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David Heller
David Heller
Editorial and site information posted from the ShareCG Team

An open letter from the founder of ShareCG

 
September 23rd, 2007 by David Heller

Dear ShareCG Member:

ShareCG was conceived in 2007 at my son Jacob’s insistence. Jake’s now a lawyer, but even then his debate skills and logical thinking convinced us that there was a need to  develop an open sharing site to bring together worldwide artists and animators of all levels of expertise.  Our goal was to provide a friendly and graphical platform that would be easy to use and perfect for presenting art, animation, 3D models and for delivering tutorials and other educational materials to help the site’s users display their creative achievements and become more proficient in their craft.

We believed that if we provided a great platform ‘they would come,’ and you did.  But, we also had to find a way to fund our efforts so that we could continue to build out the site to meet the needs of a growing audience.  We succumbed to the idea of funding our efforts with banner advertising even though we would have preferred to have a site that was free of advertisements.    I have personally heard from hundreds of users complaining about the site’s flashing and distracting banners and I agree with them 100% but felt that we didn’t have a choice.

Now, after five years of experiencing the banner ad model we have yet to generate the revenue needed to pay for this site.  In fact, ShareCG has been running in the red and only kept alive and supported by re-directing funds from our other properties.  But, just chugging along without being able to provide timely new innovations to our audience is not a solution for either us or for you.

We are considering changing the ShareCG business model from banner ads to a subscription model.  I am proposing that members subscribe at just $9.99 a year for a banner free ShareCG that will have the resources to add services that will make the site a better place to visit and that will bring the community closer together.  We have a number of projects planned and ready to go that will:

  • Add ‘Friends’ to bring true social media and collaboration to the site
  • Provide expanded statistics for each user so you’ll know when and who viewed your video or downloaded any of your uploads
  • Re-design and expand the home page to include the latest uploads and blog entries, ‘user speak’ editorial, trial software, challenges, industry and educational newsletters,  SCG social buzz, news, reviews, jobs and more.
  • Add the ability for you to sell your creations like 3D Models and Poser and DAZ assets directly from ShareCG.

Most importantly we will encourage and facilitate on-going open discussions so that we can continually be even more responsive to your ideas and suggestions.  As a subscriber you will become a stake holder and part owner of ShareCG with a vested interest and a voice in making the site a better place for you.

This is a critical make or break moment for ShareCG and I need to know that whatever we decide to do is in your interest and in the interest of making ShareCG the best it can be.  So, please leave your comments here!

Thank you very much for being a ShareCG member and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

David Heller
President
Internet Business Systems, Inc. (ShareCG)

PS:  Mechspot.com is a new AD FREE site that we’ve been working on in our spare time.  It’s got some very cool new functions, like allowing users to tie related assets together.  This link shows how this capability is used to take the user through 9 video lessons:  (http://tinyurl.com).   And, this link shows how a video and two pdf brochures are linked: (http://tinyurl.com)  Think about some applications for ShareCG 🙂

Mechspot looks like SCG will look as a subscription model.  Of course SCG by its very nature will be much cooler.  [Mechspot is in Beta testing and login is disabled, so although you can get a feel for the site, you won’t be able to watch movies or do anything that requires login.]

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136 Responses to “An open letter from the founder of ShareCG”

  1. Mike says:

    While $10/year is a pittance for what you get at ShareCG, I fear that this will ruin it. ShareCG has a lot of nice features, like multiple large promo images and a very smooth interface (e.g. if you’re not logged in when you go to a page, log in and you’re put right back on the page). However, I feel the site that fills the need SCG does must be free for downloaders, at least for X number of downloads. Anyone who has been around for a while knows what SCG is worth, but newbies don’t. How many times do people recommend PoserWorld (I don’t anymore, but that’s a different issue), yet how many newbies subscribe? There are lots of people who just don’t know what’s going to be worth paying for, and the gut reaction to being told “this is a freebie, but you have to pay to join the site” is going to be extremely negative.

    If there was a free option with ads and a limited number of downloads along with a paid version, that might work.

  2. marcodd says:

    Please David, let us know your decisions before making any change, so all the artists who do not agree can delete their content from the site, thanks.

  3. McGyver says:

    I’d like to add, perhaps the staff at ShareCG should investigate CG Textures method of membership ( http://www.cgtextures.com/ top bar go to – Members – membership)… free for “X” amount of downloads per day ( a low number) and unlimited downloads with a paid “premium” membership.

    I still think contributers with higher DL and View numbers should get a free pass, as they are the ones drawing “customers” to the site…

  4. Andy says:

    10$ a year. 84 cents a month, 3 cents a day.
    Sign me up! I used to pay DAZ almost that much for the privilege of downloading 2 dollar items, and one substandard freebie a week.

