Shame about 3D Hubs

 

@eckerj @MindFuLL @EVANR

 

This is a follow on to a previous thread "more website changes"

 

Before I add my view I would like to say I have been an Investments and Pensions adviser dealing with companies for years, so I have a fairly good idea of how businesses work. 

When we first joined the hubs it was a great experience with lots to explore, enquiries from new customers and a reasonable amount of jobs....that has all stopped now.

 

The new direction 3d Hubs has taken is designed to increase their revenue by bringing on board commercial companies with the ability to provide enhanced throughput with little risk to themselves. 3D Hubs do not have to buy the machines, maintain them, update them or their knowledge in this changing industry.

 

Like many other companies, what was once a great idea to help 3d printers get work in a community of like minded people has been distorted by the need/desire for growth and revenue. The difference between the hubs and shapeways is that on the hubs you can find individuals with passion who are prepared to help educate their customers and give them the best 3d print they can. Commercial firms require throughput and I imagine that they are prepared to provide a bigger discount (as they can carry that) to operate their bigger and costly machines.

 

What will happen is that the HD service will start to suck up all the work and the smaller operators (which the hubs was built on) will get nothing and eventually fade into the background. The value of advice and expertise to customers should not be underestimated and if the hubs lose this I don't know how they will differentiate themselves from a company like shapeways.

 

I can tell you that since I went on holiday in JULY I have had ONE job via the hubs and this was from another hub who needed an HD part. Eventually our hub will be "allowed" onto the HD part of the site once the big boys have settled in and then we will no doubt be offering discounts trying to get some work and compete with them.

 

If enquires coming via the hub continue in this way it won't actually matter if your on the hubs or not!

 

 

 

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Hi All,

 

Thanks for the feedback and I want to assure you all that we are listening. With community being such an integral part of 3D Hubs, I can assure you that it’s feedback like this that helps us refine our organisation and ensure that we are delivering the best service possible. With that being said, I would like to address a few specific concerns:

 

  • Yes, we do have growth ambitions just like most other companies. Naturally, the resulting increase in print orders also benefits you, the Hub.
  • Since the launch of 3D Hubs HD two weeks ago, we’ve seen a 25% increase in FDM orders across the company.  
  • We feel we can attract more customers across the board by locally offering ALL the technologies and materials that 3D printing has to offer, not only FDM. As traditionally expensive technologies such as SLS get more accessible we’d love to see this adopted by the 3D Hubs community as well.
  • Previously a substantial part of orders that have come through our platform had to be declined because they are not printable via FDM. By offering our customers SLS to print their model, we are able to retain more customers on the 3D Hubs network - a benefit for all Hubs.  

 

I also read the suggestion to create two separate platforms. I think one of the beauties of 3D Hubs is that we have providers of all sorts now offering their services side by side and are judged based on the customer experience they provide, independent of whether it’s individual printing from his garage or a large industrial company. This seems to be very unique as I haven’t seen it in any other online marketplace model.

 

Bram

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So just some comments:

 

"As traditionally expensive technologies such as SLS get more accessible we’d love to see this adopted by the 3D Hubs community as well."

Still the cheapest ones I know of are in the $20k-$30k range. Might be a few in the $10k but they probably don't compare. Not exactly accessible, and those prices are not going to be dropping anytime soon to the probably $5k max (still extreme) a lot of the hubs here operate in.

 

"judged based on the customer experience they provide, independent of whether it’s individual printing from his garage or a large industrial company."

But you stopped doing this when you started pushing "HD" hubs. HD hubs is exactly the opposite of what you are describing here.

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Hi @ABram

 

Thank you for your response and I would like to respond as to my own experience as a hub member.

  • I have a stratasys resin printer and since changes have been made I have not been getting any new jobs. I would put this down to the fact that they can’t get onto my hub to see me or that lots of other best matches that are miles away and not local.

  • I have looked into buying an SLS printer. As you may be aware even the cheaper versions that are desk top based are approximately £20,000 (such as the Norge ICE9) and are inferior to the larger machines. So how can I commit to investing that amount of money when the commercial services you allow onto the hubs will squeeze me out in both terms of quality and cost. I don’t have £250,000 to invest.

  • The ultimate experience for the small time 3D printer is that they will lose out to the commercial firms, this is because the consumer wants 3 things. Cheap, fast and easy.

I hope that you will change the hubs to allow consumers once again to be able to find and browse our hubs easily. Most of your members have put a lot of time, care and capital into doing it.

 

Mark

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Hi @ABram,

 

First, I'd like to thank you, being a co-founder of 3D Hubs, for taking the time to respond to an issue that I consider urgent.

 

I'd also like to point out a couple things:

 

1) I do not have an issue with 3D Hubs offering SLS (or HD if you prefer) printing services to customers.  

2) I don't know what markets are seeing a 25% increase in orders, but I've seen my incoming orders flat-line in the past two weeks.

 

The heavy-handed changes I've seen in the past few weeks goes against your statement about "community being such an integral part of 3D Hubs".  By "heavy-handed", I mean implementing drastic changes in functionality without first consulting or even notifying the Hubs.  

 

The first change I saw was the change to the pricing scheme on the order pages.  We had a fruitful discussion about that and after a while, the functionality we requested was restored.

