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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
Internet Business Systems, Inc. (ShareCG)

PS: 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:  (   And, this link shows how a video and two pdf brochures are linked: (  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.]

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

  1. anon says:

    Although 9.99 for a year is more than reasonable for what you get in return and by no way am I moaning about that.

    However, you have 2100 facebook likes based on that figure you should generate 21,000 a year which is more than enough to cover running costs (if it isn’t you need to change your server).

    according to internet traffic website the website gets over 50,000 unique visitors per day. so actual members is probably a lot higher than 2100.

    It seems to me that the website will neither be free nor will it be profit making (you may make a slight profit but not by much). it will be something in between without the benefits of being free or commercial.

    you will need something to attract new visitors (a limited free section). then maybe by joining they could get a lot more ‘free’ stuff as a member as well as uploading, commenting etc.

    but what about the content providers that make the website as attractive as it is? what do they get?

  2. BWSman says:

    Sad to see this happening. I would like to see an ad-free, extra benefit subscription opt-in rather than just a blanket subscription policy. At $10/year you can upload/download larger files, no ads, download more than one file at a time etc.

    The thought of paying a subscription for “freebies” seems like an oxy-moron.

  3. esha says:

    I’m against paying for a scubscription.
    If I pay for an item I’d rather pay the artist than the downloading site (which doesn’t even have a good search feature, by the way) *sorry*
    If you want a subscription service, make additional services for the paying customers but keep the basic functionality free.

    About your planned projects: The last thing this world needs is another social site! Besides, I for one don’t want the site to keep track of what I download or just look at. And I don’t need any blogs, editorials, news etc. either, there is already enough blathering going on in the web.

    The only thing that really makes sense is adding a shop. If you do it right you might be able to finance the site just through the commissions you get.

  4. Redphantom says:

    $10 to give stuff away isn’t much but there are plenty of site who are still doing it for free. Where there isn’t any return for investment I think there are plenty who won’t want to do this. $10 to download free stuff might be shooting yourself in the foot. Some of this content is already on other site the are free. There are other site where you pay a subscription fee and the can download all you want and they aren’t doing very well financially.

  5. Origami says:

    I do not subscribe to any website but good luck. Hope you can find a model that works.

  6. Tay says:

    $10 a year is fine by me.

  7. Greybeard says:

    No problems, David. If someone downloads one or two items per week, that would be more than the ten bucks you’re asking for a year. I won’t even complain if this is what you have to do to keep going.

  8. LA3Digital Art says:

    It is sad to see this in the making but totally understandable. We would be more than happy to pay the $9.99 annually subscription. We’ve been with this site since at least 2006; every “try-out” that it went through and have never left even when things changed. You guys have an awesome format going on here and we would be honored to be able to keep on going with it.

  9. Gareee says:

    Honestly, I think you’ll loose a ton of people who offer freebies, because there are plenty of places they can go for free storage instead of paying here to make them available.

    Many people also simply will not pay to give free items to other people on principle alone.

  10. Paulomars says:

    bring on the 9.99! Well worth the $$$

  11. Wildlyfe says:

    All of the comments here have valid points. I too like the idea of 2 types of accounts. Free for those that are just uploading/downloading stuff for free, and the very reasonable subscription fee for those who would also like to sell directly from the site. Having both types of account would bring in more members than currently I am sure, and adding social media options is almost inevitable in today’s world. Adding ability to put social media links would probably appeal to a number of people (facebook link, twiiter…). I personally don’t mind the adds, but don’t usually click on ad anywhere, not just this site, so not being able to support this site on those alone is not surprising. It true that there are other places to get/post free stuff, but I really like ShareCG, and don’t usually post to those sites.

  12. SamTherapy says:

    I have a very low income and can’t afford even a token payment. Besides which, why on earth should I pay to have my stuff hosted here when I can have it hosted free at Renderosity? If the charges become reality here, consider my stuff deleted.

  13. Kraphik 3D says:

    I support annual payment and the option to sell my creations in ShareCG website. Artists could still give some 3d-creations for free as a teasers.

  14. Ladonna says:

    Okay, 10 $ per year is not much money, but why should I pay money for to give away my freestuff? Seems to me not right.

  15. Sophia says:

    Delete my account, i wont pay to lsit frree items. you are like every other site that went from free, to banners, to pay for. those who can pay do, those cant will never be seen again. that is a fact, but msot who went to subscription are gone. ive been in the graphics world for years, its always the same story.

