Port Sales Transform into Silent Auctions

In recent weeks, many COMC users have utilized our ‘port sale’ feature. While that has been successful, we’ve decided to enhance this concept with a different approach.

For the first time in the company’s history, we will embark on the silent auction frontier. Basically, the way it will work is that a seller will contact us about his or her desire to sell their entire portfolio.

Then we’ll take all of their cards out of their inventory, and put them into a separate viewable portion on the site. There, potential buyers will be able to view the cards and make an offer.

Over the course of one week, the highest bidder will be the winner. Bidders will be allowed to bid as much as they like. Funds will not be locked at the time of the bid. The highest bidder will be given 2 days to add any additional funds to their account if necessary. If the highest bidder is not able to pay, we will give the second highest bidder an opportunity to purchase the lot. 5% of the final price will be collected for the silent auction service. The remaining 95% store credit will be added to the seller’s account.

Sellers will be allowed to submit a silent bid. This is effectively like setting a reserve price. If the seller has the highest bid, they will be simply charged the 5% fee and the cards will be returned to their account.

Upon completion of the auction, we will announce who the winning bidder was, but we will not announce what the final price was.

Let us know your thoughts about this major announcement, and your interest level in perhaps partaking of this option in the near future.

32 thoughts on “Port Sales Transform into Silent Auctions

  1. I’m sorry, but I fail to see how using the proposed silent auction would benefit the
    sellers. If you negotiate a price directly, it sells at the price with the normal costs.
    If you fail to negotiate, you lose nothing.

    It is my belief that the majority of portfolio sales will have a relatively small number
    of buyers available to them, so an auction leads to either risks of selling way too low
    or not selling and costing the 5% if a save bid is made.

    I think that if someone wishes to partake of this format then they should be able
    to set a starting bid at no cost. If no one is interested, then no charge. If they
    set a starting price and later “juice” it up, then by all means charge them the 5%
    penalty at that point.

    • I agree with Richard. The listing fees.cash out fees are already high. There should be no need to jack another 5% out of the seller.

  2. It sounds very interesting. If you have the ability to take all of their cards out of inventory, don’t you also have the ability to take some of their cards out of inventory? If so, this could be a great first step to being able to auction bulk lots, sets, or even single cards. Especially if you eventually automate the process.

    Maybe in addition to ‘flag to ship’, you could have a ‘flag to auction’ feature. Alternately, you could have the same button read ‘flag to ship or auction’, then when the seller gets to the shipping page, they could indicate whether these are to be physically shipped to an address, or virtually shipped to an auction lot.

    IMO, 5% is a bargain, or at least, very reasonable. When I started selling on eBay in 1998, their maximum Final Value Fee was 5%, and if they kept it that way, I would have never looked around the internet for alternate selling sites.

    Anyway, I appreciate your continued efforts to improve the site.

  3. I think this is a good idea, as long as both options to sell ports are maintained.

    In a separately negotiated transaction, the seller avoids the 5% fee, but may not have gotten the best (or market) price.

    In this system, I see the following benefits:
    1) Ease of use
    2) More bidders meaning a more efficient sale
    3) Auctions 100% of the cards for sale. In a separately negotiated transaction, the seller’s cards are still up for sale and the buyer may be locked into a price that now has fewer cards

    Agree with checkoutmydeals… would be great to auction off lots and individual cards. I think this is completely doable. Charge the 5% fee and would create even more transactions on the site.

    I like how the reserve is set… perhaps if the seller wins his own silent auction, he would only have to pay 2.5% or something smaller? Seems to be a bit painful to charge a full 5%. In addition, a seller may not have sufficient funds to cover this 5% fee.

    Anyway, I think we’re on a good path here. Thanks!

  4. Pingback: COMC Auctions ? - Blowout Cards Forums

  5. Thought I would put in my 2 cents on the subject.

    I think an auction would be the wrong way to go, unless you setup a “reserve” that the seller sets. Only charging the 5% IF the sell meets the reserve and the sale becomes complete.
    You would have to find a way to expand the coverage so more people see the auction (not just the sellers from here and the “hobby” collectors who buy from us. Maybe using an outlet like Face book and possible shows. Putting up blogs telling of the auctions to come up or ones that are now running.
    I would like to see a feature where sellers can “chat” between themselves and offer up deals, complete sales etc. Charging them the 5% for any sales that cover more then 50 cards.
    COMC is on the right track with expanding the features, and as aways doing the best job on the internet with both buyers and sellers concerning the cards we buy and sell.

    Thought I throw this in.. I am open to selling my “on-line” collection ( cards that are not yet processed are excuded from the sale) Working on buying a classic Mustang…

    Dave

  6. Actually I consider the fees, for the most part, to be quite reasonable.
    My concern is for someone with a large portfolio that has to save it from selling for too
    low. Having to spend $50-$100+ to prevent it feels wrong to me.

    Portfolio purchases makes some sense for people that want to be in it for the long term and take some risks. Purchased low enough you save on the costs of the initial scanning process. For cards that are common, this is a not insignificant percentage of value to lose.
    15 cents for a $100 card is nothing, 15 cents for a $1 card can be harsh especially with the retention fees of 1 cent per month per card with asking price over 25 cents.

    It’s all about balance. You have to be able to move enough of your cards to break even
    which in turn means you need to know what is actually moving and at what price.
    Eventually I hope to see the search terms being used in the hopes of seeing which of the
    lower priced cards it makes economic sense to submit.

  7. I guess I should expand on my initial response, as a buyer I like the idea, a chance to get a bunch of cards you can flip at cheaper than normal prices and not having to pay the listing fees is a great bonus as well.

    As a seller I don’t see the problem either, If you have a card you are unwilling to risk taking a loss on just mark as not for sale or whatever until after the port sale, I don’t think that is against the rules.

    I think that word would spread amongst the sports card forums rather quickly that comc is doing this and the sell prices wouldn’t be that low for long.

  8. It is awesome to see such interest in this. Here is a little background. The issue we are having with port sales is that we have seen a few people wanting to accept offers that are extremely low. Rather than simply facilitating a low-price port sale, we would rather open up the port to the public and see what others would be willing to pay.

    Think of it this way. If you propose a port sale that we think is too low, we would be willing to advance you the amount of the port sale, and offer the port at auction with a minimum bid of 10% more than the port sale price. If there are no takers, we will go ahead with the port sale. This is no risk to the seller, and can only generate additional funds.

  9. So Tim.. I have over 5,000 cards on site now with an additional 1,000 going up..How would I put that many cards on a portal sale?

  10. One potential monkey wrench here is the postage cost for the eventual winner of the portfolio.

    Just to see what would happen, I put SteveSC’s entire portfolio into my shopping cart.

    At present, he has about $120,000 ‘book value’ in cards with an asking price of about $67,000.

    If I buy the port and want to take physical delivery, the postage costs are coming up as more than $21,000 for standard, $13,000 for bulk and even $8,700 for ‘Saturday Special’ (which was on March 20 only).

    Let’s say someone wants to pay 5% to 10% of book value for the port. That would be $6,000 to $12,000 they’d be willing to pay. Yet, they’d have to pay more than that just in postage in order to get the actual cards.

    I can see how someone who submitted 1,000 cards a year ago and now has 200 cards kicking around their account might want to take a lump sum for the whole thing, and I can see why an active seller might want to buy the whole port if the price is right.

    However, I can’t see anyone who’s NOT a COMC dealer buying that port.

    If there was some way to alleviate the postage considerations when a buyer purchases an entire port, that would be great.

    For instance, if I want to take back all of the cards that I submitted, it would only cost $25 for packaging. If there was some way that the cards I buy in a port could count the same as cards that I submitted, then I wouldn’t be wary of buying a port which is clogged with a lot of low dollar cards.

  11. In the above example, it isn’t much better if the buyer of the cards ends up keeping them in their COMC account.

    If they purchase an 85,000 card port, they’re going to have to spend $850 per month on storage fees, which is close to $13,000 per year.

    If they choose to take delivery on the port, they’ll have to spend about $13,000 one time to get the cards.

    Even if the port is free, it might not be a good deal for the buyer.

  12. They have bulk shipping.
    # Minimum order is 50 cards
    # Available the last 7 days of the month
    # Packaged the first week of the month
    # Shipped securely without sleeves
    # $15 for the first 50 cards
    # 15¢ for each additional card
    # $10 extra for international orders
    # $1 extra for each graded card

    Packaging & Shipping is paid by the buyer.

    There is a $25 cap on Bulk Shipping of cards returned to a seller.

    Not sure if you are treated as a person getting their cards returned to or not.
    For 1050 cards it would cost $165 as a buyer vs $25 as a seller getting returns.

  13. Right. 15 cents per card times 85,000 cards is $12,750. Cards that you buy from someone else are subject to that fee. Cards that you originally sent in can be returned for a maximum of $25.

    If you’re flipping $50 cards, it isn’t much of an issue. If they don’t sell on COMC, you can take delivery and try to sell them somewhere else. But a port sale is by definition a mixed bag of unsold, picked through cards. $165 might be a ‘reasonable’ packing fee for 1,050 cards with a book value of $25,000 that you picked up from 100 different dealers, and it might be a ‘reasonable’ packing fee for 1,050 cards that fill holes in your personal collection you’ve been trying to plug for 15 years.

    However, let’s say you’ve got a mixed bag of 1,050 cards. Each books for less than $1. Each has been offered for 25 cents on COMC and failed to sell. You buy the entire port for $25 and think you got a bargain. Then you try to take delivery and find that it’s going to cost you $165. This might make you a tad upset, especially if you didn’t understand the rules going in.

    Then that wave of excitement that spread through internet chat boards is peppered with a few hotheads with bitter resentment toward the site because they got ‘ripped off’ on postage.

    It’s a situation that could be nipped in the bud before it happens if the COMC crew think long and hard about the postage ramifications now, rather than after the first port sells to a non-COMC dealer.

  14. I guess part of it is going to depend on how they store the cards.
    It’s fair to charge a pull fee if they have the cards spread out all over the place.
    But if everything is organized by seller, as I expect it is, then the amount of effort
    is lessened to say the least.

    Perhaps the shipping fees need to be revisited for everyone, not just the seller.
    Right now the max for the original seller is $25. Perhaps a cap of $100 for everyone?
    I mean, if someone is getting that much stuff they are doing good business for the site,
    right? Again, not sure what the balance point needs to be to be fair to them too as it
    costs money to have guys pull from multiple sellers storage areas.

    And, its quite possible they secure the priciest stuff in a safe, etc.

  15. A lot of the stuff in ports is stuff that the original seller sent in plus stuff that the original seller picked up from other dealers on the site. For instance, there’s one dealer who will show up on the COMC ‘sellers’ list (stuff they sent in) as having about $15,000 book value, but the actual port is about 32,000 cards with a ‘book value’ of more than $120,000.

    This seller was recently offering their entire COMC port on eBay for something like $10,000, and it’s probably not a bad deal considering that the posting fees alone for 32,000 cards would be around $4,800.

    However, the posting and packing would also be around $4,800. And in this case, it wouldn’t be a simple matter for COMC of simply scooping up this guy’s cards and putting them in a box. He probably bought from dozens or even hundreds of different dealers over the course of 2 years. In fact, if he were to take physical possession of his own port, it would cost him over $2,000 just in packing fees, even with a special.

  16. One thing I’d kind of like to see on COMC is a service, maybe called ‘reindexing’, where cards that you purchased from other dealers are treated as though you just sent them in. That is, they get a new serial number, they’re exempt from rent for 90 days, they are physically stored with the cards you sent in (assuming that cards from the same seller are stored together now), and they qualify for the $25 shipping cap.

    COMC could charge maybe 5 or 10 cents for this service. If you buy a portfolio, maybe you could get free or discounted ‘reindexing’ on the cards you purchased.

    Anyway, it’s a thought and it’s a workaround to this problem. I’ll admit the service would otherwise be of limited use, and wouldn’t be my #1 choice for ‘improvements I’d like to see’.

  17. My guess is that the reason each card has an item number is because that is how they are stored: numerically in that order. That way anyone can pull cards for an order, even if they know nothing about cards.

    The pricing structure on the site is set up to discourage people from sending in their 20-cent commons. It is the same labor to pull a 20-cent card as it is a $2,000 card, and because there is no shortage of cards coming in to the site, they may as well encourage the higher-end stuff. (I should take my own advice on this one. I send in a lot of crap.)

    If I were to buy a port, it would be to sell them on here. Even if I do shows, I am not going to be able to sell the entirety of someone’s port unless I am traveling the country doing shows. It kind of goes against the grain to buy 2,000 random cards and take delivery on them, but if people want to do that, then clearly I don’t understand how the site works.

    In case people do want to do this, though, some accommodation should be made. Decreasing the supply of cards on the site increases the selling prices of like cards that remain, after all, which benefits everyone. Maybe a cap on shipping is a good idea, but perhaps $1,000 is more appropriate.

  18. The current pricing structure also discourages people from buying 20 cent commons and taking them off the site. Unless it’s a card that you actually want for your personal collection, or for some purpose (buying 200 of a player’s card and getting them signed, for example), the 20 cent commons are going to stay there forever, unless you sell your whole port to someone else and then it becomes their problem.

