How to Monetize Internet Art 

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What is your most trafficked show to date? Do sales correspond to traffic?
The page that is called "viewer" gets the most hits on our analytics page—this is the generic label for the index page, and hosts the rotating shows. While the shows are up, an individual page for each piece is also generated with the artist's name attached and these are then archived—and the hits on these register pretty evenly. If I analyze over the entire course of by date, we've gotten the most hits during our launch (when we sent out an email to our general list), and subsequently we get around 300-400 hits during the launches of each individual piece with a long tail over each two-week period. Some artists make a harder push on their personal Facebook, Twitter or home pages, and that can increase the hits for their particular show. As far as I can tell, sales aren't related to web traffic.

Do you have a sense of what net art collectors look for? Is the answer as simple as good work, or are there other net specific biases that have emerged? Is the best way to sell an artwork through email because you can send a link, or is an in person sale still the best way to sell the work?
Not sure we've seen any patterns emerging on this front yet, and I think the parallel to selling art in general would hold, i.e. there are so many random factors at work in what sells, it's different in almost every case. I would think the best way to sell work in general would involve a personal connection of some form, but the "linkability" and ubiquity of the internet would hopefully contribute.

How does the address conservation issues? Do collectors understand that what they purchase may be finite?
This is obviously difficult to answer because of the quickly shifting modes of digital media. I think the public ownership model would incentivize collectors to keep the works posted on the hosted websites but long term that's kind of hard to gauge. The html files on flash drives is tough too, since the techno-obsolescence factor kicks in after just a few years. In some ways, the act of monetizing the work would hopefully be enough incentive to conserve the works, and ideally people will be invested in the works enough to keep them viable for the ages.

Can you tell me what kind of responsibilities the artist and gallery have to the collector in terms of maintenance in your contract? I'm just wondering whether the contracts have stayed the same or changed a lot since 2008. I interviewed Aron Namenwirth back then about a legal contract he'd put together for his gallery ArtMoving Projects, which included a clause stipulating that the artist must provide a backup of the artwork every year, providing a contemporary platform if the old platform becomes obsolete. This was for New Media, not NetArt, but there were a lot of legalities I'd never thought of before.
We haven't contractually obligated anything yet, but I do like Mr. Namenwirth's ideas. Seems to me that preservation is a mutual responsibility, since the ways in which the work needs to be maintained might be befuddling to some collectors, but the artists can't assume indefinite responsibility for their work either. Especially if you think way down the road, a hundred years or more—who can even guess what that's gonna look like.

(Image: Michelle Ceja, "Wet Code"; courtesy


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