The Gray Hair Speaketh

Advice that is largely Unsolicited..

MyArtPlot.com – A Social, Commercial and Professional Art Network

Minh Nguyen connected with me on LinkedIn and shared this website MyArtPlot.com, which he is involved with.

myartplot_ss1Minh informed that the project started out originally as a business plan competition at Brown College, and which after funding, got converted to a proper business that we see now. In fact, the official beta of the site is now hardly one month old, although the site has been in preparation for longer.

What is it about?

MyArtPlot.com is bringing together Artists, Crafters and Supporters. Artists are the main “members”. Artists get space for themselves, referred to as their “plot”, and where they are able to do a lot of things. Showcase their works, give updates, statuses, etc.

myartplot_ss2

The art works are also on offer for sale.

In addition to artists, MyArtPlot is also open to buyers, who can come and purchase art works, offered by the various artists. In fact, there is a separate direct access to all the items on sale, and a buyer does not need to look up individual art plots, if she does not want to:

myartplot_ss3Broad Observations:

The site has good positioning and can become a destination for art lovers. There is clear potential for this network to zero into a perfect social network for the community concerned. And since it has factored in commerce along with, it makes for a great win-win opportunity.

In a lot of ways then, the model points to quite an ideal social network, which can be really effective, during the times of existing social networks struggling to find monetization models!

The “plot” offered to artists is quite complete. Lots of features possible, leaving it to the artists to promote themselves as best as they can and want to.

Few other things that Minh conveyed to me:

– That outside of the bet, they have 3000 members at this time, but where they wish to take it, is 100K by summer and 500K by Dec of this year
– That, having provided the artists with the various tools, they would like and expect the artists to do their own promotions mainly,
– That he sees mutiple opportunities to generate revenues, but he expects that once the usage increases, those things will come into place on their own.

Wisdom Nuggets:

Since the site is not very old, some of what I may say now, might be a work-in-progress, and should fall in place soon. But still, I will point it out anyway, just in case, its escaped Minh’s and others’ attentions.

1. The site obviously needs SEO to happen. Something simple like page titles are absent at this time. This needs to get in place quickly.

2. It is one thing to say that the promotion has to be done by the individual artists. However MyArtPlot.com must also do its part in the promotion aspect. In fact, I see the site as similar to a mall, where lot of stores are pitching their tents. While the stores have to promote themselves, the mall ALSO has a duty to perform, to get word out, and generate the footfalls. So MyArtPlot must try and drive traffic into the site.

3. Minh informed me that commission on the sale of products, was one out of several revenue sources for MyArtPlot. That may of course be fine, for MyArtPlot. But the fact is that, if there are sales, then the interest of the artists will sustain. And that being the case, if MyArtPlot also aligns itself to this goal, then the goals of the artist and those of MyArtPlot will be aligned. And nothing can drive the company to greater heights, other than such total goal alignment amongst the main stakeholders.

4. How will the site go from 3000 to 100,000 in a few months? If this is the main metric being chased, it is essential also to, constantly monitor and set targets and have a clear accountability for the same!

5. I am okay with a fundamental idea of ‘you build a good product, and users will come, and if they come is large numbers, then advertising also follows’. However on the web it is dangerous to let things be, assuming they will take this natural course. We are seeing a lot of excellent products (Twitter, Facebook, for example) with excellent user traction, but struggling for monetization. So taking the revenue side for granted may not be the wisest thing to do.

6. Minh also informs that there are mutiple revenue opportunities that they perceive as possible. Which is great. The biggest danger then, in such cases, for a startup, are that one keeps looking at the ‘next revenue source’ to make up the deficit. If there are 5 revenue sources, there must be a study done, to estimate potential revenue numbers for each of those 5, and then set targets on that basis. And have each of those numbers chased, irrespective of how the other numbers are running. That is the only way to shirk off possible complacency on the revenues front. This is especially true when you have a great product. There is a tendency amongst the founders to fall in love with the product, at the cost of not addressing the revenue challenge enough. There needs to be a good balance between the product and the core objective of any commercial entity, viz. to make money!!

All in all, I believe that MyArtPlot.com is a great opportunity, has immense potential, and executed well from hereon, it can become a very interesting niche play, and make good money for it’s stakeholders.

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February 28, 2009 - Posted by | Arts, Ecommerce, Social Networking, Startup | , ,

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