Israel-based web design company Wix has acquired longtime internet pillar DeviantArt for $36 million, according to a statement by the two companies. The purchase will give DeviantArt users access to Wix tools to improve their profiles, while Wix designers will also gain “access to DeviantArt’s thriving community of tens of millions of visual artists.”
“Over its 16-year history, DeviantArt has built an impressive online community that is incredibly loyal, highly engaged and regularly produces stunning art and design,” said Wix Co-Founder and CEO Avishai Abrahami. “The DeviantArt community is talented and robust and hungry for additional product expertise. We understand their passion, share their creative vision and are excited to offer the power of the Wix platform to their millions of artists.”
DeviantArt is a survivor in many ways. Founded in the early 2000s, it gained immense popularity with a niche concept. In spite of that limited scope, it attracted a collection of photographers, graphic artists, painters, and many amateurs to create their own artistic profiles. The website’s traffic ranks 63rd in the United States and 91st in the world at nearly 200 million views per month according to SimilarWeb.
“We founded DeviantArt to enable the creative spirit in everyone, creating a platform dedicated to the vision and talent of the community which could be shared with the world,” said DeviantArt Co-Founder and CEO Angelo Sotira, who joins Wix’s management team but will remain at DA’s longtime headquarters in Los Angeles. “This combined effort with Wix creates new opportunities for innovation never before seen on the Internet and an amazing super-charged offering to our community members. We look forward to being part of the Wix team, and we are humbled by the respect and love they have shown to our community.”
The notion of utilizing DA as an augment to Wix web design sounds good in theory, but might be difficult logistically. If one tried to think up how the two companies might build out that sort of option for DeviantArtists, one could imagine a freelance option being added to the website, a professional account premium membership for networking, or a simple way for businesses to contact artists to reach licensing agreements for their work. Wix CFO Lior Shemesh told Geektime he would not elaborate on exactly what they were thinking, but did offer some clues.
“Think about it this way. DeviantArt has the largest community for artists and Wix is one of the platforms for website builders. Many of our customers are designers as well. What we want to create is a situation if you are a website using Wix to manage your business, you can now create a [DeviantArt] profile and enjoy a very large community. Share your ideas with other people, share it within groups, get feedback on the work that you do.”
As a portal which has withstood 16 years of internet development and survives from an era when MySpace once ruled the web, it is hard to imagine DeviantArt being negatively affected by integrating more options into the site. Yet it could be the site’s consistency — with a little help from such a design-savvy community — that has enabled it to weather the storms and be one of the few powerhouse sites to be active during four presidential administrations.
Anyone who remembers how the site looked in the early days might be surprised by how little it has changed outside of its logo. The simple green layout and even its tucked away left sidebar menu are carryovers from over a decade ago, yet the site does not at all look antiquated. In spite of the rise and fall of several other social platforms, DA has had staying power and managed to build up its community over the same period of time. That’s an asset with which Wix’s web-savvy and marketing prowess will be careful not to tamper.
“We’ll continue to develop the community, make it even greater, larger and better. This is the affinity between the two companies. This combined platform will be really powerful, providing for the first time a place where they can manage anything they want,” Shemesh conveyed. “If you have a profile using DeviantArt, obviously [once] we complete our integration we can also use the power of the Wix platform whereas not only will you have a profile but also a website where you can sell your product.”