Online Galleries
1stdibs bought Online Galleries in 2012.

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Online Galleries was bought by 1stdibs in 2012. Combined, more than 600 dealers in the UK use both the sites to promote and sell their stock.

While 1stdibs has developed into a transactional website where buyers can browse objects belonging to galleries and buy directly through the site, Online Galleries remained predominantly a listings site.

Around 80% of the 200 or so dealers using Online Galleries also sell via 1stdibs but it is the third with individual websites powered by Online Galleries – and those dealers exclusively using Online Galleries – who will be most affected by the change.

“Best return”

Carmine Bruno, managing director of 1stdibs International, said: “It doesn’t make sense to maintain two platforms that are so similar.

“We want to spend 100% of our time on 1stdibs because that is where our sellers make money and that is where we all get the best return.”

Bruno said the firm is offering dealers a replacement website option that will be powered by the 1stdibs platform and be “far superior, more advanced with better technology for dealers”.

Although closing within two months, the Online Galleries-managed dealers’ websites will have until September 1 to migrate to new platforms. The development team at Online Galleries will continue to work with dealers at 1stdibs.

“Redirect”

The British Antiques Dealers Association (BADA) said it can provide websites for members free of charge. BADA said a number of dealers have already switched from Online Galleries to the BADA.org site including Mark Seabrook.  

Chief executive Marco Forgione said: “If you have an Online Galleries website, it is quick and simple to redirect your domain name to your BADA homepage, as a temporary solution, if you are looking for an alternative service provider to build a new website.”

Freya Simms, LAPADA chief executive, said: “Those of our members who list on the portal and/or have a website hosted by Online Galleries may need help to fill the gap it has created. We have been working hard to initiate packages and special rates specific to our members with online art specialist businesses as well as to develop and invest in the LAPADA.org.”

LAPADA said it recommends website provider Antiquity Software.

Founded in 2001, 1stdibs hosts around 4200 dealers globally. It has been expanding and last month agreed a deal with auction house Christie’s to host a selling collection on 1stdibs web portal and at its recently opened showroom in New York from May 1. 

In March 1stdibs raised $76m (£58m) to expand and plans to grow in Europe, with a focus on the UK and Germany.