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Website builder Wix acquires art community DeviantArt for $36M (techcrunch.com)
490 points by Illniyar on Feb 23, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 189 comments

From 2001-2007 I worked on helping build the community at dA. Had such an interesting and unique childhood and teenage years due to deviantART (and IRC). I owe everyone from that time a huge thank you for helping me become who I am today. It lost all it's magic (for me) when Scott and Eric Kolb left. Angelo is an absolutely amazing guy and I really really admire him but it was pretty sad to watch the community die. FYI, Chris Bolt the dude who built a lot of the tech there is INCREDIBLY and if you can figure out how to hire him, hire him - afaik he hasn't worked anywhere else in the last 17 years.

I remember chatting with Scott on ICQ when he was building the site at the very beginning. He sent me a link to test uploading something, which I did - a screenshot of my desktop. It's one of if not the oldest remaining submissions, and was the first 'daily deviation' (for lack of other content, I'm sure!).

Lots of great people around communities like this back in the day, but then so many of us seemed to grow out of them.

Oh c'mon, you have to link to a piece of internet history like that!

To save you the quick google search, this is it: http://dangeruss.deviantart.com/art/A-Dangeruss-QNX-12

It is the oldest submission not performed by deviant art staff and the oldest submission still online.

Awww, QNX! I remember booting that from floppy disk, must have been '97 or early '98... (I wonder if there's an ARM SoC version of it? I'm guessing I must have been running that on a Pentium grade machine - a Raspberry Pi or NextThing CHIP is _way_ more powerful...)

It is only pretending to be QNX, it's really Windows...

Here's the (genuine) QNX boot floppy demo, BTW. Alas, my new laptop doesn't have enough RAM to run it.


It was this one: http://pressf8.deviantart.com/art/bSCATES-Desktop-2-1-19

I think there's one that's older by url count, but this was the first featured one, and I think second oldest surviving.

I was there from 2000-2006 and feel the exact same. I grew up on deviantART. All my friends were there. It opened my eyes to many forms of creativity and I may have never become a designer or entrepreneur without it.

At the risk of embarrassing myself, here's what I was up to from ages 15-20: http://a-t-o-m-i-c.deviantart.com/

Same here. I loved the community in the early 2000s. I actually met my wife on DeviantArt in 2002 and been happily married for 12 years now. My life would have been very different without that community. My wife and I both left the community pretty soon afterwards, though. It just changed too much after the switch in leadership.

The 00s decade in general seems to have been the high point for small/idependent/hobby-based online communities in general.

You too can create an off world colony.

I think I was there from 2002 to 2004 but the language barrier was too big for me. God I was a mopey kid then. Here's my embarrassing page: http://sosa.deviantart.com/

I know who you are. I used Impulse for a long time. Kudos on that. I've had three accounts, the first one when dA launched, but then when I became an admin I created http://johnedgar.deviantart.com and deleted the old one, and then when I started working on other aspects of the community I created http://neom.deviantart.com.

Damn, I forgot I even had an account there for a brief time. 15 years or so, damn. I think even the email provider I had account with went bust. No way to recover the account. http://keyframe.deviantart.com/gallery/ here's my embarrassment in support to you! Real edgy, I was.

I remember that Winamp skin \o/

I used your Impulse skin for WinAmp for several years, in my opinion the best looking one ever for that application. The rest of your work is equally excellent, you have nothing to be embarrassed about!

I remember those Skins. Didn't you also post on Skinz.org?

I can definitely say good things about Chris - I remember standing in front of the many racks of servers in LA doing hands-on maintenance with him guiding me over the roar of the fans via phone... I've done lots since then and I'm still impressed at the efficiency they had in both hardware/software for their huge site load and minimal render times. Chris is a very knowledgeable, skilled guy. Angelo was genuine and had a good thing going... also hosted some great dinners and loved to talk shop/tech/nerd out. I really hope this turns out well for all.

Was it you that caused the fire? ;)

Would you care to elaborate what was so amazing about the dA community? I ask sincerely as someone who was never a part of the community. I've visited the site in passing a few times, so I know of it. But would love to hear the specifics as to what makes (or made) dA such a great place for you (and others of course!)

DA has always had a culture of being a safe place online to post something you've made without fear of ridicule. I joined in 2001 as a person-who-liked-drawing but had no scanner, so I tried out writing, since that was a category on there that other people were doing, and I got terrific feedback from a handful of strangers, who quickly became friends. Now I consider myself a writer. Programmer/writer, but writer nonetheless, and I don't think that would have happened without DA. I eventually became a programmer there for a while too, so maybe I wouldn't have become either of those. ;)

Anyway, as far as I could see, that welcome-to-the-community experience was happening to everyone who joined, if they were participating at least. It's bigger now, so it's hard to bump into the right people when you're new, but that same DNA is still there. Read the comments on any popular piece - it's usually positive and constructive. And often extensive.

