Three Strikes Rule, Site Etiquette, and You

Based on the comments from the previous post, there is a lot of confusion about how our new “Three Strikes” feature works – partially due to what may have been an unclear explanation, as well as a bug that didn’t correctly ignore counteroffers.  Everything is now working correctly, and we’d like to take another stab at explaining how it works.

The 3 strike system is simply a temporary black list of items on which a specific buyer must wait before sending another offer.

Think of it as a friendly reminder for buyers that send a very high amount of offers.  Instead of repeatedly making an offer a seller has already rejected multiple times, we simply limit the number of times a buyer can get an offer rejected.  You get 3 “strikes” for every 90 days for each item.  If the item is sold to another seller, your strike count resets to 0.

Buyers and sellers don’t get strikes.  Only items get strikes, and those strikes are specific to buyer/seller combinations.  Sellers can get offers from hundreds of different buyers on the same item and reject all of them.  When a specific buyer gets 3 offers rejected on the same item in the past 90 days, the buyer must wait before making another offer on that same item.  We have removed all strikes on items predating May 23rd, so everyone will have a “clean slate” going in.

While this feature is more of a tool to help make offers more effective, we still encourage our users to utilize some etiquette when communicating offers.  Some things we would ask user to consider regarding offers include:

  • Think of making an offer as walking into someone’s store or up to their table and asking them to sell you a card at a discount.  How receptive would you be to your own offer?
  • Keep in mind we allow offers up to 50% off asking price.  A “low-ball” offer should be seen as a starting point of negotiation, not as an insult.
  • If you and another user do not reach an agreed upon price for an item, please do not be offended.  Just as in face-to-face negotiations, it happens.

We would also like to thank everyone for so actively contributing to our Blog discussions and Facebook pages.  We’re proud to have one of the friendliest user bases around, who aren’t afraid to speak their minds and tell us how we’re doing.  As the site grows and more users are frequenting these areas, we feel it is our responsibility to set up a few guidelines.

Things we cannot allow:

  • Any kind of personal attacks or “callouts” on other users (regardless of prior posts, personal grievances, etc.)
  • Linking to or promoting unaffiliated websites
  • Profanity, slurs, and inflammatory posts
  • Posting personal information (someone else’s or your own)

Posts not abiding by the guidelines we’ve set will be deleted, and anyone who repeatedly ignores them may find they are unfortunately no longer able to contribute to these pages.

Again, we would like to thank each and every one of you for making this community the amazing place it is.  We at COMC want to be proactive in our responsibilities to help keep it that way

27 thoughts on “Three Strikes Rule, Site Etiquette, and You

  1. I like the idea of setting limits on offers. However, I have always thought the 50% starting offer is too low. I am not a store owner and do not have a massive amount of inventory I am trying to move. I am really just trying to “trade” cards for money so I can buy other cards I want. The 50% offer makes pricing very difficult. I would estimate 75% of my offers are 50%. So, then I have to increase my asking price significantly. Then I can’t compete with people who have the freedom to really undercut everyone else. If I price the cards at what I want. Then I am spending time countering / rejecting. Add the 20% Amazon situation and it gets even murkier. I know I could pay monthly to have the ability to set the offer percent, but again, I’m not a store, I am not even trying to make a profit, just want to sell cards I don’t want so I can buy cards I do. The fees I am already paying (although I believe are fair) are stretching me far enough already.

    My personal opinion would be to find some creative way to add a lower limit by either some percentage of card book value or a dollar amount threshold under which no more offers are accepted. For example, maybe cards under $2 offers aren’t allowed. If a card is say $12 – $25 book value and I list it at say $20 then there is some room to negotiate. But if a card is $0.75 – $1.25. There really is no price I can set that would support a 50% offer and I have to spend my time responding to them.

    Having said all that, I think this 3 strike thing is a good start. Are counteroffers considered a strike?

    • Hi Tom,

      This is Jen from COMC. To be clear, counteroffers are NOT considered a strike. Strikes only apply to offers where the first response is a rejection. There was a bug in the feature when it was first implemented applying strikes to counteroffers, which has since been fixed.

  2. I honestly think it should be a tool that can be clicked on or off. At this point if a person gets 3 offers from the same person they are literally “Banned” from making another offer for 90 days for that item to the seller. So what if the seller has a situation where he needs to sell right away? Or decides to do one of those accept all offers sales? The person who made the offer before is unable to buy now. Thus the seller loses out on a “Potential” buyer for those next 89 days. If its a problem with a constant offer maker why not have a block member option instead?

