Free Models Can't Be Stopped But Can Be Turned Into An opportunity To Make More Sales And Build Better Relationships With Buyers.
Although we can all agree that there is no way of stopping people from giving away top quality models for free but at the very least we can stop potential buyers from walking away with free models without giving us something back in return. After all feedback is the most important thing in business especially in client relations.
It is ok to give out free samples every now and then like they do at Yogurtland but just like there and at other well funded businesses the system should be more restrictive and regulated. You can't walk into Yogurtland and keep asking for free samples for two reasons, 1 the sales people will stop you at some point and two as a buyer you feel guilty to abuse the system.
The same would be true for 3D models if instead of just having a free for all grab and download as many free models are available system, we made it so that buyers have to ask sellers permission and communicate with them before they can happily take them off the server.
Basically it isn't ok for it to be free for all and unlimited amount of free downloads because that doesn't give value to 3D models and all the work people do to make them. Also there are plenty of freeloaders who just make do with the free content for their projects so they only buy the few models they can't find for free.
If someone wants a free item they need to contact the specific seller first and then the seller needs to grant them permission to download their model. This way the seller can get to know the buyer more closely and build a relationship so that then the buyer will be more likely to buy from them in future if they get a good vibe.
Online sales needs to get more personal just like when you walk into your local ice cream store.
That might get a bit heavy on the programming/policing side.
I noticed that sometimes the name of people who download my model shows up in the notifications. So, when it doesn't, does that mean that the downloader doesn't have a CGT account? Managing your suggestion would require that all 'shoppers' are registered.
I think seasonal discount/free trial campaigns would address your concerns. With a bit of organization, as a guild, we could either model new items in theme with the seasonal sale or just identify existing models for discount. If we do this as a group, we can promote it as a sales event. DAZ, Smith Micro, E-On and Unity send promotions at least 3 times a week to their customers. Vue has a newsletter featuring sales items, as well as tuts and interviews. While DAZ goes overboard with customer contact, the regular emails keep these businesses top-of-mind...that's to say customers think of them when it's time to shop. Personalized invitations to shop, at a discount, work well as customer relationship management tools. Does CGT do this?
Well you might be right but what if it could be used the same way as the make an offer button. I mean in the end it is the same sort of thing. Instead of being an auto download button it sends the buyer to the make an offer system.
Once they contact you it is up to you to approve their download or not the same way you would when they make you an offer price on your models.
Also I am not so sure that people being able to download models without registering is a good idea unless they are able to purchase them too without being registered. If you think about it if you can just download models without registering it means you never have to buy anything... That is really bad for business and I think on lots of other sites you have to be registered to download models.
Well, if you do that, it won't be free models. I suppose, the easiest thing to do is to put a price on existing free models.
If the named downloader notification isn't a new feature, then the unnamed downloaders must be unregistered. Try logging out and then downloading a free model. There's no cost to CGT when designers' free models are downloaded by unregistered users. If the word travels that there are free models on CGT, it's free advertising.
If a buyer can download without registering that means it is pretty much guaranteed they will never register or buy models... Those are all wasted potential clients we are loosing...
The models would still be free but you would have the option of communicating with the buyer before they download it. If you say it is free then whatever happens you have to let them download because otherwise it is false advertising but at least some communication with they buyer happens instead of none at all and that is always a step forward because you can get information from them before they can download.
Stop uploading models that will be given away for free. I put LOT of work into my models and have yet to make a dime on them. Lots are downloaded from this and other 3D sites so they are not lemons.
It's just like the music world and MP3s when Napster came out. Now the main source of income for musicians is actually playing music in front of an audience.
END FREE DOWNLOADS!
The horse is already out of the barn. LOL! Can't stop it now.
For my own interests, I've decided to use the 2 free models that I've uploaded for research and analysis.
One, a big fat, but stupidly simple, model that no game developer in his right mind would want gets downloaded a lot. So, I know that the 'freeloaders' of my models aren't likely seasoned game developers or even skilled modelers. I don't think they're the sort of shopper we're interested in. They're just bargain hunters and they might do digital art or play around in modeling software.
