Internet--The Evolving Print Community
In a word: Change.
"The Internet is definitely going to play an important role for the future of printing," reports Sheryl Sharp, sales representative at San Francisco-based ColorGraphics. "We are currently using Impresse.com as an additional means of communicating with our clients and, although we are still in the evaluation stage, we have noticed that this Internet service does, in fact, reduce the common quote confusion between printer and print buyer. Impresse.com uses fields that force print buyers to complete all necessary information, from a printer's standpoint."
Is the Internet the logical evolution path for the print buyer/printer relationship? It would appear that, for purposes of streamlining communication and facilitating more effective quote management, moving the print buyer/printer relationship onto the Internet is only a matter of time—and the time, evidently, is now.
Noosh's offering, Noosh.com, is a business-to-business print management network. On Noosh.com, print jobs can be created, submitted by buyers and quoted via the Internet. Print buyers can use the Noosh system to decide which printer—or how many printers—to review for a print order.
PrintNation.com is a type of e-commerce superstore that serves as a one-stop shop for buyers of graphic arts equipment and supplies. PrintNation.com allows commercial printers to use the Internet as the platform for purchasing prepress devices, consumables, even service contracts. The site has more than 1,300 manufacturers represented, with more than 100,000 graphic arts products featured.
MediaFlex.com boasts an offering of e-commerce front- and back-end solutions for the on-demand digital printer. MediaFlex.com features an online print center that handles many of the daily tasks required by print-on-demand customers. The service allows on-demand print buyers to place their orders online, and specify job requirements from media selections to finishing options.
58k.com is an Internet-auction site designed to serve the U.S. commercial printing market by opening up all print jobs to all commercial printers. A standardized electronic spec sheet on 58k.com allows print buyers to post quote requests for public consumption.