Talking tech since 2003

About a year ago, a site that my girlfriend uses to sell her artwork, held a contest in which the winners would be featured in a commercial broadcast on national television.  The site is called Fine Art America.  After receiving enough votes to make it through to the round where actual judges pick the winners, we found out that her photo was one of the five selected to be featured in the commercial.  It was probably one of the happiest days of her life, as it likely would be for any artist to have their work featured in something that millions of people will see.  I mean, seriously, what a great honor.

The next thing we know, three months go by and nothing has happened.  On August 6, 2012 a member of the site asked a question in the Fine Art America forums requesting to know if the commercial had started airing (we’ve embedded a screenshot below).  The next day on August 7, 2012 the owner of Fine Art America (Sean McDunn), posted a reply saying, “We’re planning to cut the commercial and begin airing it at the end of this month. We’ll obviously be reaching out to all of the winning artists before that process begins.”


The end of the month rolls around and my girlfriend heard nothing.  The forum thread continued, and on September 4, 2012 Sean McDunn posted again, this time saying, “The contest commercial hasn’t started airing yet. It’s still being cut and should be finished next week.”


Yeah, right.

At this point, I started to become suspicious of what was going on.  Prior to that post I kept telling my girlfriend, “I’m sure everything is fine and that it will start airing soon.”  But it never did.  And now it’s been a year.  And Sean McDunn hasn’t posted in that thread since September 4 2012.  Nor has he made any attempt to communicate any new information about the commercial.

There were five winners in the contest, each promised the stars and great opportunity for a ton of exposure.  The contest promised the commercial would reach at least 10 million viewers.  The site also promised that the winners would be provided with a report that included all of the statistics after the commercial ran.  And did they?  You guessed it — nope.  The winners never got anything of the sort.

If you visit the Fine Art America website, you will find the old commercial is published on the home page, however, the new one is nowhere to be found.  In fact, the only place you can see the new commercial is on the Fine Art America YouTube channel, where it was uploaded six months ago and barely has any views — just over 1,700, which is extremely short of the promised 10 million.  Meanwhile, the old commercial isn’t doing that much better, but at least it has racked up over 70,000 views on YouTube and is being aired on TV.

How do I know the old commercial is being aired on TV?  I’ve seen it.  In fact, I saw the old commercial aired on CNN at around 7AM on a Saturday morning just a few weeks ago, but again, it was the old commercial — not the new one which features the contest winners.

Why did Fine Art America lie about using the contest winners ad on TV?  I don’t know.  It’s all very odd, especially for a site that claims to be for artists and says it’s working hard to help artists sell more artwork by creating better tools and helping build exposure.

And what is really bothering me about this whole situation is the fact that Fine Art America is now running the contest again in which it’s promising the same exact things as the first contest and most likely will fail to deliver (again).  If you were thinking about competing in the contest this year, my advice is simply, don’t.  It’s not worth your time or effort.

If you are interested in seeing the commercial that was supposed to air for the winners of the contest last year, I’ve embedded it below.  If you like any of the artwork you see, I’d encourage you to purchase something.

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