So it looks like ArtInfo is officially on nobodies radar right now. I just added them to my del.icio.us and as it stands I am the only person who has tagged them. It’s a bit of a surprise actually, since I figured there would at least be an employee there geeky enough to add them. Assuming production stays on schedule come January they will be on everyone’s radar…which realistically means March or April, but whatever. ArtInfo promises a myriad of Internet services including an archive of articles from ArtInfo.com and other magazines, an auction price database, an art news feed service etc. forever. There are even two headings on their home page dedicated to children’s art education. If ever there was an area of profit uncertainty it would have to be this Internet tool. Given that most kids idea of a good time in a museum is seeing how fast they can run through it, this is a “service” that promises the need to be force fed to kids and their parents.
The parent company, LTB Holding, is run by the Canadian publishing millionaire Louise T Blouin MacBain and from the look of things she is probably one of the most successful business women in on the planet.
Louise T Blouin MacBain. Photocredit: LTBholding
It seems Mrs. Louise is investing her money in another big venture as she has a number of recent acquisitions to show off including Art & Auction and Gallery Guide. Now, some company buying up a few of art magazines may not seem like big news, but the fact is, the LTD Holdings now has a good corner on the market. It also provides competition to companies who up until this point have had none. Artnet is the best example of this. Thus far, Artnet’s only serious competitor has been Artprice. And Artprice sucks. It’s only real use is to fill in any auction results that the Artnet production staff may have missed and chances are Artprice has missed them too.
Since LTB Holding has a hugely successful track record of running hugely successful art publications, there’s no reason to think their online art magazine would be any different. In all likelihood they will cream Artnet in that department. The real question is whether they can pull off the auction database since it is this area that they lack experience.
But there are ways to minimize risks such as these, and ArtInfo is employing them. With a little under half of ArtInfo’s technical and business staff having recently immigrated from Artnet, and a noticeable decline in Artnet services, it looks like the auction database market is going to look a lot different next year. Of course, it’s still too soon to tell how things will pan out, but if I were a betting woman, I’d be putting my money on ArtInfo. Now that they have recruited an all-star Artnet team, ArtInfo should have a real handle on the competition.