Biyo Art Logo

Award Winning Graphic Sports Art Prints 
Unique Sports Gifts of Art Created by YO the Artist  
Free Shipping in USA 

BiyoArt Business Update


This past year for artwork sales was as tumultuous as was the media reports of the economy. For the year, sales were better than the 2008 season, which would make it the best year on record for sales. But, as with the reported ups and downs with the economy, festival attendance as with sales were at times its best and others at its worst. The year started with a blast in attendance and sales in Buffalo, NY, and humbled itself two weeks later in Manayunk, PA. The whole season turned into one long, exhausting roller coaster ride which will require a few adjustments for the 2010 season. One brightest spot of the season though, was winning an award for the very first time in Graphics at the Mystic Outdoor Art Festival for the Swinging Eight rowing artwork in maroon. The award was for second place, a $250 check and the addition to the website of Award Winning Graphic Sports Art Prints Plus.

Adjustments to the 2010 season will be the dropping of three festivals from the schedule and to not add any new ones for this season. The three festivals being dropped are in Manayunk PA, Canandaigua NY and Alton Bay NH. We are not going to add any festivals this year so that more time can be placed into advertising and website modification as well as the addition of new designs.

Dropping the three festivals from the schedule decreases our road cost by 41% and in-turn increases our road, gross profit margin by 86%. This increase doesn't take into account cost of goods sold, but the overall increase was a bit of an eye opener. Add this to our overall cost reduction of almost 18% this year for company expenditures gets one thinking of getting paid in the future would be another welcomed expense.

The Manayunk PA festival has been a bit of a hassle these past few years, both in travel and festival particulars. We have always made a profit at the festival, but it gets to a point where it no longer makes business sense to continue our efforts. If one slice of a festival layout is any indication of the festival as a whole, then the management of this festival needs to reboot its thought process. The quality of work represented as well as local support for the festival has not maintained itself over the past few years, for upscale artists we know no longer attend the festival and some so-called artist representatives work should not have been juried into the festival. It would also appear local demands upon the management of the festival has led to many issues with booth layout as well as booth configuration. Finally, to top it all off this past year was the simulated fire drill from three different directions to punctuate the point; it was a dangerous point to make for a very public simulation.

The Canandaigua NY festival is 30 miles south of Rochester NY. We attended the show as a recommendation from customers as well as fellow artists. The festival makes great business sense for artist from the general area, but travel expenses eat away into the quaintness of this festival. This particularly windy and late stormy weekend forced us to cover the back side of the booth to protect it from the water spray emanating from the lake waves into the rocks behind the booth. It was also a good thing it rained buckets the final hour of the festival to wash off the baby bird poop from the big tree above the booth; of course mamma bird was feeding its young black raspberries.

The Alton Bay NH show on Labor Day weekend is also a very nice and very small local show to attend on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. Although we also make a small profit at this show due to our low cost accommodations, the hours are a little long and attendance too localized to justify the sales and continued commitment.

Website updates included the addition of Google AdSense to offset the costs of utilizing Google AdWords. Tracking ads from Google were incorporated into the sports artwork landing pages and Artwork Review pages from our active AdWord campaigns for search keywords. For the active ten months of utilization of AdSense for the 2009 year, it offset 11% of our AdWord cost.

AdWord comparison statistics between 2008 and 2009 saw an increase of 40% in ad impressions, but only a 5% increase in clicks. This in turn translated to a 25% decrease in click-thru-rate (CTR), but cost control decreased overall expense by 6% while only reducing by 4% the average placement to 5.4. Metrics have yet to be filtered out of the data to determine true click-to-conversion search criteria as compared to sales from festival patrons, but 2009 Internet sales represent 31% of the bottom line, an increase of 5% from 2008.

BiyoArt tried print advertising for the first time in the Greater Manchester Sports paper, a local youth and school sports biweekly edition of 9000 copies to over 275 locations of an ad area of 275,000 people. The editions, in turn, are posted for future reference on-line in a pdf format in its website Five of the holiday season editions were targeted from October - December for $200 for a CMYK colored ad of 18 square inch dimension. Past artwork in print have never been a very good representation and at 18 inch square proved the point again. But the artwork at 32 square inch looked pretty good in print. So, an inexpensive learning curve at print advertising, but we also have yet to prove there was any return on our investment.

BiyoArt also managed to get on-line image ad space on the rowing site for $50 a year. This website event also provides an internal event link on the rowing website. We will also be exploring other such sporting website linkage and social network website advertising over the coming year.