I don't know if I'm replying well; I feel like this ultimately just sounds like "you had to be there" - but when it comes down to it, I believe the amazingly positive culture is the answer to "what was amazing?"

I think this is exactly it. Kindness was something built-in from day one, it was core to everyone who was responsible for steering a community. We talked about loving each other and loving the community very often and publicly and loudly. It also came from the top. Scott Jarkoff (co-founder) and especially Eric Kolb (dir of community) are really great people, they encouraged and in fact mandated a general idea of no assholes. Everyone on the community team had a lot of lee way to ban, and we banned liberally and often for anything that was even remotely off tone or out of culture. The cool thing about banning from the admin side is it was build in a "time out" manner, when you banned someone you would generally set a period of time the ban was for, and it was pretty difficult to ban someone for life. Rehabilitation was something we actively promoted. We worked pro-actively to resolve conflicts out in the open. We also made a pretty deliberate effort to instill a culture of positive critique and criticism. If someone posted something that was harsh or to the point, you could generally expect an experienced community member to reply with a suggestion to start with a compliment or something similar. Sometimes someone would even re-write a whole crit for a new member to show how it's done. We tried to humanize the site as much as possible too, profiles became very important, we encouraged people to be very personal in their journals. It was for sure lots of little things, such as around 2005 (I think but don't quote me) the community staff started talking among themselves about having a photo as their profile, not an avatar. The IRC community was also quite large and vibrant, and again the tone was always positive. Pedanticism was STRONGLY discouraged. Every time I was coached by Eric or Scott, it was always super: "you are awesome here is how you can improve btw we love you, be more awesome, you are awesome." - This is what Scott wrote on my linked randomly one day, you can get a sense of the type of dude he is: http://john.je/jIP5 -- As a note, this is the exact same way that the DigitalOcean community was built. :)


This culture sounds awesome. Prescient and rare nowadays.

fear of ridicule you say.

I deleted my account because a workmate found my lightsaber rotoscoping on DA.

I guess they mean you wouldn't fear ridicule from other DA members. But this is still the internet, people will find your stuff and possibly make fun of you because some people are just plain idiots.

I thought it was cool to learn rotoscoping i was trying to be the star wars kid or anything.

personal hug box, with areas to challenge your creativity and request the harshest of criticism if you so desired.

putting yourself out there in this way was also part of the networking aspect, as it was hard to get any attention to your artwork.

as we've seen to this day across a plethora of networks, nobody has come up with a real solution to discoverability in the face of volume, and I fear machines are just going to learn to do it the same way as humans.

Hear hear. Without deviantArt and the incredible support of the community I would have never gotten into product design.

Also, hi

Jeroen!!!!! Hello!!! Hope you are well and awesome to run into you on HN.

Haha, I am very well. Yourself? Hit me up on Twitter @jmulder to catch up!

I deleted my twitter because it's a distracting insular tire fire, however, I'll find you on FB. :)

Sorry to interject, but does this imply that FB is not a distracting insular tire fire? hmm...

Personally, I have only a few very close friends, and I only open FB once or twice a week to see what their kids are doing. so no, for myself it isn't.

To everyone reminiscing in this thread:

Better make a repository of your works, quickly! Who is to say it will be the same site in a few months, or weeks.

Indeed - I was half expecting this to be an Our Incredible Journey dot tumblr.com post...

Thank you for your role in creating such an amazing community. Things definitely began to decline post '07 and I eventually retired my dA accounts back in '12... But you're right, the experience it offered was completely unique and will be a subject of my nostalgia for the rest of my life. I met so many great friends through common interests, and would never have continued my interest in writing without it. And I almost certainly wouldn't be working as a web developer today.

I am currently drafting what I think could be this generation's dA, improving upon some of its shortcomings and offering new collaboration tools.

If you have the time and think you could provide some insight, I would love to email you some questions about your experiences building that kind of community, because it is exactly the kind of community I wish to serve.

Well... that's the first time I've ever been thanked. So, you're welcome. I think DeviantART worked pretty well because of the team that was charged with looking after it. We screened community leaders pretty heavily for being genuinely kind and good humans who, in very many cases, cared more about the community than the art. I think everyone who worked on community building really appreciated and loved art and (selfishly) realized that the way we could see the best art was to attract the best artist, and the best artists would only come to a safe place they could learn and grow without fear. Scott Jarkoff, Angelo Sotira and Eric Kolb are seriously some of the most gentle and loving people I've come across online. Happy to talk more - je@h4x.club

Is it true that in the beginning, staff members would comment on every piece of art that was uploaded?

I think every gallery was different, but every gallery director was super attentive, people took the task of gallery directing super seriously as it was a pretty huge honour. For the years that I did it, I didn't have a life outside of IRC/deviantART period except to go to high school, and even then I would bring my laptop to the library at lunch + breaks and find an RJ45. I also slept for about 3 hours a night during those years as I was in the UK and much of the community was in the US.

