The 3D Studio.com Nightmare Experience

As some of you may know I have been a fan of The3Dstudio.com for many years. Besides running Premium3Dmodels.com we have been selling our models there (and on other marketplaces) as well and things were running smoothly.

The sales

When T3DS was sold to 3DSystems, things started to go in the wrong direction.  Sales kept getting lower and lower and nowadays they reached a ridiculous level. One could argue that the competition is higher now than back than or that our models are getting old and have reached their “end”. This is definitely not the case since sales on other sites like Turbosquid or CreativeCrash are getting higher and higher every month.

When confronted with this issue, Matt Anderson explained that after the transaction was made, they stopped the funding for advertising for a limited period of time until their “mother company” understood better what they are selling and how to advertise it. Does this make sense to you? To me and many others, it doesn’t. Time has passed, and sales are far from being back on track… quite the opposite actually.

I forgot to mention the fact that even if the company was sold to 3D Systems, Matt Anderson and his family are still running the day to day operations.

The attitude towards sellers and sales that simply disappear from stats without any notice

As if the sales disaster was not enough, the attitude of Matt Anderson towards sellers has changed dramatically. The Matt I thought I knew was very friendly and kind and always willing to help. My first encounter with “the new Matt” was last year when I had my first sale disappear from my dashboard. The sale showed in my stats for about an hour or so and that it suddenly disappeared. No support ticket, no email notification, nothing. When I sent Matt an email asking for an explanation as to why that happened, I received this answer:

"Hi Alex,
That can happen when an order comes in that we do not approve (meaning, it might fail our fraud checks). So it may popup for a short time before we cancel the order out (and before the customer is allowed to download anything). It’s all part of our anti-fraud systems where we do not allow orders that we cannot confirm to be downloaded.

Thank you,
Matt Anderson"

This does not match his statement made in his last comment on Prostbyte's blog, where he clearly states that a sale appears in the reports ONLY after a product is downloaded :
http://www.the3dstudio.com/blog_detail.aspx?id=3467

After this I started to become suspicious. The sales were getting lower and lower, while the cart count was at a normal level.

Last week I had another sale which disappeared from my stats, again without any notification whatsoever.

I opened a support ticket and I got this reply:

"It was this model…
http://www.the3dstudio.com/product_deta … uct=456178

The model didn't work correctly in the OBJ and FBX formats which are missing some materials and textures (only the geometry of the OBJ would import into Cinema 4D) and (at least in OBJ and FBX formats) the room is not included.

We have since updated the description so that future customers won't have such issues. Please be sure to always check all exports you make and to list anything they may lack when compared to the preview images."

To make it clear, I DID NOT offer a cinema 4D format. I checked the obj file, imported it in max and it worked PERFECTLY!
In my opinion, support should have checked the integrity of the obj file first before taking my money away.

After confronting Matt again with this, he focused more on the fact that the room wasn't there. As you can see there are 2 walls, a ceiling and a floor all of them BLURRED. Anyway, if I had received an email asking for this I would have had sent it in 2 minutes.

Although I don’t agree with the reason for the return, my main problem is with the fact that I was not notified. When a sale simply disappears I feel robbed. Matt’s explanation with regards to this issue is simply outrageous:

“We don't waste our time or yours with a return that is covered by our money back guarantee if there is no chance we can save the sale”

IT IS MY PRODUCT YOU ARE SELLING NOT YOURS, SO I HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO KNOW WHENEVER SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPENS!

I reminded Matt about the other time when the sale disappeared without any notice, and argued that since this happened at least twice (in my case) and in none of the case I haven't received an email I am entitled to assume that it might have happened several other times judging by the ridiculously low sales I have been getting there for an year or so.

At this point the conversation took another tone and Matt told me that he doesn't have to listen to false accusations or to take any abuse from me. He threatened that if I don't change my attitude he won't even reply to my support tickets anymore. That is nothing like the Matt I thought I knew.

Just to make it clear, I was very civil in my conversation, no bad words at all. It seems to me that I am the one on the receiving end of the abuse.

Although I have done a lot to help t3ds.com over the years (according to the stats I have referred almost 1500 members), nowadays I wouldn’t advise anyone to work with them unless you are in a desperate need of a heart attack.

In my next post on this topic I will try to make an analysis on how the site “evolved” in comparison to its competitors.  

P.S. In all fairness, I had another incident some time ago, when a client contacted me for some additional work on a collection he claimed to have purchased from the3dstudio.com. As that collection didn't sell at all there, I contacted Matt and told him that the sale for that specific product was not registered. He then asked me for the client's contact details which triggered my bells. I am no programmer but I would have thought he could have checked the data base to see if a specific product was sold and my account was not credited.
As it turned out the client had bought the product from TS and he didn't realize it. Of course I have apologized for that… but taking into consideration the fact that that collection was exactly the one that disappeared from the stats last year I think my reaction was understandable.

72 Comments
  1. mercy says:

    Thanks for the heads up, moving on to other sites mentioned here.

  2. LukeS says:

    Teo, I went to the syndicate3d site, thinking it sounded like a good idea. But when I saw the names ‘Clutch Trigger’ and ‘Dynasty Weapons’ I had to laugh. IIRC these two were kicked off TS for selling stollen models. Kind of brings into question most of what you say. Please don’t derail this blog into a rant against TS and the reasons why you were thrown off.

  3. Pumper says:

    WTF, Teo? These syndicate3d assholes are selling stolen models (just have a look at the car models – ripped from Need for Speed games) on their non “factory” site and you are promoting them? Get a life.

  4. Teo says:

    LukeS and Pumper,
    Guys I am nobody’s lawyer. If you have doubts about those artists you can simply ask them. I don’t answer on behalf of other people. And how exactly does your claim brings into question what I say LukeS? have I tried to lure on a site that exploits anyones talent by charging any commision to ones products?

