As 3D printing gradually becomes more widespread, services such as Shapeways and Sculpteo are also expanding rapidly. Both companies have the potential to become the ‘Amazon of 3D printing’. That is if, of course, Amazon doesn’t squash them first. Over the last year, the company has slowly been rolling out their own 3D printing store, teaming with a variety of companies such as Sandboxr, ZVerse, UCODO, and even Sculpteo themselves, to offer on-demand, customizable 3D printed items at relatively competitive prices.
While Amazon is in fact slowly building up their own library of 3D printable models for sale, when one considers the vast number of designs available at Shapeways, and the revenue sharing model that they use, Amazon is still a long ways off from making any major dent within the space.
With that said, Amazon is a $242 billion company, and with one fell swoop could either acquire their way into a leading position or spend their way their. Back in February, it was revealed that the company had filed for a patent to 3D print items via mobile delivery trucks. While this could be one of those patents which never actually is put into use, it does certainly make one wonder just what Amazon may have planned for within the 3D printing space.
On top of that, this weekend, TheDomains.com reported that Amazon had just registered the domain name Amazon3DPrinting.com, via brand protection company MarkMonitor. The nameservers are all pointing to MarkMonitor’s servers and the site currently does not resolve to anything. Certainly if Amazon is going to get serious about their 3D printing ambitions, this is a domain they’d want to have, if for nothing else brand protection. At the same time, the length of the domain name likely means that they won’t be using it as a branding vehicle itself any time soon. With that said, if Amazon had no intention of expanding upon their 3D print offerings, they may not have bothered picking this name up at all.
While this registration is certainly another piece of the puzzle for Amazon’s possible 3D printing empire of the future, it may just be one of the dozens of useless domains the company registers every years in an effort to protect their name brand, and keep the domain name out of the hands of cybersquatters.
It’s hard not to believe that the world’s largest online retailer won’t eventually expand their 3D print offerings sometime soon, as a large portion of ecommerce will likely be cannibalized by 3D printing in the long run. Will they be creating a Shapeways or Sculpteo competitor on the Amazon3DPrinting.com domain name any time soon? Probably not.
Let’s hear your thoughts on this domain registration in the Amazon 3D Printing forum thread on 3DPB.com.