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Buy CameraMSPNewbieQuestion of the Day

Question of the Day: What is holding you back from buying a MP Camera?7609

WGAN
Founder
DanSmigrod private msg quote post Address this user
Hi All,

The WGAN Forum Question of the Day:

What is holding you back from buying a Matterport Camera?

Best,

Dan

P.S. Many Visitors to the WGAN Forum – 12,000+ monthly – are thinking about buying a Matterport Camera. I am curious what's holding them back. ( Join the discussion )
Post 1 IP   flag post
immersivespaces private msg quote post Address this user
First, let me preface this by saying that Matterport is still the best 3D Virtual Tour system right now, but there is the competition that is gaining ground daily to consider. Some discussed here on this forum show great promise with providing an experience that will compete with Matterport on many levels. With that, as they say, hindsight is 20/20, so here are some things that I wish I had known earlier that may have changed my opinion about adopting Matterport. I will also note that our Matterport services are no longer the primary focus of our imaging services for many of the reasons I'll outline here. Full disclosure, we had high hopes for Matterport but have become disheartened by the company over the past several months. We will likely be discontinuing Matterport services in the near future.

1. Hugely oversaturated markets. In many states, there are simply too many providers in areas to make a decent business out of using Matterport. Do a search in your area and see how many providers there already are. When we adopted the Matterport system into our business, there was only one other provider in our area... now there are over 100. Oversaturation has driven the value of the service down. (We have providers in our area doing scans for properties up to 2000 sq ft at a flat rate of $75 with no hosting fees. That is terrible for the market as a whole, and unsustainable.)

2. The cost of entry and recurring costs are very high, so unless you are in an area that is completely new to Matterport, it will take a significant amount of time to get a return on your investment. For many in the imaging business, this camera is the most expensive piece of equipment you will ever buy and in contrast, has the lowest return on investment margins. After several years of providing Matterport, our cost analysis shows that the average margin per job on with a Matterport camera is about 4.8% (it was higher at 6.7% a year ago, and higher still at 21.8% in 2016) after all expenses (amortized equipment costs, labor, marketing, processing, hosting, etc.)... The average margin on a still professional camera per job, 48.4% after all expenses. The average margin on a professional grade 360 camera per job, 39.2% after all expenses. If you were investing in a new business model, which margin looks better to you?

3. Terrible identity branding. There is no white label option with Matterport, so it is often difficult to separate yourself in a way that encourages new people to seek you out before first going to Matterport or your competitors. Think of it this way... you've never seen a Matterport space before... when it loads you see Matterport's logo and a simple "presented by" text reference. Which do you assume will be the provider? Matterport of course. So when you go to Matterport's website, you end up being sold on buying a camera instead of contacting the provider that created the original space you looked at. This is not by accident. Matterport's priority one is gaining new direct customers; people who buy cameras and hosting accounts. They care very little about your success or failure as an MSP.

4. Unpredictable licensing and ownership. We lost a significant amount of business over the whole Terms of Service snafu earlier this year, but it exhibited an important point. Matterport controls the life of your business from every angle. You do not own your spaces in a way that truly makes them yours. You can't redistribute without ties to the Matterport platform, you can't use the point cloud and sweep images you captured without paying Matterport the ransom they demand to even download them, your customers cannot request permanent removal of their spaces from the Matterport system... and the list continues to grow. If Matterport were to close their doors tomorrow, all your work would be lost. While the advancement and integrations offered by Matteport show promise, ownership and licensing of your work remains the elephant in the room. Matterport simply should not profit off your intellectual property without sharing those profits with you, the content creator. As of now, they have not indicated that they have any intention of doing this.

