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And I am writing my first journal in 4 months to comment on it.



Warning: opinions ahead.

So, by now you might have heard about deviantART's new commission platform. The news article is hilariously vague about the details of commissioner/artist interactions and how the whole thing works, but the whole thing screams terrible anyway.

In the first place, 20% taken off the top is outrageous. There isn't even a better percentage for premium subscribers (though let's be honest, the "better" rates subbers get on prints are still outrageous). The $40 USD cap on commission costs is a bit hilarious to me. On one hand, since the 20% fee is outrageous, who would even want to offer more expensive commissions? If you set something for $60, you're losing a whole $12. If you set something for $100, you're losing $20. But even for amounts under $40, 20% is ridiculous. The cap also encourages artists to undersell themselves if they want to offer commissions through dA, and that has been a pervasive problem for a long time already.

dA has taken a "hands off" approach to commissioner/artist disputes and dispenses this hilariously terrible answer to the question of how to settle such disputes: "Artists should always consider issuing a refund in the case of a Buyer who is unhappy, however artists are not required to provide a refund." This line in particular really makes me go wtf: "Upon receiving a refund the buyer should return the digital file or provide the artist with confirmation that the file has been destroyed."

This sort of "policy" is helpful to neither artists nor commissioners. Suggesting artists consider refunds despite finishing their work just because the client is "unhappy" is irresponsible; and still it offers absolutely no protection to commissioners -- the pressure's on the artist to make a decision for better or worse. There are way too many reasons disputes happen and this solution to disputes is not a solution at all.

The platform doesn't seem to offer artists an opportunity to converse with commissioners before deciding to accept, which also means the artist cannot adjust the base cost of a commission should a client have something really complex in mind. While the artist can request payout via check or Paypal, commissioner must pay in dA points, which is really inconvenient, and ensures the commissioner also loses some money when converting cash to points.

The whole thing just screams of indifference to both artists and commissioners while generating maximum profits for dA.  As someone who takes commissions and also regularly commissions others, both sides of these transactions are important to me, and dA feels like it's trying to rip both sides off. Anyone can understand that dA is a business and needs to make money, but there are certainly ways to make money without ripping off the entire community. :/

For anyone liking the idea of a platform to manage commissions though, I urge you to check out Artists & Clients. It's still a very new site, and it's not yet perfect (among my complaints: 10% fee is still pretty freakin' high), but I think it's off to a way better start than dA. Its tiny development team is very responsive to questions and encouraging of suggestions. New ideas get implemented relatively quickly (most recently, I mentioned something about commission/artist disputes and the dev pushed through a solution in less than a week), and I'm interested in seeing it continue to improve.

And thus ends an impromptu journal FULL OF OPINIONSSS~~~.

I owe you guys some con reports and probably an entry about my 2013 con schedule, but this will have to wait for now. I PROMISE I'LL TALK MORE ABOUT CONVENTIONS SOON~. Hope everyone is having a good new year so far. x____x




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:iconjohnyume:
JohnYume Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I almost wrote a journal on this too. I saw the commission thing around 3am and was completely disgusted by this.

Which, btw, when people buy those points DA takes a 20% cut. Then DA takes another 20% from the artists. So DA has already taken 36% of the money exchanged for offering a service that is no different than paypal with does it around 3% veue If there's another cut taken to exchange though points into cash.... yeah.....

Thing is, DA isn't targeting serious commissioners or professional artists. This isn't a tool to help them. This is a tool to attempt to make a profit on those who use points already and to buy cheap 80-500 points art commissions. I'm sure they have data on points and their average people gift/donate and want to try to cash in on that by offering a "service" for people to cash in on their points... again.

Hopefully everyone will see what a crock this is.
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:iconkiriska:
Kiriska Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013
Oh for sure dA isn't targeting professionals with that $40 cap. They're aiming to profit off hobbyists and younger artists, and also encouraging artists to undervalue themselves. ~_~

Apparently it's a misconception that 100 points = $1.00 and it's just that 80 points = $1.00 which makes it seem that dA is taking some off the top there, but that is just a stupidly misleading exchange rate, which they can also change at any time for any reason. :/
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:iconjohnyume:
JohnYume Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Exactly, which is what is so disgusting about all this.