    {Please take credit cards.}

  5. Ron Knights says:

    I commend you for supporting this site from your own funds. Free share sites are almost extinct these days.

    I get rather irritated at people who complain about banners on a free site. Dont they know that you were trying to find a way to pay the bills?!

    Do you really think you can support the site for a $10 yearly membership? That sounds very cheap!

    Unfortunately, in my experience, many people will choose to leave rather than pay. I suggest you go ahead and announce a paid membership. You need to cover the expenses.

    Some people will undoubtedly leave. You can look at the remaining “members,” and see if it’s worth it for you to continue.

    I do wish you all the best.

  6. Tim Sczawinski says:

    For me it is simple. I have enjoyed and taken advantage of this site for five years. To be honest I did not know how it was funded although I figured ads were a big part of it so I don’t complain about them any more than I complain about newspaper and TV adds. That being said you, not me, are the expert on how to keep a site like this up and running. Therefore if you see subscription at a meager 10 bucks a year as a workable solution I will subscribe.
    If you visit other 3D art and model sites you know the economy has effected them all. Many are now gone. Clearly one needs to adapt to changing economic conditions if one wants to survive. ShareCG is an important part of my life. I would not just be sad to see it go the way of so many other I would be devastated. So if you feel like I do support the founder’s wishes or wish you had latter…..

  7. FreeMind says:

    I think it should stay as it’s for those who upload and download free stuff, and you could make a pay subscription for those who want to sell their models

  8. Ghostpanther says:

    I’m going completely with esha’s opinion !
    A shop might be useful, but, please, not another social media site ! With a FB account you can do all the social media stuff there, not here !
    Maybe you can offer here from time to time something very special, which can’t be found anywhere else.
    An annual fee would minimize the fun a lot – especially, if you consider the fact, that not all of your users have current jobs and a regular income !

  9. Tim Sczawinski says:

    Look. I’m no body special. I’m just a Poser user always looking for new models to work with. Back in March of 2008 my Poser program with all of the models I then had had 40GB of information. When I checked it today it stands at 178GB or over half a million files. While I do purchase models I need by far the majority came from ShareCG and the other site. And often the free models are as good as if not better that the ones one has to pay for. Check your own program. I’d be pretty surprised if most Poser users did not have a similar story. Question is how much is 178GB of useful information worth? Some would say nothing and that asking 10 bucks a year is a rip off. To them I’d say good luck building a model library if you have to pay for every last one of them. I don’t know about others but the free-ness is all that has kept me going on 3D art for a very long time and 10 bucks is hardly a drop in the bucket compared to a lot of other stuff we all invest in all of the time.
    I was an artist long before computers and I assure you no artistic endeavor is really free. Time and materials are always a hidden expense no one likes to deal with. Either you pay the price or you don’t create. And what is really getting weird is people now think positioning electrons on a screen is high art. It took me a very long time to agree that it is but a finished product is only as good as the materials you use and some really nice people have shared some beautiful materials on this site and the world would be a darker place without it as far as I’m concerned..

  10. tylerzambori says:

    Why not make it ad free and free for anybody who
    contribues models, but charge the $10 annual fee
    for people who only download other’s stuff?

    That way you would not penalize those giving their
    models away for free.

  11. TheOwl says:

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/575109064/penny-arcade-sells-out

    Or raise money from donations like what these guys did.

  12. Greybeard says:

    With the current situation of the economy, I can’t look at ten bucks, and let’s round it to ten bucks, David, the nine ninety nine is about as ridiculous as you can get, as anything more than paying or helping to pay the costs of having a site to upload to or download from. Storage and bandwidth aren’t free, I don’t feel I should have someone else pay for me to put my junk up.

  13. 3dcheapskate says:

    (Third attempt to reply!)

    1) Make it $10 not $9.99 – you may get some kudos for giving that marketing-man’s “$0.01 saving” cliche a good SLAP!

    2) Ads? They don’t bother me. I have browser ad filters and my brain filters anything that gets through (and that’s why the ads aren’t paying for the site – users are savvy enough to IGNORE them, and ad-men HATE being ignored!)

    3) Provided you KEEP the majority of existing mid/high-quality freebies, and maintain a steady stream of NEW mid/high-quality freebie uploads, then value-for-money-wise as a DOWNLOADER it’s a no brainer. $10/year – easily worth it. But then it isn’t free, is it?

    4) How many UPLOADERs never DOWNLOAD. There’s probably a few – why should they pay when they can upload free (that word again) elsewhere?

    5) People UPLOAD stuff so others can DOWNLOAD it for free. If downloaders have to pay, then many uploaders will be annoyed and jump ship. That F word was in there again!