It wasn't a policy, but it was definitely just part of the atmosphere. Wow, that's odd to think about now, isn't it? The internet seems so interactive now, but back then a user submitting something to a website was absolutely a new thing.

> this generation's dA

That's Tumblr. Build for the ones after.

I came over to deviantArt from dMusic. I had no interest in graphic design or digital art but I loved what those guys were doing as web architects. I definitely lied about my age on a contract when I joined the staff. I cringe looking at my old userpage and have no idea why they ever put up with me, but I'm glad they did because I learned so much as a programmer just from being in the same room (or IRC channel, more accurately) as them.

The biggest gift they gave me was a little space on their server to run my own PHP site, which I used to rip of all their code and make an online community for DIY punk bands. It kind of exploded in popularity and was so badly coded that I constantly crashed their MySQL server and eventually got the boot. When I went to college I figured programming was the obvious path, but the Java and VB classes they offered seemed so outdated and unimportant compared to what I knew was possible on the web. It really bummed me out on real world computer stuff so I just dropped out of technology completely and played starving musician for way way way too long. Now I'm old and trying to catch up to kids who don't even know a world without social networks...

> Chris Bolt the dude who built a lot of the tech there is INCREDIBLY

Incredibly what? =)

I haven't touched my DA account in years, but more because I've stopped drawing than any issue with the site or community. I was exposed to the work of a lot of amazingly talented people through DA, that I probably would not otherwise have seen.


Sorry, bad at this English thing. He's *INCREDIBLE!!

He's one of the best MySQL admins on the planet, for one.

Oh god, I remember this do vividly. Especially when Andrew joined, the dAmn thing and the hacking community, and then the Co founder drama and slow death.

I was able to go to the first deviantart summit way back and had a blast. Was a lot of fun meeting a lot of the team and community. I still have those posters that were given out the last day somewhere around here.

Yesterday, coincidentally, there was a surprisingly silly and heated discussion in a large Facebook group about whether a person who specializes in Wix can be considered a "web developer." (https://www.facebook.com/groups/hackathonhackers/permalink/1...)

Hacker News is biased toward DIYing websites from scratch, but WYSIWYG builders like WIx are very important for those who aren't tech-savvy. DeviantArt, in a world where designers must build their own overly-elaborate portfolios with JavaScript and CSS shenanigans to stand out, serves as a good compliment.

You are a definitely "person who develops for web" but not necessarily a Web Developer within the context of any community which assigned a specific meaning to that title.

The definition may, of course, change over time and it already differs across communities. On the top of my head, I know many freelancers who wouldn't consider you a web developer without good Photoshop skills and many JavaScript-oriented developers wouldn't consider you one if you can't write a line of JS without using a library.

I, however, don't know any significant group which would call a person who can only author on Wix, a Web Developer. Ignoring that would surely create miscommunication and would be considered a wrong or misguided use of the title.

The first I heard of Wix was a few months ago when a local news site deployed their new design. The page would be completely blank for 10-15 seconds while it made hundreds of requests for useless little React turdlets. As far as I can tell, they "fixed" it by moving away from Wix.

If that's normal for a Wix site, then I would say no, nobody involved on either side of the transaction is a web developer except in the most pejorative sense of the term.

I thought you were exaggerating, but holy cow... maybe those who disagree can find me a site from http://www.wix.com/explore/websites for which that doesn't hold true, because I gave up after a few which were all incredibly abysmal. Yeah, those sites are "stunning" alright. Aesthetically very bland and samey, but technically utterly stunning. I wouldn't even know how to make something that slow without using a combination of bmp images and sleeping here and there for a few seconds.

To be fair, I just tried a few of those sites and they're not as slow as the one I had in mind. But I wasn't exaggerating about that particular site. Each page view was taking at least 10 seconds to show the first pixel of content for what is effectively a static blog.

Sounds like all 3 I clicked on.. they all loaded 150+ tiny files, and started out with several seconds of a white screen.

It looks like Wix only tested that Explore page in Chrome and Edge. Clicking any of the "View Site" links opens two new tabs in Firefox and Safari, opens nothing in IE11, but works as expected in Chrome and Edge.

It doesn't help that they apparently couldn't bother to proofread the subtitle on that page.

> With 1000s of stunning options, no two website are the same.

"two website" => "two websites"

Worse, it happened with that page itself. It took 10 seconds before it loaded any content beyond the header and base template.

It's madness. I keep saying it, but this is basic UX stuff. Even using JIRA lately has become painful as components bounce all over the place while they sling in code asynchronously with no UX indication. Save a sub task and watch as the whole page jiggles about like it's trying to avoid being clicked.

