Cleveland or Bust!

Hello COMC Nation! It’s almost here – the 35th annual National Sports Collectors Convention is just around the corner and we’re pretty excited to see as many people as we can during the week. We’ve got a few, last-minute announcements to make before we head to the airport, that we wanted to share with everyone.

We are accepting submissions!

It’s not a big surprise, sure, but we wanted to assure everyone that we will be accepting card submissions in Cleveland, including cards/boxes that qualify for this year’s “Lucky 7″ National Special. We’ll have our computers set up and our team will be able to walk you through the submission process – why carry those boxes of cards around when you can drop them off with us, right?

Free History Points!

With fewer COMC Challenges available, we know it’s been harder for members of the COMC Nation to earn history points – but, if you drop by our booth (#459 in the Corporate Area) and say “Hello!” (Or “Hi!”, or “What’s up?”…we’re flexible), we’ll have a sign up sheet where you can write down your COMC username and earn 1000 points…just for being social. Doesn’t get much easier than that, right?

Suggested List Prices

This has been such a hot button topic for awhile now…the COMC Suggested List Price Feature. Tim first introduced it at the Industry Summit in Las Vegas, last March.

We’re ready to introduce a beta version of the Suggested List Pricing Feature in time for the National show, and we’ll be giving demonstrations of how this great, new feature will work for our users. Be sure to drop by and see how we’re ready to shape the future of the hobby.

Note: As of Monday afternoon, Tim started running the code that activates the SLP feature, and some of our users will notice that the asking prices on some of their cards have been deleted, as a result. We apologize for any inconvenience in this.

Shift in Customer Service Capacity

Since Steve and Moe are going to Cleveland this year, we’re leaving Norbert to occupy the COMC Customer Service office by himself for 4 days. We’re pretty confident that Norbert is up to the challenge, but if you get our voice mail or a slower than usual response to your email, please be patient – For a few days, Norbert’s going to be busier than a 1-eyed cat watching 2 mouse holes.

A new member of the COMC Social Media family

It’s been a long time coming, but we’ve finally got our Instagram account up and running – you can follow us for all kinds of great and occasionally candid pics of the COMC team, in Cleveland and after! And, as well, you can also check out our Facebook and Twitter for #NSCC2014 updates all week long!

Meet the COMC Crew at the National Show in Cleveland

Hello COMC Nation! We don’t know about you, but we’re getting pretty excited about the upcoming National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland. We’re getting everything ready for this trip and we’re looking forward to meeting and talking to as many people as we can. Just to let you know, we’re going to be at Booth #459 in the “Corporate Area”, so be sure to drop by and say hello.

In years past, Tim’s made the time to sit down and speak to people, one-on-one. We wanted to let you know that if you wish to schedule a meeting with our fearless leader, please send an email to timewithtim@comc.com.

When can we pencil you in? Let us know!

When can we pencil you in? Let us know!

We’ll be scheduling meetings at the top of each hour, except noon (we love talking to folks, but lunch is nice, too) on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Meetings will be slated for approximately 30 minutes, give or take depending on the topics.

If you want to talk about COMC, the hobby in general, or anything else that’s on your mind, please send us an email with the topics you wish to discuss, and 2-3 possible meeting times that work best for you.  We ask that you have your requests in no later than Thursday, July 24th – after that we’ll get back to you with your scheduled “Time with Tim”.

And, as always, stayed tuned for the latest news and developments at our FacebookTwitter, and Google+ pages.

New Search is Live + Free Promotions & Free Shipping

The new search infrastructure that I mentioned in my last video is live, and it is now the default search. To compare it to our old search, you can simply check or un-check the Use New BETA Search checkbox. Note, the old search results may be a couple days out of date. We are measuring how fast updates appear with the new search infrastructure. If there are lots of promotions or other activity, it looks like it might take a couple hours to reflect all of the new prices.

UseNewBETASearchWe want to stress test the new search infrastructure, so please try it out. As an incentive, we are allowing sellers to run FREE Sale promotions for the next week, and we are also offering free shipping on orders of 20 or more items. Shipment requests must be submitted by midnight PST Wednesday, July 23rd. Items purchased from Advanced Reselling Mode are only eligible for a $3 shipping discount.

New Search Features
You will noticed that the filtering options offered on the left have changed a bit with the new infrastructure. It is now a LOT easier for us to add new search related features. You can expect to see new features light up from time to time over the next several months. This is some of the ground work for our new SRP.

Search Performance
Search results are consistently snappy. No more really slow searches. Also, the new search infrastructure has the ability to automatically scale up to support any level of demand (in theory). That is what we want you to test.

