Handling Online Criticism: How our $60 Video Enraged Illustrators

Recently, I was featured in a post on StartSuccessvol.nl. In this interview I really opened up and admitted that one of the hardest things to deal with while starting my company was handling online criticism (and offline of course). Plain, good, old criticism on the concept, on my own motivation, on the way I do things. Criticism comes in many shapes. Only a little bit, a lot, constructive, destructive, face to face, online, from people who know what they are talking about, or people who don’t know you at all.

I would like to share the type of criticism that my team and I have been confronted with yesterday.

Our Explanimation

A couple of months ago, I was delighted to announce that accessART finally had an explanimation! A nice animated explainer video that outlined accessART’s concept. I had been struggling with getting one simply because of the price a good animation goes for. I looked for help from people working for recognized animation companies and looked for affordable services online. I got very valuable tips and a critical look on my script but I still struggled to find affordable animators. I eventually found one through Upwork that was so nice to help us despite our limited budget! So when the video was finished for an amount that every other individual entrepreneur or startup could afford, I wrote a blogpost  to share this newly acquired knowledge with the startup community. Recently, this blog was picked up by a renowned journalist of Sprout.nl and we were delighted!

Handling Online Criticism is Challenging

But then wat happened just blew me away. 9 negative tweets (yes I counted them!) from one lady within only a couple of hours! Of which this one was the first.

handling online criticism on twitter

For non Dutch speakers: is was the worst article she had ever read and accessART does not respect the creative industry. Alright I thought, she doesn’t like my article. I’m not a professional text writer so I guess I’ll get over that. But seriously, we don’t respect the creative sector?

Then, we got a whole lot of other illustrators over us.

handling online criticism on twitter

I guess this was the one that offended me most. We interact with our artists on a very personal basis. Every single one knows us by name and can reach us for any question whatsoever. We very much understand the struggles of today’s artists and help them thrive online. On top of that, we have the smallest commission of all online art platforms to empower individual artists the most we can. Our artists  do like interacting with us (yes really).

Then this one.

handling online criticism on twitter

Ok you don’t like. Sorry to hear that 🙂 . Apparently doing something cost-effective (which sometimes means outside of the Netherlands) is screwing people over. But isn’t it great that the global service industry these days makes it possible for people with any budget to get things done? In this case, we did not undermine the creative sector, but supported a small local company in a developing country for which this amount was a proper compensation for the quality delivered. And let’s face it, at his stage we would never have been able to afford a professional explanimation, so I did not even end up contacting professional illustrators after the initial quotes.

And then this one! This was getting out of hand! We don’t sell paintings, our amazing artists do. @StudioFets if you’re interested, some of the artists actually do offer their affordable art for prices like that! I can definitely help you find a suitable piece 😉

handling online criticism on twitter

To wrap up. Yes, good animations DO cost a fortune if your company is bootstrapped and set up with your own savings. The typical quote I got for an animation was 50% of the total amount invested in my company so far. And no, my own hours do not go for $0 – believe me they used to go for a hella lot more. But in a startup, you simply have more time than money.

handling online criticism on twitter

Handling Online Criticism Over a Coffee?

The type of criticism me and my team were confronted with today was the type of online destructive criticism that added very little value to me, my team or my company. To all of the people sharing their “dislike” of our video, company and me as a person, I hope you got some background out of this article.

My blogpost on “affordable explanimations” was targeted at startups who really want an animation but could not afford an expensive one. I did not mean in any way to undermine the creative sector or you as illustrators.

So, @Neetje and @dreikelvin, since you seemed to be the most upset about all this, I hereby invite you for a nice coffee (my shout!) on Friday 4th of December at 11am at a location of your choice. Let’s go over our terrible script, horrible voice-over and ridiculously bad animation and maybe you can tell us how we can improve, so that upon the re-launch of our platform we maybe have a top-notch video that really explains who we are and what we do.

And I’m really not a bad person. Honestly 🙂 .


Founder accessART

PS. I  couldn’t help myself 😉


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *