Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A New Home for Handmade
Adam, also known on etsy and artfire as infivision, decided he wanted a better social community to promote handmade. While ning offers this to some extent, he felt it was too generic and has a poor user interface. In a quest for something better he developed http://byhand.me/. Designed and created in under a week and for under $100 - ok so he had to purchase the domain and a security certificate - ByHand serves as a free social network for those who make handmade and those who buy handmade. Here's a run down of what you can expect from the site:

Artisan Directory
Member Blogs
Social Networking
Private Messaging
RSS Feeds
And more.

The Artisan Directory is for artists and crafters with a business. Artisans can add their business along with where they sell online, social network profiles, and more. Members can rate and review these shops which helps shops further build their reputation online.

The Forums are where users can chat about handmade, ask for advice, promote shops, or just kick it! Have a question about a new technique you heard about? Are you a buyer looking for a handmade craft? This is the place!All members also receive their own blog. Member Blog entries are placed in the Community Blog for crafters and buyers alike to read and enjoy. Buyers can review products or make recommendations on their blogs or share artist interviews, while artists can promote their craft, selling tips, tutorials, run contests, and more. Members can also choose to have their blog entries posted to the front page of ByHand.

Everyone can help promote handmade by taking part in this vital section of the community. The social networking features of this site allow you to connect with other members of ByHand through all the various sections of the site. Any time you see a profile that you would like to connect with, just click on them. Members choose the type of connection they want to make, whether they be a customer, a favorite artisan, or a favorite supplier. Members can even make notes on connections to help remind them that they want to shop with artisan A for a gift for dad or reconnect with artisan B later for future, joint promotion!

Chat allows members to communicate in real time with other members of the ByHand community.The private messaging function allows members to send messages back and forth to other community members. Safer than giving out an email address for making those first time connections. This is great for buyers and sellers to connect on custom projects and more.

Additionally, RSS feeds can be added to all member profiles. Add up to five feeds. Include the feed for personal or favorite blogs or an online shop! For example, sellers can add their Etsy shop feed to the RSS feeds in their profiles and other users will see their latest product photos and content just by mousing over the feed!

All members also receive their very own memorable URL. This URL can be viewed from the profile page. Sellers can utilize this URL to promote their businesses! A byhand.me URL is much more professional than a simple blogspot.com or ning.com address, giving users who aren't technically savy a great way to direct folks to ALL their online selling venues without having to buy their own domain.

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