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 Post subject: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:09 pm 
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I wanted to start a topic that has been picking at me for a while. I want to understand some of these views of others that design a puzzle that can be printed by Shapeways but then only limit the sale of the puzzle to eBay. Granted everyone has a right to their own view and I'll pick out a few recent examples (not meaning to single them out in particular) that just were easy to find at the moment.

Regarding Eitan's GigaTwist
pirsquared wrote:
Even so, the MegaTwist is going to go on Shapeways, once I get around to redesigning the caps. The GigaTwist, however, took far too much work to not sell on eBay. The stickering alone took me around 12 hours, due to some really really small stickers. Assembly took 3 or 4 hours due to there being a lot of very similar-looking pieces.


Regarding Greg's Elite Kilominx
RubixFreakGreg wrote:
To be honest, I think this is definitely the best puzzle I ever made, and Solidworks is what's making this possible.

I will sell one at DCD on the 30th, one on eBay later on, and I'll keep one for myself so there will only be 3 examplars ever made.


My plan is to offer the Doctor Skewb that I put all the time into breaking in, dying, stickering, etc. on eBay. And I hope I make enough to cover costs and a little extra for my time and effort that I'll put into prototyping other puzzles. And if that is said up front I don't think that would hurt the value of the original one made by the designers hand. Its still the first and its still very special... to me at least. I don't see the harm of putting the design up for sale on Shapeways. I don't believe there is a huge market for Shapeways printed puzzles. Eitan in the same post I link to above states:
pirsquared wrote:
I've been a little miffed about my Shapeways shop lately. I thought there was a lot of demand for the Twisted Cubes, but they've been for sale on my shop since July, and I still haven't sold a single one.

So even if it is offered on Shapeways it will still be a very rare puzzle and it gives those the option that want one bad enough to save up for it that may not be able to aford the eBay auction now. They give the designer a way to get his name out there and for people to see his work even if they don't sell and I don't believe it costs the designer anything to open a shop at Shapeways. If you feel you are selling too many add on a 100% markup and use that to fund other projects. I just see it as a win-win for the designers and the collectors and I feel I'm missing something about this point-of-view.

Again not meaning to pick on just these two and I know there are others but I was hoping to start a discussion on this point.

That said I do see how stating you are selling a one-of-a-kind item on eBay that will never be made again may net you a few extra bucks but I think you are missing out in other ways and maybe even more money in the long run. I must confess as I'm getting better at this designing thing myself I'm tempted to think that if I want puzzle xyz myself bad enough and its too expensive I'll just design one for myself down the road. And if this old dog can teach himself this new trick I know the younger generation will be much faster at it then I. I'd much prefer to save myself a few days of effort and pay the original desiner for his efforts via Shapeways.

Anyways... that's my 2 cents and was curious what others had to say on the topic.

Carl

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:32 pm 
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When I sell a puzzle on Shapeways and it costs over 200$, I don't sell any, and I think that is totally normal.

This is my point of view when I sell customs:

- Shapeways sales:

The puzzle is easily affordable, 100$ or under people might want some so I won't make an auction that would not be fair for those who want one of these puzzles.
(Exception: the Prisminx is for sale on shapeways, but I will probably remove it soon)

- eBay sales:

This puzzle is big, heavy, hard to solve, and very expensive: it is a pure collector's piece, for the price it costs, the person who owns it might want it to be more unique than the smaller puzzles. I will sell between 1 and 3, and keep one for me if I have made enough profit.

Why do I sell them for high prices ? Do I make puzzles only for profit ?
Well... no not at all. When I got into puzzle building, I was a solver and slight collector, but I prefered collecting so I made a decision: every puzzle I make will be made to collect. But, I started all of that with 40$, so it was hard to pay puzzles without selling them. The high prices are made to be able to compensate the production costs so that I can keep on making puzzles and at the same time, keep a certain margin to be able to keep an examplar of each and maybe, at best, buy mass produced puzzles.
All the profit I have made as of yet has been put into puzzles, mostly for prototyping, hense why my collection has 23 mass produced puzzles, 17 mods and 23 custom 3D prints.

That's pretty much my way of thinking and doing things =)

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Last edited by RubixFreakGreg on Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:33 pm 
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Very well put Carl.
I absolutely agree with you.

This is a topic brought up many times in the past. At least as comments. But it is nice to have a thread to discuss this matter isolated with no reference to any puzzle or creator.

I think there are a couple of factors playing a role.
For example the designer want his custumor to "buy" the special right to have this only puzzle along with the piece itself. Profit not conciderated.

Or/and seeking the oppotunity to earn as much money from your work as possible. Because people know there will never be another auction again (therefor willing to pay alot more).

Both are absolutely reasonable, also as a combination.

For myself I can say that once I start making my own - I wont ebay single puzzles. They will be fixed price DIY kits or finished puzzles.
And this because I would want everybody who wants one to be able to.