For the first time we have decoupled the search functionality from the rest of the website. This means that the database that tracks asking prices and ownership of items is no longer bogged down with all of the search requests. This is a big deal. Last Black Friday our database server was basically maxed out the entire weekend. Now we should be able to support more than 10 times the traffic and still have great performance.

Feedback
Let us know what you think of the new search. What search features would you like us to add?

Card #15,000,000 & The Modern Baseball Card Investor

TheModernBaseballCardInvestorAbout a week ago I got an email from Jeff Hwang, author of The Modern Baseball Card Investor.  I first met him at the Industry Summit in Las Vegas a little more than a year ago, and we had a really good conversation about the baseball card market.  His book is now done, and he wanted to send me a copy of it. I just got my copy in the mail the other day, and was pleasantly surprised with how well he described COMC.com in his Enhanced Liquidity section of the Introduction (pg 30-31).  eBay got a paragraph and we got nearly a full page.
JeffHwangAuto
Jeff did a great job of summarizing the difference between COMC.com and other sites.  It captures the essence of what has made us successful.

Here is an excerpt…

The online consignment site COMC.com has further enhanced the liquidity of lower priced cards by creating a centralized online exchange where all the cards listed online are in one physical location, and can be traded multiple times without being shipped.  Launched in 2007 as CheckOutMyCards.com, COMC.com allows users to submit cards to the company’s website in Seattle, where the cards are scanned front and back and listed online for a small fee, as little as 25 cents per card.

In contrast to eBay, where a seller typically incurs both eBay and PayPal fees for every transaction made, a seller on COMC instead receives store credit for the full amount of the sale, and pays a further cash-out fee only upon cash out – similar to the way a stock investor only pays a capital gains tax upon selling a stock, and not while holding.  Meanwhile, a buyer only pays shipping if/when he wants to have the physical item shipped; he can turn around and relist the item without incurring a shipping cost (the card is already located in COMC’s warehouse), or can otherwise save on shipping costs by waiting until he has acquired multiple cards.

As such, users can flip cards for profit on COMC.com without ever physically being in possession of an actual card, the same way a stock investor can trade stocks online without ever physically being in possession of a stock certificate.  But more importantly, the site dramatically improves the liquidity of low-priced cards by lowering the otherwise prohibitive transaction costs associated with them – most notably shipping costs, as well as the time it takes to list and sell and then ship such cards.

At the sports card and gaming collectibles Industry Summit in Las Vegas in March 2013, the company announced that it had listed it 10 millionth card, and had to that point shipped 3.6 million cards to 75 countries.

2000 Upper Deck MVP Pro Sign #IB - Isaac Bruce - Courtesy of COMC.com
Card #15,000,000
I thought it was fitting to announce that just today (writing this on Friday July 11th, 2014) we identified item #15,000,000 as 2000 Upper Deck MVP Pro Sign #IB – Isaac Bruce, deposited it in Fiber1’s account, Fiber1 put it up for sale, and I purchased it.

Not only have 50% more items been consigned with us since March 2013, we have also shipped 50% more items to buyers.  That is more than 5 million items shipped all over the world.

Thank you COMC Nation for making this possible!
 

 

 

Lucky 7’s for the National!

Hi COMC Nation! For the last few weeks, people have been watching their calendars and they know that The National Sports Collectors Convention is right around the corner. People also know that with the National, they’re going to see a COMC Processing Special announcement…they seem to go hand-in-hand, don’t they?

We’ve been working on this for a little while now, and it seems like the time is right to let you know that we’ve finalized the details and we’re ready to share them with you!

$77 Flat Rate Special

Just in time for The National, and to coincide with our 7th Anniversary, starting today (July 3rd) we’re offering a $77 Flat Rate Special for one 550ct box.

  • Use the Submission Wizard to notify us of the submission
  • Limit 1 550ct box per person
  • Single row, no jammed in minis, nothing in the sides or laid on top. (See the picture below)
  • These cards will be processed within 7 weeks of receiving
  • All submissions must be postmarked by Monday, July 28th.
    • (Please note: any cards submitted under the National special that are priced over $50 after processing will be subject to the $0.50 basic item upgrade fee.)
One Box, One Row, No More, No Less.

One Box, One Row, No Less, No…Mo’? (That rhymes, right?)

For those of you who will be in Cleveland for the National, you can drop your cards off at the COMC Booth to avoid any of those extra shipping costs. And, our friends in Canada can also take advantage of this special, by sending their submissions to our office in Burnaby.

Thanks for your patience as we rolled this out, and in the meantime, feel free to leave us your thoughts in the comments below and stay in touch by following us on FacebookTwitter, and Google+.

COMC Offices closed for July 4th

Hello COMC Nation! We just wanted to let everyone know that the COMC offices will be closed on Friday, July 4th, in observance of Independence Day.

