Turbosquid Signs an Autodesk Deal

Written October 2nd, 2009
Categories: Blog
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At first glance, I nearly fainted because I thought this was yet another Autodesk merger deal that I’d have to write my congressman about.  To my surprise (and dare I say relief) it is not.  I’ve got a few thoughts on the matter, but I’ve been told that brevity is not my strong suit so I’ll try to get my point across quickly.

Good things

There are a lot of good things to be had here.  According to Matt Wisdom’s blog post that’s going to mean as much as a 20x increase in their targetable audience.  Now I balk at these quotes because they tend to be blown way out of proportion.  But if you actually browse Autodesk’s Seek you’ll find that the aggregate content offering is unexpectedly thin, and what’s there isn’t up to the level of quality I’ve become accustomed to on Turbosquid.  When you blend this thirst for quality content with even the more modest estimates of traffic growth, you get a smoothie that’s quite digestible for the Turbosquid content creator.

From a strategic standpoint, Matt’s also right in that Revit and other advances are forcing CAD users to meet a higher bar of visual quality, and Turbosquid needs to be on the forefront of that.  Merging these two platforms to help prepare for that trend looks like a good strategic move.

What Does it Mean

For you and me?  Right now?  Not a whole lot.  These kinds of things take time to ramp up, and Autodesk is nothing if not a lumbering behemoth of a company.  I’m afraid I can’t put a timeframe on this for you, but it’d be a good idea to start shoring up your inventory now to make sure you’re in a good place when visitors come looking for refrigerators, hot carts, and couches.

In the long run, I generally see good forces coming together here.  Your products will get exposed to more traffic and more traffic almost always means more sales.

Things to Watch Out For

This deal does have a few things I think we’ll want to watch out for.

First, the content that Autodesk Seek provides and the content that Turbosquid provides are different in that the Seek merchandise is real.  You can find an American Standard toilet in Seek and know that there’s a real manufacturer behind it, and that the model is made to the specifications of the real thing. I’ve found that Turbosquid’s content base is skewed toward things that look good, but aren’t exactly made from the manufacturer’s blueprints.  The items that are to specification cost more because they’re usually quite good.

Targeting Seek’s CAD audience looks like it’s going to require a different tactic on our part as content creators.  It’s going to emphasize more careful work.  While this doesn’t mean modeling like a surgeon, it does mean you’ll have to try adding precision to your speed/quality mixture.  I’m half-expecting a validation service like “Game-Ready Submission” except geared toward architectural visualization.  Judging by the visual appeal of Seek’s inventory, I’m confident that most of you out there can rock this party, regardless.  And don’t forget that corporate players have deeper pockets- don’t feel bad charging more money for that model.

Second, I’m always wary of Autodesk getting fresh with companies I like.  They’re like a claims adjuster- they might seem nice but in reality they have an agenda that might not be in your best interest.  The cynic in me says this looks a lot like Autodesk trying to reinforce a humdrum product with Turbosquid, and the latter being oblivious and happy to stand in the shadow of such a large corporation.  But I don’t often listen to the cynic in me- he’s depressing.  Turbosquid isn’t staffed by idiots or they wouldn’t have made it this far.  I’m sure they’re keeping this deal at arm’s length, and both companies will walk away better for the cooperation.

So that’s the rundown from my perspective.  As always, we’ll see what happens.

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