Last February, we wrote about Andrew Kator's Blender 3D Model Repository, a great and well maintained resource for Blender users. In July he closed down, but an alternative is now available.
Update March 28, 2016: this site is no longer available.
It turns out that Andrew's project ran into trouble because people were uploading copyrighted material.
A Year of Success. Over 900 Models, Over 2,000,000 Downloads... Then Problems.
July 17, 2006 The Blender 3D Model Repository is gone. While it was very successful, I have received too many emails from model authors complaining that their models have been illegitimately uploaded to the repository."
October 24, 2006 I have spent too much time trying to provide resources like the BMR to people who show nothing but abuse, complaints, and disregard for artist rights to continue with the project.
In time, Andrew Kator's models will become available on this site. We cannot continue to waste our personal money on lawyers and legal issues, especially when the expenditure of those resource brings us nothing but complaints and unnecessary trouble."
Under those circumstances, anyone would give up and I can only applaud Andrew for what he has done for us so far. At the same time, I think those who are uploading others' models should think again about their actions - thank you for destroying such a great resource!
The New Blender Model Repository
Thankfully, a new site has risen to fill this gap: the 'New Blender Model Repository' [update: link removed, the size is gone], which now has some 30 models available. It's models are nicely organized by categories like Man-Made, Animals, Plants, which are further subdivided into categories such as architecture, transportation, fish etc.
As a sidenote, I think that the form they've chosen (a forum) is the wrong tool for the job; a forum is not a content management system and previewing a model is now too cumbersome. Let's hope that the forum is just a temporary 'quickfix' and that something better will come in its place.
I'm unclear about their policy for allowing people to upload work. I hope everyone remembers the old 3DMR. We should learn from its fate.