Blender Market Progress in 2016

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On June 10th, 2014 we launched the Blender Market. Our aim was to create a platform for selling Blender products, enabling artists and developers to start and grow a business based on Blender. 

Two and a half years later we are making good progress towards this goal: providing a viable livelihood for Creators all over the world. 

Throughout 2016 our sales numbers improved and the rate of top-notch Creators and products continued to grow. This post is a brief report on our growth.

Progress in 2016

In no particular order, here are some stats on our progress in 2016 compared to 2015.

  • The total published products grew to 676 from 403.
  • In 2016 we processed 7,489 orders, whereas 2015 had 4,879 orders .
  • Revenue grew ~25%, grossing $182,349.64 USD in 2016 compared to $145,020.54 in 2015.
  • We paid out $119,880.38 to Creators and the Blender Dev Fund in 2016 while 2015 paid out $91,689.84.

Below is the graph of monthly sales over 2015 and 2016. Only one month in 2016 failed to surpass the prior year, which was due to the 1.2x release of RetopoFlow.

Note: the sum of monthly sales will vary slightly from the reported gross revenue. We track gross revenue via bank transfers, causing an offset in actual values.

In addition to improving numbers we also made some big changes to the architecture that powers the Blender Market. More specifically, we completely rebuilt the site from the ground up. We switched from using Wordpress and a myriad of plugins to a custom Ruby on Rails site, giving us much more flexibility and control over the experience. This rebuild was sorely needed and a long-time coming. 


Goals in 2017

With our new architecture running smoothly and solid growth from 2016 we're focused on kicking it up a notch in 2017. There is a lot we want to do with, and for the Market, but below are three general goals for this year.

Creator Autonomy

Give Creators more autonomy to not just sell through the market but to build a business through it. This includes providing more privileges to proven Creators, enabling them to publish new products and interact with their customers more easily. 

Trend Insights

Do more to analyze sales trends and market insight for Creators, giving them the data they need to make informed choices on where their time is best invested. For example, it makes no sense to invest hours of time into a product if there's no chance for that product to sale. We need to do more to help Creators know what kinds of products provide real value to customers. 

Break even

To date the Blender Market has not made a dime of profit. The market is a CG Cookie project, and one we believe whole-heartedly in. We have invested quite a sum of money, energy, and a lot of time into making the market a reality. We continue to stand by this. 

As we near in on on our 3rd birthday (June 10th) a key goal of 2017 is to break even. We are not in this for the money but the long-term future of the Market depends on it paying for its self, as a viable and sustainable business. 


Get involved

Are you interested in selling on the Blender Market, helping to grow the ecosystem for all Creators? 

Apply Today

Comments

  • F18d88025d5bf5889b2395b5f4c8be12

    Arnaud Couturier 3 months ago

    How about letting creators choose the license they feel best suits their needs and interests for their products ;) instead of imposing "freedom" GPL on addons.

    • Large

      Jonathan Williamson 3 months ago

      Hey Arnaud, separate licenses is something we're open to exploring. The primary reason for pushing the GPL is to put the emphasis, and to encourage more development, of the same freedom-based development that has made Blender so great in the first place. 

      There's a common argument that the GPL is incompatible with commercial products, which I believe to misguided and wrong. An intention of the Blender Market is to prove that commercial products within a GPL ecosystem are not only viable, but beneficial to the whole ecosystem.

      • F18d88025d5bf5889b2395b5f4c8be12

        Arnaud Couturier 3 months ago

        Hi Jonathan. Thank you for your reply, and I've always understood this approach, since Blender itself is under the GPL in the first place, and I am glad it is the case :)

        I'm just saying: freedom is about choice, for both users and creators. You have proven GPL addons can be sold, it is more about the philosophical approach to GPL being imposed, which in my humble opinion is a lack of freedom of choice for creators. Perhaps GPL for addons could be encouraged rather than forced? 

        But anyway, I salute your approach, and also believe you're doing great for the Blender ecosystem as a whole. Keep it up :)

        • Large

          Jonathan Williamson 3 months ago

          That's a very fair point! To play Devil's Advocate, though, you're never forced to use GPL as you're never forced to sell through the Blender Market. 

