G’bye Adobe Print Service Provider Program

by admin on January 13, 2010

Thread over at Printplanet about Adobe killing the Print Service provider program.
Lots of people not too happy. Dov Isaacs, to his credit, is jumping in and speaking for Adobe. Good for him, too many vendors that sell to printers don't actually, you know, communicate with printers on forums when tough decisions have to be made.
Dov's been around for years and actually knows the printing business, which puts him head and shoulders above the usual marketing drone that try to "message" in this business and get their heads bitten off as a result (not by me, of course, I am always sweetness and honey).
Okay, enough of the Dov-lovefest. Printers are complaining that Adobe is pulling the rug out from underneath them. So are even threatening to move back to Quark. Dov, to his credit, did not giggle when Quark was mentioned. But he did say that basically the Adobe Print Provider membership was dropping off and so was revenue. Which allows me to grind my axe ask this question: When are we going to see a printer arbitrage program that leverages media buys on the internet?

Let me explain: So Adobe had the Print Service Provider program. HP did Marketsplash. Even Quark got in the game. All the same idea. You go to the HP/Adobe/Quark website and look for a printer or for some printing to be done. Whatever, now two out of these three program are dead (Yeah Adobe's program was more than printing services arbitrage but don't stop me, I'm on a roll) and nobody is thinking Quark's thing is going to last long against Vistaprint.

Why did these program fail? Well, nobody visited the web sites, I guess. Okay, so what was the plan to drive traffic to the printing arbitrage websites? AFAIK, there wasn't one. Or there was one, it was a secret plan that never made it to light of day.

Okay, so maybe these programs would have worked if the web sites had generated a high amount of traffic that converted to leads for Jim and Jenny's medium-sized print shop down the street. In case you missed it, most leads for printing come from the internet now. You don't believe me? Try bidding on the keywords "business cards" or "poster printing" on Google search or Bing! I tried last year for some affiliate program and stopped when the bidding got to $5 a click.

You just can't get leads off the internet for print business in any type of volume unless you got the dollars to negotiate for media buys with Google, Yahoo, Facebook, 360pulse, and all the other ad networks out there. So I don't get why these guys didn't think of lead arbitrage. You know, buy traffic and send it to the local printer and put in some tracking and charge for either raw clicks or lead conversions. The system wouldn't be simple to implement but not impossible either. Remember, I'm talking about Adobe, Quark and HP, you know there's got to be somebody in those companies that may know a little bit about coding.

Ah well,  a lead arbitrage network for printers will come along one day, it's just a mystery why it hasn't come already.

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January 21, 2010 at 9:10 am

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