 

This latest change, however, has single-handedly eliminated the idea of "community".   We Hubs have spent considerable time and energy on our hub profile pages (uploading pictures of prints, working orders to ensure maximum customer satisfaction by way of customer reviews, modifying/updating our printers and pricing so customers can be educated, etc.)  As it stands now, prospective customers have no way of finding our hub pages.  We Hubs are completely anonymous now, with the exception of a chopped off intro blurb and the pictures we've posted.

 

Finally, as it stands now, it is impossible for us Hubs to be "judged based on the customer experience they provide".

 

Please reconsider the changes that have taken place.

 

-Joe

EDIT: change ambiguous wording about who was a co-founder :-)

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@Filemon If you want a quick easy fix for the distance local related problem, remove the the default distance filter of 250 miles and make it 5 miles, that will at least put back the Local in the local printers button

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I agree with the concern/comment above. (I've not read any other threads on this subject yet)

3DHubs was a great solution for the 3D community. Bring creators, those who needed a print and printers together. So that everyone could benefit. It helped those who invested a lot of money in printers, to get a little return from it, bye giving them a platform, and means to market themselves.

 

Allowing commercial companies who have a lot more funds to invest, market themselves, and almost no risk, will change the community here on 3D  Hubs.

 

What probably will happen, they will put prices under pressure, making it more difficult for the hobbyist to compete or get any orders in. and chasing part the community away.

 

It would have been better to have a separate platform: a commercial one, for companies who's sole business is 3D fabrication, and keep a community platform.

 

As I've seen this happening before in other area's, soon, the balance will be tipped over so much to the commercial side, that a small group will spin-off a new community platform which goes back to the original idea of 3D Hubs. Some people here locally are already thinking about this...

 

When that happens, I probably would sign up from the start.

 

 

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Unfortunately, I can't find fault with your reasoning. 

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Hi guys,

 

In order to answer your questions and give more insights I've planned another Hub Hangout on November 12, 11.00h GMT-4 New York (or 17.00h GMT+1 Amsterdam). Here's the link: https://plus.google.com/hangouts/_/3dhubs.com/hub-hangout

 

Cheers,

Filemon  

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I'll do my best to be there. Its about 30 minutes before I get out of work but I'll see what I can do.

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Hi Josh, I'm currently in the Hangout but nobody here (yet). Been here for 20min so I'm checking out for now. Please let me know if you would like to pick up the conversation at a later time. You can also always mail me or nudge me here on Talk of course. Let's stay in touch! Cheers, Filemon

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Ya, I'm in work for the next few hours so I wouldn't be able to make it for a while. 

 

Would it be possible to do a text based hangout instead of video call that way I could at least check in from occasionally. Plus I think a more people be willing to do it that way. 

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Ok clear, I will schedule another one soon and we can set it up like that. Will let you know! Cheers, Filemon

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I saw a lot of new comments coming in again, so will try to answer as much as possible of it here:

 

  • Naturally we aim to deliver a service that customers want...I'm extremely confident that will continue to be local members from the 3D Hubs community that have a strong passion for 3D printing and willingness to help customers succeed with their project.
  • I agree that SLS is not going to be accessible to every Hub overnight. With that being said patents are expiring and the first SLS desktop printers have launched. From here, we believe SLS is going to be a more accessible option.

  • The removal of the Hub links is a A/B test that we started, because as soon as users clicked that link we saw a lower conversion to orders. The first results of this test show that the new situation leads to more orders, something that I assume all the Hubs want. Your profile pages are still accessible and based on your feedback we'll evaluate which parts of information we could also make visible on the /3dprint page.

  • I hope you do appreciate that advanced pricing was a very complex operation that was frequently requested by many Hubs and was built based on their feedback. After our launch, the volume change option change on the order page initially got lost and directly after seeing comments from the community on Talk we started work to restore it. 

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I thought I was your customer?  The “service fee” is on my end.  Why not let us deal with the customers?  Isn’t that the point of the reviews? 

HUB PAGE
You say that “as soon as users clicked that link we saw a lower conversion to orders”.  I don’t understand what you are trying to convey.  If someone used to look at 5 hubs before placing an order VS now they just place an order with the first printer(can’t call it a hub anymore) on your list, it’s still just one(less informed) order.  Is this what you mean by “conversion to orders”?  I understand how this may superficially boost whatever metrics you are concerned with in the short term but I guarantee this is very destructive in the long term.  You will have us competing with nothing but price and we ALL will lose. 

HD
I specialize in prototyping.  I build my own equipment.  I print PEEK, Polycarbonate, IGUS, and a variety of nylons at 100 microns in XYZ.  I print support structures in dissolvable filament.  I have never told someone “that cannot be printed”.
SLS printing is great, I think we are all just confused about why it gets its own special “HD” designation, discount, marketing campaign, etc… especially when it’s in DIRECT competition with what most of us are trying to do on a smaller scale.   It’s discouraging to see you pouring all the resources you got from us into people who already have tons of resources.  It seems like the opposite of the original concept.

Your responses to these issues seems to reinforce that this new direction IS the new direction.  The fact that these ideas weren't immediately shot down when mentioned, let alone being "tested", is a very bad sign. My confidence is at an all time low.

-Jesse

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Things are a lot more nuanced than how they are being presented here and apparently that's not coming across, so I'd love to continue the conversation but I think it will work better during a call. Everyone in this thread is welcome to join, I'm available today at 5pm New York time (in 30 minutes) through this link: https://hangouts.google.com/hangouts/_/3dhubs.com/hubhangout

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In addition to this though, how can you say things are a lot more nuanced than they are being presented? Yes the changes you made on the outside of the site appear nuanced. Anyone who doesn't frequent the site might barely notice them. But if there is one thing I have learned as a designer is just because you tweaked one small seemingly insignificant feature doesn't mean it was a small change. I might have only added one new part to this design but that doesn't mean it didn't take me days to get there and that it wont possibly ruin the entire product.

