I recently set up a studio on http://www.artfire.com/ and I have to take a moment to express how much I am pleased with this website.
I heard about Artfire through a friend I met on Etsy. I had been on Etsy for a few years and had done marginal business on the site. But I was depressed that my sales had all but dropped off the chart there and I was constantly being charged a percentage, mind you a small one, for any sales I was making. When you compound the sale percentage (3.5%) by the listing fees ($.20 per listing) it can really add up after a while. Etsy also encourages their sellers to keep their items "current" in the search engine there by relisting. Their feed is based on recency and not relevance.
I went to Artfire upon hearing tell of it and found a wonderfully set up site. Lots of color, user friendly, and fairly inexpensive. I discovered that Artfire is a "free" site. This means, there is NO listing fees and NO percentage taken for sales made. WOW. I was impressed. I signed up for a "Basic" studio right away and got started. I upgraded my account to a "Pro" account after a week for $12 a month. I was paying mroe than that on Etsy to list items and keep them current. A Pro account allowed me to do EVERYTHING a seller could want to promote my studio. I have a blog right on my studio page, am kept in the rotation of front pages regularily, can track my views easily, find my things in google searches almost immediately, and am seeing double the traffic in my little shop than I had in Etsy in the first month.
Which brings me to my next point. Artfire seems to be a fairly "undiscovered" site. Etsy has been around longer and has more face value to the public. Case in point, this article from the LA Times. www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-smallbiz-crafts1-2010mar01,0,7104482.story
Now, I agree that all press is good press but it seems a little one-sided. And it doesn't seem to sound like the article is really all for Etsy either. I am happy to see them feature a real live artist though.
So in conclusion, this blog post is kind of my plug for Artfire. I feels its a much more user friendly website, offers for sellers and buyers more options and deserves as much if not MORE press than Etsy. Please take a look at http://www.artfire.com/ and give another handmade website a chance!