  16. Bangner says:

    It’s good (for you) that so many people appear to have the $10 to spare for a subscription. On behalf of the rest of us, with gratitude for the generosity and for always being a class act (including this prior announcement and invitation to comment), I can only quote the Hitchhiker’s Guide — “So long and thanks for all the fish.”

  17. Ioria says:

    When I started 2 years ago doing CG this side here was one of the first I subscripted, and I really want to thank you guys for the amazing work and great free platform you created here.
    A annual fee of $ 9,99 is more than affordable for me, but I can imagine, that there might be others, who are not so lucky. What about them. Unfortunately I do not have any smart idea, how to make it possible for them to be a part of this community.
    To be honest, I do not need another social platform, and I would prefer ShareCG to stay what it was til now: a place of CG contents and tutorials and arts.
    If the fee helps to keep this place alive, you can count on me. It would be really sad to see this platform vanish.

  18. caravelle says:

    $ 10 p.a. is a fair price. Maintaining a site like sharegc costs time and money, and I think a small contribution from our side is ok.

  19. Xaa says:

    Well, first, I realize that responding is almost pointless, you’re going to get tens of thousands of replies, mainly in response to the e-mail, and all of them are going to say something along the lines of “OMG YOU WANT TO CHARGE ME MONEIES YOU BAD PERSON BAD BAD HATE HATE DIE DIE” and other similarly helpful and insightful comments. Anything useful I may add to the discussion is going to be lost in the noise, as is usual for the internet.

    However, here we go:

    First, charging a subscription fee isn’t going to work, because everyone who uses the service is used to the “free” mentality that has been a part of the site since day one. They are not going to be willing to pay, ever. People are lazy and cheap. All that will result is you’ll have a precipitous drop in pagehits as people start avoiding the site, only a handful of subscribers, and you’ll end up worse off than you were before.

    Probably the best suggestion I could make is to add a “Donate Here Via Paypal To Support Our Site” button, and a “Monthly Goal” indicator showing how much you’ve collected so far versus how much you need for monthly expenses. Reward top donators with extra services not available to other members (and reward those who actually subscribe on a monthly or annual basis with even more hidden or “special” features), yet allow those who don’t have money (or don’t wish to spend money) to continue to use the site, as this will draw in more people. Drawing in more people means there will be a larger audience to see what you have to offer, and help with donations/subscriptions.

    That’s all I can think of at the moment. Likely this will never be read, as is normal on the internet. But, there you are.

  20. Andrew Panero says:

    Subscriptions will fail. Open a shop.

  21. music2u4u says:

    I have been here since the first day. You have so graciously hosted many of my free models. Now, for 10 bucks a year, I have the option to maybe sell a few models?…count me in so fast…lol. I am one of your first dedicated members. Thanks so much SCG!

  22. gradientgrey says:

    This site represents a unique entity…it is a community. I don’t think a modest ten dollar fee is bad at all. Mr. Heller stated the obvious benefit: We all share ownership in ShareCG.
    People visit the site for ideas, resources, support and INSPIRATION…so lets give it to them. We are a community of eclectic ideas and skills. Ten bucks is cheap.

  23. Oni_Kataki says:

    I will be sad to see the change. I came here because the site was free. As a father of 3, any money I get, goes to raising my children. I do understand it from the Business point of view, but I for one will not be able to contribute any funds for a subscription site. I wish you the best of luck.

  24. Scld15 says:

    So.. when do we start? 😛

  25. Pedro Caparrós says:

    To me this is just a hobby, I have never paid a single euro-cent for a 3d model.
    Nor do I wish to charge for any of the models I do.
    Why do I have to pay to view and download models and textures, if I can do it freely Renderosity.
    Why do I have to pay to expose my models, if Renderosity not charge me?
    Paying for others to have my models seems absurd.
    I think you end with some empty pages of content, and few visitors.
    Given my poor English, I do not care about the social content to have the new site.
    If, in the future, there is a fee, please delete my website content.
    I know that times are tough, but I liked sharecg as it was. If kept in essence, can continue to count on my collaboration.

  26. Skipper25 says:

    It is dismaying that you are forced down this road, but I fully understand. A subscription of $10 pa is little enough, heaven knows, for the friendship and help that one receives and I would hope to stay for a long while yet. My initial reaction was resentment that I should be expected to pay for the privilege of giving my stuff away free, but upon reflection one can see that making a small nominal charge of a dollar or two for the better models would recoup this cost very swiftly.