 

And when you take a look at it the things you changed are not even that small to begin with. HD hubs; promoting bigger, more capable operations over the little guy. Basically restructuring the whole premise of what 3DHubs is. If I wanted an HD high quality part I'd contact Stratsys or Protolabs or one of the other dozen companies like that. Removing/Hiding Profile Pages; You removed the personal experience between customer and hub. You just reduced hubs to a number on a long list. Changing things like the Distance; It used to be 5 miles/km by default, now 250. Wheres the "local community" at 250 miles? And I was told that changing it back to 5 miles wouldn't be possible because some people don't have printers that close. I understand but it seemed to have kind of worked for them for the past year or so right?

 

I mean just the outreach from Hubs here in talk should be a sign that nothing was very nuanced about these changes.  I don't think I've seen the Talk section this active in a long time. Sure its only a few of us reaching out but I could imagine there are many more that agree, or would agree if they came and saw this. 

 

The only nuance with them is how stealthily they were done in that I didn't even notice how changed things were for a few weeks. I just assumed my Hub had died or no one was interested and that was that. And I checked my hub every few days. Because on our end nothing really looked different. All our normal pages were there. But on the important side of things everything was tossed around.

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@ABram

im sorry I missed the opportunity to discuss this further. 

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Ya, I somehow missed this message too. Probably was in the middle of typing up one of my marathon posts :/

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@ABram, your explanation of "lower conversion" left me a little confused as to what you were trying to say was the issue. After reading @MindFuLL's response I now understand what you thought the issue was but I have to agree with MindFuLL that the lower conversion wasn't an issue. It was exactly what he said, people shopping around. And now that you removed the shopping around its only going to cause issues. Who doesn't shop around before buying? Especially when shopping for something you don't have much experience in and have questions about. What I want to know is those people who shopped around, causing this conversion issue, how many of them in the end actually placed an order?

 

Could you imagine if some higher power realized too many first time car buyers were not buying from the first car dealership they went to so their solution was to just close all dealerships and offer a service. This service they thought would solve everything by asking one question, "Hey, you know nothing about cars, what one do you think you want to buy?" They answer the question, the service gives them a few prices. No test drives, no feature comparisons, no experts to talk with, no info on better options. They just got to make an uninformed decision on price. Instead the proper response would be to ask the customer at the end why they didn't end up buying from the first 3 dealerships they went to and giving that feedback to the dealership.

 

If customers were visiting hubs and then leaving them the issue wasn't with the customer needing an easier experience it was with the hub not having something they needed. A better idea would have been to tell hubs when they lost a customer that almost purchased through them. Then asking the customer why they are leaving the hub they are looking at. Because as of right now, as a Hub owner, its a bit frustrating that we just sit here and the only time we know anything is happening is when there is an order. I haven't had an order in a week or two. For all I know absolutely no one has even looked at my page, maybe 3D hubs is bringing in no potential customers. Or maybe I have 20 visitors a day but I am missing a feature that a lot of people are looking for. If I added something like a new material I would triple my orders. Right now I have no idea and its a little frustrating. I would love to be able to spend a lot of money and buy a few different printers and all the material in the world but I cant exactly do that.

 

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Hey Josh,

 

Maybe I can offer so insight here, the reason we're testing the Hub profile links is because people actually seem to shop around less when they order through the Hub's profiles - I know it's counter intuitive. If they use the /3dprint page to order on average they submit more than one order, and are more likely to be successful in getting their print. 

 

Again I know this has been said before, but we're already looking at how we can make the conversion better on the Hub profiles, as well as bringing the essential data into the /3dprint page to allow Hubs to better differentiate themselves. 

 

Your point regarding informing you better about the number of visitors you have and helping you to get better with your offering is very spot on, thanks for sharing!

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Regardless of whatever metrics this improves, MANY things are broken as a result.  Please listen to us!
1.  Everyone's Hub description partially displays then cuts off mid sentence.  If someone is actually interested in reading the rest, there is NO WAY for them to do so.  This must look insane to the customer.
2.  No way to browse services without uploading a model. 
3.  Almost impossible to compare prices/services of other local hubs.  3d hubs provides almost no guidance on pricing, which I don't mind, but now it's very difficult to compare to others, which is all we have.
4.  If I tell someone in conversation to "check out my hub on 3dhubs.com" unless they live in my neighborhood, or have a direct link, this is IMPOSSIBLE and has made me look foolish on more than one occasion.  Why can we search hubs by brand of printer(useless) and not hub name? 

I understand that in many cases the hub pages cause more confusion than they clear up but why not make improvements instead of removing?  Why not work on standards and getting everyone on the same page with terminology and things like that?  I think it's safe to say that those of us in this thread are "enthusiasts".  We don't want to give up our hubs just because there are people not using it correctly, if that's what you think the problem is. 

You guys seem pretty firm on this but we really appreciate the attention and feedback you are giving us.  I think our concerns are valid. 

Thank you.
-Jesse

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Ok, I kind of get where your coming from but I have a few responses. And I could be wrong, as someone who has only ever operated as a hub, never a customer I maybe am not fully experiencing the customer side of things. I have tested out a few mock-orders though to try and get a better understanding of then-to-now ordering process.