I will get you, edit button. You cannot escape my patient pointer.

A few years ago every Wix site was Flash. So...progress, and apparently profit.

This reminds me of the "webmaster" days when the debate was over whether doing HTML could be considered "programming". My position then as now is that being a programmer (developer in this context) requires programming a programming language, and neither HTML or Wix is that.

On the other hand, in practice, in the presence of a technology that non-programmers can use to build perfectly viable products, the onus is probably more on the "programming-language-programmers" to differentiate themselves and seek out the challenges that can't be solved by "HTML-programmers". If you as a programmer find yourself in a venue head to head with a Wix'er, you may win a small victory in the battle over definitions, but you will lose the war. If the problem can be solved with HTML/Wix, in most cases it should solved with them.

Sharepoint, Wordpress, and SAP fit that description too.

Someone who can use Wix could possibly be called a “Web Designer”, but “Web Developer” seems a stretch within a conventional understanding.

Whenever someone asks me advice on building a website, I just say "Wix", unless they are willing to spend 10,000$ or more paying a quality developer to do a custom and probably unnecessary build.

I always used to say Weebly - and I've helped quite a few friends and family build little brochure sites. The big change with a new version a couple of years ago made less enthusiastic, though I haven't looked at Wix yet.

Hey there, I'd love to hear a bit more about your negative experience a couple years ago and how we could make things better. Didn't see an email in your profile -- could you email me at david@weebly.com? Would really appreciate your feedback!

I usually turn them to Weebly and SquareSpace and adamantly turn them away from Wix. I think some of this has changed recently, but most Wix sites unnecessarily hijack browser functions, have time wasting page transitions, the SEO is terrible, and social sharing links always are buggy. Financially speaking, as a company they simply just out-spend everyone on marketing/sales to compete in the market, with very little product innovation.

I wanted create / migrate my sites on Weebly but they lack the power to organize the url structure. For example - I want urls like - mysite.tld/europe/germany/somepage So I can also create pages like mysite.tld/europe/germany/index mysite.tld/europe/index

etc. Currently they only support one level in url making it difficult to migrate my sites.

There are more alternatives out there and some of them are cool too.

I work for a small ISP & MSP. We have a "web developer" who occasionally will create a basic website for one of our customers. On Wix, of course. She wouldn't recognize an HTML tag if it smacked her in the face.

One potentially alarming sentence in this article is "Wix will open up DeviantArt’s repository of art and creative community to the Wix platform, giving Wix’s users access to that work to use in their own site building."

Exactly what do they mean by that? Will it be opt-in? Will it only cover art that's already under Creative Commons? Will be it all Creative Commons? Does a Wix site count as commercial use? I can't imagine people would be very happy about their art suddenly being available for use elsewhere without their consent.

Hopefully, this is much ado about nothing, and Wix won't do anything terrible, but we've seen technology companies do stupid things before. At the very least, it would be nice if they elaborated on their plans regarding this.


    3. License To Use Artist Materials. As and when Artist Materials are
       uploaded to the DeviantArt Site(s), Artist grants to DeviantArt a
       worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license to do the following
       things during the Term:
       a) to prepare and encode Artist Materials or any part of them for
          digital or analog transmission, manipulation and exhibition in
          any format and by any means now known or not yet known or
       b) to display, copy, reproduce, exhibit, publicly perform,
          broadcast, rebroadcast, transmit, retransmit, distribute through
          any electronic means (including analog and digital) or other
          means, and electronically or otherwise publish any or all of
          the Artist Materials, including any part of them, and to include
          them in compilations for publication, by any and all means and
          media now known or not yet known or invented ;
       c) to modify, adapt, change or otherwise alter the Artist Materials
          (e.g., change the size) and use the Artist Materials as described
          in Section 3(b); and ...

The only thing a DeviantArt user can do is to delete their content, shut their account, and leave the site.

The policies only apply for the "Term" in which a user exists and the art exists on the platform.

  a) We can re-encode your images, to whatever format
     we need to make the website work.
  b) We are allowed to display the pictures online.
     If something happens and the internet stops existing,
     we'll still be allowed to show people pictures where
     we go after the web. We are also allowed to display
     pictures not only by themselves but also as part of
     a gallery. E.g. in search results.
  c) We're allowed to resize, convert to grayscale, etc
     so that galleries, search results, etc, all work
     the way a modern website is expected to.
You need all those rights to be able to operate DeviantArt. You really don't want the licence to become the limiting factor when you implement a new feature on the website, so you need to be quite broad.

Sure, but you those very same terms could also be used to operate something entirely different from deviantart. Was the parent post accusingly pointing fingers or was it just dusting facts?

That Wix scenario doesn't look all that terrible by the way: imagine deviantart pivoting into some kind of racket machine publishing connections between cringeworthy "early works" and the current employers of meanwhile professional graphics artists, now that would be an evil use of the repository.

