printCafe vs. PrintTalk--Waging a PrintWar?
It is here that PrintTalk takes issue with printCafe, according to Mekis. "We believe that the Internet is a very straightforward business tool that—provided proper security and proper encryption is used—is safe." PrintTalk states that with its interface, data and content remain encrypted and unreadable end-to-end across the Internet in order to ensure privacy of customer data.
However, Olin points out that the PrintTalk companies do not operate any differently. "The data passes through their Websites just as it does with printCafe."
Walker takes issue with Olin's characterization. "I like to use the metaphor of Federal Express. When you send something FedEx, they don't open the box to make sure there is something in the package. It's a blind transfer. We don't look at the data. We merely provide a way in which to pass the data." However, Olin points out, "printCafe doesn't 'look' at the data either. The review is only an automated validity check on the data designed to identify errors in the transmission and to prevent corruption of management system databases," he says.
It is this difference of opinion that both PrintTalk and printCafe point to when asked if it's possible for them to ever work together. "We've invited them on numerous occasions to join," Mekis states. PrintTalk reportedly has also offered to develop an alternative plan, which would permit the customers to choose whether they would allow printCafe to monitor their data. "There doesn't seem to be any interest from them," he notes.
Olin disagrees with Mekis, and counters that printCafe was never invited to join during the initial PrintTalk formation—and that the PrintTalk structure was set up to make it disadvantageous for printCafe to join. printCafe's review of PrintTalk's membership requirements indicates that only software developers are allowed membership, and that printers, publishers and other commercial printers are excluded.