Also, I want to add that some designers have a goal. And that is to be able to protype all their ideas from the profit of the puzzles they already sell.
While this is a great goal its not very likely. And for sure not a very nice "must" to do, in the expense of the left-out-buyer.

The solution here is to either:

-Slow down. (Simply wait for your puzzles to sell)
or
-Invest some of your own money into this
or
-make sure to choose some really brilliant designs that everybody wants (being able to design them really goodas well)

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:06 pm 
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RubixFreakGreg wrote:
When I sell a puzzle on Shapeways and it costs over 200$, I don't sell any, and I think that is totally normal.
Ok... but what is the harm in having it there anyways. Potential customers will see it with the cheaper puzzles and be able to see what you are capable of. And you never know someone may win the lottery and want one of everything with no regard for cost. It doesn't cost you anything to leave it there and should serve as free advertising even if you never sell one.
RubixFreakGreg wrote:
- Shapeways sales:

The puzzle is easily affordable, 100$ or under people might want some so I won't make an auction that would not be fair for those who want one of these puzzles.

I don't see how eBay precludes one from also selling on Shapeways but I also think its true the other way around as well. The auction should be for a finished (dyed, broken in, stickered) puzzle. The ones purchased from Shapeways are DIY kits at best which require dying, buying or making stickers, breaking in, etc. In many cases, also buying other hardware, springs screws, etc. And at least with my puzzles CRC Silcone spray is a MUST as well... they don't turn well enough to even be able to break them in without it. In short, it can take a fair deal of effort to turn the Shapeways DIY kit into a playable puzzle, which is (in my mind) what commands the premium paid for the eBay puzzles. I don't see that as "unfair" either way.
RubixFreakGreg wrote:
(Exception: the Prisminx is for sale on shapeways, but I will probably remove it soon)
What is the motive for removing it? Sure it may be expensive enough that you haven't sold any yet but even if so what harm is there in leaving it there. Things change... some collector could come into some money. Shapeways price structure does change with time. Someday your $200 puzzles may become your under $100 puzzles.
RubixFreakGreg wrote:
- eBay sales:

This puzzle is big, heavy, hard to solve, and very expensive: it is a pure collector's piece, for the price it costs, the person who owns it might want it to be more unique than the smaller puzzles. I will sell between 1 and 3, and keep one for me if I have made enough profit.
Well if its priced at over $200 you say you never sell any anyways so it won't effect how unique it is. That said if its hard to solve due to poor turning quality, pops alot, etc. and you are trying to build a name as someone that only sells the highest quality puzzles I do see how that could be a very good reason for NOT putting it on Shapeways but then in that case aren't you also risking your "name" by selling it on eBay.
RubixFreakGreg wrote:
Why do I sell them for high prices ? Do I make puzzles only for profit ?
Well... no not at all.
Not trying to accuse anyone of questionable motives. I believe all the designers here love twisty puzzles and aren't in this to "milk" other collectors for as much as they can get. I suspect most (maybe all) aren't even making enough to cover the cost of their labor if they were to factor that in. I certainly don't factor that in. I'm doing this because I love what I'm doing. If I can make a little money at this great! But even if I don't I doubt I'll stop. I just enjoy it too much. Its a hobby and not my job so it doesn't have to make money... that's what my job is for. At least that's how I feel... just speaking for myself.

Carl

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:11 pm 
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Carl I agree with you that it's nice to have a puzzle up on Shapeways even if it isn't being purchased. There have been many puzzles on Shapeways where I have said to myself "someday I'll buy that". Only recently though have I actually started purchasing them. If the designers had taken their puzzles down I would not have the opportunity now. I'm very grateful to those I have purchased puzzles from. I would like to continue to have the opportunity to buy their great puzzles.

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 5:56 am 
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Sigurd wrote:
-Slow down. (Simply wait for your puzzles to sell)
or
-Invest some of your own money into this
or
-make sure to choose some really brilliant designs that everybody wants (being able to design them really goodas well)


Slow down: I'm sort of addicted :roll:
Invest some of your own money: This is my only money, that's the problem :? i don't have a job for this.
Make sure to choose brilliant designs: I'll try to do that, now that I have solidworks.

All puzzles I can sell under 300$ will be up on shapeways from now on. It changes nothing to the current situation apart from the Prisminx Crystal which will stay (oh and i got proven wrong yesterday ^^). But I will not sell assembled and stikered puzzles when they take over 3 hours to make, as I explained in ths topic.

Carl, do expect many more of my puzzles to be on shapeways from now on. Just an example of puzzle I didn't put on shapeways. Split 3x3x4: the core was wrong and there was a computer crash which made me lose the files, so I had to redesign a core seperately. I don't sell it on shapeways, because everytime i order one I have to buy the bad core as well, included with the mech pieces)

Thanks for your point of view, I do start to see things differently. But the puzzles that aren't on shapeways at the moment are going to stay off. The elite Kilominx cannot be sold under 300$ because the prototyping price is extremely high, and I don't like the feeling of offering puzzles for over 300$ that aren't even assembled.