The second model is just an ottoman for a chair I sell. I could have put the ottoman in with the chair and sold them as a set. Instead, I'm using the FREE ottoman to see if I can get exposure for the chair with a link back to its product page. Also, the promo image for the ottoman shows the chair highlighted with the ottoman a bit in the shadows, but there's an inset of the ottoman to make it clear what is being offered. I am seeing some results from this little trick. I have 2 chairs in the furniture category and they're similar, both being antique replicas. I noticed with the first one that the category doesn't have as much traffic as the exterior architecture category, which is why I tried this. My finding are that the second chair has received as many views as the first in half the time, which does suggest the link back drives traffic.
I can also compare traffic to the free ottoman and the priced chair. The promo images are virtually the same and would have the same attractiveness in a category listing. However, the ottoman will show up with a FREE model filter and the chair won't. Well, the viewer counts are 116 for the ottoman and 27 for the chair. Since the first chair and a boardroom table in the furniture category have that number of hits over double the time, only half of the hits on the chair can be attributed to the link back. So, we'll say the link back might contribute about 12% more organic traffic for the chair.
Now, out of the 116 views for the ottoman, there have only been 6 downloads. And that tells me that the promo image, including the chair, has attracted the views. If the chair was free, chances are it would have been downloaded 116 times. Now that I know it, I might use this strategy to promote the 'Make an Offer' process on priced models when I add a back link to them in free model descriptions.
I also put a link back to the ottoman in the chair description. Hopefully this generates 'goodwill' impressions, which is what the FREE model objective is supposed to be. It surely isn't intended to be a liquidation clearinghouse service, which is what it is often used for and everybody and his brother knows it.
Many sites seem to end up going overboard with the free stuff promos. In the end the sites lose revenue, but gain a reputation with bargain hunters. When the cost to serve exceeds the return on investment, the general rule is to stop serving. That could mean bankruptcy or it could mean price restructuring. I suppose the easiest solution here might be to put a minimum price ($7) on all free models. That would not reduce the traffic of paying customers. Add a seasonal 'FREE STUFF' day or week for models that designers designate for the purpose and the bargain hunter traffic can be managed, observed and analyzed. If they're registered, they can be emailed notices of special discounts and sales. That's all up to the site admins, for the most part. But, even individual designers can begin direct marketing to their 'freeloaders'. Just use their contact button to send them updates on new models.
So, you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink? Maybe, just maybe you can!
Point taken, free items as teasers to the main course. Seems to be the way to work these sites. I have a good number of things on other sites and all are for free. This site seems to be the only one where you can get the product to the consumer without giving up the drawings. Not to sound like too much of a shill, I like the streaming option. i know some genius will figure out how to capture the stream and reverse engineer it but for now....
Are there people around that will do all that for a %?
If, by streaming, you mean collecting and using the data on downloaders, it's already being done. That's how we get notices of who, by user name, has downloaded our models. The site's database holds that information for all designers, so site admins could coordinate site-wide email notices. The email addresses of users on this site are linked to user names. It's a matter of developing the marketing material (an attractive email invitation to shop at discount prices) and a mailer script that pumps the message out to a list of recipients. Add a few different promo codes that give 10%, 15%, 20%, etc off and track the discount threshold that generates the traffic level you want to see from your effort. In the future, use that as the standard discount. You can do the same with message and imagery until you discover what works best. I'm sure the webmaster for this site could swing that easy enough.
But, there's no reason for designers to wait for site admins to get started. We, designers can create a list of our own downloaders and contact them via the contact button on their pages. It's not an email, so a simple textual message is all that could be created to pitch a designer's inventory discount sale, new product release or 'Make an Offer' pitch . But messages sent through the site's PM system activate notices that go to the downloaders' registered email account. Good enough!
For site-wide campaigns, the site admins could do it for a %. As for the designer inventory announcements, I'm pretty sure sending out a couple dozen PMs is manageable for designers.
Very interesting idea Tersta!
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