I've been on ArtFire for a few months now, and I REALLY love the whole experience! I've met so many new artists and learned a LOT about networking, promoting my work, and general computer stuff that turns out to be pretty simple (once you know what the heck you're doing). Before joining ArtFire I was on another craft site, and while I did make a few small sales, the traffic through my studio was sluggish at best. ArtFire offers so many different forms of marketing and networking. They just added VoteHandmade.com, which is really fun. The staff is constantly thinking up new ways to promote it's artists and showcase the site as a whole. And if someone does have problems or questions, the staff is right there to help. Then there are the forums- OMG, they can be a riot! You can really get to know people if you hang out in the forums for a bit. Actually, I sold my first item after someone saw it posted in the Item of the Day thread, so it's also a great way to show off your work. I could spend hours looking at all the wonderful items people post. There's a definite sense of community there. Some of the threads can get pretty intense, emotionally. I truly care about these people, and I believe they feel the same. Many of the ArtFire artists have also become Facebook friends, allowing me to get to know them on more than one level. The Crazy ArtFire Marketing Train has been another great way to get to know different artists. Everybody who signs up gets 2 days where everyone else on the list promotes them (through Twitter, Facebook, blogs, whatever works for each person). Quite a few sales have come out of this for the selected artists, plus that's just a huge amount of exposure in general. I like researching the artists and drooling over everything in their shop. For me, this has been a lot of fun, and exposed me to a variety of different artwork. So, all in all, I just absolutley love ArtFire. And ByHand.me as well, of course. I never would have found ByHand if it hadn't been for a link in the ArtFire forums. The same goes for BlogSpot. I started a blog at creativecrittersblog.blogspot because I kept seeing links for other artists blogs there. I joined 2 different groups on Flickr because of a link in the forums. I've actually become quite social since joining ArtFire, and I'm much happier because of it. For me, it's definitely the place to be!
-Michelle of CreativeCritters