Greg

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:39 am 
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I can see the positives of both sides. Personally, if I were to ever design a puzzle that people absolutely loved, and if I were to choose not to put said puzzle on Shapeways for whatever reason, I would still be open to printing it for a collector that approached me and wanted to buy one.

If it isn't on Shapeways, yet someone is willing to buy it, they are most likely aware of the assembly time/costs and the complexity of it all, so I would have no problem selling a copy to them.

Just my thoughts.

Chris

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:53 am 
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cjgerik wrote:
if I were to choose not to put said puzzle on Shapeways for whatever reason, I would still be open to printing it for a collector that approached me and wanted to buy one.


i tend to think the same too :)

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 9:15 am 
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Just my two cents, and granted I'm still not very experienced as a builder - but I personally really enjoy the entire creation process of creating a hand made puzzle - building the mold, pouring the plastic, drilling the pieces, etc... I know 3d printing is coming a long way, but there is still a lot to be said for a well made, cast puzzle... which of course will end up on ebay vs. shapeways...

But then there are other puzzles that are a better fit for shapeways too - too small to cast, or whatever...

As both a builder and a collector, unique "ebay" puzzles appeal to me more than a Shapeways puzzle - not to say I wouldn't buy out the entire Oskar shop if given the chance.. :)

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:00 pm 
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RubixFreakGreg wrote:
Just an example of puzzle I didn't put on shapeways. Split 3x3x4: the core was wrong and there was a computer crash which made me lose the files, so I had to redesign a core seperately. I don't sell it on shapeways, because everytime i order one I have to buy the bad core as well, included with the mech pieces)
That is certainly an example I understand... and a great example of why backups need to be made.

RubixFreakGreg wrote:
cjgerik wrote:
if I were to choose not to put said puzzle on Shapeways for whatever reason, I would still be open to printing it for a collector that approached me and wanted to buy one.
i tend to think the same too :)

The only problem I see with this point of view is that it requires the collector to already be aware of the puzzle. To someone who is window shopping at Shapeways they will never know this is an option. I'd suggest you still put it on Shapeways, with videos, pics, etc. and have it set up as not for sale and then in the description state you are open to be approached about making this puzzle. Again... just my 2 cents.

jabeck wrote:
but there is still a lot to be said for a well made, cast puzzle... which of course will end up on ebay vs. shapeways...

Granted! In the case of a cast puzzle the 3D printable files may not even exist. This thread was more aimed at those that have made the printable files but choose to only sell on eBay. Once you've gone to the trouble to make the needed files I rarely see a good reason (imho) not to also put them on Shapeways.

Carl

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:17 pm 
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Dare I ask.... How well do puzzles actually sell on Shapeways? Always been curious.

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:33 pm 
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I have sold about 30 so far this year (including silly ones like the 1x2x3 and Mini 3x3x3). Last year I sold about 40 in the same time frame. Christmas is always a jolly time for me in more ways than one.
This is purely puzzles ordered directly from Shapeways. However, I think assembled puzzles are becoming the more popular option now. I have not yet compiled the numbers for those but I guess about 75% of orders are for assembled puzzles.

I think it's up to the designer to make their choice. I for one am very happy with the Shapeways construct: it earns me enough money to continue my hobby and it also allows me to make more people happy (and at a better price too) than selling at auction.

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:42 pm 
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TomZ wrote:
I have sold about 30 so far this year (including silly ones like the 1x2x3 and Mini 3x3x3). Last year I sold about 40 in the same time frame. Christmas is always a jolly time for me in more ways than one.
This is purely puzzles ordered directly from Shapeways. However, I think assembled puzzles are becoming the more popular option now. I have not yet compiled the numbers for those but I guess about 75% of orders are for assembled puzzles.

I think it's up to the designer to make their choice. I for one am very happy with the Shapeways construct: it earns me enough money to continue my hobby and it also allows me to make more people happy (and at a better price too) than selling at auction.


Thanks! That's very encouraging information really.

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:55 pm 
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I totally agree with Tom ! Maybe a little bit more number will help:

For example:

Combo CurFaTRhoDo: 2
Prisminx Crystal: 1
Mini Split 3x3x2: 5
NOMECH Pentultimate: 6
Mini Curvy Hexaminx: 6
Mental Flop: 5


As you can see, small puzzles are more successful on shapeways and thus more adapted to shapeways from my point of view.

Also, the number of sales varies a lot at different periods, and is generally highest after a mini puzzle comes out. For example, after 3 month without sales, I published the mini hexaminx and mental flop and had 12 sales in a week (hense the 5 puzzles that came out in a row).

