The personal 3D printing industry is in the throes of a self-destructive trend that needs to be addressed. Fueled by an overabundance of competition and easily attained headlines such as, “New Printer Blows Up On Kickstarter,” crowdfunding has become viral marketing roulette, a game of chance that utterly blurs the definition of success.
The speed and extent to which a campaign’s goal is surpassed has started taking precedence over a viable business venture emerging from the process. A suicidal price war has ensued, but unlike most price wars, this one does not necessarily benefit the consumer.
Those who launch on a crowdfunding site face a dilemma. With so many similar machines constantly being funded, how does one stand apart? The solution increasingly seems to be pricing the product as if it were only about selling units and not about funding a startup. The resulting discount entices throngs of new users who were formerly sitting on the fence, waiting for a machine that fits within their budget. Many of these buyers aren’t acutely aware of just how different Kickstarter is from Amazon and when they learn, new and creative ways to voice displeasure on the internet are invented.
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