Thursday, December 1, 2011

Collections, Treasuries on Artfire vs. Etsy

Well, I've learned that creating a collection on Artfire is not quite as easy as on Etsy, but it's still a good system. Each venue's unique curating process and features has its pros and cons. Here's a little of what I've learned, and a comparison of the two sites' systems. On Etsy they are called "Treasuries," and on Artfire they are called "Collections."

Etsy: You can add any item with the listing's url.
Artfire: You have to add an item to your "collection queue" before it can be added.

While I love how much easier the system on Etsy is, I also love that I can add an item to my queue and add it to a collection later on. Great way to avoid losing something you love and want to treasury later on! (Does this happen to anyone else?)

Etsy: You can edit your treasury collection as much as you like after it's created.
Artfire: Once a collection is finalized, it can not be edited or deleted.

While not being able to tweak after the fact might seem sad, the tweaking while you're creating the collection is much easier. For example, if you remove an item from a treasury during the editing/creating process on Etsy, it is gone, unless you go and find the url again. On Artfire, however, you can just flip through your collection queue and easily grab the same item again. I found this to be really convenient!

Etsy's malleability of the treasury system makes it very easy to use the collections "for any purpose." I can't help but wonder if Artfire designed their collections this way to prevent the phenomenon of BNR and BNS treasury sales. I knew no one did them on Artfire, but now it makes sense why!

The upside of the rigid system is that it prevents people from switching items out after the collection has grown in popularity or made the front page. Speaking of the front page...

Etsy: If not sold first, items expire 6 months after being listed, causing them to drop off the treasury. Items also drop of the treasury if inactivated or deleted.
Artfire: Since items do not expire, they will only drop off a collection if the original listing is deleted by the seller.

Good thing items don't drop off as easily (which would leave empty slots in the collection) on Artfire, because you can't go back and add something else in when this happens! I do try to "clean up" my treasuries on Etsy every so often, but it's a constant battle until every item is sold and not relisted. Then they will stay forever.

Etsy: The hotness algorithm for a treasury is kept secret, and can be artificially raised or lowered by timing of clicks and comments.
Artfire: Each member can vote once on a collection, giving it a rating out of 5 stars.

Etsy: Featured shops must notice that they have been included in a collection, unless the curator  or someone else decides to send them a convo and a link. (Which while I personally believe is good practice, others have stated that this could be considered spammish.)
Artfire: Whenever a seller's item is featured in a collection, an email with a link to the collection and a customizable personal message from the curator is automatically generated and sent.

I think you can guess which system I prefer on that one!

Etsy: The same item could wind up on the front page more than once.
Artfire: There is a built-in algorithm that disqualifies a collection from making the front page if any of the featured items has already been on the front page.

Hmm, I like this. A lot. I'm not entirely sure if some little flag would warn me if I'm trying to include a FP item while attempting to submit a new collection for FP consideration on Artfire. Will have to experiment and get back to you on that one.

I just appreciate that the idea of some secret favoritism is removed from Artfire in terms of who gets promoted by Admin. I've heard a lot of squabbling in the forums on Etsy regarding front page favoritism, though such topics are usually closed pretty quickly by Admin.

Other than the above, they are more or less the same general idea.

Here is my first attempt at a hand-picked curated collection on Artfire:

...which can be found here, in case the above doesn't show up. The "inspirational item" for this collection was the Winter Wonderland Snowflake Earrings in the upper left corner, which I wanted to help promote for a guild event. (I liked them so much I ended up buying a pair!)

Even though it is getting a bit old now, here is my first attempt at curating a Treasury on Etsy, too, affectionately titled, "Love Brass."

Thanks so much for reading and looking!

With love from Montana,

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