Hope this clears up things =)

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:56 pm 
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TomZ wrote:
I think it's up to the designer to make their choice.
I agree. Not trying to force my opinion on anyone. I just wanted an open discussion so I could try to better understand why some are making the choices they are. I like to make my choices based on as much information as possible and there could easily be some factors out there that I'm overlooking and not meaning to.

Carl

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:20 pm 
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I can understand why some would prefer to sell a puzzle on Ebay instead of Shapeways, even though I generally prefer Shapeways for my own designs. (Ebay seems too risky) I find that often times, people claim that they will buy a design sometime in the future, or once they have saved enough money. This is rarely the case, and I think what usually happens is the potential buyer decides another puzzle is more interesting once they decide to make a purchase. Ebay encourages people to buy a puzzle if they know they can't get it later. Also, even if the person does buy the puzzle at a later date, there's the issue that it takes several months before any profit can be made to prototype future puzzles, unlike Ebay sales. I think this is the main reason why my puzzles typically don't sell well. The only puzzle for which I have made more than one sale through Shapeways was the cheese I designed a while back. (I have, however, sold three assembled rex rhombic dodecahedrons, but that's the first time I've made that many sales)

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:25 pm 
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Carl,

Great discussion so far. Here are my thoughts. (Sorry for the really, really long post)
-------------------------------------

First, here are the sale counts for the 4 puzzles I currently offer on my Shapeways shop:
--Twisted Cubes: 0
--Edge-Turning Octahedron: 7 (and one third.... I don't know why, but someone ordered only 1/3 of this puzzle in August)
--Compound Cubes: 1
--Groove Cube: 1

I seem to remember that there was a lot of interest in the Twisted Cubes, but apparently not.
This is one reason that I haven't been offering my more intense puzzles on Shapeways.

Here's the other:

I started out making puzzles by hand, using molding and casting. There was no other good way to sell them other than eBay. Thus, when I started doing full prints from Shapeways, I was already used to selling on eBay, so I kept doing that. But once a puzzle has been sold on eBay, I run into the problem of whether I can later sell it as a DIY kit on Shapeways. Take, for example, my Master Helicopter Cube. That one sold on eBay for $787. If I were to offer it on Shapeways, the price wouldn't be anywhere near that (somewhere between $180 and $250). But I have always thought that it wouldn't be fair to the collector who won the auction.

When someone sells something to someone else, you can always think of it as an exchange of services or property (usually involving money). But different people value different things in the transaction, which is why everyone is happy afterwards.

The way I see it, the sale of a twisty puzzle involves some combination of the following factors:
1. Material costs
2. Time and effort finishing the puzzle (dyeing, assembling, stickering)
3. Design time
4. Rarity value
5. Solution/Mechanism (interesting/difficult/unusual)

As a puzzle designer, I consider my expenses to be #1 and part of #2 (I've grown to somewhat dread the time I spend stickering...). But, like Carl, I don't think of #3 (and the rest of #2) as time that I should be paid for, since I enjoy designing and building puzzles! And #4 isn't very important to me, since I'm not a collector.

Note: I will occasionally buy a puzzle because of #5 (or something like it), but so would most people on the forum--collectors, builders, and solvers. We're all here because we love puzzles.

Most collectors are not designers themselves (though some occasionally dabble), so #2 and #3 could be considered services that they are paying for. As I understand it, though, the highest value is placed on #4. This is easy to explain for people who collect vintage puzzles like the Rubik's Hat or limited run items like the Dogic. They want to be able to say "I am one of the only people in the world to have a copy of this puzzle."

But I think custom puzzles can be rare in several different ways:
1. It is rare because no one (or hardly anyone) else in the world has a copy
2. It is unique because it was the first one ever made
3. It is special because it was handmade (or finished) by the inventor

Consider the collector who paid $787 for my Master Helicopter:
--If he values #1, then he wouldn't want me to offer it on Shapeways, even at the same high price, since he paid a premium to own the only copy. I know there are some stamp collectors and coin collectors who feel this way, but I don't think it's common on this forum.
--If he values #2 or #3, then he might be ok with me selling DIY kits on Shapeways, since the higher price was for the privilege of having the first one, or having a puzzle that was handmade by the inventor.

I think that it all comes down to the collectors who bought the original puzzle. If I can get permission from the owner of the auctioned version, I would be happy to put the puzzle on Shapeways.



One more thing: The argument above makes it sound like when I sell the puzzle on eBay, I have lost any right I had to sell it on Shapeways. That is absurd! It's my intellectual property, and technically I can do with it what I please.

This puts me in a difficult predicament: If I sell a puzzle on eBay, and then put it on Shapeways a few months later with a lower price, then the winner of the auction will be less likely to try as hard to win my next auction, since he could just wait for the puzzle to go on Shapeways, and buy it then. On the other hand, if the collector values the rarity of the first copy, then he still might bid.