  27. Boudicca36 says:

    I love it! As one of the freeware makers who are truly not into trying to make money with their hobby, I’m quite willing to spend, what amounts to a coffee and sandwich money around here, for an annual subscription. The banner ads and some of the other ads have been more than a minor inconvenience some days causing more trouble than any money generated from them could possibly be worth.

    Count me in.

    1. Very important that whatever purchase system used, can accept “non-refillable gift Credit Cards”.
    2. As a previous poster suggested, a small ‘free to anybody’ section … maybe only a page of 10 items available as ‘teasers’ … the items being those offered by their creators for said page. If lots of items are offered, they could be rotated keeping the total to 10 at any given time. This would encourage people to check back again later. If the items were little extras for a creators available purchase, hopefully would make for some good incentive for them to join in and make a purchase too.
    3. I don’t care how it’s done; I want to be able to have more than one page open, I can count and download one item at a time … however it is possible to code something somewhere to permit only 1 true download at a time without this nonsensical refusal to load the next page just because one has a download active. Which btw tends to be corrupted more often than not as the system as keeps killing the downloads. MOST frustrating.
    4. And FAST. People are probably tired of my ranting about this by now but honestly, when one is paying big bucks for fast service, we expect it be available without it being choked by the websites we’re downloading from. The weight of the item doesn’t change, just the time in which one is stuck on one page. And if we’re trying to make a purchase, an incomplete download really won’t cut the grade. Thank you. End of rant.

  28. Knight says:

    Want to add a subscription service? Go ahead, but make the base model for free.

    But it sounds like you’ve already made your decision. Dollar signs for eyes syndrome has struck again.

  29. dagaffer says:


  30. Pidicus Rex says:

    Quote: “I am proposing that members subscribe at just $9.99 a year for a banner free ShareCG”

    So is that fee paying for everyone, or just the sellers?

    I think you’d be better off allowing artists to run a store within the site, where they can share some models for free, and sell models as well, at their discretion, with the site getting a percentage from the sales.

    But, before you do any of that, how about fixing the search function – I have never once seen it return any results if you search for one type of result (ie, just models, or just textures)

    After that, fix the download engine, so that those of us who can’t access high speed connections (above 56k baud is high-speed), can get downloads that don’t break part-way through, regardless of using html or a download manger.

    As for the social media interconnections, I’d be happy to have all of that blocked permanently, ditto with the annoying pop-up descriptions that chew up limited bandwidth and slow down navigation.

    ShareCG also seems to be the only site on the web, where if I open two or more tabs from the site, only one will download at a time, every other site seems perfectly capable of parallel data streams.

    I know these comments will sound negative, but you need the site to work before you can ask for people to pay for the service.

  31. mysticeagle says:

    Personaly I find the open letter insulting. Insulting our intelligence that a few hundred members have complained about a few banner ads so now we all have to pay for the privilege of giving stuff away that actually generates the traffic here anyway. Be honest, tell us your long term plan of setting up another 3d stuff market place with 40% commission rates. Why do people come here?
    Because it’s FREE. I have removed all my free stuff already, I would hate to have it left here for people to download if I had no access to it. I mean don’t tell me that if people don’t pay the 10 bucks you will delete their stuff for them. That does raise a question, if people refuse to pay the fee can you legally offer their property for download? People do yourselves a favour, email sharecg and tell them that if you don’t wish to pay sharecg must remove your content as they have no right to offer it for download on the site, and keep a copy.

  32. eblank says:

    Not long ago, I got paid for people viewing my freebies here – now I am supposed to pay for uploading??? As long as there are other sites which allow you to upload/download for free, I won’t pay a cent. I am only willing to pay if I can sell through sharecg.

  33. Ruekaka says:

    84 cents per Month for that incredible amount of free stuff. Sounds more than fair for me.

  34. MJ007 says:

    I didnt read thru all the comments, but i think a better alternative is to charge the users downloading the content a $5 unlimited downloads annual fee, rather than charging the content creators. They are the ones “giving” their goods away; making them pay for something they are giving for free sounds “unfair”.