 

To your first statement. People might be shopping around more with this new layout but that's only the people who have an .stl ready to go and think they know the right printer and material. You have almost completely removed or at least made it extremely challenging to find the ability for someone who doesn't even know what an .stl is to contact a hub they think might be a good fit for them. Once you click on a Hub you have to upload an .stl to even contact them. You have the message box but cant send anything until there is a file. To contact the hub you have to notice the little link on the side that says "view hub", then notice the slightly larger but kind of hidden in the header "Contact Hub" and retype your message you thought you might have been able to send on the first page. 

 

And this method of business use to be one of the most common ways for me to get an order. I think most my previous orders came from converting a message to order. I also know this is how I mainly do business on MakeXYZ (which has actually been more active than my Hub lately  even though I put 0 effort into operating that). Some of my biggest and best customers had no clue what an .stl was or there was no 3D model for them to submit.

 

Does your conversion rate keep track of people who never even submitted uploaded an .stl file?

 

To your second point, you have removed all ability to really differentiate between hubs. We are all just a list now. Sure there is a few small photos but the main thing people now see is cost and turn around time. There is a lot more that goes into finding the right hub as a customer though. I would say 75% of the time the customer has an idea of the price and turn around time that could not physically ever happen and it takes talking with them to better understand. Hell, I didn't even realize just how slow 3D printing was until I really looked into it. All the videos you see online are always like 10x speed. People think your parts just rise out of a Form 1 like a laser jet printer.

 

I do have to say though, and its really the only reason why I've put this much time into these responses, is that you do actually seem to respond pretty well and effectively to the community feedback. Which is something that a lot of companies pretend to do and it can quickly ruin their community when they don't. As you grow I hope this doesn't change because it will bight you in the ass if it does. I get you cant do everything everyone says, and you will have to make changes that will upset some of your community. But don't forget that us Hubs are where you started, and without our effort to maintain our hubs you will suffer too. I don't know about everyone but from what I've seen looking around there is a lot of hubs that don't make a lot of profit and do it more because we enjoy sharing 3D printing and helping others experience it. Don't make us hate you more than we love that.

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@Abraham

 

Could you please be more specific with your stats? you say that "The first results of this test show that the new situation leads to more orders, something that I assume all the Hubs want. " but this doesn't tell the community where those orders have gone! or if the new orders are just simply part of a natural trend that has been happening since 3D Hubs started, and all these changes are doing is re-directing the orders away from the small hubs.

The Stats data I would like to see are as follows:-

 

-Simple overall number of orders received over say the last year to date.( this will show order volume trend), a simple line chart with QTY and Week number would be sufficient. this will show the trend of orders and will highlight any step changes showing if Website changes have made any effect.

 

-I would also like to see a chart showing Order Type (over the same time frame as above) but should include the new Discounted HD Service. in the more recent data. This will highlight any step change in activity, and show how the orders are distributed.

 

-

I know you have this data available, and I know it does not take very long to produce charts showing this data, so by producing these charts i am sure it would go along way to re-assure the community! please also have available "Raw Data" for the community as i am sure there will be people out there who would like to cross check. (Like Me)

 

Not being transparent on this tells us as much as seeing the charts! so even if they show trends that go against what you have been saying please post them and be honest about it!

 

Thanks 

 

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@ABram

To make this really clear. Myself and others on this Hub are getting NO work since changes in July. 

Whatever you have done, it has totally ruined things for us. 

Are you going to do anything or not?

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Ya, I have had two orders in the past two months. Both were under $10. 

 

And ill admit, about 20% of its my fault, but that 20% is one, I didn't realize for two weeks you changed your pricing scheme so my estimates were all screwed up. Second is I moved, only about 1 mile but maybe that's another cause. 

 

I I don't know where the 25% additional FDM business is now going but it doesn't seem to be to anywhere it use to go. Only thing that keeps me here is that having an account is free. Recent changes have certainly ruined my motivation to expand, maintain and promote my hub. 

 

Well I will agree that you do seem to respond well to some of our complaints it seems our new complaint is with what we can only imagine is going to be a new focus for your business model, something you won't be as willing to change or fix. 

 

Good luck,

Josh

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To give you an idea of my recent orders:

 

Week Ending 10/3 = 3 new local customers, 1 repeat business from existing customer

Week Ending 10/10 = 3 new local customers, 1 repeat business from existing customer

Week Ending 10/17 = 1 new local customer, 1 out-of-state customer (post), 1 repeat business from existing customer

Week Ending 10/24 = 0 new local customers, 1 repeat business from existing customer

Week Ending 10/31 = 1 new non-local customer (overseas!)

 

This data will more than likely be more useful to Hubs than the folks that manage 3D Hubs.  It is obvious that Mr. de Zwart has made up his mind about where 3D Hubs is going, even if that means alienating the Hubs who have made him so successful in the first place.

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Oh, I wanted to add one thing:

 

That overseas customer of mine?  I asked him why he chose my hub and he responded:

 

"I have read the comments from your other customers and it seemed like your service is more than just great."

 

This flies in the face of all the "maximize immediate profits and ignore the sense of community" stance that 3D Hubs has taken.

 

But how did this customer see my previous customer reviews?  Well, I recently discovered that there is a certain combination of software that will allow customers to still access the "View Hub" link.  I don't want to say what it is, for fear of 3D Hubs removing that as well.  

