Full disclosure: TapSmack is joining Rev2 as a new sponsor, but since we haven’t covered them before, we figured even our sponsors needed to hear what we think. My attempt is to be as un-biased as possible, so take it for what it is.
Artist-centric communities have been around for quite some time in Internet space. Years before things like Flickr existed, I remember mindlessly browsing around deviantART and sharing a couple creations of my own. But while these communities encourage creators creating and sharing, something they don’t encourage is collaborating. And as we know, the best things in life are done by more than one person. That’s where TapSmack comes in, introducing a concept of ‘co-creation.’
With TapSmack, artists, designers, Photoshoppers, illustrators and the like don’t just create and share their work, they co-create with each other, building upon one and another, to achieve a specific vision, idea or goal in mind. For example, user banzaibear posted a idea on August 14th, with the request “I’d like Micheal Phelps T-shirt as the Aquaman Superhero.” Since then, users have added their own submissions, which others have rated and commented upon. And as a viewer or idea-submitter, you can go ahead and buy prints, create t-shirts, mugs, and sticks and a lot more with the ones you like.
Collaboration in art and design has worked in the past only in small groups (i.e. a company or a department or a bunch of friends) and most of the web-based applications have been really geared towards that. TapSmack opens this out to the world, and lets everyone participate in the creation process. But by far what I love about TapSmack is that not everyone has to be an artist. You can have just an idea and submitted (as with the example above), and some of the best artists can contribute. Or you can be an artist without ideas and just work on some of the neat ones you come across.
I think there’s a lot of untapped potential in the community-creation space — only the hints of which is indicated by deviantART, which is among the Alexa 100. Here’s the thing about artists — they’re passionate people, and they’re willing to work together without any kind of monetary, financial, market incentive. And the sites that target these types of audiences can really use this to the core of their concept and work, unlike a lot of attempts where sites fail to garner a passionate userbase.