Illustration sites

Illustrators are always trying to find ways to get more clients and exposure. But the market is in constant flux and what may have worked a decade ago does not neccessarily work today. Since I am operating without an agent, I thought it would be a good idea to hitch my sails to a commercial illustration site-my thinking that there would be a lot more traffic and eyes on my work. I decided on The ispot since I had used it in the past and figured it couldn't hurt. At a 700.00 price point, I figured it had to be a professional operation with great traffic (buyers-not just artists) and prospective clients. The artist does all the uploading, maintenance and keywording of images. It's very time consuming but I liked that I could consistently switch images out. The user can also view hits-although you never know where they are coming from. Initially I liked the customer service and they were helpful with advising using all the slots for images as well as some keyword recommendations. But after 8 months without one single assignment- ( I am an experienced illustrator with an extensive client list) I asked for some sort of a refund. I was dismissed with the statement "We do not offer refunds, but we are committed to doing additional promotion for you wherever possible; we want Theispot to be a success for you." This sounds nice, but if my concern is that the site is just artists looking at artists, promoting me on their blog (and they did) would do very little. Even tweets-yielded very little interaction. If you look at theispot's posts they get (if any) only a handful of "likes". So, while I appreciate their efforts to promote my work, it STILL wasn't being seen by anyone.

The mistake I made was not checking in with my private artists groups BEFORE signing on with the ispot. There, I learned everything I suspected about the site. It had recently been redesigned but it wasn't where buyers were going and none of these illustrators had received much work from the site. There were a lot of people weighing in on illustrations sites like these and all were essentially warning against them. Social media has changed the landscape and your dollars are better spent on printing, mailings and special targeted promotions. 

So ask around before you invest. All in all, there are no guarantees of work-no matter what you do. but it would have been nice if they had at least offered a partial refund. At least now I know that other illustrators with different styles had similar experiences.