Happy Birthday, America! Seriously, you don't look 238 years old...

Happy Birthday, America! Seriously, you don’t look 238 years old…

We wish everyone a fun, enjoyable, and (most importantly) safe long weekend. We’ll be out of the office, hanging out with friends and family, celebrating the birth of our nation by blowing up a small portion of it with dubiously-acquired fireworks.

(It’s not my joke, but it’s still darn funny…)

We’ll be back in the offices on Monday, July 7th. Have a great weekend!

Making Steady Progress

Catalog Progress
The sheer volume of work in order to build out the sports card catalog from scratch has been monumental.  I am so impressed by the efforts of our team and the COMC community.  We updated 195,000 listings in just the past 7 days, and our catalog has grown by nearly 15% to more than 3.4 million listings in just the past three weeks.

We estimate that we are about 90% done with the first stage of the catalog (set names, card #’s, and descriptions).  We have already started collecting a lot of extra data such as autograph type and college teams, and throughout the rest of the year we will continue collecting more of this data.

Sales Update
You may have noticed that sales have been steadily improving. In fact, the past week was the best week since our switch over to the new catalog on April 1st. As the catalog continues to make progress our sales have steadily rebounded.

Manufacturer Checklists
We have started cross-referencing the COMC catalog with manufacturer checklists in order to find errors and fill out missing data.  If we were simply importing data into a blank database, this would be a very simple task.  However, we have 15 million scanned cards that we are using to verify the data.  As we are comparing the images to the checklists, we are not only finding and fixing mistakes we have made but we are also discovering discrepancies between the manufacturer checklists and the products they actually produced.

Our goal is to build the most accurate catalog of sports cards that were actually produced.  There are many websites that replicate the manufacturer checklists, but they are not 100% accurate.  You really have to do the work to compare the checklists to the cards that were released to get the most accuracy.

The catalog we have now is a work in progress. We will continue to do “heavy construction” throughout the rest of this year, and we will continue investing in the catalog on into the future. These are just some of the things we are doing to get to our goal.

See below for a list of products that we have completely cross-referenced.

Processing Backlog Progress
It has been a balancing act for us to dedicate effort to both the catalog completion and the backlog of items that people have submitted for processing.  Fortunately, we have made good headway since my last update.  The backlog of past due items is less than half of what it was, and we expect the vast majority of the rest that is past due will be done by the end of July.

With our Basic processing service, we don’t charge anything until your items are linked to listings in our new catalog and the scans have been uploaded into your inventory.  At that point you can start selling your items, but the catalog data may not be complete.  If any portion of the set name, card number or description is still missing, we don’t charge any storage fees.

Basic Processing Guarantee
We guarantee to have the items in your account within 8 weeks.  Anything that misses that window will only be charged 50% of the normal processing fee. If you still have items that are past the 8 week guaranteed due date on August 1st, we will credit your account 12.5¢ per item, effectively giving you free processing for anything that still isn’t done.

Basic Processing Expectations
By August 1st, we will have almost nothing that is past due.  This is also the time of year that we normally run a processing special in conjunction with the National Sports Collectors Convention.  This year’s promotion will be limited to one 550ct box per user so that we don’t get too flooded.

By this fall, we expect to average 4 weeks for basic processing.

Edits and Correction Requests
With our limited resources, we have not been able to stay on top of all of the incoming edits and correction requests. Our energies have been focused on the most expensive items. Once we get caught up with the processing backlog that is past due, we will make a push to get caught up with all of the edit and correction requests. Our goal is to be fully caught up, and start maintaining a 48 hour turnaround by September. In the meantime, if you have a couple important items that need to be corrected or are missing data, please feel free to contact us and include the corresponding item ID.

Complete Catalog Information
We have nearly complete catalog information for many vintage sets.  In the coming months we will be reviewing them to confirm that they are complete.  For now, here is a list of modern sets that we have cross-referenced with manufacturer checklists in order to confirm that our catalog is complete and accurate. Most of the product below are from Panini and Upper Deck. We have started working with other manufactures such as Topps and Leaf to get more checklists.