 

It truly boggles the mind that 3D Hubs can not (is not willing to, or doesn't care to) understand the long-term impact of removing the "View Hub" link.

 

I also want to chime in on the 250km/mi default distance.   The default behavior looks to be sorted by "Best Match" rather than "Distance".   This would account for non-local hubs showing up on the first page of the /3dprint "browse hubs" page.   When a customer clicks "Browse Local Printers", I think the default behavior should be sorting by Distance.  The whole idea is for people to find LOCAL printers, not just the "Best Match" printers.

 

It's counter-intuitive to sort by "Best Match" while a customer is looking for local Hubs.  

 

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My orders have been pretty odd in the past two or three weeks as well. Several from different countries, 2 still in Awaiting payment status for almost a week, one that paid but they were from the other side of the country. NO local orders!

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@Imagine @ABram

The overseas order and no local orders is due to the default distance filter being set to 250 miles as you can see in the attached file. Most users (customers) won't adjust that so get an overseas hub, Brentwood is 58 miles from Brighton, UK and someone on the west coast of the UK might pick up US Hub.

Check the order page after hitting Browse Local printer from main front page of 3DHubs. I feel sort of silly to bring to their attention but it seems that I'm the only one that's noticed it, as most of the talk is about the business model, when it should be about providing 3D printer services to local persons in real life.  I can work with the other changes but this distance filter to me is a straight forward fix and school boy stuff. Throwing the egg for you to hopefully catch.

 

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I’m sorry to hear some of you saw a decrease in orders. I can tell you that the number of ordered prints has grown on average around 20% month over month, in the last 12 months. HD orders are currently making up less than 10% of the total, so the situations described by you (even though very unfortunate) are really exceptions.

 

If we make the default max. distance 5 miles then customers will often not see the Hubs that have less mainstream materials, printers or an exceptional track record. Distance still plays an important role in which order we present Hubs to customers. If I enter Gloucester (UK) as location @steven_10 is the first hit.  

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This is true that I am the 1st hit, but I just did this myself and the next hit is some 2000km away! (Garths hub)...when there are 5/6 other hubs in Glos! that I don't think even appeared on the 1st few pages of the list. (i did the best match search) part of the best match criteria should be based around distance! i don't see how a best match is a hub in another country that will propably charge more in postage for a print that the actual print is worth...if i were a customer i would not be happy being recommended by 3D hubs to buy from another country and pay silly amounts for P&P.

 

To sum up, when searching for "best match" in Gloucester hubs, i should NOT be seeing any hubs from another country! this needs to be fixed urgently.

 

 

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@ABram You have misunderstood. I didn't say set the distance to 5 max. Start the search area small 5 miles then if the customer can't find what they are looking they can extend the distance. How far is steven_10 from Gloucester rather than first hit?

It was set to 5 miles before the changes back in July. If the customer wishes to use a certain type of filament they can contact the hub and ask if it's available or use the new filters. I have had customers supply the filament which cause problems your order system.

Look at this way when you lose you keys, you don't first check London which is 50+ miles I'm located in Brighton. It would be better to check your pocket first then go to London. I rather have default distance lower than 250 miles as getting hits on my hub makes me wish to continue and to improve my services

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@ABram The simple changes are always the best.

My hub has lost a lot of orders due the default distance being 250miles when you click "Browse LOCAL Printers" before it was 5 miles. I took my printer off-line for repairs and an upgrade to Duel extruder to provide better services; have lost a lot of traffic to my Hub as there are only 2 active hubs in Brighton & Hove, UK, so high demand for prints, I have 2 Universities as well, the other hubs didn't get orders due to the high cost of volume based printing and didn't have time to work for them.
Now you are banging on about bringing SLS and HD into the mix, when you can't even do an overnight removal of the default distance of 250 miles upon the find a printer filter, at least then I might get some hubs views and orders for users that don't need HD and SLS quality prints.

Just make the change or the lawyers might get involved with your idea of "Local". As 250 mile is NOT local.

Please don't say sorry , if you wish to make me happy just make the change and send me one of those nylon wire marvin's  with a bulb in it as it would make a great desk lamp. 

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I also agree with everything that has been said, I do get the feeling that a customer base has been built up using the "Local community" and now this turning over nicely, it time to hand that customer base over to the big boys! and slowly forget all about the community that got the whole thing going.

 

To clarify, the changes that needs to happen is to reverse the recent changes! 

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Despite speaking out I doubt that there will be any changes and if there are not, well, we just won't get any work and then eventually we'll all just disappear off the hubs....and who will care.

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Yep. Just like I said, if we can go back to the June/July 3Dhubs we all knew and kinda loved it would be great. 

 

If if you guys want to launch the HD service go start an entirely new service on a new site. I think it's a great idea but not here. Not when it kills what got you started. 

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I agree with everything you said. I use to get 2-3 orders a week it seemed when I joined back around April. Now? Maybe a repeat customer once a month or so. Its been really sad to see all these "improvements" actually just ruining the site.

 

I feel the HD feature is killing small hubs, what this website was originally about. Now that you are offering priority services to larger companies it really kills the small time vibe of the site. Kind of like old Etsy to new Etsy.

 

The new "Find a Hub" page and pricing is just too confusing now. I've been on the site for months and am pretty good with this stuff and it still confuses me. I couldn't imagine being a new customer with no clue as to what to do. I would rather go back to the kind of inaccurate pricing that we use to have than have this new complex pricing model.

