Monday, September 13, 2010



I am not interested in a renewal of AOM. I find more valuable contests for my work through other lists available for free.
-KFL [after three-free issue trial ran out]


Thanks for having tried AOM! We'll remove you from the list as you wish. Sorry it didn't meet your needs at this time, but please contact us whenever we may be of service.

Your "more valuable contests" may not actually be. We look at many more possibilities than we publish. We screen out those "contests" that exist primarily to turn a profit for the business owners that run them yet provide very little real benefit for artists or their careers. These are often referred to as contest mills or competition mills in the art world and they appear regularly on the free lists and are promoted heavily by direct email and through paid advertisements.

Such contests tend to accept most entrants -- a business strategy designed to encourage people to enter time after time. There is no real harm done to the artist who wants to impress family and friends, but serious art collectors or professional art dealers normally will shun the artist who has such contests on his/her resume.

Unfortunately, there are dozens of such contest mills, possibly hundreds. Some are tiny, operating out of a bedroom or home office. After all, you only need a computer and gallery software to run one. Some online gallery programs are entirely automatic, relying on the artist to enter the information, upload the images and make the payment, leaving the owner to sip Mai-Tais by the pool and chuckle.

Some of them are quite active and do a lot of promotion, often sending mass emails to artists whose information has been collected from the Internet through scraper programs (which gather up every name and email address that appears on a site with the word "artist" on it). Or they advertise heavily in some of the art deadline lists aimed at amateur and naive artists. Or both.

So look before you leap.


PS: Just because something appears on a free list but not in AOM doesn't mean it is a contest mill or a scam. It may have missed our deadline or we may have overlooked it. When in doubt, contact us and we will give you our honest opinion based on research.

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