Baseball
2014 Panini Donruss
2014 Panini Prizm
2013 Panini America’s Pastime
2013 Panini Cooperstown Collection
2013 Panini Elite Extra Edition
2013 Panini Golden Age
2013 Panini Hometown Heroes
2013 Panini Pinnacle
2013 Panini Prizm
2013 Panini Select
2013 Panini Triple Play
2012 Elite Extra Edition
2012 Panini Cooperstown
2012 Panini Golden Age
2012 Panini National Treasures
2012 Panini Prizm
2012 Panini Signature Series
2012 Panini Triple Play
2012 Panini USA Baseball National Team
2012 Playoff Prime Cuts
2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition
2011 Panini Limited
2011 Playoff Contenders
2010 Donruss Elite Extra Edition
2008 Upper Deck Documentary
2007 SP Authentic
2007 SP Authentic By the Letter Autographs
2007 SP Authentic By the Letter Rookie Signatures
2005 Donruss Classics
2005 Donruss Throwback Threads
2005 Leaf Certified Materials
2005 Upper Deck SP Collection
2005 Upper Deck Sweet Spot
2003 Upper Deck First Pitch
1999 Upper Deck

Basketball
2013 Upper Deck All-Time Greats
2013-14 Fleer Retro
2013-14 NBA Hoops
2013-14 Panini
2013-14 Panini Court Kings
2013-14 Panini Crusade
2013-14 Panini Elite
2013-14 Panini Gold Standard
2013-14 Panini Innovation
2013-14 Panini Intrigue
2013-14 Panini Pinnacle
2013-14 Panini Prestige
2013-14 Panini Prizm
2013-14 Panini Select
2013-14 Panini Signatures
2013-14 Panini Titanium
2013-14 Timeless Treasures
2013-14 Totally Certified
2012-13 Absolute
2012-13 Elite
2012-13 Elite Series
2012-13 Fleer Retro
2012-13 NBA Hoops
2012-13 Panini
2012-13 Panini Crusade
2012-13 Panini Flawless
2012-13 Panini Gold Standard
2012-13 Panini Immaculate Collection
2012-13 Panini Intrigue
2012-13 Panini Preferred
2012-13 Panini Prizm
2012-13 Panini Select
2012-13 Panini Signatures
2012-13 Playoff National Treasures
2012-13 Prestige
2012-13 Totally Certified
2011-12 Limited
2011-14 Panini
2010-11 Elite Black Box
2010-11 Panini Threads
2010-11 Playoff National Treasures
2010-11 Totally Certified
2009-10 Classics
2009-10 Court Kings
2009-10 Panini
2004-05 SP Authentic
2003-04 UD Glass
2002-03 UD Glass
2000-01 Upper Deck Slam

Football
2014 Panini Hot Rookies
2014 Score
2013 Panini Absolute
2013 Panini Black
2013 Panini Certified
2013 Panini Contenders
2013 Panini Crown Royale
2013 Panini Elite
2013 Panini Limited
2013 Panini Momentum
2013 Panini National Treasures
2013 Panini Playbook
2013 Panini Prizm
2013 Panini Prominence
2013 Panini Rookies & Stars
2013 Panini Select
2013 Panini Spectra
2013 Panini Totally Certified
2013 Prestige
2013 Score
2013 SP Authentic
2013 Upper Deck
2013 Upper Deck Rookie Lettermen Autographs
2012 Certified
2012 Crown Royale
2012 Gridiron
2012 Limited
2012 Panini Black
2012 Panini Contenders
2012 Panini National Treasures
2012 Panini Playbook
2012 Panini Prizm
2012 Playoff Prestige
2012 Prime Signatures
2012 Score
2012 Totally Certified
2011 Timeless Treasures
2010 Donruss Elite
2010 Panini Threads
2010 Playoff National Treasures
2009 Playoff National Treasures
2009 Upper Deck First Edition
2008 Donruss Gridiron Gear
2007 Donruss Gridiron Gear
2007 Score
2005 Donruss Classics

Golf
2014 SP Authentic

Hockey
2013-14 Fleer Showcase
2013-14 O-Pee-Chee
2013-14 Panini Dominion
2013-14 Panini Playoff Contenders
2013-14 Panini Prizm
2013-14 Select
2013-14 Totally Certified
2013-14 Upper Deck Trilogy
2012-13 Fleer Retro
2012-13 Panini Rookie Anthology
2012-13 Score
2011-12 Panini Certified
2011-12 Panini Elite
2011-12 Panini Playoff Contenders
2011-12 Panini Rookie Anthology
2011-12 Panini Titanium
2010-11 Donruss
2010-11 Limited
2010-11 Panini Luxury Suite
2010-11 Panini Playoff Contenders
2008-09 Upper Deck Montreal Canadiens Centennial Set
2005-06 Upper Deck
2005-06 Upper Deck The Cup
2005-06 Upper Deck Victory
2003-04 SP Authentic

Other
2010 Upper Deck Major League Lacrosse
2010 Panini Century Collection
2009 Upper Deck 20th Anniversary Retrospective
2008 Donruss Americana Sports Legends

Non-Sports
2013 Panini Beach Boys 50th Anniversary
2013 Panini One Direction

Soccer
2014 Panini Prizm World Cup