  35. Axl says:

    I think you have more options that have not yet been mentioned. If you decide to follow the Renderosity model it might work but then again this economy may make it a tough slog. The Rendo model allows everyone (who is a member) to post and download freebies at will. You could just open a store and attempt to become profitable. Another option which may be less savory is letting go of this venture and concentrating your efforts on your business’s which are making money. I don’t mean giving up but something even better. Donate the site to people who will care for it and run it for the good of the community as a non-profit. Blender3D did this years ago and it has been a great success. I am sure a group of volunteers can be found who will host, manage and moderate the site. Keep in mind that many of the people who post here do so because of the open and free nature of the site.
    What I would not like to see is for you to put a lot more work into this and still not find any or enough profit down the road and then decide to close it altogether out of frustration. Thank you for letting us voice our opinions. Give the idea some thought.

  36. LmWolfSpirit says:

    Suggestion: Create a poll (yes, no, for downloaders only, etc.) as many people are more likely to click a button than take the time to write a comment.

    As for me, this low subscription price is a winner. However, I would recommend bringing back the ability for downloaders to donate to their favorite artists which could very well help defray that person’s subscription cost (if there will be one for those who only upload free products. This has not been made clear and should be as it would change the whole picture.)

    With ShareCG’s already built in reputation, I think many vendors who are exploring new markets would be interested in hearing more.

    I would like to hear more about plans for verndoring products at ShareCG–especially regarding commissions. I would also want to know more about how quality control would be handled.

    While you are thinking about changes, please review and fix the license choices for free items as it is now very confusing and sometimes misleading.

    Thank you for the opportunity to voice an opinion. Most big sites do not do that any more.

  37. crios says:

    I’m not so agree to subscribe to download freebiees, you may make sure that the subscription takes to sell products on ShareCG, or rather who pays can sell its products on ShareCG, ShareCG not take part in the roialty sales, but offer only space and technical support for the sale, and the seller would pay some sort of rent of 10 or more dollars.

  38. muddpuddle says:

    People seem to think web hosting is free – and on a scale such as ShareCG requires, I cannot even guess what you guys pay. The amount of daily traffic alone is enough to shut down most small sites.

    I would be happy to pay $10 per year for what this site offers.

  39. ChuckRock says:

    Well im off. You’re trying to make money out of my stuff that i provide for free.
    Cyas, im off to a free community.

  40. Karen says:

    Personally I think a 2 tier system would be good. Free for those just showing or giving away, and a pay option for those wanting to sell.

  41. Joseph says:

    I will not pay you to provide your site with traffic generating content, are you nuts?

  42. Stephen Briggs says:

    Just a note to say that I’ve mentioned this idea to the members of alt.binaries.3D.Poser newsgroup and literally *every* response has been positive. No true fan of ShareCG is going to complain about $10/year for No Banner Ads!!!


  43. Joe says:

    $10 a year is not deal breaker, but if you are going to charge it should be for downloading not uploading. You don’t want to scare away the content creators. Please give us an adult area that is password protected so we can upload uncensored artwork. I would also suggest doing what deviant art does and let us sell prints of the art we create and own so regular members can also make some money. I would also change the way things are searchable here at sharecg give us more options to search for items. As far as selling I think that selling here is a great idea. Give content creators free access for uploading free content and don’t take so much of their profits and they will flock to this site.

    – just my two cents!!!

  44. Moonfly says:

    If I have to pay to host my freebies here then I am simply going to put them somewhere else.

  45. Mahakali says:

    My opinion…

    First, let me say I have mixed feelings about the site. As many have said the search feature is beyond broken. Meaning you really don’t get what you search for. As to how to fix it, I have no clue, I am not a programmer of sites.

    The pay to share program was a nice gesture, it helped those who created stuff and uploaded it for free use. Honestly I beleive it provided an outlet for those cg modellers who weren’t deemed “quality” by the sites like Daz or Renderosity to actually get something back for their work other than a you are beneath us message in the que for product testing. When the program passed, so did a lot of the content and users. Where as there were uploads daily I have seen uploads from days prior still on the front page. Yes the way it ran could have been run a bit better, but the gesture alone was an awesome deal.

    Currently as the site stands, in this day, if it were required to pay a yearly subscription to download free models, I would have to pass. And that is not just based upon the search engine or past programs. Many users post there stuff to other heavy traffic sites, you can get them there for the most part. And if this site was to make downloads exclusiive only how many artists would not bother because they could get more hits and recognition at the other sites which are distinguished as giants in the 3d storefronts. Not trying to rag yall, but I would think it would do more harm than good. Just my opinion.

