Pioneering online art auction platform, ARTbid, has come up with a world-first concept

A no-charge platform to display and sell art to an international audience.

July 20, 2012

Pioneering online art auction platform, ARTbid (www.ARTbid.co.za), has come up with a world-first concept that sees the company offering artists – whether the artist is established or an emerging artist – a no-charge platform to display and sell their art to an international audience.

Launched three months ago by founder – and current CEO, Suzannè Böhme, ARTbid is seen as a major fillip for artists because it “assists emerging artists in getting their careers going by showcasing their talent to a global audience”.

Participants get their own web page – where they can feature a profile and examples of their art works – without being charged a cent. “The only time an artist is charged,” said Böhme,  “is when we sell one of their artworks. Then we charge a nominal commission – otherwise the entire service is totally free of charge.” ARTbid also resells artworks from art owners, collectors and galleries – also with a nominal commission payable on sale

Another industry first is the fact that the platform is seamlessly integrated to Facebook, the world’s leading social network site. “We offer a truly real-time connection to Facebook whereby people can interact, and comment, while still navigating inside Facebook. Users can access ARTbid via Facebook and make comments on people’s art, and browsers and artists can access their pages – or any pages on ARTbid – via Facebook, in real-time. This enables the public to interact with artists, and for artists to interact with the public .”

Böhme said the daily visits to the site are growing “exponentially” and has surpassed her expectations. “We have already attracted more than 100 artists and the amount of artworks we are exhibiting is growing at a daily rate – as is the number of people who are accessing the site.” The latest statistics show that more than 10 000 visitors have visited the site – from over 175 countries.

She confirmed the artist gets a dedicated page at www.artbid.co.za/artistname, displaying a complete artist profile, or CV, all available works, an unlimited number of gallery images – that also display in the Facebook Gallery . The site is also marketed on the leading search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo – who also displays ARTbid’s weekly newsletter. Artists are also marketed in this newsletter free of charge.

It is believed that ARTbid is one of only a handful of art auction sites in the world that offer artists a free gallery and marketing.

Daily site visits are varied and are already ranging from far afield, including countries such as Pakistan, Kenya, India, the UK and Chad – with interest seemingly “growing daily”.

The site’s primary sales categories are paintings, drawings, sculptures, photography and mosaics, with each of these categories allowing visitors to easily shop and search via price, medium, subject, surface and size.

“ARTbid is designed to assist both the artist and the buyer by facilitating the complete sales process. Once a sale has been made,” explained Böhme, “our curators make all the necessary arrangements for the piece to be collected from the artist.”

She said ARTbid is also believed to be one of the few online art auction sites to offer buyers and sellers an escrow service for all accounts,  ensuring that all transactions are safeguarded between the various transacting parties.