 

I really wish we could go back to the summer time when things were simpler! Pretty please!

 

In the end, oh well. I now make more money selling 3D prints on eBay and other sites without having to deal with customers wanting a 30 hour print tomorrow morning. So if 3D hubs remains as dead as it is now then so long and good luck!

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Hello fellow Hubs,

 

Just checking in to let you know that the A/B test on the order flow has ended and the Hub profile links are back.

 

As a lot of the discussion is already covered on this page I would like to use this comment to quickly explain the general process of feature changes a bit more. I think that's the main thing that hasn't been already covered yet.

 

  • Like any other online company, we are constantly testing and measuring website changes in order to improve the experience for all users. It is not always clear from the outset what works and what not. Therefore, we use a method called A/B testing (we use Optimizely for these test). With this method, part of the users (say 80%) see a version A, the 'old' version of the website, while the other users (20%) see version B, the new version that's being tested. The performance of version B against version A is measured and, if significantly positive, changes are implemented for a larger user group.
  • For every change we also do usability testing, 1 on 1 interviews, and focus groups (Hubs or customers).
  • Using such a research-based approach is extremely important to us as we need to make decisions based on what we "know" rather than what we "think".​

Unfortunately, it's impossible to prevent that in our search for improvements we sometimes miss the mark, but even in this cases the data is extremely valuable and becomes the driver for the next tests, which in the end will benefit all of us.

 

What this test made us realize, is the importance of the Hub profile and therefore we’re bringing a lot more of this into the checkout in the next version. Will keep you posted on that!

 

If there's any questions left, please join the Hub Hangout this Thursday.

 

Cheers,

Filemon

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Just my two cents - 1) I always prefer local small operators - 2) small operators have NO overhead compared to giants . Just check prices. 3)  with the price od code pretty cheap - Just waiting for someone to start up their own hub  community. 

 

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The  stove can't burn without wood!

 

3Dhubs is innovating and changing rapidly, but keep in mind that not all changes  are an improvement. A client oriented organisation should keep in mind the wishes of there users, both hubs and customers. Feel the fibes of the hubs, and consult them in a yearly review.

Sometimes simplicity is an answer to succes and the market for 3D products should eventualy reach a broader public !

This is already a though nut to crack ,for you guys!

 

One thing about what i mean with client orientation is that features to adjust your price settings is to much for an average customer. Most customers are no printspecialists , so do not bother them with to much  info

in the first contact a customer wants a good  price estimation without having to choose to much features.  Every click is a click to much i always say.   What is better nearby or review , i would say nearby should be leading en reviews should be secundary. 

Nevertheless  its a great community and keep on the good work

 

 

 

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Bump. This needs to not get buried. We're still here.

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Hi @Irongiant, I'm really sorry to hear your views on this. 

 

I would love to open the discussion on this tread to learn specifically what it is, besides the things discussed in previous threads, that concerns you and makes you feel this way. Could you help me out by specifying what recent feature releases you feel are in the "wrong direction"? I hold myself personally accountable for the wellbeing of this community so the information would be very valuable to me. 

 

Thanks,

Filemon

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"Could you help me out by specifying what recent feature releases you feel are in the "wrong direction"?" - @Filemon

 

Pretty much all of them. From HD Hubs, to the new pricing structure, to the formatting of the Find a Hub pages. Only good thing I can think of was the redesign of the printer info display, things like multiple resolutions and combining colors under one material type.

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I think it's pretty simple.  The new services are comparable to UBER offering yellow taxis at a discount.  How would the UBER driver feel?  And for those of us who love the 3d hubs concept, the fact that this is not intuitive to the people in charge is very scary.
-Jesse

 

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@MindFuLL, I completely agree. Build up an existing customer base, offer them discounted "HD" parts and cut out the local hubs entirely.  That appears to be 3D Hubs' plan.

 

I've got another example of 3D Hubs not being really interested in furthering the development of local-based customer/hub business.  I recently finished building a custom printer with a large build volume.  I sent in a request over a week ago to have the printer added to my profile.  After a few days, I sent in several emails and finally got a hold of @Alex3DHubs via the "chat" interface on the new order page.  He told me it would be done that week (last week) and that the guy that normally does that (one guy??) is on vacation.  Here it is, a week later, and the printer still hasn't shown up on my printer list and no communication from 3D Hubs.

 

You'd think a hub trying to offer more functionality to customers would get a tiny bit more attention.

 

EDIT: FYI, my custom printer was added today.... Thanks @Alex3DHubs 

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@eckerj Hey man, Sorry for the delay -  Alex from chat here. Your machine will be added tomorrow morning - I'll send you a note once its in the database.

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@Filemon,

 

We've already expressed our opinions/advice on the other thread, but there has been no action taken.

 

I have not received a new order from a "new" customer in over two weeks.  The last two orders were repeat business from existing customers.  

 

I had one new order come in from a new customer, but it was cancelled because the customer accidentally selected my USA-based hub when he meant to choose a local hub in Thailand.

 

I received one new large order today, however I fear the customer also mistakenly chose my USA-based hub since he is located in Switzerland.

 

I'm beginning to take any concern you have over the "wellbeing of this community" with a pound of salt.  It's clear you have no intention of taking any of our feedback seriously.