    If 20 cent commons clogging the site ever becomes a problem for COMC, it would be easy enough to tweak the fee structure and alleviate the problem. For example, they could start charging rent on 25 cent cards, or they could add 15 cents to the posting fee and subtract 15 cents from the packing fee.

    However, my sense is that right now, COMC is able to keep up with the extraordinary number of cards that are submitted, and that there is value to having such a broad selection, even of obscure and less expensive cards.

    I do see it as a potential issue for port selling / buying however. If someone on eBay was selling a 5,000 count box filled with picked-through leftovers from their quarter box and wanted $750 postage and handling, they’d be kicked off the site.

    Everyone here understands COMC and loves COMC, as do I. However, I’m having the hardest time evangelizing it to people in the real world. I’ll tell some dealer who’s been in the business for 30 years about the site, thinking they’ll be sending 100,000 cards the next day. Instead, they give me blank stares. They charge 20%? They take 8 weeks to scan the cards? They keep your cards? Why it’s an outrage, according to them. So I don’t think they’ll be too excited to hear that if they buy a 10,000 card collection, it will cost $1500 to $2500 to have it shipped.

    I agree that the port auction system is potentially huge for people who currently sell on COMC. However, if there isn’t some way to alleviate the postage / packing fee to the port buyer, I don’t think it will help to increase COMC’s appeal beyond its current users.

  19. I personally would love to take a look at taking over a few collections just to help get my stuff “Jump started” while I wait for the 3 thousand cards I sent in last month to come online…But it would be nice if these auctions could be broken down into smaller groupings of cards so more people would be willing to buy them (would help with shipping costs too)

    The shipping/insert/storage costs are always going to be a huge consideration for both buyers and sellers, but truthfully we need to allow the buyers to get the cards off the site as cheaply as possible, otherwise we are just going to have hundreds of the same cards stacking up and no one selling…

  20. As the supply continues to increase on the site, it may eventually make sense to increase seller fees and offset it with decreased buyer shipping fees. I know no one that sells wants to hear that, but the extra money you’re spending to add cards to the site (or maintain them) will be made up for in higher selling prices (because more people will buy if it costs so much less to ship, especially a single card). I think raising the maintenance fee to 2 cents per month after a year (leaving 3-12 months at a penny) should generate enough money to lower shipping costs accordingly for buyers (or have more shipping sales, whatever is more effective).

  21. I’d like to see something a bit different. The maintenance fee is fine for expensive cards
    but ruinous for cheaper singles that people making sets desire. I’d like to see it maintenance free for cards $1 and under, provided they are at least 40% off of guide. A reward for making the cards cheaper and more likely to sell. Also, you may want to adjust
    the fee to reflect what is available.

    If there is 50 of a card out there already, its not all that likely to sell, while if there are none, it is somewhat more likely. Perhaps the very first example submitted could get in
    w/o paying the scan price. Cards that have been there before, but have no inventory, could get in at 5 cents for the first one filling the slot. This makes it somewhat more likely that obscure low cost cards would get placed on the site. The more unique cards that are available, the more likely COMC becomes a known destination for “what you need” and
    thus searched and more sales become more likely and everyone wins.

    Remember, this site has to compete with EBay as well Naxcom and various trade sites.
    The concept of being able to convert cards you don’t want/need into ones you collect
    make it somewhat more unique so you want activity here. The first time a buy gets hit
    with a stupidly large shipping cost will definitely sour them on the concept.

    I understand that part of the profit center is built into the shipping, but greed kills just like
    it does on Ebay. No combining of shipping = no/less business or purchases at a lower price to offset the known shipping costs. The consumer cares about the NET/FINAL cost and does not really care about the break down.

  22. Wow, It is awesome to see all of your passion and great ideas. We will be testing out the auction concept, and I am sure we will need to be flexible and listen to your feedback.

    Thanks for your input regarding our fees. We are taking your feedback into account, and we plan to announce some new services around the time of the national.

  23. For those who are interested I have requested to have the port setup on my account.. I would be willing to take offers on all my cards..So if you are looking to expand..Take a look at what I have and let me know

  24. Pingback: First Silent Auction Is Officially Open « CheckOutMyCards.com Blog

  25. For anyone interested, I currently have this:

    Total Book Value: $8,533.25
    Original Asking Price: $1,921.26
    Current Owner: Gridironherosandgreats
    # of items: 1,727
    Items with no Book Value: 10
    Average Book Value: $4.36

    I would be willing to take $750.00 for everything. That’s almost 92% OFF BV.

  26. Looking to sell what I have on site
    Total Items 209
    Book Value $1029.85
    Asking on site $349.07
    Will accept $200.00
    Trackman54

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