Arts.in.ua

Online gallery for artists

No Employees
Founders Code
Solo Founder
Art
Community
Marketplaces
Photography

My girlfriend at the time was a graphic artist. All of the local online galleries were really clumsy, outdated, and required huge commissions. I saw an opportunity there and made my own version.

2020 Started to work on a new version

Finally, my income, free time, and all other things aligned and I decided to give it another go.

The idea was to do a 100% restart of the site, with new code, new domain, and most importantly new monetization channels and markets.

All content should be transferred from the old site, so this is a good user base to start with. After all, there are almost 19k users and 400k artworks uploaded.

I wanted to make it international this time, with multiple languages, and target western markets to make sales and profit out of them.

April 2014 War, Russian hackers, crash

After Russia attacked Ukraine annexed Crimea and started a conflict on the eastern border in 2014 there where a rise in propaganda. A lot of people tried to use the site as a political tool but we stood our ground and deleted everything from both sides. So we ended up hated by both sides. Ukrainians thought we support Russia and Russians thought we support the "USA that's organized our revolution" and that there are fascists in charge of Ukraine now.

At some point, people from Russia approached me and said that it's their security agency and that I need to stop deleting propaganda or else I will be hacked, my site would be banned in Russia and other scary stuff would happen to me.

I replied in the most not polite way I could have thought of.

So in fact hacking did start. That was a rough couple of months closing one hole for them to find another. But the damage was already done. They emailed all people from Russia, saying that site support fascism and in fact, most of the Russian artists left.

The problem with that was that they generated 80% of adds/premium and other revenue. And because of the war Ukrainian economy went to hell so 20% that's left also plomited.

Before this point, the site was making around 1500$/m 100% passive income. And I didn't work on it for quite some time already. I had other business and not much time to waste on it.

So I basically left it where it was, still working still a lot of people using it, but not profitable at all. Some people approached me to buy it, but they were offering so little that I didn't saw any sense in it. I was still thinking that one day I can restart it.

November 7, 2012 Second offline exhibition and printed catalog

If just an exhibition wasn't enough and it didn't teach me anything, no I was in the publishing business. This was even worst but we managed to produce a huge and have things with good design (hired one of the best local book designers). But unfortunately, after the dust was settled I understand that I have no idea how to distribute the book. So in the end we shipped the ones to authors sold like ±100 of them and ended out just giving away other ±800.

September 2011 Huge spike in site revenue to ±1500$/m

I was buying links for SEO purposes but was always afraid to sell them. It was considered a no-go from google all other the world. But here, locally, all SEO specialists used that at that time. So at some point, I decided to give it a try, and it just blew away all my previous earnings in one month.

Skipping away, I was really careful how, where and what links did I sell from the site, and to this day there were no problems with search engines because of that.

September 2011 First offline exhibition organized by site

This one was tough. Really tough. Organizing an offline event especially with artists was really hard. They are not the most organized people. So a lot of phone calls, logistics, and running around. In the end, it was profitable from members fees along and we sold a couple of art pieces. I think after all spending on gallery rent, advertising, printing brochures etc we were left with +800$

But the main goal was to get more people to the site. There where couple of TV interviews, a lot of mentions in online news outlets etc

July 17, 2010 Around 500$/m in premium accounts and ads

Tried different prices for premium accounts. Increased difference between paid and not paid accounts visibility on site. Started approaching different business that could be interested in ads directly. Started reinvesting earned to actually market the site.

Marketing was interesting. I contacted around 10 of the best artists on site and proposed to manage the AdWords campaign for free and pay 30% of it from my pocket. In return, the target would be not their own site, but the page on arts.in.ua.

3 people agreed and we end up spending a combined ±700$ on that.

There were some results but not much so I consider it a failed experiment.

March 17, 2010 100 000 works and ±3400 users first ±100$/m

Continuously developed new futures that people asked for. Added forum, gallery of classic artists, changed a couple of different rating systems various filters, and sorting options. More lubrication and other quality of life improvements. Still didn't spend a single moment on marketing, only product.

Started carefully monetizing the site with direct sales of ads relevant to art and implemented premium accounts.

April 2009 Art site of the day on i.ua (big local catalog)

This rating is based on editorial choice. So they just selected us for the quality of the product. After that there where a huge spike in visitors and registrations. We immediately got to the top in ratings based on visitors and they also increased traffic. So it was a kind of snowball effect event.

March 3, 2009 10 000 uploaded works and 700 artists

It was so much better than the competition that I didn't have to do anything. The product itself was the driver of growth. Also, I think the fact that the development process was so open and fast was fresh for artists. I asked their opinion and implemented new futures all the time.

About

My girlfriend at the time was a graphic artist. All of the local online galleries were really clumsy, outdated, and required huge commissions. I saw an opportunity there and made my own version.