    Making the $10 subscription compulsory will have the DAZ effect (i.e alienate a large number of users and create a lot of bad feeling).

    Making the $10 subscription optional as a value-added service might work, might not. Depends how many people put their money where their mouth is when there’s still a free option.

    P.S. I’m a cheapskate by name, but I have an alter-ego who spends real cash on 3D stuff.

    Pete

  14. CHACOUNAC says:

    Je ne suis pas d’accord avec ce nouveau système. Je ne veux pas payer alors que je propose des produits gratuits !!!

    I do not agree with this new system. I do not want to pay then I suggest free products !!!

  15. JaneB says:

    Undecided. It’s not a huge amount given the costs of hosting, especially maintenence. Posting things here has been good practice for me in case I decide to start selling one day.

    However, these are not the best of times for all our economies and many people will not have the $10 to spare. That means traffic may well decrease which makes me a bit skeptical about selling here.

    The ‘social web’ side. Thanks but no thanks. There’s far to much of that sort of thing now. It infests everything and does not seem to add much. Posting and thanking others is fine.

    It isn’t clear whether the $10 is for uploading, downloading or both.

  16. mysticeagle says:

    lets just think of this rationally, many of the artists that post freestuff here also post the same content on renderosity or other freestuff site sections. Many of the artists that publish freestuff are also vendors on other sites, unless you offer them a substantiallly better deal, I doubt they will pay you for the priviledge of sellimg stuff or giving stuff away. I dont believe that sharecg has the infrastructure to actively market the products that potential vendors might upload, nor do i believe they have any further interest in the cg community, apart from as a purely business venture perspective. If they spent a decent sum upgrading the site, the search engine and its look, they may be able to attract enough visitors to increase banner sponsorship, I mean whats wrong with a few ads, I’ve never clicked on one. And a word of caution to the would be vendors, how many do you think you will sell if people have to pay a memebrship fee to then buy your products. To start that will put many off, and again, how many people use sharecg, because it is FREE. Dont think the popularity of your freestuff items will be any guide to your sales. It wont. I recently spoke to a vendor on another popular site, they offered freebies also, their freestuff downloads were in the thousands, their sales, less than 100.

  17. Tim Sczawinski says:

    Hey Greybeard! You are one of my favorites! So how about this idea. If ALL you do is upload models you should not have to pay the ten bucks. But if you download any models you would need to pay ten bucks a year. Would that address you concerns? Maybe even uploaders could get a free download or so for each model uploaded too.. as a reward so to speak?
    As to all those who want sell stuff there are plenty of sites already for that. ShareCG was never meant to be a money maker for modelers although it is nice they have included the donation option….

  18. Greybeard says:

    Thanks for the compliment, but, although there are many places offering free space, they come with limitations in bandwidth used. Not being willing to return to the Geocities days, of having to wait a day because bandwidth has been exceeded, I don’t see that as a viable option.

    I don’t see paying to have ad free pages as anything to object to, if you want something, you usually have to pay for it one way or another. It would be like me returning to RC aircraft and complaining about having to pay for my fuel.

    I don’t think there’s any reason in asking David to host my files and pay the cost himself, and it’s pretty clear advertising isn’t doing it. I look at it more as supporting a resource, and the price is damned reasonable,not just reasonable. We can support it, and have it, or not support it and lose it. I had to choke twice before sending Poserworld money for a life membership, but it’s been worth it, every penny of it.

    I don’t see David making money off what I put up, if he can, then we have to remember his is a business, not a charity.

  19. Greybeard says:

    I’m still in, David. But in the sake of humanity and common sense, ditch the 999 and make it an even 10.

  20. TheOwl68 says:

    I can fully understand the reasons for SCG’s decision to implement a paid subscription but unfortunately for me it means the end of my membership. I am out of work due to disability and we are a one-income household (the combined yearly net my husband earns plus my pittance of SSDI doesn’t equate to even one person working a decent job) so $10 is simply not in our budget.

    Unlike the artists who are not aiming to make money with their CG art, I need to do this to be able to continue producing CG, and as such I have removed my freebies here so I can add them to my Renderosity freebies. I will sorely miss being here to share with other talented and skilled CG artists. Maybe I’ll be able to afford to join in the future, but it’s goodbye for now =( I wish you all the best of luck and hope things will go amazingly well for you all!

  21. Greybeard says:

    Hold on! Re read the letter, because if you don’t pay, and if I’m reading it right, there will be no change. The only thing I’ll gain by paying is I won’t see the advertising. Marketplace and social are of no interest to me, so that’s the only change I’ll see.

