Is Thingiverse getting exploited and gamed?
Thingiverse.com is an amazing site for people with an interest in 3D design, engineering, and manufacturing. When I'm asked to describe this, I say it's the Youtube.com of 3D printing. By this, the similartiy lies as:
On YouTube, people upload, watch, and share videos; Thingiverse is a place where people upload, download, and share 3D printable "things".
For me, Thingiverse often feels like a "haven" on the internet. It's a place where it has a sort of Academic aura about it. The enthusiasts, both amateur and rockstars alike, are engaged on a constant basis. Copying, deriving, and improving upon other people's ideas is not taken offensively. It's actually well received and accepted as a social service towards improving the science of the art.
In a populated city, snowfall doesn't stay pure for long. The internet has a long history of commercial capitalism dominating even some of the purest niches within the ecosystem. I'll name Googles battle with the content farms, Digg.com's numerous issues which all but destroyed it, and the current course of Facebook.com as good examples.
Has the pristine and pure Thingiverse met the internet's version of meeting manhood? It's a two-edged sword when you become popular on the interwebz. Along with new and diverse traffic comes the carpet bagging exploitation. I sincerely hope the MakerBot owned printable playground site doesn't become the next to join the examples above, but I'm starting to become very concerned.
Browsing this evening resulted in seeing two examples of gaming, exploitation, and cultural violation.
I honestly can Not confirm any authentication in this video. However, I think its real.. The world's tiniest V12 engine. http://www.wimp.com/tiniestengine/
This one is a little off, because the only actual "thing" in this case is a Bread Bag clip. That's right boys and girls; one of those things you most often throw away on principle. It's almost as if it was just uploaded as a total waste of a registered item, just to promote the Maker GOD himself. Is the Maker GOD not capable of creating something a little more mighty and omnipotent than stay-fresh bread? I digress...
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This one is just a blatent use of Thingiverse to promote a business. The only "thing" to download and print is a Microsoft DOCX file (which I haven't scanned for malware scripting) to promote the business further. It's honestly just a shameless and heartbreaking sight.
Both of these examples are most likely unavoidable for a growing and popular site, which sits at the throne of the future of manufacturing science. Enough fun for now. I do need to disclose that I am an unpaid, volunteer advisor for MakerBot (and thus Thingiverse). I care about Thingiverse and the 3D printing revolution, which is moving forward; and I want to to see Thingiverse's culture continue unadulterated as long as possible.