This is an interesting topic. I think DA has such a huge community base that it has real merit as a marketing strategy. Bringing serious business in, could upset that. It seems to me the majority of consistent online users are 12 - 20. I think in about 5 - 10 years that could represent a strong community of buyers (once they all have jobs) if you had a way of effectively executing a business transaction. (Paypal, etc for significant exchanges) As far as this commission for making money from points. I don't see this as any form of actual income.
DA is like my video game. When I've got some recreational time to use, I feel it's a better use of it. The points (though, admittedly, exhilarating to recieve!) are of an equivalent value to points in Super Mario Brothers, or gold in Terraria. I only use them for other things within the game (like giving to other DA folks). I know the old sages of art will say "Never sell your art for less than it's worth!", but honestly every time I pick up a pencil I don't want to think about how much money I'm going to make. Plus when someone writes you a genuinely sincere thank you, that adds to my quality of life. I'm technically termed an "artist" at work (ignore my gallery -_-), and I spend a lot of time (almost all of it) sculpting and animating (even drawing every now and then!...The rest is doing math. See kids, you do need it!). There's hundreds and hundreds of us in Vancouver alone, and no on DA is going to match our rates... (unless they want to pay 2500 - 5000 points / hour, and I don't consider any of us overly talented) If I mull over a drawing for 10 - 15 hours, I'd love to know which of you is going to step up and pay me the 50000-100000 points... ...then I'd really have a bone to pick with DA cut off the top. I take DA for what it is to me. A game. I feel it has a much more positive impact than most video games, and should be treated as such. Transactions, for me, are a online version of a friendly high-five-thanks-for-the-drawing, that has just enough value to make it a hair above imaginary. **Now I'm sure someone will hop on an be like "I make a bajillion dollars off of DA points!"** that's great! I hope you can do that. I don't even have a very informed opinion (I haven't scoured this topic deeply). Just seeing a lot of people bent out of shape over their limitations on perceived potential income.
I think DA is an interesting outlet for creativity and community and should never become a serious platform for revenue. This small scale transaction system has appeal and keeps disputes free of serious litigation. To further repeat myself (*sorry*) I'd love to keep serious artists here, I love seeing everyones amazing art that makes me want to be better, I think it markets your skills well...but keep your primary transactions through another system (paypal, etc). The small transactions are for fun, and maybe as a motivating factor for younger crowds to draw. Which I wish more forums would encourage.
I see your point here but what I despise is that artists charging easily over a hundred quid for a half-assed piece of work. I don't mind paying a lot but I also would prefer to receive a good quality commission. Once, the artist has (not on DeviantART but on a private site) run away with my comission money. Oh well, guess that's what I get from deciding to go to a unlicensed site. Just angry from being ripped off that's all.
I think many professionals initially felt deviantART was just a guilty pleasure -- that is, they looked at art and engaged with the community, but wouldn't go for any of the jobs due to the horrendously low prices. After this "Commission" System was created, that feeling was solidified.
This System just further establishes that this site is for hobbyists, and not professionals. For this reason I find that I'm on the site less and less, and the only value it has left is to just look at art and gain a modest network/following.
I'd focus predominantly on the 20% cut for dA and drawing far more users willing to commission work to the site.
The supply-demand side is obvious. This is an art site, with abundant artists. Artists can feature their artwork and get huge amounts of feedback. Artists generally have an incentive to set up shop on dA. Conversely there isn't anywhere near as much support for users who want to commission artwork. There are far too many people involved to form any kind of price control, so that really only leaves dA with the option of setting a far higher minimum commission price. You won't be scaring away any of the users looking for real commissions, but you'll predominantly remove the users who want to use the site for recreational purposes.
I'd argue against the minimum wage issue. There are a lot of young kids who peruse the site and who have set up these cheap commissions. This is something they do for fun in their free time, it's entertainment that they also happen to make a little bit of currency from. How much should you be paid to have fun? Does a child's fun time really carry the same weight as the minimum wage an adult would earn?
I cannot comprehend what commission could possibly be worth only 10 points. At conventions, I do five minute notecard sketches in pencil for $2. 13 cents might get you a stick figure, if you asked me really really really nicely.
20% is a bit too much, I work over odesk and they take 10% as commission, it isnt an art site but many projects their require artists. I recommend it to any and all pro artists who want to find clients online, dA system is full of bullsh*t really.
I LOVED this journal. I totally agree with you~!!! I guess commissioners get used to those pitiful prices and expect everyone to charge that low for their art... It's kinda annoying and thoughtless when people ask why a 200 -full color-full body commission is "so expensive"~ I think my PayPal prices are fine. But my point commissions are cheaper... People get shocked when they see a big amount of points as the price My old point commission prices were TOO cheap (even cheaper than now). I used to feel that I was making such a big effort and taking so much time on doing something that was not very well paid. And even if I increased the prices a little bit, I still feel the same but I'm not getting so many commission requests as I used to. I really don't know what to do... I wish dA would encourage artists to set a minimum/fair price for their art, not only for PayPal commissions but point commissions as well.