  5. Teo,

    This is getting way too off-topic.
    All further comments that will not discuss the subject of this blog post will be deleted.

    Thanks for the understanding.

  6. LukeS says:

    Hi Alex,

    Is it right to assume you have ‘Matt Andersons’s ear’ at the moment? (not in a Resevoir Dogs, sort of way)

    If so can you ask him what he has planned for the site, and if he is going to ever make some public statement about the issues you’ve raised, because at the moment confidence in T3DS is not good, and falling by the day. He needs to stop ignoring this.

    I don’t really want to speak to him about this using my normal mail.

    Thank you,
    Luke

  7. Hi Luke,

    As I said in a previous comment, I have exchanged a few emails with Matt a week after this article was published.
    He was the one who contacted me after having realized that he had made a huge mistake with that attitude. I don’t think he will ever make a public statement about this though, because no matter how he would try to spin it, it won’t look good for him.
    The only way he could save the site’s reputation would be for him to attend the Harry Potter Academy of Magic, be a good student learn hard and eventually do a dark magic trick to boost our sales.

    With regards to the plans, he has made the same promises that we have been hearing for more than a year. “We are working on something really big….. bla, bla, bla, I can not reveal too much at this point…. bla, bla, bla”.
    To my disappointment these plans will involve 3d printing (as expected) and needless to say I am not too optimistic.

    It is kind of worrying in a way that he really seemed enthusiastic about his plans and that we will see some huge result this year, much of it very soon. To be honest I would rather prefer if he acknowledged that the site is going down and a drastic change in strategy is required.
    It still amazes me how he wouldn’t think that he should have emailed the sellers whenever a returned occurred for whatever reasons. After having exchanged a few emails he promised that he will do it from now on. At least I accomplished that much with this blog post so far.
    That is the reason nobody until now reported a return on The3Dstudio.com.
    As Pumper said on another forum “shit service”.

    I was the one who stopped the communication with him this time, because at some point we were going around in circles.

  8. Keith says:

    After reading more on another Forum about what is “transpiring” at T3DS; I think it’s time to pull the plug on my meager offerings there. No point in prolonging it any further. Too bad it came to this; but he has only himself to blame.

  9. Susan says:

    Keith, which forum?

  10. Keith says:
  11. Susan says:

    Oh, okay, thanks; I’ve seen that.

  12. LukeS says:

    Alex, I think you’ve achieved a lot in getting Mr. Anderson to agree to mail when a return happens, at least that good has come out of this mess. I hope Anderson learns from this episode and does something about his(?) site.

    More generally there’s some interesting info on 3DStocktalk too. Thanks for the heads up.

    Luke.

  13. Keith says:

    So I take it that Matt hasn’t bothered to reply or address this at T3DS, because he can’t or won’t defend himself? Is he hoping that this will just go away?

  14. I really don’t know if to believe it or not to believe it yet, but I am happy to report that this has been the best month for me on t3ds.com ever since I started uploading there (in 2006). I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hope that this was not an isolated case.

    Has anyone else seen a sudden (and substantial) growth in sales there recently?

  15. LukeS says:

    I’ve seen no surge in sales – still very low on t3ds, as with every month for the past year. If I was cynical I’d say this blog might have something to do with your sale improvement.

  16. Tracy says:

    I’ve been sent a gag order/cease & desist from my former employer, but as a casual observer, I’d say I think Luke might be on to something. :)

  17. LukeS says:

    “Cease and desist” – just when I thought this couldn’t get any more anul . . . .

    I think it’s fair to say I’m not impressed by T3DS in any of this. I hope Alex will keep this blog up, no matter how good his sales become ;)

  18. Susan says:

    It’s definitely interesting that Alex’s sales have suddenly increased. I wonder if it’s going to be a one-month thing or not. I only have a few products up there, but haven’t seen any sales in months and months. Which on one hand is not that unusual with such a small number of items, but it definitely seems like things have been worse since T3DS was bought out.

    This whole thing is very sad, but for me the saddest thing is to see the disintegration of a family. The thing that’s hardest for me to digest is how a mother can treat her own daughter like this. Unfortunately I’ve seen similar things in my own extended family, but it still shocks me.

  19. It looks like it was a one month thing…
    August is an absolute disaster… worst month ever so far. Don’t know what to make of it.

    @LukeS – this post will stay up, regardless of my sales on the3dstudio.com. Not only that but I will update it from time to time to let you know how sales are going for me over there.

  20. LukeS says:

    Alex, Glad to hear this blog will stay up.

    I think the difference is that in July you were making a large noise about poor sales on T3DS, then mysteriously your sales became very good. In August you stopped making a noise, and mysteriously your sales went back to a normal low level. My top tip is make a large noise when your sales are low ;)

    I hope that by pointing this our we havn’t jinked your ability to make this happen. Needless to say my sales have now stopped entirely at T3DS. But then the name ‘LukeS’ is not linked with my account in any way.

    Thanks for the info,

    ‘LukeS’

  21. Sanjeev says:

    Hi Alex,

    could u get me a lead to other portals which are good in selling 3d models.

    Regards,
    sanjeev

  22. @Sanjeev – Sorry for the late reply.

    Besides running Premium3Dmodels.com, I sell on Turbosquid, FallingPixel, CreativeCrash and The3dstudio.

    At this point I wouldn’t bother with FallingPixel and The3Dstudio.com…
    I don’t even remember when was the last time when I sold something on FallingPixel and September looks like another disaster on The3dstudio (after the one in August).

    Although I haven’t tried it yet, I have heard good things about CGtrader.com as well. As soon as I have time I will upload some of my stuff their as well.

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