We also received an e-mail from an artwork vendor, which caught us completely off guard, requesting our rates to advertise on the website. So, much thought was put towards establishing an Advertising Corporate Policy with all of the guidelines, rates and requirements. Ad images, advertising space availability on the website, were also developed so as to reflect the same format structure we established for our site with the Google AdSense ads. This policy and ad program will more than likely be incorporated once the new landing page layouts are completed in February, as well as the page layout updates to include the additional ad space opposite the Google AdSense layout.

Another ongoing, major event in credit card accepting websites this past year was their attestation of compliance to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) version 1.2 of October 2008. It was just our luck, by choice, that we do not utilize a credit card gateway processing service and are obligated to comply with SAQ version D, which includes over 200 compliance questions regarding procedures, processes, storage, configuration, encryption, maintenance, security, restriction, protection, access, testing, tracking, policy...etc.

Also, any website which processes credit card information and/or stores credit card information must also pass a cyclic security scan administered by a Certified Scanning Vendor at a frequency determined by the credit card industry.

Our Internet service provider (ISP) is LunarPages (Add-2-Net network) who is a client of American Internet Services (AIS) of San Diego CA where our server is physically located within its Lightwave server farm facility. AIS is certified to Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) No.70 Type II, which is a third-party assurance for service organizations maintained by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). These SAS-70 professional standards are set up for a service auditor that audits and assesses internal controls of a service organization and act as the framework to certify such standards as those established by the PCI DSS compliance standards as delineated in the SAQ-D.

An SAQ-D was submitted to LunarPages in late May for their input, but due to various time constraints and clarification revisions, was not completed until early October and finally submitted to our merchant service provider. Some clarification issues were that of additional and differently oriented questions on our merchant service SAQ-D as compared to the one submitted to our ISP service. The merchant service questionnaire originally could not be downloaded or electronically copied for submittal to our ISP service, so the SAQ-D was obtained in electronic document format from the PCI Security Standards Council. Once the Standards Council version was completed by our ISP it took a week to clarify the differences and another month to get revisions from our ISP to complete the merchant services modified SAQ. Upon submittal and acceptance by our merchant service, account information was provided for its Certified Scanning Vendor ComplyGuard. So, our website was now required to pass quarterly scanning certification by ComplyGuard scanning software ComplyShield. The SAQ-D is also required to be submitted on a yearly basis.

This past May, as a preemptive measure, we also spent 2 weeks validating and implementing further enhancements on our website configuration based upon results from a free scan provided by Comodo HackerGuardian, a Certified Scanning Vendor. In the end we obtained a valid certification of our website for 90 days for free. Did I mention that our credit card service provider, 1st National Processing in affiliation with iPayment and Wells Fargo Bank, as well as all other service providers, started charging a fee for having to implement these PCI DSS compliance standards to satisfy the credit card industry theft and network hacking issues. Anyone who handles credit cards, whether physically or electronically, must submit and adhere to these new security standards of compliance.

So, a scan was scheduled in October to validate the security of our website by ComplyGuard's ComplyShield, knowing full well the issues that will require resolving again from the certification of our previous scan in May by Comodo's HackerGuardian. As usual the same security issues were determined along the lines of severe / high / medium / low security risks and our merchant service was notified immediately as to our noncompliance because of severe security holes encountered during the scan. What ?? It would seem that our new scanning service, without due diligence of determination and explanation, notified our merchant service as to our severe security risk. As it turns out at the time, most of the issues were related to the patched OpenSSL operating system version implemented on our Linux server. The utilization of a patched operating system is completely normal and securely valid, but the scanning software cannot determine its patched revision. To augment the problem, our new scanning service also required system generated verification of implementation and/or modification justifying conformity in the form of screen captures performed by the system administration personnel at our ISP service. What ?? Well anyway, 2 weeks later all issues were clarified without a single website, server or network modification to satisfy the severe security risk reported upon completion of the original scan.

We were also informed, following clarification of the first quarterly scan, that if these issues were present upon subsequent quarterly scans, completely new screen captures would be required to satisfy any old and/or new security issue again. Prior submitted information would not be valid for submittal. What ?? But, it was to our good fortune that our ISP service, LunarPages, migrated our server to a new platform with the latest OpenSSL operating system in early January. The first quarter scan in mid-January had absolutely no errors to report. What ??

So, it would be nice to finally get some designs done at some point.

It's been real
We'll have to do it again real soon.
Talk at ya.

- yO

25 - January - 2010


© Copyright 1990-2014 BiYo LTD