Bottom line: I would love to put some of my more intense puzzles (Master Helicopter, FTRD, ETRD, Celtic Cube, Master Heximate, and maybe even the GigaTwist eventually) on Shapeways. But I do not want to upset the collectors who bought the first copies.

I would be interested to hear the opinions of some actual collectors on this subject.

-Eitan

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:50 pm 
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I agree with pirsquared. Would it be rude to take a puzzle that sold on ebay for hundreds of dollars and start giving away puzzles at production cost or for free? The main reason I don't sell all my puzzles on shapeways is because I don't think they would sell well and they would probably lower what the ebay version sells for.

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 7:33 pm 
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Hello, I also think as pirsquared.

All my puzzles are modifications of other puzzles, I designed some of them in 3D to check the price in Shapeways, and indeed would be outrageous for the buyers of my mods that I sell these for less than five times its value on ebay.

Several times I have raised the option of Shapeways, and came to several conclusions:

- None of my previous puzzle will be sold at Shapeways.
- In the future will make puzzle modifications by hand, that will not be sold at Shapeways.
- In some cases I will make a modification on hand and it will not be sold, and only sell a 3D version of it in Shapeways.
- Is possible that some puzzles are sold in Shapeways and I will never build by hand (perhaps due to the difficulty of construction, or perhaps simply because I do not want them to hand)

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 11:33 am 
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pirsquared wrote:
I think that it all comes down to the collectors who bought the original puzzle. If I can get permission from the owner of the auctioned version, I would be happy to put the puzzle on Shapeways.
Eitan and I chatted via gmail about this a bit last evening. Here is my take on this situation. You are in effect selling more control over your creation than I'd be comfortable selling. In short as a creator of a puzzle I view it as my baby. I want 100% control over what I can do with it. You limit yourself by worring about what the winner of the eBay auction will think. I'd deal with that by selling it as "the first one hand built by the inventor" and openly state that DIY kits will later be available on Shapeways. And I'd even say that in the eBay aution itself. This way the winner has nothing to get mad about later. Sure it may cost you a few bucks in the acution but at least to me its worth more to have full control. I want to see my "baby" be able to get into as many hands as possible. I get more joy out of seeing others enjoy something that I have made then I can say and that feeling is priceless to me. That said I do know there are collectors out there that wouldn't mind so it may not even end up costing you on the final eBay price. Either way... I view it as my intellectual property and I'd be unwilling to give up (or sell) that much control over what I did with it.

Again just my 2 cents,
Carl

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 11:57 am 
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I am one of the rare cases of creator and collector in one person.
But I create only for my own collection. I have never sold a puzzle and swapped only for additions of my collection.
My goal is to improve my collection. I can therefore live with others out there owning the same puzzles as I do. That won't harm the "completeness" of my collection.

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:05 pm 
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cubedude76 wrote:
Would it be rude to take a puzzle that sold on ebay for hundreds of dollars and start giving away puzzles at production cost or for free?
I'd only view that as rude if it was stated in the auction this is a one of a kind item and no more will be made (or something similiar). Just be honest up front and I don't think you'd have anything to worry about. That said stuff like this happens all the time in business. An example I can think of... back when I moved to Texas in 1997 we got Direct TV. It was rather new then and you had to buy your own receiver. As I recall we paid something like $400 for it. It seemed like just a few short months later they were giving them away with the Direct TV contract. True... I wasn't happy about that but stuff like that happens all the time. You can pay $20 for a movie and get it right when it comes out or you may be able to get if for $5 in the bargin bin a year later. Its business and the first of anything always costs more. Maybe an even more direct example is look at those that bought a DIY kit off Shapeways of a puzzle that was layer mass produced. They certainly paid alot more for something that wasn't even a finished puzzle.
cubedude76 wrote:
The main reason I don't sell all my puzzles on shapeways is because I don't think they would sell well and they would probably lower what the ebay version sells for.
They may... that's true. And its also true you may never make up the difference is sales on Shapeways or sell none at all. But at least for me that is a risk I'm willing to take.

Let me ask this question of the desingers here... this isn't directed just at cubedude76.

If you had a choice between these two options which would you pick?

(A) You could give 100 (or 1000) puzzles of your design freely to puzzle collectors and solvers at no cost to you. You make no money but lets say it doesn't cost you anything either aside from your designing time. Someone else takes care of all the dying, stickering, etc.

(B) You could sell just 1 puzzle and make $100 (or $1000).

At the 100 level the choise is easy for me. I'd pick (A) without thinking. At the 1000 level I tell myself I'd still pick (A) however if my wife were to find out I might just get my head servered to me on a platter.

