased exposure and automatic inclusion in the FAA weekly newsletter.
Post art-related blogs on your website and receive immediate feedback from the members of FineArtAmerica.com.
Use the Artist Website FaceBook application to automatically post announcements on your FaceBook wall each time you upload artwork to your website!
There is simply no easier way to keep your friends, family, art collectors, and colleagues up-to-date regarding your recent uploads to your website.
Chat live with members of the FineArtAmerica.com artist community or discuss art-related topics in the FAA discussion section.
You website keeps track of visitors who view your artwork pages.   At any time, you can login to your site and view comprehensive data regarding your visitors.
Since your website is part of the FineArtAmerica network, you're going to get a lot of comments on your images.
Each time someone posts a comment on one of your images, you'll be able to see it on your artwork page and on your control panel statistics page.   Also, at the end of each day, we'll send you an e-mail summary of all your comments for the day.
This is the most powerful feature available anywhere online... and no other artist website can match it.
Each time you upload new content to your website (i.e. images, events, press releases, etc.)... the content also gets uploaded to FineArtAmerica.com - instantly!   Fine Art America attracts millions of visitors per month and is the world's fastest growing art site.
Everything that you put on your website will be instantly visible to the millions of art collectors and enthusiasts who stop by FAA each month!
Thank You!
Thank you for reading this newsletter!  Good luck in 2014!
   
 
 
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