 

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Hi @Filemon

 

As mentioned above, if you had wanted a commercial side to the hubs you could have created a separate website for that purpose. However you did not and instead chose to make it the first thing any potential customer sees when arriving on the website. The reason for this is so that the customer can first and foremost be attracted to the HD part of the website, which you want to promote and grow. Customers will always be attracted to something that is perceived as "better "and will move to that side of the website cutting out a lot of hubs and giving access to the big commercial players.

When searching for a hub I also notice that under a best match scenario this now shows up the commercial companies and lots of hubs based in the London area that are 100 miles south of my location, so it would also seem that London has some sort of preferential treatment in the process.

Thirdly, by removing the ability to view a chosen hub (I've tried it myself) once you have searched for someone means that the customer may not wish to enter the ordering stage and may move off elsewhere and abandon their order. Each Hub needs the ability to differentiate itself before the ordering selection takes place and give the customer maximum access to hubs to allow them to select the best partner for themselves and their print.

Telling us that your not doing this when it is clear that you are moving us back from the process of talking to the customer makes me a angry as it seems to assume that we are all a bit stupid.

As I said before, the Hubs is not a Shapeways, we own the machines, we have the knowledge. As an example of what's happening, I recently had  to drop a quote by 33% to match imaterialise even though they have provided the customer with nothing more than a quote whilst I had talked them through their project from end to end.

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I feel Hubs are sounding resentful rather than trying to contribute to the success of the business.

Things change as technologies mature. We shouldn't sound upset we aren't printing. We should

be working towards getting and staying in the game.

 

I don't really understand the concept that hubs made the business and are now being stepped on.

Would someone owning a hub provide poorer services if 3hubs weren't there? I doubt this. 3hubs

is an enabler of business. They had a great idea, created a business model and did it. I think the focus

should be how to help them with their next ideas, and how to fit into that.

 

But... I don't have millions of dollars of investment yet.

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"I don't really understand the concept that hubs made the business and are now being stepped on." 

I noticed you just joined 3d hubs this month.  Maybe that's why you don't understand.  Regardless, Welcome.  I noticed you have a lot of info on your hub page.  You are aware that new customers cannot see it anymore right?

 

"I think the focus should be how to help them with their next ideas, and how to fit into that."
Have you been following this thread?  Those of us concerned about recent changes, love 3dhubs and are very passionate about it.  That's why we are taking the time to give our input. 

 

"We should be working towards getting and staying in the game." 

Check out my hub.  I've been building my own printers since before 3dhubs existed.  I just finished construction on a SLA printer and I'm starting construction of a SLS next month.  I'm in the game.  We all embrace new tech.  Otherwise we wouldn't be here.  My concerns are valid.  Please no straw man arguments.
-Jesse

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So I'm going to respond to this based off of just my comments. I'll agree some of other people's comments are not as helpful as maybe they should be to fix this issue. Other people have given positive negative feedback, and yes that's a thing. At this point I also feel I've gotten all my feedback out and I'm ready to give 3DHubs time to try and work these issues out because I understand we can't just make this post and expect tomorrow everything to be fixed. 

 

So as for feeling resentful and not trying to contribute. Take a read through my posts. All I've tried to do is contribute. Between this thread and another one I have called out current issues, given examples of that issue and if I had one possible solutions. I feel my comments might come across as strong and resentful but that's only because I care and want to contribute. If I didn't care I wouldn't be here spending all this time commenting. I'm not the type of person to complain just to complain. 

 

As for working towards growing and getting back in the game that's exactly what we are doing in the only way we can right now. If you go read my comments in the other popular thread here on How to Hub you will see a more detailed breakdown of what I mean. But as of right now a Hub operator only has so much they can do to grow business. 3D hubs gives us next to no feedback on how we are doing, how our surrounding area doing, how to improve our business. Nothing. We get an average ranking number or something like that but it means nothing when we have no idea how it works. Even eBay tells you things like "listings with 4 or more photos sells 25% better" and "listings with 8 or more words get 15% more visitors". Our only way of trying to contribute right now is exactly what we have been doing, posting our concerns on Talk. 

 

Hubs didnt make 3DHubs, hubs are what keeps it alive. It's like asking if sellers made eBay. No, eBay made a platform that made it possible for people to sell. But it eBay all of a sudden started making changes to make it so your listings were not showing up to potential buyers to do you think they would have sellers? The entire power of their business, and the reason we as sellers pay fees is for the visibility the service provides. 

 

Im not sure what you mean by poorer service. If 3D hubs didn't exist we wouldn't provide any service most likely. Not really to sure what the point is here?

 

Your right, 3D hubs is an enabler of business and that's exactly where the problem lies. They stop enabling business as usual when they made these changes. 

 

I completely agree, we do need to help them with their next ideas. That's exactly what these and a few other threads like it are all about. Just because our feedback is negative does not mean we are not helping. If anything negative feedback can be the best. As for fitting in with these ideas that's were some of our problem lies. Their current ideas seam aimed towards promoting services that cost tens of thousands of dollars to be able to start providing. 

 

In the end I think you haven't fully understood most of the comments here because if you did you would see we are only contributing.

 

and well some people are doe voting your comment I'm not going to since it seems like you are pretty new to this and don't fully understand the current situation compared to how it use to be. 

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Thanks everyone for the good remarks. I have read all of this. Everyone IS trying to help.

 

What I meant from poorer service is that if you dragged people off the street and printed them

something you would be just as conscientious as you are with 3dhubs.  That says to me

that everyone can enter into the marketplace and provide good services. 3dhubs isn't hindering that.