Carl

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:55 pm 
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As a fairly hard-core collector, I think it's safe to say that any collector who pays more than a couple of hundred dollars for a puzzle knows the risk... I'll admit that I paid over $200 for a Skewb Diamond back when they were long out of stock and more collectible. I don't really regret it, because at the time I really wanted it, so it was worth the money to me then... I made up the difference by selling duplicates that I had sitting around. I hold no grudge against Mefferts for restocking it... ok, maybe it stings a little bit, but that's the risk I took. :)

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 9:17 pm 
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I don't think I've bought that many shapeways puzzles. For the most part, they don't appeal to me. I don't like the 'roughness' of the material. I have bought a number of handmade puzzles from people though, and I'm pretty much of the mind that if the seller makes another and sells it for less, I lost a bit of money because I bought mine first. A risk I'll take.

What rankles me though is spending say $250 on a puzzle that was handmade, only to see it massproduced a week later by some KO company. I am not so mad at the seller in this case, but rather at the KO company. Um, I also find it hard to stay quiet when I know a new puzzle is coming out, and I see someone sell the same thing. I want to make a post warning people, but at the same time, I want people to keep designing. It's a tough call isn't it.

So ebay vs. shapeways? Nah, it doesn't need to be. Make one, sign it, write #1 on it and sell it on ebay. give it a month or so for the buyer to really enjoy the puzzle and brag about it, then put it on shapeways. But please guys-REASONABLE markups! No more of this 200% rubbish. THAT is what bothers me about Shapeways. Nothing more.

So, when I bought Eitan's Math puzzle (sorry, forgot the name-the one with the circles and numbers) I did it because it was pretty, and because it was for a good cause. If he started selling them on ebay tomorrow, or in shapeways-I wouldn't care. I have mine, I've enjoyed it. Why not let others have fun too. The same goes for quicksolvers miscellaneous lock. It's a brilliant puzzle-start selling it....

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 10:08 pm 
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katsmom wrote:
No more of this 200% rubbish.

200% ?! :shock: What is a good markup anyway? like 20% ? (hope this doesn't derail the topic)

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 11:35 pm 
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Nice and VERY interesting discussion! Sorry for not getting involved,
but had been mighty busy! (some of it new puzzle related! LOL)

Anyway, my take on this, is that no customer or collector would (or should) be
angry (or sad) if a puzzle they paid, later had its price reduced (as DIY, lower
quality, mass produced etc).

The main goal for a puzzler (collector, speed-solver, designer, name anything else)
is to be the one of the FIRST people to get his/her hands on that puzzle. End of story.
The feeling of being one of the first to show off a brand new super puzzle is very pleasing,
especially in our (mostly) capitalistic world.

This is true with anything else which loses its "first time appealing value" with time.
For example, you pay a different price to watch a new movie now, and then the price
gets lower and lower and the movie travels to DVD, pay TV, and then to free TV.

This is also true for mobile phones, computers, and of course other puzzles. But the fact
that with time they also start to gain a new "rarity/antique value" it is because this goes
against the "first time appealing value" and has absolutely nothing to do with whether
that item is produced in larger numbers later. Those should not be mixed.

And why does all this happen and is fair? Because impatient people (not with the bad sense
of the word - I can also be impatient and I have paid many times crazy prices to be one of
those "first time appealing value" puzzle owners) are always destined to pay a higher price.
And this is why many say that patience is one of the very few best virtues.

:)


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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 4:34 am 
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Really a good discussion!

First I have to state (I guess I mentioned it before somewhere) that for some puzzles where I own the only copy, I DO NOT (edited - sorry, I rewrote this sentence before posting and the most important words got lost!) insist, that noone else should ever get a copy, too. I don't buy puzzles to build up a collection as a financial investment, but for the fun to have amazing puzzles and play with them. Also I cannot control, if anyone creates more copies, as I cannot forbid it, so this would be absolutely pointless.

I can understand, that a builder wants to see a kind of refund for his work and all the time spent and puts it on ebay. This is of course also a reasonable way to find out, how popular a puzzle really is. Sure, there are a handful of collectors who have a much larger budget than most people, so this must be taken into consideration.

Anyway, the prices especially for unique puzzles or first/rare builds are sometimes exorbitantly high and so it can be annoying to see the same puzzle even mass-produced and maybe with better quality for a fraction of the price. Good for all, bad for the first buyer. So I don't bid on puzzles from some builders anymore, because I expect to see the puzzles later e.g. at Meffert's. I disagree with kastellorizo, that it is all just about impatience to have it first, as in many cases you can't be sure at all, if there is a second chance to buy it at all. This makes a difference to all the (mass-produced!) electronics, where of course early adaptors (should) know, that they pay a higher price. I can wait for a puzzle to put my hands on, if I know it gets mass-produced. So it is not my main goal to be the first one, may be for others this is true. This discussion has shown so far, that there are various interests, so I'd be careful with generalisations.