I'm no lawyer, but it looks like that language grants the DeviantArt corporation rights to use submissions, which they need in order to provide basic search as well as marketing.

It would be a different thing to grant Wix users the right to take someone's work over to their own sites, I speculate that would require an extension or transfer of copy rights in addition to the quoted policy.

I'd wait and see, I'd expect that Wix won't just lay claim to all submissions without asking for permission or remunerating artists who's works are sold.

> I'd expect that Wix won't just lay claim to all submissions without asking for permission or remunerating artists who's works are sold.

If buro9's reading of the user agreement was right, those artists' work was just sold. For 35M.

Notice it says nothing of re-licensing to others. These terms seem to facilitate DeviantArt's (and presumably its owner(s)) ability to show your work to the world on their site. But does not facilitate their sub-licensing your work to others. If I were an artist and loved my DeviantArt account, I'd make sure to hold them to task if my work showed up on a Wix customer's site.

If I understand wix.com's product correctly, those customer sites run on wix.com's servers. So, one could argue that it would be wix.com that shows the images. It would not be clear-cut that this infringes on that license.

I do hope that wix.com will do the right thing, though, and limit this to images that their creators permitted to be reused and/or add a feature where wix customers can negotiate with deviantart users over pricing.

This line is pretty common in ToC's as far as I know (I'm no lawyer). It allows them to show the images on the site and in advertising. Nothing too uncommon, and most of it's needed to make the site work.

Royalty-free? Looks like a bad deal.

It's a classic point in most, if not all, social websites or where the content is generated by the user.

And it's usually there to protect the website for altering storing and advertising with user generated content.

It always has had the potential to be used for bad, we will see if this time actually happens.

"Royalty-free" doesn't mean they can just do what they want. It means they're not going to pay you for the things listed in the license (to which you agreed by hosting on their site.) It doesn't even say "...perpetual license." It's clearly limited to stuff you've put on their systems, while it's on their systems. You remove it, they can't use it.

DeviantArt has been one of the better online hosting services when it comes to their handling of copyright. Buying them won't magically grant additional rights to Wix.

Based on the Submission Policy on DeviantArt's site, the essence of the agreement seems to be that as long as the work continues to be on DeviantArt, any DeviantArt site can use it royalty-free under a non-exclusive licence. The artist (or other submitter) is free to remove the work from DeviantArt at any time, and with some provisions about orderly handling the work is then no longer available for use on DeviantArt sites under those terms. The copyright and related legal rights in each work remain with the artist throughout (or with whoever else had them before, but they're not automatically transferred to DeviantArt).

Whether the acquisition means sites run by Wix now count as successors and therefore enjoy the royalty-free rights regarding uploaded works is one for the lawyers, but even if it that is the case, it seems that anyone who objects can simply delete their work from DeviantArt and in doing so withdraw the consent required to use the work on any other sites as well. That being the case, it would seem unwise for Wix to try to pull a fast one here, and a more collaborative approach would seem to be in everyone's interests including Wix's.

It'll be interesting to see how it plays out. Deleting things on DA doesn't always do what you would expect, and it surely sounds like Wix thinks they are going to offer work for free.

For me it means enough, i just deactivated/deleted my deviant art account.

This unclearness, plus their in my humble opinion, horribly annoying youtube ad campaign, did not make me ponder about deleting my account for a second.

I hope you deleted your artwork first. If you simply close your account, your work will still show up in searches.

they explicitly mentioned all my stuff will get deleted.

have you checked?

yes all is gone, there is a 30 day grace period which they don't clearly communicate.

Since you can monetize your artwork already on DA I hope this will be as simple and straightforward as opting into it much like you would with prints. And maybe letting someone search any Creative Commons licensed art with that as opt-out.

Appears these are all the current agreements on their website:


Well... if this[^1] is still the DA licence (entry is from 2011), this won't be limited to CC and potentially concerns all art published on DA.

[^1]: http://jon-rista.deviantart.com/journal/Very-Concerning-Devi...

You cannot unilaterally change the license on someone else's work. A lot of images on DeviantArt are under very restrictive licenses.

I'm assuming they will present an option for artists to allow their work to be used on Wix sites in exchange for royalties, with the middleman taking a percentage of said royalties.

Well that depends on the terms the uploader agreed to. The license displayed for works is, as I understand it, the license that applies to visitors/viewers not necessarily for deviantArt itself.

This line is in the current TOS:

> DeviantArt does not claim ownership rights in your works or other materials posted by you to DeviantArt (Your Content).