    • I’ve found that buyers I’ve rejected three times outright then pay the asking price for the card. I’m as shocked by this as anyone.

      • I have bought thousands of cards on this site and have NEVER paid full price. With a little patience there is always another seller willing to sell cheaper through bids.

  3. “A “low-ball” offer should be seen as a starting point of negotiation, not as an insult.”

    When it’s a 50% offer on a high end card where the asking price is already in line with the going market price, yes, it’s an insult.

    • I don’t ever see a 50% offer as “an insult”. This is business, counteroffer button is there for a reason, and anyone knows that if you’ve had enough dealings the site, buyers are trying to test the waters to see what kind of price the seller is looking for. Expecting a buyer to not look out for their best interests is not only unrealistic, but irrational.

    • Agreed. If I wanted to sell the card for 50% off (the already reduced price), I would price it that way. I would never offer a seller 50% unless they are asking full high book value. I will always present what I feel is a reasonable offer based on my research. It seems to me that many buyers are just trying to flip cards and trying to sucker me into losing money for their benefit. Why would I do that?

      • Because sometimes it works and it’s free to try (having a balance and letting your funds be frozen notwithstanding). I know I’ve accidentally let a few go this way. COMC isn’t foolproof, but it is generally quite effective. Nothing in life will ever be perfect.

  4. SInce we’re on the topic of “You” as stated in the headline, I’d like to leave a suggestion. Can COMC introduce a “wish/want alert.” Say a card has recently sold out (out of stock); COMC can instantly send an alert (email/phone) to potential buyers who placed an alert for that particular
    card(s) once it becomes available. Maybe I’m asking to much..no pun intended!

    • Hi, Joseph. This is Jeremy from COMC. Love your feature request – it’s a function we’ve had a lot of interest in for a while now, and we definitely want to implement it.

  5. Hey Guys..
    When we are already the cheapest on a card and we still get the obligatory 50% off offer, we don’t look at it as an insult but give our screen the “are you kidding me?” look. Then we mutter under our breath and in most cases counter but in the case of 3-4 chronic offenders who simply counter our counteroffer with the same 50% offer we now just decline them.
    We’d love the ability to block those people totally but for now this is a great tool and one that didn’t (at least for us) require any type of chaotic multilevel explainations. It is easy to understand and assuming the bugs are fixed it will work fine.
    Regarding how people conduct themselves, we always try and be professional and do realize at times we may be talking with a younger person or even an older person who may not have the same level of ettiquete. We’ve been caught up in a few internet “dustups” before but have learned from that and now we try and steer clear of anything that looks as thought it might combust.
    It’s cardboard folks…let’s all coexist and have some fun! Whether you do this full time as we do (though all of us here still collect), are part time dealers or just a collector selling off unwanted items…this is a great place worthy of respect and along with that, respecting the 99.9% great members.

    • I agree. I think the buyers insult the sellers more than the other way around. I never send 50% offers unless there is a promotional advertisement. I decline most 50% offers because I don’t want to be bothered with more of them.

      • Jeff,

        With the number of other marketplaces to purchase from, I don’t think banning a buyer from COMC makes any business sense for COMC or the sellers themselves.

  6. The 3 strike rule will improve the functionality to limit the repetitive offering by wanna be card buyers at way below market value. I once received 8 offers at the same or slightly and I mean very slightly higher offer (rejected 8 times) in a row by the same buyer on one of my 1987-88 Fleer Jordan cards and had to keep rejecting the lower offers since it was not worthy to sell in the NM condition the card was in. Had this 3 strike rule been in place it would have saved me the time and mostly aggravation of dealing with these type of buyers.

    I read above that the control of the 3 strike rule should be at the discretion of the seller. If COMC wants to allow the sellers the option to turn the 3 strike feature on/off for any buyer this could be beneficial to the seller. Strange as this may sound maybe some sellers want to keep seeing offers since they may change their mind and sell at the lower offered price to the same buyer within the 90 day 3 strike window. They may sell for any reason. An example I have on a $50 numbered RC of a hot Hockey Player. I had priced this card at full book price being the only seller and the card was numbered out of 50. I rejected the following offers; $20, $24, $26, $28, $28, $28, $28, $28. The last couple offers came in just when this Star RC got injured and would not do very well in his rookie season, so some sellers may have taken the 5th 6th or 7th offer based on the timing and value of that particular players cards. This example shows one detail why cards sell or never get looked at. We all know that active player cards can swing in value in a 90 day window so as these cards get older and depending on the player and his buyer base (collectors/investors buying his cards to sell later) the value and interest of any player and card can decline a lot.

