Ok I will give a rundown on some of the artfire things that in my personal opinion make things great for the seller:
Every item listed is automatically entered in googlebase search.
Customizable shop studios
One page listing process
Relevant searching on site
One monthly fee no matter how much you sell
Promotional sales with just one quick click
10 photos per listing
Customers do not need an account to buy
Links to all of your other selling sites in your studio
Everyone's items are on the front page
Rapid Cart no account purchase which you can put on any of your sites
Search results are random unless you choose to sort by price or listing date
Management takes time and listens to you
Management actively advertises the site and helps provide promoting tips
No need to re-list items
Areas like forums, etc will improve as the site grows
A free no fee Basic shop so you could sell and never pay fees
internal stats as well as google analytics
And many many more things.
Ok things you may not like about ArtFire:
Is in BETA at this time
Is about 6 months old
Still gaining the customer market
Things change and improve
Everyone gets on the front page
Search is not based on when you listed unless the customer wants it that way
No way to re-list items to make sure you are at the top of the list
Search is by default random
Management is active and accessible
You have to promote yourself just like any business
You will have to miss one night out to dinner to cover the monthly fee
Ok this is only my personal opinion and does not mean diddly.
If your going to make and sell art/handmade you have to promote yourself. If your going into business you have to be organized to an extent and make sure you promote and get your name and art/items known. If you limit yourself to only promoting one way then that way is the only way customers will find you.
So those who have tried artfire and gave up.. I have to ask... did you honestly really promote your artfire shop? did you really do what was needed to get seen? Please don't answer.. but honestly ask yourself, you are the only one who needs the real answer.
I have done everything I can to promote both my shops here and on artfire. I do not re-list on etsy. I have been on the frontpage on etsy. And I have to say over all I get more views from artfire. I get a lot of google search hits. On average since I joined artfire my artfire shop has had more then triple the amount of traffic that I get in etsy. My artfire shop gets about half of the traffic from outside sources. My etsy shop gets about 15% from outside. This means I either have to sit in a chatroom 24/7 or on the forums and generate traffic to my etsy shop.... I have a day job I have to work and I'd like a life besides sitting on the computer trying to get traffic to from chat or forums.
Again this is my personal view and opinion so please disregard if you don't like what I say.
The I know Nothing Seller named Rainwolf