Changing Times: Classified Ads

We at COMC hope you all enjoyed a relaxing day of BBQ, family, and festivities on Memorial Day.

Barbeque

As many of you know, we began developing a new set of features to help you promote your products and sell on the site.  These have been gaining popularity over the last few months and are now in daily use on the site.

These new promotion features have now made several of our older features redundant, and as such it is time to make a change.  With the advent of our new Port Sale Promotions feature and the Sales feature, the Port Sale Classified Ads and the Auto Accept Classified Ads are no longer necessary.

COMC will no longer have a separate section of promotions for Auto-Accept or Port Sale Classifieds.  We will require that no mention of whether or not the seller is utilizing Auto-Accept be included in the Title or Description of their advertisement.

(edit: after receiving questions and comments from our users, we wish to clarify that sellers can still post ads in the “For Sale” section of the Classified Ads to let buyers know that they will entertain offers – however, they cannot promote any “auto-accept” offers, as these cannot be monitored by COMC staff. All future ads using such language will not be accepted and store credit used for the ad will be returned to the user’s account.)

That is some change change....

That is some change….

By having all major sales and promotions located in one central location, we believe this will eliminate instances of a buyer looking for a sale and not realizing that there were two places to look for deals.  This will be better for buyers as a whole and will also minimize the cost to sellers who have, in some cases, been paying to have their sales running in two separate locations.

From those of you who have already used our new Port Sale and Sales features, we would like to hear about your experience with the service.   Are there any new sales and promotion features that you think we should add to our current selection?

Please post your thoughts in the comments section below.  We look forward to hearing from you folks and as always, please follow us on FacebookTwitter, and our new Google+ page.

48 thoughts on “Changing Times: Classified Ads

  1. The port sale portion would be even better if I could offer a mixed port (football and basketball) but leave off the rest of my port.

    • Agree.

      The more flexibility for full and mini-port sales, the better.

      (ex: I want more than selecting cards by release years).

    • Hello Michael,

      Thanks for that suggestion. I believe this is something that our Development Team has been looking to implement, but just in case I have forwarded it along to them for further consideration. We appreciate your continued contributions to the site, and making it a better place to buy and sell collectibles.

      Regards,
      Mark M.

  2. Would also like to have a partial port of cards below a certain price. Coding for something like this should take minutes.

  3. Yeah im not sure why it cost $10 a week, and why we are so limited on what we want to offer in a port sale I wish there was a way of picking certian cards that we wanted to list not as a sport or years

  4. I do not like this change. You don’t mention that to run a sale promotion instead of an auto-accept classified advertisement that you will be also taking 3% off the top that was not previously the case with an advertisement. You will also be charging $3 a day instead of $2 fee and $1 additional per day for the classified.

    Also, the minimum to sell a port is now $10, instead of the previous minimum for a 1-day classified of $3. For those that sell of many cards in smaller ports, this will be a big hit in costs.

    You frame it that it will help save sellers costs, but really seems like just an increase in fees and a revenue generator for COMC. I be more comfortable with it if you didn’t sugar coat it like you were helping everyone by the change, which you are not.

    Will any of the costs to run promotions change (be lowered) due to this? I would suggest going back to the old classified sections and figure out a way to incorporate port sales as opposed to the change you are making. I find myself rarely looking at promotions myself, I and check the classifieds regularly. I have also have never run a promotion because of the costs and post many classifieds as I’ve had better success with sales on them than with the occasions I’ve ran free promotions.

    Might just be my point of view, but I suggest others that are agaist this speak up as well as this is not a small change.

    • Should have proofread before posting, but sorry for the errors in the last post. Second paragraph shoudl be “I’d be”, not “I be”. And meant to say “I would suggest going back to the old classified sections and figure out a way to incorporate PARTIAL port sales as opposed to the change you are making.” in the second to last paragraph.

      Anyway, the main concerns from my end is 1) costs for sellers, 2) the fact I like having the ability to read/write detail text regarding our auto-accept or port sales like we did in classifieds to better communicate what we are doing with our sale and 3.) Classified are much easier to follow and check on a regular basis then try to weed through all the promotions to avoid the ones I’ve already looked at.

