@pastanaga - It's the auction sites that have really changed my life, and not just because I buy from them. I sell my art on there too.
I've actually managed to build up a small following, something I don't think I could have ever achieved in real life, because I don't think I could ever have scraped together enough pieces to hold an art show at a proper gallery.
One day I might be able to make a living wholly as an artist and that is a gift.
Plus it has led me to find several friends I might not otherwise have met. Electronic commerce can sometimes be even friendlier than real world commerce, just because people feel more comfortable talking in email.
That's my experience anyway. I'm sure other people have had different experiences.