  22. Tim Sczawinski says:

    I’m with you 100% Greybeard. While it is a bit off topic I too love Poser World. Subscription is a drag but I figure I’m really paying a few cents a model these days. And their models just get better and better and they like requests too. Those that don’t know about them check them out!

  23. Tim Sczawinski says:

    TheOwl. Please reconsider. There is a free option. I don’t currently have ten bucks myself but anyone should be able to scrounge up $3.33 a month over three months even me.

  24. Greybeard says:

    It’s even better, those looking at my stuff won’t see ads either. And it’s about 84 cents a month, not $3.33.

  25. Stu says:

    Sign me up – I think a subscription site is a good idea.

    I’ve been a member at Share for quite a while – and I’ve benefited greatly from submissions from the wonderfully talented people who meet here …
    … and I’ve felt guilty about that more than once.

    I’ll be happy to subscribe.

  26. Fred Wind says:

    I am very against a subscription base just to be ad free. I am on a fixed income and I no longer shop for poser models and rely allot on the free models. If you are concerned about profitability I suggest opening a store, I know allot of people who would sell here. I used to sell at several sites, Renderosity, 3DCommune and RuntimeDNA. Since changes in some stores and the closing of 3DCommune, I no longer sell due to all these restrictions that sites have. Plus you already have a user base that would draw current and new users to a store. Also if you are going to go with a subscription based site, you will need to offer models that are only on here and not on other sites.
    I will still use this site and I really don’t care about ads as long as the models are free.

  27. Daranc says:

    10$/an pour financer une grande idée, pourquoi pas .
    j’ai eu la plus grande difficulté
    à traduire le mail
    j’ai du me faire aider
    ceci explique mon retard de réponse
    Google traduction, ce n’est pas fameux
    la preuve: comprenez-vous ma réponse

    $ 10 / year to fund a great idea, why not.
    I had the greatest difficulty
    to translate the mail
    I had to get help
    this explains my late reply
    Google translation is not famous
    proof: you understand my answer?
    Daranc /ShareCG

  28. Nevermoresoul says:

    It was mentioned that opening a store wo9uld be a good idea. Ihave been in 2D and 3D creation and use since 1994 and for $10 a year add free is good. Here is a suggestion though:

    1) Free membership with limited daily downloads, Limited upload daily or space cap off.
    2) Premium membership that includes other benefits as well as the “No Add” include.
    3) A premium Store for us to sell some of our other high end output. Which you can take a % cut for the space to sell said items.

    I also run set-up and design forums for other groups and small D services. I understand the cost and time involved. It is not wrong to think of paid subscriptions and I’m for it, just do your homework and offer options, and as you have been doing keep the community informed.

    Thanks David, the site is about the best out there now.

    A. Jones, Nevermoresoul/ShareCG

  29. David Heller David Heller says:

    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. We are going to be offering additional functionality/benefits to subscribers in addition to an ad free presence and experience, and the first project we tackle will be building the e-store. We have given some thought to doing something with disk space, but that’ll be in the future. Right now we just want to stick with a basic program that works for everyone.

    We’ll do our homework and keep coming up with new options and doing development to make sure the SCG audience gets the best experience we can provide.

    Thank you!

  30. Dukeduck says:

    I love this site and $10.00 a year won’t kill me! But for those it will, will there still be the option of having to contend with banner ads but get in for free? Your added services sound great to me as well.

  31. John says:

    I think S CG should still have adds des people the don’t want to pay des subscription, but there has to be some real benefits for paid subscribers not just no adds, I’ve been with S CG for years and I will most probably pay for my subscription, keep up the good work guys.

  32. Martin says:

    I find it hard to see how $10 a YEAR could be a problem for anyone. If it was then by now you would have sold your TV, PC etc. etc. just to be able afford to eat.

  33. John says:

    I’ll pay for my subscription to S CG with no adds and some of the extras that have been mentioned, and members that don’t want to pay should get adds and nothing extra, seems fair to me.

  34. Nitab says:

    I agree with Owl — make it an even $10 and you can sign me up. Over the years, I must have a thousand dollars worth of goodies from Share CG. I love your site. Hobo Bo alone is worth that much.

  35. Dan Benway says:

    As a owner of a number of 3D Art Website I can relate to the expenses. We also discussed adding advertising but didn’t due to the protest of our members. We have a store that supports the Vendors commissions…but that is about all it supports. The rest is pure expense….

    So paying $10 a year is a small fee to pay for a years worth of well organized, well promoted, and wonderful free items.

  36. Daranc says:

    I see. The message of 24 October 2012.
    I received notification today.
    November 11, 2012.
    I thought New York – Paris (France) 6 hour time difference.
    But 27 days! Wahoooww

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