    Now here is an idea, which may defeat the purpose of Sharecg, but who knows might save it since it is in the red. Offer a storefront for the exsisting users. Have your free section which is the main focus, but also have a store section for the users who put up free stuff. Offer a decent split 65/45 in favor of the artist @ 65%. Or hell go for the big boys throat and offer a 75/25 split. That would attract more users. Allow the user to upload the product as like the free stuff area. The viewer will then decide if it is in their interest to purchase it. A boost to income the site makes, it helps out the artist who is otherwise deemed “not suited” by the “big boys” and provides an alternative to the other sites. You can set a ratio of products limits like: you have to upload 3 free items to get 1 store item. Maybe offer a print sale as well for the cg artists.

    But to make that work your going to have to fix a few bugs which are common, such as how the search field yields. Now if that was offered as a service, and it worked pretty decently, and not presented like the new Daz store was, I wouldn’t mind paying the annual fee to have that as an option, but to just pay to download free models, I wouldn’t. Not even with all the social media bells and whistles, add-less pages (they don’t distract or bother me), the help to make income at the job I love to do is pretty much the prime aspect I am having to center my whole 3d around at the moment. I too have some health expenses needing dealt with as well as in the need of new hardware to create better cg models and art.

    So if you can make that work, I would have no problem paying the extra amount as well as word of mouth or any other possible thing to help out. I like yall better than Rendo or Daz, as the management goes. Your not all pompous when it comes to viewer’s end of it. And the site is going by the possible things to come in a good direction. As I said it wasn’t meant to rag yall, trust if I didn’t I sure wouldn’t write the book before ya. These are just my wishes or opinions…

    Hope it all works out for you. But if you can offer a better deal than the “big boys” as to say where the storefront is concerned you will probably hit them hard, take them by storm, and hit green after a few of the pros jump ship. Who knows it could happen. Also don’t lose sight of who is and why you are what you are like the other’s have. It is quite often the artists get overshadowed by the dollar, and that is sad when it becomes commonplace.

    Anyways enough rambling…

  46. Susan Carter says:

    To be honest, I haven’t used the site in years. I contributed to the free stuff that was given away and happy to do so for the kudos I got (every now and then I still get the odd comment or thankyou). You guys have always been really above board and open with how you run things. It’s unfortunate that you have been running at a loss. I guess the banner ad folks made big promises and didn’t deliver, huh?

    I’m not sure you’ll be able to keep the site going with a sub fee. You’ll get an initial hit of income, but that will die off, I’m guessing. See, I’m a cheap person, which is one reason I first came to ShareCG. And I made content for other cheap people. I doubt many people give a damn about my old Poser 4 stuff. But I wish you all the luck in the future you deserve. If I have anything to share now, I’ll upload it to a legal torrent site. Maybe that’s something you guys could get into?

  47. FranOnTheEdge says:

    Yes, I too like many others cannot afford to pay to give things away for free.
    I am currently trying to learn how to become a vendor with another site, and it is very difficult with lots of hoops for the prospective vendor to jump through.

    However there is the light at the end of the tunnel of possible gain – for me.
    Therefore I think that if you decided instead to add an ‘ad free’ section for people to sell their creations – you would do a lot better on the commission of such sales than on forcing people to pay to give stuff away.
    But the site does need a major redesign for that to work.

  48. FranOnTheEdge says:

    P.S. I don’t think MechSpot is any better than ShareCG is right now. When I said total redesign – I meant TOTAL. You’ve got to have something much better than either of these.

  49. McGyver says:

    I suppose you have to do what you have to do if you intend for the site to survive.
    But personally I hardly download stuff from here anymore and pretty much anything I have, could have been downloaded from Renderosity’s freestuff area… I DL’ed from SCG to provide the creator with rating and comments.
    I have contributed about 73 items to SCG over about four years… most of which seems to have been received favorably and downloaded in decent numbers…

    I have no CGI budget and most people I know don’t know why I do this… quite frankly as a contributer, I don’t think it would make sense to do so if I had to pay… I could understand people who only download having to pay… but contributers?

    Since I first posted a model here my goal was to improve my skills and try my best to provide and share quality content with others as a way to “pay back” what I had gained and learned from the CGI community.

    Perhaps some system where contributers with X number of Items with X number of downloads could earn a free membership would be fair… but without something like that, I don’t think I could remain a member if I had to pay…

    I implore you Mr Heller to look at some of the better and fairer suggestions posted here… I’d hate to see this site go away or morph into something too far from it’s original vision.

    Thanks and good luck.

  50. jaydee_007 says:

    What ever keeps ShareCG around I’m all for.

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