Here's the rest of it:

> 4. Copyright

> DeviantArt is, unless otherwise stated, the owner of all copyright and data rights in the Service and its contents. Individuals who have posted works to DeviantArt are either the copyright owners of the component parts of that work or are posting the work under license from a copyright owner or his or her agent or otherwise as permitted by law. You may not reproduce, distribute, publicly display or perform, or prepare derivative works based on any of the Content including any such works without the express, written consent of DeviantArt or the appropriate owner of copyright in such works. DeviantArt does not claim ownership rights in your works or other materials posted by you to DeviantArt (Your Content). You agree not to distribute any part of the Service other than Your Content in any medium other than as permitted in these Terms of Service or by use of functions on the Service provided by us. You agree not to alter or modify any part of the Service unless expressly permitted to do so by us or by use of functions on the Service provided by us.

> This line is in the current TOS: > > DeviantArt does not claim ownership rights [to your content]

But there might be a clause in there where they claim sufficiently unrestricted license to use that content in any way they chose. Not having copyright does not mean that they don't have license to use the content or let their users do the same.

Read around in the comments. The DeviantArt EULA gives them a blanket license. The artist may also provide a very restricted license to the public.

The license is already granted, to DeviantArt.

There's also a lot of CC licensed stuff that might already be allowing use for such purposes with the authors not expecting any return from it.

Sounds like they'll let people build websites ala Wix but using their images from DA. Seems fine.

Especially concerning given a purchase by a company that doesn't respect Open Source licenses.

I had the same reaction.

I could totally see them taking all the CC licenses and open it up as a stock image repository. This could go two ways.

One, they open it up and its a total free for all, and as a Wix user, I can just go take someone's images and use them on my site royality free, which is downright scary.

Two, they take control of all the work that's under CC, involve the artists and offer them a percentage of the profit to use their art for their websites. Or cut out the artists entirely, which I could also see happening. You have huge opportunity to drive a ton of revenue from the stuff that's already on DA.

> One, they open it up and its a total free for all, and as a Wix user, I can just go take someone's images and use them on my site royality free, which is downright scary.

Why is that scary? It's the point of CC licence. All they'll have to do on the using site is add an attribution (for ex CC-BY-SA).

It's the intention of CC to allow gratis usage and sharing.

It means artists will start making money from the art they've put on DeviantArt instead of it just being a "repository".

That's already how DeviantArt works. You can buy prints and stuff. The money from the sale is split between DA and the artist.

Wider HN community could probably have rounded up 36M to keep DA being DA.

Imagine if they would charge for this and share with the artist.

Seems like a low valuation as they raised $10M in 2013 from Autodesk:

https://techcrunch.com/2013/09/26/deviantart-autodesk-fundin... https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1402519/000140251913...

I can not figure out what the valuation was of DA when it got the Autodesk investment.

I also notice that ArtStation.com seems to be rising on DeviantArt.com but still a way to go: http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/deviantart.com http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/artstation.com

> "...deal will increase its revenue outlook by around $8 million,..."

  So $36 million/$8 million = 4.5 times sales
>"...40 million registered members..."

  So less than a buck per registered user

DeviantArt has always been a nice community. I find it surprising that the price is so low given that they add a lot of value.

Having moved in Deviant Art circles (some time ago, admittedly) I'd say one reason for the low price might be that, somewhat like Reddit, the core values of the community make it challenging to monetize.

Is it? dA is full of artists selling their art and users buying it. It's full of Patreons, donation buttons, etc. See Twitch for what successful monetization of this sort of audience looks like.

A lot of that commerce happens in violation of copyright, and sometimes in violation of other laws too; it can fly under the radar when it's person-to-person but would be harder for the company to monetize.

Is Twitch profitable? Have they had to face a serious copyright infringement lawsuit from a game maker yet?

That doesn't sound right. dA is the original source for a lot of the work being sold. I'm not familiar enough with the community to know if they're being used as a black market but I know for certain that lots of artists use it as a sales gallery.

> That doesn't sound right. dA is the original source for a lot of the work being sold.

Right, but a lot of what's sold there is "fanart" that uses copyrighted characters etc.

I'm not convinced that there has been sufficient litigation to show that fanart is actually copyright infringement. As I understand it, there's a district split on the issue and the Supreme Court hasn't said anything. The cases are also very old, mostly predating the concept of fanart.

Most cases these days are predicated on whether or not something is fair use, but don't explore whether or not copyright was infringed in the first place.

All in all, it's good for money to be poured in here, because it means the defense will have adequate legal resources to set the right precedent.

Yep, it would be hard to get away with ugly, intrusive ads when your users are obsessed with aesthetics.

I also can't imagine the print-selling business reaching the kind of scale that today's VCs would like to see.

> hard to get away with ugly, intrusive ads

Deviantart has click-through ads that overlay the content on mobile and a big bright banner for registered users if they are using an adblocker.

It seems they are already getting away with ugly and intrusive.

What the parent comment means is that there's a lot of cheesecake and not-quite-porn on DeviantArt. Although it's actually more censored in that regard than Reddit.

