Both Blender and the Blender community have been advancing at an incredible pace over the last two years - there is more and more activity and the users are rapidly becoming more professional. Being editors of BlenderNation we're in front-row seat watching an amazing journey!
As a result, more commercial products and services are appearing. In a article which I wrote over 2,5 years ago I was already putting forward my belief that these commercial endeavors are a GOOD thing for Blender (and for Open Source in general) - they give more credibility to the project by providing much-needed documentation, training, support, access to developers and artists.
Still, how do you sell your product or service to a community? So far, getting a post on BlenderNation was the best thing you could hope for - most people will sell really well for a few days but then the effect falls off and you're back in the dark. There had to be a better way.
About six months ago I realized that what we needed was a marketplace where people can showcase their products and services. After a lot of preparations, today I'm proud to announce the BlenderNation Community Store. The Store works like a showcase: people can list their products or services. If you want to order something, you are sent to the owner's website.
We've discussed the idea many times with Ton Roosendaal from the Blender Foundation. Ton writes:
Blender is getting adopted by many more studios and professionals. A big bottleneck for them is still having lack of support, training, consultancy or integration services. I'm very happy to see Blendernation enabling this for our users and developers with the Community Store. Time to get to business guys!
The Community Store is a commercial project on its own - preparing and running it takes a lot of time, which I cannot spend on other work. We've done our best to keep the prices fair though. On top of that, if you sign up before December 1st 2008 you'll receive one product listing for free for four weeks â€“ without any obligations.
Will this interfere with the integrity of our news service? No - you will still read reviews that are fair and honest. To prevent any conflict of interest, the people who are running the shop (for now, that's me) will not be writing product reviews anymore. We'll also keep listing new products as news, regardless of whether they're in the Store or not.
2,5 years ago I concluded with the following statement and I'll use it here again:
Now would be a good time to start thinking about how YOU could make a living by supporting Blender. The opportunities are there, you just need to seize them.