Offering a puzzle at Shapeways at a reasonable price (I think, printing costs are often underestimated) is a good way. But if I remember right,
Oskar said, in average he sells one copy of each puzzle. This is not a way to earn a lot of money of course. But the option that some puzzles will sell is at least there sooner or later. I know, that there are a lot of Shapeways shops with nice puzzles, but I haven't ordered immediately whatever I liked. Reason is, that I know, that most probably the offer will still be there next month and so I can stretch my purchases over a longer time. So, if it doesn't cause costs, don't remove your offers just because you haven't sold anything and you think the puzzle is too expensive to find a buyer ever!

Back to the initial build:
What might be a possible concept, could be a kind of "puzzle promoter". If a builder sells the first build of a puzzle, the buyer could become the promoter for this puzzle. If it sells for a high price and the builder might consider to offer it on Shapeways (there should be a couple of months between original sale and Shapeways upload to give the buyer at least a time advantage) for a lower price. As it might be seen in a way, that the first puzzle now looses some of its value as more copies can exist, this could be compensated by lets say a small amount of money as a refund per puzzle copy to the first buyer. If nothing is sold, the rareness is untouched, if 20 people order this puzzle, the refund is a respect to the buyer, that he supported this puzzle initially. Of course there should be an upper limit for refund, it's not about generating money by doing nothing except buying! This idea is for sure not completely elaborated, but this might be a compromise for builders and collectors. What do you think about this?
I know that some highly respected builders are very serious about this topic and feel it wouldn't be correct to offer a formerly rare puzzle on Shapeways or have it mass-produced. Luckily in the puzzle scene many of us know each other and it is not all about capitalism and making money.

- Frank -

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Last edited by Frank Tiex on Sat Oct 15, 2011 9:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 5:41 am 
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Rox, I' sorry but I really disagree with you.
First of all it's not 200 but100% but i'm sure that what you meant, but the problem is in my case, if the big puzzles didn't have 100%, I wouldn't be able to make more puzzles, and then there wouldn't be any new puzzles coming out. On the other hand, all my mini puzzles have less than 100% (mostly 50%) to make them affordable. That 100% isn't always a generality.

@Frank:

I believe Timur gave sigurd back the markup on the professor pyraminx when it was mass-produced or something like that.
In the case of mass-production I think i'd give back at least the markup, so that both I and the buyer don't lose anything.

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 7:03 am 
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In my view, everything depends on fairness. If a designer says on ebay "unique", he/she promises something and the buyer has the moral right that it is not sold again. If the designer has never made such statement, the puzzle remains his baby completely and I would never complain, if it gets mass-produced or sold on ebay at a lower price.

As a solving collector I prefer that others will get the chance to own the same puzzles that I have bought.
I will not be influenced by the announcement "unique", at least not in a positive way.
I will never again buy a "unique" puzzle at ebay.
Sorry to say this :( , but the two puzzles I bought with this attribute were technically very weak.
OK they are collector items and look nice on a shelf, but I want to solve my puzzles and not only admire them on display.
So go ahead, please, with your Shapeways offers. And if somebody wants to sell a prototype on ebay first, this is OK to me, as long there is no statement that it will be "unique".

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 9:13 am 
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cubedude76 wrote:
200% ?! :shock: What is a good markup anyway? like 20% ? (hope this doesn't derail the topic)
I read places that say the typical retail markup can be anywhere from 10% to 1000%. And I think 100% is about average. I'd love to know what Shapeways' % profit is on each sale. If you assume they themselves have a 100% markup that means they make $50 on each $100 sale. I'd personally think the designer should be easily entitled to as much as Shapeways is making so if they add on a 50% markup on top of that $100 then they too would be making $50. Sounds reasonable to me. That said its totally up to the designer... I'd rather see a puzzle on Shapeways with a 200% markup then not see it on Shapeways at all. And I'd personly rather maximize sales then profit at this stage of getting things started. Some have expressed an interest in my Thorny Cube which I personally don't feel turns well enough to sell for a crazy price on eBay... at least not yet. But I'm considering offering it on Shapeways with about a 10% markup for those that are aware of its turning issues and still want a copy of this version. I'll sell the first Doctor Skewb on eBay and wait a month or two before putting it on Shapeways and that I feel turns as well (if not better) then some mass produced puzzles, after its broken in. Heck, you can still pop your basic 3x3x3. The Doctor Skewb will never pop. For that I'm thinking about something in the range of 20 to 25%. That may be influenced by how well the first one does on eBay. I'd reserve the right to increase the markup at a later date but I'd like to start it low to show my support for those willing to help this designer (and collector) get his shop off the ground.

