Peer-to-peer print marketplace service goes live

Darryl Danielli
Thursday, December 5, 2013

A former marketing director of Webmart has set up a commission-free online trade-only marketplace for printers to place and win business. is the brainchild of Nick Virtsonis, who was marketing director at Webmart and research director of the print management firm’s Printelligence arm from 2007 to 2008.

Virtsonis has been developing since 2010, and the project is partially funded by the EU.

“It’s an open marketplace just for printers where they can trade between each other and not have to pay commission or intermediary fees. So for example, a printer could cross-sell services that they don’t currently offer by in effect adding print management to their service, without having to pay for anyone else,” said Virtsonis.

The UK service is only open to printers, it features live trading of print jobs posted by print firms looking to place either excess work or jobs out of their remit.

“We have purposely closed the system to print buyers, because when buyers are involved too often it ends in a battle to the lowest quote; there are loads of those sites already. With this one, the profits stay within the print industry in that respect,” said Virtsonis.

Printers can apply for membership on the site and submit the type of jobs they’re interested in and upload profiles and accreditations, plant lists and sample galleries. Then when a job is submitted by another printer that fits its criteria, the registered member is then able to submit a sealed quote.

The service enables customer ratings, and also supports non-disclosure and service level agreements. Members will also have access to market reports and research in the near future.

“We don’t want to prohibit direct contact between members, in fact, we want to encourage that. We want to foster relationships between printers. We don’t touch the jobs, we don’t charge commission – it’s literally just a marketplace,” said Virtsonis.

“It’s a completely transparent, ethical marketplace.”

The site launched last week as a beta, with the first 50 printers to sign up qualifying for free membership using the code PWBETA. For printers’ signing up thereafter, membership will cost £360.

According to Virtsonis, the site is not a reverse auction host. In fact he stressed that the site was developed to boost SME printers’ profits by expanding their service offering.

“I don’t want this service to be a reverse auction site, so the system works in a way that quotes are sent directly to the user that posted the job as a sealed quote. Your competitors will not be able to see the quote. Of course people will want to supply their best quote, but it should be a quote with a profit margin you’re comfortable with.

“This is designed for printers by printers, in a way. I don’t want printers having their profits squeezed further. The system doesn’t pick the supplier, the person who placed the quote does.”

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