      • Hello NYMETSJETS,

        Thanks for your thoughtful response to the post. While the cost structure is different, we do believe that by centralizing all of our promotions, we may save both buyers and sellers the hassle of having two places that their ads might be viewed. This should increase the overall number of buyers who will peruse the items being advertised.

        As we are moving away gradually from classified ads, we will be making adjustments to the new promotion system. We want to make it more user friendly and provide more ways to allow you to advertise your products. Outside of simple text communication through classified ads and cost, are there improvements we can make to these functions to make them more usable?

        We look forward to hearing your thoughts, and the continuing thoughts of the community on this. Please do not think this is an ending; we are simply trying to find a better way to serve a large group of different users.

        Regards,
        Mark

    • I agree this in the fact that it basically neutralizes the small port sales. I really think there should be a tiered port sale system or a percentage taking off so that those small ports are still able to be sold

      • Hello Nathan,

        This is a very interesting idea. If we were going to set up “tiers,” what would determine the what sorts of port sales fall under these different tiers in your vision? As a second consideration, what would the community as a whole think of the idea of a flat percentage being taken out of a port sale?

        Regards,
        Mark M.

    • I agree with what NYMETSJETS said. I have always had a hard time with people trying to tell me they were making changes for my benefit when they were either more costly or restrictive in nature. It is certainly your business to change fees etc. but please don’t make it sound like you have done sellers a favor.

  5. I agree with everything that has been said above not a big fan of the new promotion system, and doubt I will be doing any selling with it. I am not comfortable paying 3% commission on my promotion sales on top of the 3$ a day charged to run the promotions. I was a huge fan of the old classified system because it let you filter out port sales and auto accepts etc. 3% Is a lot of commission to a flipper I would even rather 5$ a day charge. Another percentage commission on top of the cashout commission is excessive percentages.

  6. When’s this go into effect? The new layout is a lot less personal and I agree with all the points made about the fees associated with it. Quick sales/small ports go out the window with this change. I think your underestimating the amounts of sales generated from the old classified layout. Buyers/sellers are well aware of when the “old ads” go up and look forward to getting a deal I personally haven’t had much luck with the new promotion/classified layout ,but it is what is I suppose.

    • I don’t like it either……I never go on the new site, I do not like it at all and get headaches after a couple minutes on there, so that will eliminate me from buying and flipping as I look at the classifieds and port sales every day and buy alot of cards (over 3,000 cards in the last 10-12 months)….Will you all tell us in advance when the old site is going to shut down so I can go on a buying and flipping spree

    • Hello Maximoose,

      These changes go into effective as of the morning of 5/29/13. We don’t want to create a situation in which small port sales go away, as that was never our intention. What sorts of changes might you recommend that could allow smaller ports to still be a viable and healthy option on the site?

      Regards,
      Mark M.

  7. Another way for COMC see to become jus like FEEBAY………More fees and make it sound like a great deal for the seller.

  8. Excellent change…having the portfolio sales more automated via the “Promotions” sections is certainly the way to go. This will eliminate many issues where a portfolio sells in the classified section, but still stays on the site for the duration of the classified ad (thus causing people to click and see an empty, sold out portfolio).

    Also, I have seen in more than one instance where a portfolio sells in the classifieds section, then the seller puts his/her high end cards up for sale that were excluded from the portfolio sale…thus causing great confusion as to what is actually being offered, because the original classified ad posting is still visible.

    Finally, I love the idea that this raises the costs of offering a portfolio for sale. This will essentially eliminate many of the small junk portfolios that are CONSTANTLY offered for sale by some members at 10% of book value for a group of cards that are severely over-valued by Beckett. Overall, this change should result in larger, better quality portfolios that will save portfolio buyers search costs (time), on average. For small portfolios (i.e. BV under $1000) it would make more sense for users to have a sale, or just lower the prices, rather than offering a quasi-portfolio that fills space in the classifieds section.