Frank Tiex wrote:
Of course there should be an upper limit for refund, it's not about generating money by doing nothing except buying! This idea is for sure not completely elaborated, but this might be a compromise for builders and collectors. What do you think about this?
I've entertained some similar ideas. The only issue which I see with yours is how will the winner know how many have been sold through Shapeways later? You open up a trust situation and if he ever feels that trust has been broken you can end up with hard feelings which I'd want to avoid. For example, lets say none are ever sold by the original creator yet another designer wants one and designs and prints his own to avoid the markup. If this other puzzle sees the light of day and the person who won the auction see it and assumes the original designer is hiding his sales then what? I might be open to refuding some of an eBay winning bid based on later sales but I don't think that should be stated or assumed up front. If it comes as a surprise later then everone is happy.

The other ideas I've entertained are either returning half of the markup (from a Shapeways sale) or offering a "coupon" for a future puzzle with no markup for doing something like the following:

(1) Be the first to post a box opening video for one of my puzzles (be it from eBay or Shapeways).
(2) Be the first to post an assemply video of one of my DIY puzzles from Shapeways (provided I don't already have one up).
(3) Be the first to post a solve video of one of my puzzles.
(4) Be the first to detail a solution method (Trust me I'll test it... I'd need it myself for most of the puzzles I have planned).
(5) Be the first to post a review of one of my puzzle. (Not sure about this one... don't want to be accused of paying for a good review.)
(6) Do something original relating to one of my puzzles that impresses me... grabs my eye.

Oh and I guess I should say there would be a limit of one "reward" per puzzle purchased. I can't aford to return half the markup 5 or 6 times. ;)

I'm certainly not opposed to offering some reward/incetive to those that jump on early as they are the ones taking the greatest risk that prices will drop later.

RubixFreakGreg wrote:
In the case of mass-production I think i'd give back at least the markup, so that both I and the buyer don't lose anything.
If you give back more then the markup haven't you lost something? And what if it was a KO company that mass produced it? I think this should be up to the designer and not something expected of the buyer. The buyer has to assume some risk being first or that early in the game. Its just that way with everything.

Frank Tiex wrote:
Really a good discussion!
Thanks.

Frank Tiex wrote:
First I have to state (I guess I mentioned it before somewhere) that for some puzzles where I own the only copy, I insist, that noone else should ever get a copy, too. ...<SNIP>... Also I cannot control, if anyone creates more copies, as I cannot forbid it, so this would be absolutely pointless.
I've read this paragraph several times now and I must be reading something wrong. Isn't the first sentence at odds with the last? How do you insist noone else ever get a copy and NOT forbid more copies being made at the same time. From context I trust its the first sentence I'm reading the wrong way.

Konrad wrote:
In my view, everything depends on fairness. If a designer says on ebay "unique", he/she promises something and the buyer has the moral right that it is not sold again. If the designer has never made such statement, the puzzle remains his baby completely and I would never complain, if it gets mass-produced or sold on ebay at a lower price.
I agree and I never intend to sell a "unique" puzzle. However even that I could see leading to a misunderstanding. The first prototype of a given puzzle IS unique in its own way and I'm ok with selling a puzzle as "the first protype", "signed and numbered by the designer", etc.

And let me thank everyone for joining in on this discussion. I wasn't sure where this would go when I started it and I'm glad everyone has been so open and positive so far.

Carl

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 9:48 am 
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wwwmwww wrote:
Frank Tiex wrote:
First I have to state (I guess I mentioned it before somewhere) that for some puzzles where I own the only copy, I insist, that noone else should ever get a copy, too. ...<SNIP>... Also I cannot control, if anyone creates more copies, as I cannot forbid it, so this would be absolutely pointless.
I've read this paragraph several times now and I must be reading something wrong. Isn't the first sentence at odds with the last? How do you insist noone else ever get a copy and NOT forbid more copies being made at the same time. From context I trust its the first sentence I'm reading the wrong way.


No, some important words got lost! Sorry for the confusion and thanks for your hint. I corrected this.

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 Post subject: Re: eBay vs Shapeways (Why can't it be both?)
PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:36 am 
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Frank Tiex wrote:
I disagree with kastellorizo, that it is all just about impatience to have it first, as in many cases you can't be sure at all, if there is a second chance to buy it at all.


Remember, I mentioned "impatience with the good sense of the word", not just "impatience".

So, impatience, obsession, addiction, all in this case mean the same exact source which results
to buying a puzzle as fast as possible. And every time a new item appears in the New Puzzles
section, there is this unexplained hunger (expressed by all twisty puzzles members) wanting it now.
I mean, if you are refusing to admit that you do not have this feeling, you are in denial! :wink:

You are right that we cannot be sure if there is a second chance, but that does not change
the reasoning, as while time tends to infinity, no one can also guarantee that it won't be
mass produced in the near or far future. And with all the puzzle-flood the past 3-4 years,
a puzzle not being mass produced is slowly becoming the exception, not the norm.

In any case, I did not mean to offend you or any other collector which is why I placed myself
as an example too - despite me being well known for my donkey patience! And that is why
I think I was careful enough when I mentioned it, it is just that now I gave more details.

And I certainly agree 100% to all the rest of your points.

:)


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