Trouble with 3rd Party Art E-Commerce Sites
May 25, 2019 at 8:06 PM
The Trouble with using E-Commerce Platforms to Sell Art Prints
Are you an artist who are thinking about opening a Fine Art America account or other art e-commerce platform, but plan on eventually selling through your own art website? I suggest you DON'T. I Created a Fine Art America account when I first started selling online about six years ago, but closed my account after a being member for three or four years because I was not generating many sales despite my marketing efforts. I deleted all my artwork as well as my FAA blog before closing my FAA account in January 2018; however, when searching my name via Google search, whether it is "Monica Gunderson", "Artist Monica Gunderson" or "Fine Artist Monica Gunderson", there are some images of my artwork showing up in Google image search with a redirect link to Fine Art America homepage..... The same thing happens on the first page and second page of Google search engine, my name shows and there is a link to Fine Art America's homepage or other FAA landing page such as "octopus art" or "landscape art" which are both two of my top sellers. This is very frustrating since I am trying to drive traffic to my art website. In addition, the redirect links with my name and/or art are misleading traffic to Fine Art America, traffic that may be someone who is searching for my art website or social media platforms.. Basically, these "redirect links" are sending visitors and potential clients to the Fine Art America website as well as misleading web index ranking.
I have been using Google Console Search to take down these redirect links, but some Google is unable to take down. Currently I have requested Google to remove over 500 redirect links that shows my name in the link text or has my artwork linked to FAA's homepage. I contacted Fine Art America and their sister company, Pixels, both told me it is a Google issue and to request to remove broken and redirect links via Google Search Console, but there about thirty links Google was unable to take down because "the content you submitted for cache removal appears on a third-party page". A week ago I sent the 30 links Google Search Console was unable to remove to Fine Art America and I have not heard back.
Some may be asking, "What is a redirect link?" A redirect link is used when a web page is no longer there (a deleted web page), so instead of taking the link down completely from the website, a redirect link is inserted in the websites' coding to 'redirect' people to a home page or other landing page on that particular website. After discussing this with a computer programmer and web developer, I discovered if Fine Art America were to take the link completely down, this would lead to a 404 page which would hurt their search engine results, which is why they use the redirect link. The web developer suggested I ask FAA to instead redirect people to my website from the images of my artwork or their links with my name in it, but I am unsure how likely they will do this. In the end, there is not much I can do about the redirect links Google search console cannot remove, it appears I have to wait until these links "faze out".
This is a warning to those artists who are considering using Fine Art America as a selling platform or perhaps any third party selling platform. I am unsure if other art e-commerce platforms possess similar issues as Fine Art America when an artist closes their accounts down, but just be aware! I have been working for months on removing Fine Art Americas' redirect and dead links that are connected to my artwork and my name, redirecting traffic to Fine Art America. It is frustrating, irritating and uses up time I could be utilizing in creating art or my art business in general. My advice, save the headache, don't use a third-party platform such as Fine Art America, and build or find someone to build your e-commerce art page instead of having to go through this headache.... Seriously, save yourself! I wish I would have not created a Fine Art America account, if I could send me a message back in time, I would tell myself, "Don't do it! Just build your own e-commerce site!"
What is your experience with Fine Art America or other third-party platforms? Some artists may do well with third-party e-commerce platforms, some may not. Not all artists are alike. I would love to hear about your experiences ("good" or "bad") in the comment section below. :)
*Computer programmers and website developer gurus, correct me where I may have miss-explained, as I am still learning. Also any advice or suggestions from you would be much appreciated!