          Regardless, licensing will always be a difficult issue on any market place and one worth constantly revisiting. 

          Cheers! I hope Scene City is working out well for you; it's great to see the development continuing.

  • A4a6c23048f1c1c415de61dc29d02c42

    artunchained 3 months ago

    Hey guys, I'm happy to see things are going better every day. Thanks for your hard work. 

    One thing I really miss are the comments. Although they were misused to discuss product bugs and features, which I didn't like in particular, I feel they were the type of "casual connection" the customers needed. Contacting me directly seems to be more of a hurdle for customers. I'm not sure how to solve this, I just recognized it. 

    About the licencing: I've been struggling with that myself in the beginning. I don't have anything against GPL, I just wasn't sure if it fits my product. I put a lot more man-hours into my product than I expected to get paid for. I mean, I get Blender for free and I love it. Still it didn't feel right on my side that someone could just copy my hard work and share it for free without my consent. So I simply left the GPL-paragraph out of my code. In the end my fears weren't justified, my product paid off very well. But I absolutely understand the need of other creators for different licences and support that request, although I'm fine with GPL atm. Keep striving!

    • Large

      Jonathan Williamson 3 months ago

      This casual connection is important and a tough problem to get right. The previous comments function worked great for this but it also presented major support and pre-sale issues, where the two became very convoluted. For example, the old RetopoFlow product page had upwards of 300 comments on it, yielding lots of casual connections but also making it very difficult to provide adequate support. The line between support, pre-sale questions, and general feedback became very blurry very quickly. Unfortunately this then degraded the experience of all three parts. 

      I'm not yet convinced that our Inbox solution is a great answer to these problems, but I think it's a step in the right direction. 

      At the end of the day there needs to be a way for Creators and Customers to interact while also enabling customers (and potential customers) to get direct answers to their questions without having to wade through pages and pages of comments. I'm also thrilled to hear your GPL concerns proved unjust, that's encouraging. It also suggests to me that we need to more to help assuage these concerns for new Creators.

      • Large

        Blue Driver 3 months ago

        I agree with artunchained. I needed to create a support ticket today just to tell a creator I really appreciate the latest update they made, as it is amazing.

        I understand it can't be a regular comment page as you would end up with a lot of people posting issues on it. (like the ratings atm)


  • Large

    Blue Driver 3 months ago

    I am so glad I discovered this place, the plugins I bought here are helping me a lot. I hope we can see this place grow more next year! I will def. let other people know about it.

    • Large

      Jonathan Williamson 3 months ago

      That's great to hear! There's a lot of updates coming down the pipe so stay tuned!

  • 43f19100cc57fc3e472ef284e34b6627

    dean.b 2 months ago

    I owe Jonathan an apology and a thank you , I criticised the idea of a paid for blender Add-On service when the idea first became public , in fear of it stopping foundation development , I was naïve and a little too enthusiastic as well thinking assets were unnecessary and would be of a terrible quality comparing the idea to other market places. After starting my first project I realised how much time it saves having other amazing artists resources to hand for a very reasonable cost (I'm admitting I fell flat on my face here) especially some of the lighting and shader solutions. The scripted Add-On's I have purchased are amazing and I would never have even imagined some of them , let alone had the time or skill level to create and develop them.

    Jonathon was very patient in his responses to me having said the things I had said and very graceful , well , your numbers speak for themselves , well done dude and all of you at CG Cookie.

    I wish you all the best for the future.

    I don't know if you guys have ever used nexus mods , but a download manager in a similar style to update and maybe install purchased content would be awesome , I don't find it difficult personally but having automated stuff means spending more time on creating , just a thought.

    dean.b

    • Large

      Blue Driver 10 days ago

      Being a big fan of this website, I was just thinking the same thing as I downloaded the latest version of a plugin:

      A download manager would be awesome. The basic version of this would be a blender plugin letting me know when one of my BlenderMarket plugins are out of date.

      Glad someone else is having the same thoughts 

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