That's the weird thing. $1 does equate 80 points... even the points needed for membership seem to follow that value (sorta, I dunno what math they used to get those numbers). Which is fine honestly, even if misleading for no good reason. BUT if you fiddle with the widget, DA displays 100 points = $1.... so the points have different values depending on what you're using them for ( < A > )

Artists may still get to set the value they want, but that value doesn't match what people paid to get the points. So either artists must undervalue themselves (like you said) or buyers have to pay more.
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:iconkiriska:
Kiriska Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013
The 100 points = $1 in the widget is with the 20% taken off. So the 100:$1 exchange rate applies only to commissions. Everywhere else it's 80:$1. But yeah, misleading as hell! ~_~

And yup. And especially with the price cap, artists have a limit to which they can increase prices to account for the fee. After that, they can just lose money, or commissioners will just miss out on other offerings.

I think most older or experienced artists who've done commissions for a while will know enough to stay the HELL away from this crap, but dA will get their target audience -- the naive newer kids. And they probably knew that all along if they ignored everything their beta testers said. :/
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:iconjohnyume:
JohnYume Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
"Misleading as hell", I think that just about sums it up.

DA probably didn't want to be responsible for serious amounts of money between two people, least actually problems arise.

Yep, yep. Which makes me wish I could do something. It's really sad when a company has the power, ability, and opportunity to do an enormous service and good in ways people can only dream of, but instead look for ways to shake the dimes out of the naive.
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:iconkiriska:
Kiriska Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013
Yeah. It really is a shame, which is why even with the issues I have with it, I want to support the guys at Artists&Clients because a commission platform that works really would be useful as hell.
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:iconlilyote:
lilyote Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013
Artists & Clients is still really iffy to me though. The client has to mark the commission as completed before the artists gets any funds. I preferred to be paid before any work is done, as I have been scammed many times when I don't. Even if your image is watermarked until the client marks it as complete, the client could very easily never mark it as complete and therefore the artist never gets payment for their completed artwork.

You can always price your commissions through the widget at 20% more. Or just take commissions without a third party. :P

But I totally agree with the policy bit. o3o
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:iconkiriska:
Kiriska Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013
Well, the client doesn't really have a reason not to mark a job as complete once the art is produced because they have technically already paid. The money has already been accounted for, it just isn't in the artist's possession yet. And since the money is already there, there is no way for a client to take it back if the art is already done. They would need to attempt to cancel the job to get their money back, and artists are given the opportunity to dispute this cancellation, which escalates to the job to staff mediation. Once the staff sees that the work has been completed, the artist will get paid. So again, since the money has already been handed over by the client and is being held by the third party (A&C), the client has no reason to not mark the job as complete. :>

As a commissioner, I really like this escrow system (wherein the money is held by a third party until the job is complete) because I am always nervous commissioning new artists with whom I haven't established a history of reliability with. I feel a lot better that they can't get the money until they complete their work because on the commissioner side of things, it is not uncommon for inexperienced artists to take on more than they can handle, spend all the money, and then never deliver and are unable to refund. This goes for artists doing 'emergency commissions' as well, where I feel it is very easy for them to take on a huge work load, spend all the money on whatever they're needing, and then never delivering the work. :/

As an artist, I also do prefer being paid prior to starting the work because I've also been snubbed before. Truthfully, as an artist, I do still prefer to conduct my business privately via email and directly through Paypal because it keeps my records more consistent. And since AnC presently has more artists on it than commissioners, I find myself using it more as a commissioner than an artist anyway. Still, at the risk of being repetitive, through AnC, I can see that the client HAS paid. The money is there. And I can start work, and when I finish I get paid. I don't really think this is iffy.

I don't like increasing prices specifically to use one platform or another because it creates inconsistencies, and the hole in all of these platforms as far as the third party goes is that clients can easily find an artist via that platform, then commission them "off the record" to avoid fees. In the case of AnC, which does provide legitimate protection for both its artists and clients, I think this is pretty unfair on the part of the people using the system. In the case of dA, which provides us with literally nothing other than "searchable" commission listings we've yet to see and haphazard slot management, I say tough shit, because people are going to abuse the shit out of this, if they use it at all.

Sorry for the tl;dr! XD
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:iconlilyote:
lilyote Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013
I learned a lot from this actually. o3o Thank you! I definitely do see what you're saying, both as the commissioner and artist. Perhaps I will give AnC a try sometime, whether to sell or buy haha.
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:iconkiriska:
Kiriska Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013
Haha, well, I'm glad that was helpful!
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:icon00129:
00129 Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013
Comments and journals like this where I learn buckets is top among many reasons Kiri is one of the only people on dA whose journals I actually display on my watch. 8D

(sorry, this was kind of irrelevant, but fuck it -- Kiripraises~)
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:iconlilyote:
lilyote Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013
haha I know the feeling ;D
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:iconfairytwister:
Fairytwister Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
the comments are quite amusing. Everyone is like WTF 20%.

