Printables by Prusa Introduces Online Store for Individual 3D Model Sales « Fabbaloo

The new Printables Store (Source: Prusa Research)

In a somewhat surprising announcement, Prusa Research launched an online store capability in Printables.

Printables is the company’s online repository of 3D content for printing. The site launched several years ago by providing easy access to a growing set of 3D models, all free for download.

However, after receiving feedback from designers, the company wanted some way to monetize content to encourage more creation and transactions.

To that end, they launched Printables Clubs back in August. This was the monetization approach decided at the time, as there were several possible ways to do so.

The Clubs concept involves designers having “clubs” where users can “subscribe” and receive exclusive content on a regular basis. There were five different subscription levels, each providing some additional level of access over the default free level.

At the time Prusa Research seemed a little unsure whether that was the ultimate solution to the monetization goal. Now it seems that they are tweaking their approach with the new Printables Store.

Why add this when there’s already a subscription service? They explain:

“We said we’re aware the subscription model isn’t the optimal choice for everyone and that we might implement an additional system for selling individual models in the future. Well, the future is now. Today we introduce the Printables Store!”

However, they saw what has happened to several other 3D model repositories that implemented the store concept: massive spamming with 3D models with small variations and tiny prices. The result in some of these repositories is an unsearchable mess polluted with low quality content. Sometimes this overflow is so vast that the original free models are difficult to find.

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Prusa Research didn’t want this to happen to Printables, so they’ve implemented some interesting anti-spam throttling rules about priced items:

  • Limited sales slots per person
  • Minimum charge of US$5 per item

The sales slots start at only one per person. To get more sales slots, actual sales must be made. This gradually unlocks more slots until when 50 sales are made, the creator has an unlimited number of sales slots.

The minimum fee is reasonable, as they feel (and I agree) that it will encourage high quality content.

I believe the company had little choice here: they really had to make store functionality available, as there are plenty of people that don’t want to subscribe: imagine someone that wants “just that particular model”. Asking them for a subscription is not cool. The store concept addresses that concern.

However, I fear that even with the rules established above, Printables might still become a mess with paid content. I could well imagine that bad actors could simply generate a zillion new emails and sign up all of them to sell one item each.

This also doesn’t address the issue of stolen content. I could also see bad actors stealing a 3D model from another site, then setting up a Printables Store item to make a few quick bucks. I suspect Prusa Research will be watching for both of these patterns, and have a plan to deal with them.

Via Prusa Research

منبع: https://www.fabbaloo.com/news/printables-by-prusa-introduces-online-store-for-individual-3d-model-sales

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