Unlike Reddit, it doesn't have financial backers who have produced a ridiculous narrative. (which is important btw, I work in M&A)

the deal will increase its revenue outlook by around $8 million

So around a 4.5x revenue multiple, which doesn't seem bad for a business that isn't growing rapidly(?)

Since when does revenue matter? That's like selling a car dealership that does $100mm a year for $450mm, when the profit is only, say, 5% per car sold.

many acquirers focus on revenue more than profits because once ingested, the cost-side of the business can change dramatically. according to quantcast, deviantart is doing over 40MM monthly uniques. i suspect it is that reach (and not profit or revenue) that wix is actually acquiring.

My point is merely that the multiple seems healthy, but sure, if we do it on likely income instead then it's an even higher multiple that'll be well above typical acquisitions of small online communities or media sites.

I think they actually (over)paid (?) a good amount for a website that isn't growing significantly. But hey, public tech companies are held to different standards / analysed using different metrics.

Significantly, they've updated that with a section that deserves highlighting here:

"There's been some confusion around wording used TechCrunch's reporting of the DeviantArt and Wix story.

Their article includes: "...Wix will open up DeviantArt’s repository of art and creative community to the Wix platform, giving Wix’s users access to that work to use in their own site building."

Please know that the DeviantArt Submission Policy, Terms of Service and Copyright Policy all remain the same. Deviants continue to own their own works. In the future, there's a possibility Wix might provide opportunities for you to license your work -- only if you want to -- to more people around the world. And, there will be opportunities for Wix users to join DeviantArt and make the community stronger."

Well I can say wix.com definitely isn't going to fly in Germany (eg. for the same reason that Mitsubishi's "Pajero" vehicle isn't marketed under that name in latin/US America and Spain)

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitsubishi_Pajero

Your wixness can be your strength...

"toilet humour" is ... golden

to fill people in, "wixen"/"wichsen" is slang for masturbating. "Du wixxer" can also mean "You wanker" as in cussing at someone

As often as this comes up, I see know quite a few German people (artists, and people with basic web site needs) using wix.

I feel that more and more people seem ok with services just not being named in their local language.

Well, a city called Fucking (even though it is in Austria) exists. So wix.com can't be that bad ;)

One thing I discovered about Wix the other day. They are active on their public GitHub repos and they are have very high quality React Native packages!

My only experiences with Wix websites have been completely negative. Slow load times, non-functional interfaces, menus and the like and terrible designs (as in, presentation layout and formatting of graphics and other objects) have been the norm for me. It's cheap, and folks are getting what they pay for.

Wix has been pushing the envelope on React Native and are one of the larger organisations who have embraced it fully.

They've released a few videos on YouTube talking about their move to React Native and their underlying infrastructure.

We used their react-templates extensively last year and the experience was mostly positive.

This year we are moving from React to Vue. In parte because we prefer working with HTML + directives than JSX, but also because Vue is more pragmatic and much nicer on beginners and people coming from jQuery.

Not sure what's more surprising, that Wix is so big, or that DA is so cheap.

DA is what inspired me to make my first website. They really pioneered strong community collaboration, long before social networking on the web became cool.

I find the valuation a little surprizing, but I guess that is what happens when you value an established business on actuals instead of potential. Good get wix.

I think the most interesting detail here is that Wix is doing well enough that it has $36M to spend.

i dont think it is too surprising considering that wix is a public company with a market cap of $2.7B


More importantly they have high gross margins and debt is still really cheap right now.

Had no idea. I just assumed it was a generic site builder.

wix and squarespace and godaddy are the new "wordpress site". I ran into a "Squarespace developer" here in Manhattan few weeks back.

Why? It seems like Wordpress still offers the perfect balance between usability and flexibility. At least that was my conclusion after doing research for an association that was looking to host their own website. Wix options seemed to be very static while Wordpress has a plugin for everything. And it's free while you had to pay for "social media plugins" in Wix.

You're a few degrees more technical than their target demo I'd imagine. For my sister getting her jewellery business going, she was going to pay a local guy $1,250 to stand up a digitalocean droplet and build a custom site for her, I told her about squarespace and shopify - that was that.

Curious, she's using both Shopify and Squarespace? I believe the latter offers Ecommerce as well.

This was like a year ago, but I'll let her know, thanks. :)

It's a public company, so there are people paying for it.

I remember spending many hours browsing dA back way back when. There are so many art/design/etc communities now that I'm sure it's getting more difficult to retain users.

What are some other art communities? I've been looking for a decent alternative for a while

People typically use Tumblr at this point. It's not designed for art, and it has issues with big images, but it has a fairly active community, so people use it. There's also niche sites, like FA for furries and various boorus for anime fans. There's also a semi-active twitter artist community, although 90% of those people also post elsewhere.

Shameless plug: I've been stealth-working on an art site for several years, so you could try that out if you'd like. That's at https://www.imagehex.com/.