5. Competition with Matterport itself. As I mentioned before, Matterport's primary goal is to gain more end users, so instead of fostering a strong relationship with MSPs that help grow their business alongside yours, they first try to grow their own by selling your potential customers Matterport cameras. Your MSP business is an afterthought. Now, Matterport insists that they don't data farm your spaces, but many of us have seen a pattern over the years where when you add a contact to your spaces they miraculously end up getting marketing materials from Matterport. They say it's just a coincidence, but for the past two and a half years that "coincidence" has occurred with nearly 100% of every space, we have ever created. I'm dubious of their assertion that they don't farm data for marketing purposes.

6. Poor relationship with MSPs. The Matterport referral system on their website is terrible. Over the course of 2 and a half years, Matterport has sent us 24 "leads." Of those leads, about 60% were people just price shopping (some looking into starting Matterport businesses themselves), and the rest where dead leads. Their referrals generated exactly zero jobs. This is all fine since Matterport never promised to be a lead generating tool, but beyond that, the support they provide their MSPs is limited to several "Partner Resources" downloads that haven't been updated in years.

7. No public SDK. As an MSP who also owns a software development company that has been highly involved in development for MLS systems for over a decade and a half, we should be the perfect candidate for Matterports SDK program, yet when we contact them about it, we don't even get the courtesy of a reply to our inquiry. The SDK program has been restricted to "SELECT DEVELOPERS" for over a year, meaning that they aren't likely releasing a public SDK any time soon.

8. Slow or no response to important feature requests. Cloud or local backups of scan data has been one of the top requests since day one and has gone unacknowledged by Matterport for just as long. The ability to self-host and white-label are also features that have endless requests that Matterport says are "not on their roadmap." These are things that most MSPs recognize as important features for running their businesses with Matterport. The fact that Matterport refuses to address these concerns shows that their priority is not your success. Your MSP business has no value to them beyond your camera purchase and monthly hosting.

There are of course pros and cons to every business relationship. Your question was "Why haven't..." so my answer addresses the negative points from our position of why we wouldn't today. We have been in the property imaging business for 12 years, and data management for real estate for coming up on 15 years... we love this industry and hope to continue to see advancements in the way real estate is marketed using technology. For the newbies coming into this industry, there are countless options to consider. In my personal opinion, Matterport does not have the value for the investment for someone starting out. For someone already working in the market, Matterport is a great add-on, albeit not a very profitable one. Can that change, sure, with some time, investment, and attention to MSPs from Matterport. The road they are on right now from a technology standpoint looks promising. From a service provider perspective, it's looking grimmer by the day.
Post 2 IP   flag post
3rd Party
Service
Metroplex360 private msg quote post Address this user
Anyone want a cup half full approach?

--

Matterport is the best and only commercially available "True 3D" Virtual Tour system on the market.

No other commercially available platform offers a seamless 3D experience that blends a 3D model with panoramas with fluid navigation that feels like magic.

1. We are seeing increasing saturation..

More people are purchasing cameras as demand increases. As more 3D Tours are discovered online, there are more jobs out there. Most of us serve Realtors -- and they face the same problems as there are often more Realtors than there are houses -- yet the Realtors who are creative will succeed. We do the same thing.

2. There is a high cost of entry and there are recurring costs.

Thankfully, this maintains a level of exclusivity and protects our investment at the same time. Cloud Hosting starts at $50/mo and as long as you're producing 3 scans a month - it's just a prepayment for processing 3 models at a discount.

3. Matterport is a Trusted Brand.

It's much more trusted than 'Metroplex360' -- so it's great that we are able to provide services that are backed by and hosted by an established brand. We host our videos on YouTube and Vimeo because we rely on their expertise for optimized delivery and maintaining compatibility on all platforms. When you sell Matterport, sell the benefits of their brand name.

4. Matterport is Clear about Licensing and ownership.

Matterport reserves a limited license in order to broadcast our space on their platform -- or in other words, in order to provide Showcase, they need to have the license to do that.

Recently, Matterport attempted to ask for a limited license to be able to claim that they truly have access to over 1,000,000 spaces -- and potentially be able to build new partnerships that would take advantage of using these spaces in a private manner without providing us with the ability to opt-out.