 

At some point people quit listening. I've heard they are responsive. I've heard good things about all.

My only point I really am trying to make is, in any job, when the employer says we want to do 'this,'

the employed and contracted should look it over and make decisions that fit their situation.

No animosity, ill will should exist. I assume 3dhubs is looking at their strategies to stay successful

and make money. In the USA, that's a law for any CEO. Do the best thing for the health of the company.

(Or at least my interpretation of those laws.)

 

It seems to me using $20,000 printers is a great idea for a company. To me, that's not a horrendous

investment to work in a business. A new car is that much. But, I don't think I would do that.

But, if I were going to make a living printing, I would.

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For your first comment about dragging people off the street, and well most of the rest of the post, I really don't think you have a good understanding about the current condition of the 3D market place in general or what 3DHubs is about. 

 

You can't just find people on the street and from random online postings. Go try it. I have. It's not possible unless you really do this full time. And again, 90% of the people on 3Dhubs do this for fun in their free time. Your right 3Dhubs isn't hindering us from going out on our own but most of us are not interested in doing this. 

 

To to your second point about being being a job. As I stated above, this isn't a job for most of us. And this is more like getting hired for a contract and then your employer says "we will keep you on, but we are going to cut your pay and work a little so we can hire this other contractor who can do all your work and more and he's willing to work for less if we give him more hours". 

 

Amd if you have no ill will about that then you might need to re-evaluate your own self-respect because no one in the work force should just sit there and take that silently like your suggesting. And like you said, the employees should look it over and make a decision based on what's best for them. That's exactly what we are doing. We looked it over and were not happy about it so we are being vocal. I know in my work place professionally that's accepted and beneficial. our management realizes they are not always right and willing to accept that. 

 

And yes yes you are right, the main goal of the CEO is to make money. The issue is that what seems to be their plan for making money in the future is to promote more profitable features that cut out about 99% of the 23k users. So those 23k are a little upset. 

 

Ya, using $20,000 printers is a great idea for any company. But we are not companies. We are people who love 3D printing and want to share it. We don't have facilities and 40 hours a week to dedicate to this. We have spare bedrooms and some free time after work or once the kids go to bed.

 

To your point, if we were going make a living off this it would be great. But for the most part 3Dhubs isn't where we came to get rich. 

 

So just to reiterate, someone said you are new here. It doesn't seem you fully grasp what 3DHubs was about and hopefully focuses on again. You don't seem to get why most the people that have hubs here are here for. 

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Thanks Josh for the quick replies.

 

I think I fit right in with the 'old' company ideas and do wish to understand the new company concepts also.

 

Where I live there are people you can just walk up to and they can discuss 3d design. I live by Duke University,

University of Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University.  Each of these universities have pretty big labs

where there are dozens of 2,000 to $3,000 printers. They are building and building more and more.

The high schools I have contacted all have their own printers also. Kids build and add parts to their drones, etc.

 

My current understanding is cheap printers $300 to $1,000 aren't very attractive for the products they produce.

$2,000 printers and above print 'OK' if you don't mind monochromatic toys (as put to me by my programmer

buddies.)  I assembled one for $360. Essentially that price says 10% of the US could buy one if they cared to do so.

 

I bought one for fun and to learn 3d design.  I am now sharing my monochromatic fun toy maker as cheaply as 

I can because it is fun.

 

You got my second part bang on. If a boss tells me stick around, but you gotta pay us, well I think about it.

 

Maybe this is an opportunity to get that next dream toy you've been thinking about? HD printing in all

its glory. THAT's what the community is about. Using the latest high tech and staying ahead of the crowd.

10 years ago, 10 GB was HUGH. Today it is SMALL. This printer of mine has a itty bitty $35 controller on

it. It talks to a computer slowly. I mean SLOW.

 

The world's a changing quickly. I can't keep up. But, I'm not going to tell them to stop, nor would I even ask.

 

You are right. I don't understand.

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I too live in an area where 3D printing is very prevalent. I live in Boston, home of 150 colleges or something insane. I personally just graduated from a College that had another college within its campus grounds, and I could see 4 other colleges from my window. I know I could go around and round up business. It's just not something I'm capable of at the moment. 

 

As as for using cheaper machines to Hub, I agree. That's why I bought just about the best possible printer without having to go into the 7-10k range.

 

and well yes this would be a prime chance to get into the big leagues of printers I simply can't afford to. I have student loans and other responsibilities that barely leave me with spare change by the end of the month. I relied on the income of 3D hubs to fund potential new machines. And I agree that HD printing is a glorious thing. My work just got the brand new Objet 30 pro and it is simply amazing. We can make molds that then cast things that look like they come from $20k molds.

 

Unfortunatly this wasn't originally the place for things like that. There has always been and still is many other sites that I can go and get HD prints. This was the place for the little guy to make some extra cash off the machine he bought to use for fun. Sure, companies could always post their HD machines here but they didn't get any special treatment for it. And that's what I think a lot of us liked about it. Everyone was judged on their quality of service, not the size of their machine. I mean they were a little, don't get me wrong, but it gave us a chance to compete with quality customer service. Now it seems only based on the machines you have. 

 

I get things change quickly and I love that. But its not like all of a sudden SLS machines dropped to 2K in July and we can start stocking up on them. They are still big, messy, and ultimately hazardous machines that require proper facilities and equipment to operate. Things I can't do from the table next to my bed in my one bedroom apartment. 

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