ArtStation seems to be popular.

Wikipedia lists a bunch that might be an option. None of them really have the same purpose or soul as dA though, as far as I can see.


Thinking back on all of the fun I've had looking at DeviantArt posts over the years, I'm saddened that it's all only worth $36M. All that human effort...art is a tough gig.

I still have a DeviantArt hoodie and wear it regularly! I bought it in 2007, along with a couple of well-designed t-shirts. I think that those might have been my first online purchases.

I thought DeviantArt would be worth more than $36M.

The valuation makes sense to me. Their userbase is hard to monetise (I'd wager a large chunk of kids aged 10 to 18 with limited purchasing power - and the adults there are definitely in the AdBlock crowd). Things like premium site subscriptions and print services will only take you so far - and now that we're post-"mainstream Internet" its growth is limited to the rate people are being born and given its anti-establishment streak I don't think the site will last long in China.

So if the site is making $10m/yr profit, 3 years' revuenue and no expectations of growth means $36m is a fair price.

Has there been any development to the Wix/Wordpress story ?

Not enough information, what story exactly?

My bad, this story[1] about Wix "stealing" code from Wordpress.


As far as I know that saga ended when wix open sourced their mobile client.

The DeviantArt platform and community had an immense impact on pushing me creatively in my early teen years and onward. I have not experienced anything like it since. Had it not been for DeviantArt, I'm not sure if I would have pursued my art and design career as early and as seriously as I did.

I truly hope that this chapter will bring the unique magic of DeviantArt to a new audience.

- A "til Hell freezes over" tier Core member

Is there an alternative to deviant art after this?

I commented briefly on some alternatives here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13716343

This seems, like most things, it could be good or bad. Wix could choose to launch a Graphicriver / Canva / Adobe Stock type add-on that could help artists monetize their work. Or they could straight up license the work and pocket the money via some legal mumbo jumbo. Hopefully it is opt-in and the first case.

DA is one of the web's icons and it complemented the rise of CGI extremely well.

For me the site was at times educational helping explore software tools others used to create their works of art. Screenshots on the other hand were extremely useful in desktop customisation and seeing what was possible to do across OS platforms.

DA has been around forever. I'm curious what they would have peaked at as far as value goes.

Why do I feel like this is the litmus test for someone to see if they want to save Flickr?

Not sure what you mean by that

Flickr is the only part of Yahoo that is worth anything. The question is how much.

I think the idea that flickr is worth anything is still in question.


I find flickr with Creative Commons search incredibly valuable.

> Yahoo finance and Fantasy and Sports are MUCH bigger then Flickr.

The also own Tumblr, you know, the site that pretty much killed deviantArt in the first place.

How did Tumblr kill DA? They're incredibly different, though used mostly by the same demographic.

About 8 years ago I got a virus while viewing someone's portfolio on DeviantArt on a page when my computer rebooted. My best guess is maybe it was through third party ads. I've never completely trusted DeviantArt ever since.

They have a lot of problems with that. The reason: Most ad networks lump them in with porn sites because they allow adult content to be uploaded. Most major brands won't touch it so the display ads are very low quality and riddled with malware.

I did quite a bit of work on tracking down and swatting the malware ads but they were almost impossible to track down and there was no accountability through the ad networks.

(I worked as a developer at deviantArt from 2009 to 2013)

Awesome. This is a perfect excuse to delete my 10+ year old Deviant Art account.

I spent a lot of time on dA as a teenager. Press F to pay respects.

Apparently prices scale non-linearly with the market share. Wiki says it has 26m members, and yet the price is 1% of Snap. Snap definitely doesn't have 2.6bn users.

There's very few completely linear relationships in all of economics. Economies of scale, especially, are often at least polynomial.

I'd say a website with 100 million members is worth far more than 4x as much as a site with 26.

Wow. I didn't see that coming. I've used Wix in the past for a couple websites and I enjoy the platform but I am curious how they will benefit from this.

There are paying users!

This seems like one of those headlines that would have been a lot more interesting ten years ago.

What did people think of the price?

always wondered what dA's stack is. anybody has any insight?

Very straightforward traditional LAMP with lots of database sharding and various smart optimizations to handle extreme traffic volumes.

They used to have a custom file storage back-end which resembles something like swift. That may have been replaced with AWS after I left.

They've never made a secret of it being LAMP throughout. There's still some code in there from the original PHP4 site 14 years ago (or at least, there was at the time I left staff).

I didn't form my account there until 12 Sep 2000. I was late to the party as the site opened about 6 weeks prior. Before DeviantArt there was Deskmod.com.

"Website builder Wix acquires terrible amateur hentai repository DeviantArt for a $36M loss"

You're incredibly wrong about the amateur part.

Haha. Not entirely wrong.

(I am a paying member of DA.)

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