Here is a great article and interview with Artfire.com's president, John Jacobs that provides a glimpse into how ArtFire got started and how the staff works so efficiently.
The article, by Darla Dixon of the Atlanta Artist Examiner, explores the inner workings of Artfire.
From the article....
What makes ArtFire different from other handmade art sites?
As the Internet becomes increasingly more competitive, businesses that want to be successful will need to diversify and increase their online footprint. We for example have seen many of our suppliers become our competitors over the last several years, as barriers to selling on the Internet have come down. We encourage every artist and small business to think of the threats that venues pose to your business. If you say the wrong thing in a forum or to Admin, or unintentionally violate the 700 page TOS, is your company expelled or booted? This is a very real threat to online business and makes a very strong argument for diversification.
We don't believe that any artisan or seller should ever put all their eggs in one basket.