The community fought back and won and we have a stronger sense of our rights as content creators in their sandbox than before. Matterport aren't going to make the same mistake again.

BTW - verifying the address on a space was 'opting in'. Not verifying the address was an opt-out.

5. Matterport Sells Cameras -- and even sells scans too!.

I bought a camera from Matterport - just like many other people. That's not going to change any time soon and my clients are aware that I didn't make the camera myself.

There have been instances of salespeople being bad actors, which is frowned on and privately disciplined. The repercussions of this have been damaging and its not in Matterport's best interest to allow this to happen.

Matterport have tried their hand at selling scans -- from the Realtor program in the Bay Area that was shortlived to the new Insurance program that they've posted a press release on. There are a lot of large companies that WANT to integrate Matterport technology with their business models, but they also want Matterport to fulfill the scans. It's a tricky position to be in as Matterport doesn't have the infrastructure to deploy TRAINED employees in the field that all scan with the same methodology.

Matterport makes quite a lot of $ from hosting. The sale of cameras is only one source of revenue. They want us to pay for hosting, overage and processing. More scans = more $. Keep scanning!

-- sidenote: you may sleep better at night if you refrain from giving clients collaborator access; and if you do - use an email address that you can control.


6. Matterport sends leads to us!

We've made quite a lot of money from the MSP program by following up with leads. I'm not too sure that there's much that can be done to stop the intake forms from being used by other people trying to shop around -- we have our prices on our website, so I'm not too concerned about that.


7. There's an SDK.

It's still in beta, so there are some people who might want it that do not have it yet..

If you want to play with the SDK, you can use the SDK key from MPEmbed or my Kitchen Sink demo and run it on your local machine (127.0.0.1). It'll work.

In fact, the kitchen sink demo is open source - you can download it and play around with it on your local machine.

Here are the SDK Docs

https://matterport.github.io/showcase-sdk/

I imagine that if you build something locally that is compelling, you can request a key that works in the wild.


8. I can't wait for new features to arrive!

I am so impatient about new features because I feel like a child at Christmas every time a new feature is released.

There are many features that we want that Matterport has NOT provided us ... yet.

If you take a look at the survey that Matterport sent out last year, you might be interested to find that they asked if certain features would be of interest -- and progressively, these features have been released in the order that they were placed in the surveys.

I saw that survey as a roadmap of sorts.

---

I love that we offer Matterport Spaces. It's a challenging product to offer for many reasons -- but then again so is everything. I'm finding it easier to sell Matterport than any other service we have, so we're focused on Matterport Showcases as the conversation starter to everything else we offer and it's keeping us busy.
Post 3 IP   flag post
WGAN
Founder
DanSmigrod private msg quote post Address this user
@immersivespaces
@Metroplex360

Thank you for your thoughtful and insightful posts to help those that are thinking about buying a Matterport Camera make a more informed choice.

Hi All,

About ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by @immersivespaces
4. Unpredictable licensing and ownership. We lost a significant amount of business over the whole Terms of Service snafu earlier this year, but it exhibited an important point.


You can read more about the Matterport Terms of Service snafu in these WGAN Forum discussions tagged: Matterport Ecosystem

About ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metroplex360
If you take a look at the survey that Matterport sent out last year, you might be interested to find that they asked if certain features would be of interest -- and progressively, these features have been released in the order that they were placed in the surveys.

I saw that survey as a roadmap of sorts.


I did 4+ hours of commentary - line-by-line - of this Matterport Survey that does seem to be the technology road map for Matterport features that have been introduced since then.


Matterport Satisfaction and New Feature Survey - WGAN Forum Founder Dan Smigrod

(Despite the 4+ hour commentary, 400+ people watched this video between the WGAN-TV YouTube Channel and WGAN-TV Vimeo Channel.) You can also watch WGAN-TV in the iTunes Podcasts app and Podbean podcast app.)

What is holding you back from buying a Matterport Camera?

Best,

Dan
Post 4 IP   flag post
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