    I recommend the 3 strike rule be an added value to the sellers at their discretion to turn on/off.

    In addition to the 3 strike rule, can we consider another feature to block buyers completely. Some buyers will just low ball offers at the 50% range on the lowest priced seller that has discounted the card to 70% off book value. After you reject that buyer on a few dozen cards it gets a bit tiring. As a seller I should be able to put this “always low ball offer” buyer on my sellers “block list”. I believe I am one of the majority of sellers that feel this way and would like to hear more sellers on this functionality and feature.

    • It’s hard to say what a majority of sellers want. I’ve seen so many viewpoints on the subject, just here in the comments of their blog posts, that there must be lots of different types of sellers.

      The best defense if it bothers a seller is to use the tools available:
      1) Hold the offer till it expires, thus locking the buyer’s funds
      2) Raise the price so an offer will always come in for an acceptable amount

      I know it is irritating for OCD types not to have an empty offers and proposals box. When I get counteroffers on port sales but don’t have the balance for them, I have to let the counteroffer sit. I use it as a motivation to sell more cards :)

  7. On a comment that Joseph made above, “Can COMC introduce a “wish/want alert.” Say a card has recently sold out (out of stock); COMC can instantly send an alert (email/phone) to potential buyers who placed an alert for that particular card(s) once it becomes available.”

    This could be a really nice functional tool for collectors and investors to place wants on a particular card. Thing of it this way. Cards are a form of currency in some ways, so are stocks that we buy from NYSE, NASDAQ or like exchanges. Image if a particular hot card was very much in demand and the speculative nature kicks in and a few or many buyers want to accumulate this card. Well, we may may the book price since book would be considered low until it caught up. The potential buyers could select this card wanting to see more available. The card may indicate “Sold Out” however the card could also indicate a number of buyers that have checked the “Wanted” box on the card. This “wanted” number may indicate that a card is highly in demand and many sellers would see this as an opportunity to crack more packs, surf the sell sites to acquire this card to meet the “wanted” demand. The number of “wanted” would fuel the interest. At one time Jeremy Lin cards would have create interesting “wanted” numbers.

    A 2nd side of a “wanted” feature that I think Joseph is talking about is to finish his vintage set so he posts a “wanted” check for a card that is “out of stock”. Imagine the opportunity to fill your vintage sets with the ease of getting more sellers to send these cards in with the assumption that the buyer is waiting for them. This is just a thought and again open for more discussion.

    Thanks for reading.

    • The only problem is IF the site is running properly you will not see cards that are sold as a buyer. I agree that it would be a great idea, I just do not see a way for them to implement it without changing the site drastically. The best option will always be the multiple card forums such as Blowout’s.

    • I love the idea of a wanted card feature to help me work on my vintage Tigers needs. In order to keep this feature from being flooded with non-serious requests I would propose a minimal charge to publish your want lists.

  8. Another feature that I’d love to see added is, searching by a specific team. I’m a STL Cardinals guy and I’m always looking for weird, strange & unusual Cardinal cards. If I had the option of searching “Cardinals” I could then find cards of players from sets that I never knew existed.

    • Did you realize that it is now possible to search baseball by Teams!!!!! This has led to me buying half a gazillion Tigers’ cards over the last few weeks. Thanks COMC for this feature!

  9. I think a big reason the three strikes thing has come up is from Ad’s. Just this morning i read an ad that says accepting all offers . But when i filled my cart and made an offer i got a counter . So i go back and check his full ad i see he is accepting all 10% off offers. So i think Ad’s need to be set up better with the heading to prevent some of these issues.

  10. Instead of having all the free-form content (which is hard to read a lot of the time), I wish we could have an auto-accept page that would list sellers that have the feature. So it would say Big Red 50%, cBraund 50%, etc. It would only show the sellers who pay to be on there. Similarly there could be a port sale page that lists the seller name and the stats. Sellers can ask not to receive 10% offers all they want, but people still do it. (I know I’m not the only one.)

    It would make it easier for buyers to read the ads if they had the same structure and were all on the same page. Then you can just open each seller’s inventory in new tabs all at once :)

    • i agree Joel. My issue is with the ad itself . The main header said accepting all offers . So when i see that 1st thing i would do or any other flipper would be 50% off . It was my fault for not reading the full ad but i wanted to make sure i tried to get the card (s) i was after. So he got a lowball offer from me and prob many other people due to that ad. But i do say change around the ad pages as well. Or even the people who have auto accept.

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