And... I don't honestly get much out of DA anymore. If it weren't for clubs, I'd have no views on anything. It's sad actually, but *shrug*.

Not that Tumblr is much better unless you're in a fairly popular fandom.
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:iconkiriska:
Kiriska Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013
I still enjoy dA as a platform for consuming art, but yeah, I'm not really sure I get out of the site anymore as an artist. I guess I still like using it as a central sort of hub, but sometimes I don't really know why I keep renewing my subscription, lol. As for Tumblr, it's a convenient place to dump my gazillion sketches, but I don't really think it's much for exposure either. I dunno.
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:iconfairytwister:
Fairytwister Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
The only two features that keep me here. First -- the print shop that I don't need to watch and which ships in other parts of the world. (Better than me doing it.) Second, the portfolio feature.

I used to run separate sites for my folio, but it was frustrating to do so. I find it's easier to swap things in/out of DA.


There's a marginal amount of traffic from DA though to my other sites, so I still try to post once ina while just to prove I'm alive.
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:iconkiriska:
Kiriska Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013
Haha, I've sold like 5 prints in the maybe 8 years I've had a prints account, lmfao. It's nice to have zero maintenance to do, but it's not really a thing I'd pay money to keep around. (So woo for my permanent prints account due to having it gifted to me before they change the system.) And I maintain a billion websites, so I guess no bonus for me there either. So...yeah, I dunno. There are some friends on dA I don't really keep up with elsewhere, so again, I think most of the stuff I get out of dA is as a consumer and not an artist...whoops.
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:iconfairytwister:
Fairytwister Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I don't have a lot of print sales, but it's better than putting it in storenvy and eating the shipping. I tried both ways and it was tiring (at the time) to have to do the stuff from home , particularly trying to calculate overseas. ungh.

Mine is also permanent because I was an early adopter. If it changes, I don't have much reason to hold to it. I suspect I can find another service out there (and there is one locally) but I would have to commit to it on a much larger scale and think about limiting the print runs ... I'm not willing to do that for my drawings, but maybe for photography. We'll see.


DA is not a good place for me right now for really either finding or keeping up with people. But for fandoms, the groups at least make DA worthwhile visiting. The only faves I get passively now are on fan pieces pretty much. So I think a lot of people scour DA for art just like they do pixiv. The bad news is that DA also has become home to a lot of weird collections and crap and DA doesn't do much about it.

It's not as bad as GAIAonline which has gone to hell in a handbasket compared to its original culture/vision, but the point system and the other things they've implemented are sketchy.

I DO like that they have paid content download possibilities only because I think it was sad that people were giving away stock/donations for free this time without an easy way to push that work into getting money, but I'm afraid of the commission model DA has going. Also their constant notes about DA merchandise kind of is sleazy.

All this to say, hmm. I hope other options rise up to handle the different things DA "offers".
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:iconkiriska:
Kiriska Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013
Lots of folks are using Society6 these days for print storefronts that take care of everything for you, but their base prices are pretty nutty to me, even if their quality is supposed to be on the higher end too. RedBubble is another thing I've heard good things about? dA has the benefit of having more of a community and personal space built around the storefront aspect, I guess, but the community is too large, unruly, and disorganized these days outside of groups, as you say.

dA's DD's still let me discover a fair share of new artists I like, as does the daily popular pieces in various categories. But I'm the same as you in that most of the stuff I get random comments and favs on are fanart pieces submitted to a dozen groups and such. I guess I am pretty okay with that though. There is always the hope that people find you for fanart and then end up consuming some of your original stuff too.

Yes, I was also happy about the paid downloadable content thing -- especially for the photographers doing the billions of batch actions every day. And THAT system takes both cash and points, which is good. The downloadable content was a feature done right, especially since it is passive income for the creators. The commissions....nope.
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:iconfairytwister:
Fairytwister Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
ah - so the d/l don't have the weird agency/commission fee on it? That's interesting. Wonder exactly what the hell is up with this commission structure then! I remember someone showed me soc6 and it was dang freaking expensive.... I couldn't conceive of iphone cases being sold at their base prices, particularly when you can now order them through a lot of photo places for half where they start D:

I'll take a look at Redbubble...although eh... based on their iPhone page I'm already writing it off xD
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:iconchrislea:
chrislea Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013
Yeah, they can't seem to figure out if they're a bank, a store, or social media anymore.
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:iconchronos-kun:
Chronos-Kun Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
"The whole thing just screams of indifference to both artists and commissioners while generating maximum profits for dA."

aaaand... I concur.
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