I recently signed up with Art Fire during their $7/month for life special. I was impressed with the layout and chatter on Twitter and various forums. This is their front page, which rotates newly listed items, so everyone gets a chance to be seen.
You can register as a buyer only to start with if you want to get a good look around. Registration is free for a Basic account (zero fees, zero taken with sales, sell up to 10 items at one time, 4 pictures per item). The upgraded Verified User account is now $7/month for a limited time (zero sales fees, sell unlimited items, make your own categories, multiple studio templates, up to 10 photos per item, full community interaction, preferred placement in searches, personalized URL)...
Listings items was a breeze! One page for everything: title, price, description, shipping options, photos, tagging...there is even a place for "Inspiration/Story Behind Product" and the time it took to create the item. Your product shows up rather quickly on the front page and at the top of it's category. The listing is good for one month - no renewing necessary because items are randomly rotated through the categories so you won't fall to the back and stay there. Sales can be scheduled and configured for percentage. This is the one page look (click to enlarge):
Your Studio page has an artisan bio and welcome area which allows HTML and links to your other sites (even selling sites). Shop blogs are a feature that will soon be coming and viewable on your studio page. This is how mine is set up:
Like Etsy, you are notified via e-mail of sales...which I cannot yet comment on :( There is one other cool feature I have enjoyed - studio stats. You can not only see the number of views each item has received, but where that view originated. This is a peek into my stats ... the URLs are even clickable. (click to enlarge)
Your "My Art Fire" page has a mail center (for internal communications), Buying, selling, studio and account controls/information, and a section for promotion (includes buttons, shop window for your blog/website, and featured artisan application). This is mine (click to enlarge):
Art Fire also brought Google Analytics into the mix...and they did this is a matter of hours, not days and weeks of deciding and coding. (*note: etsy longer has stats available for it's members - they do say Google Analytics will be coming, but not sure when) That is just one example of how Art Fire works with it's members for its members. They are staying in Beta longer than most sites do so they can fix as many bugs as possible with the members. So far they are living up to their word. Problems get fixed fast! You can even follow them on Twitter for updates.
So, my opinion: Great site so far. The only downside I have run across so far is the lack of a full how-to section (like etsy and there step by step instructions), only a help/FAQ section for basics. There is, however, a spot with all their Beta updates and upgrades which stays very current.