In my previous blog post, I covered how Sketchfab got started. Today, we are celebrating the 7th anniversary of our launch, so I wanted to share a quick story about how Sketchfab got launched.
The domain name sketchfab.com was registered on March 12th 2012, and we publicly announced it to the world on March 26th 2012.
We launched with the tagline “Showcase 3D models in your browser” and with the main description: “SketchFab is the first free service offering a simple way to upload and showcase 3D content online”. I’d say we’ve stayed pretty close to our roots :) Our featured model was Bob:
I started pinging a few people to get coverage for our launch. One of the main challenges at the time was that WebGL was only running on “compatible browsers”, which back then was less than 60% of people… And so half of the people would simply answer that the service wasn’t working for them, and that they couldn’t cover it.
On top of that, back then I knew nobody, be it from the tech world or the 3D world. One of the few answers I got was from Bart, editor of BlenderNation.com, the main website to cover Blender related news (Blender being the largest open source 3D software).
Bart was happy to cover, and covered our launch on March 30th. While this was awesome, it immediately crashed the site. Nowadays we regularly see hits above 10k combined visitors and hold totally fine. But the service wasn’t quite as robust back then, and ~50 combined visitors was enough to crash it. This was already known as the BlenderNation effect :)
The fun part is that Cedric was at the hospital that day, with his wife having their first baby. Cedric is the kind of guy who is pretty much never offline, except that one time when he was off line for a good 2 hours. I was trying to reach out to him to have the service back up, while Bart was telling me he would have to remove the story if the fix wasn’t coming.
The fix eventually came, and we pretty much got our first 1,000 users from this very targeted blog post, which was awesome. Thanks you Bart! And Bart joined us 2 years later, as our head of community :)
It’s been a pretty crazy adventure, and I am grateful for the ride. To another 7 years! We are celebrating #SketchfabDay on social networks today by sharing our Sketchfab profiles and a gif of our favorite model, join the fun!