3D printing community network 3D Hubs has been extraordinarily successful, but how could they get even better?
The company just passed the astonishing milestone of 15,000 printers in their worldwide network, apparently more than any other similar network. This demonstrates the popularity of the service, but we had a discussion with 3D Hubs representatives to explore how it could work better.
One of the challenges we see facing 3D Hubs is the issue of quality and reliability - in other words, confidence. It’s the same issue faced by other consumer-to-consumer businesses like eBay: how do you know if the provider is adequate, trustworthy and reliable? eBay uses a ranking system that’s routinely inspected whenever a consumer contemplates a purchase.
That said, there are still consumers who may not feel sufficiently confident to place an order with 3D Hubs. Our suggestion is to create a “premium tier” of providers with 3D Hubs that differentiates professional providers from hobbyists. We’d expect the professionals to provide consistent and high quality service - but at a premium price. Meanwhile the not-Premium providers could continue to provide their services at whatever level of reliability they can execute.
This is definitely not to say that existing 3D Hubs providers make low-quality prints. What we’re saying is that a segment of possible 3D Hubs buyers may be spooked by the idea of hobbyists producing their prints and may be more comfortable if 3D Hubs could somehow identify consistently good providers.
It’s simply a matter of perception.
Will 3D Hubs take up our idea? We have absolutely no idea.
Via 3D Hubs