    In my experience, the promotions section is the best method of handling portfolio transactions. Plus the instant purchase price is great, allowing someone to purchase without having to wait for the seller to actually click the “accept” button. One of the best features of COMC is the fact that it is highly impersonal…eliminating user written classified advertisements can ONLY be an improvement. This will lead to a homogeneous and more structured appearance, which undeniably lends to a more professional appearance.

    Keep up the great work!

  9. I also think you need a option for selling smaller ports that does not cost $10. Also, I have stopped using the “promotion” option because here’s what happens, you run a promotion, people undercut that promotion price with their regular price, then when your promotion is over, you are way overpriced. Just my thoughts.

    • Hello darin2200,

      As we do have a rather thriving marketplace on COMC, it is sadly not that uncommon to see these sorts of things occur. It is our objective to make the promotion features more valuable to our users. What sorts of tools would you find valuable when running a promotion that might provide more value to you as a seller?

      Regards,
      Mark

      • Checkoutmydeals beat me to it, he has great suggestions that echo my thoughts.
        To further expand on my thoughts on promotions, at first I loved them, I didn’t mind the extra 3% for the extra exposure, but like I said earlier, it could bite you in the behind after the sale. So I went back to Auto Accept Sales as a smaller port person at the moment, it was economical for me, and my price stayed at the regular price, so there was less undercutting. So I for one will really miss the option of an Auto Accept Classified ad. I also can’t pay $10 to sell a port for $200, but in the past i would pay $3 to sell a port for $200. if my port was a $1000 sale, I would have no issue paying $10 for the port sale. I love your site, I love many of the changes you have made over the years, and I will adapt as needed. But these are my experiences. Thanks for being so available to the users and interacting and asking questions. It’s so refreshing.

  10. Some ideas, in random order:

    * Instead of getting rid of the classified section, you could have the promotional section cross-post to classifieds. So, if a seller runs a 50% off sale on COMC, it automatically generates a 50% off auto-accept classified ad. If someone runs a port sale on COMC, it automatically generates a port sale ad in the classifieds.

    * Instead of $3 per day PLUS 3%, you might consider the lower of $3 per day OR 3%. I would like to see people with smaller ports participating in the sale feature on a more regular basis. The site was quite vibrant during the “Spring Cleaning” sales, when hundreds of sellers were running promotional sales. But I know a lot of smaller sellers who have run promotions and were lucky to get their $3 back. Similarly, an option to pay a percentage of a port sale rather than a flat $10 would be more palatable for smaller ports.

    * I understand that you don’t want the site to get flooded with promotions, so one suggestion would be to give every seller the opportunity to launch one sale per month for free, at a time of their choosing. That way, there will always be fresh deals to be had, but it also won’t overwhelm the site.

    * As a buyer, it’s a bit tedious to search through an individual sellers’ items for sale. Especially since many of the people who run promotions have tens of thousands of items in stock. I’d love a feature where we could filter out just those items in a seller’s sale which are the lowest price on the site. That would make it much easier to skim through sales.

    * It would also be useful, when buying ports, to know what the port could be flipped for. A useful number to know would be the sum total of the next highest offer for each item in the port, along with the number of unique items and the book value of those unique items. With that information, I could make a decision in about 30 seconds about the price I would be willing to pay for a port. As it is, it would take many hours to seriously go through a port and seriously determine its value. So, most people only buy a port when it’s dirt cheap.

    * It would be useful to be able to “check off” a sale that I’ve already glanced through.

    * It might be useful to be able to see the average percent off guide a seller has their sale items at, rather than percent off asking price. For example, a person whose items are already 90% off running a 10% off sale would be 91% off, while a person whose items are double book running an 80% off sale would be 60% off.

    * When making partial ports, it would be useful to filter by how long you’ve had the card in stock, the value of the card, the asking price of the card, the percent off asking price, whether a card is autographed, memorabilia, rookie, from a certain team, etc. It would be nice to be able to include or exclude items from the port. When you first started talking of partial ports, it was as a way to sell partial sets or bulk lots of similar cards.

    * As an alternative to a partial port, it would be useful to be able to have a 2nd (or 3rd) account, and to transfer cards / credit between accounts as desired. Then each seller could have a port full of stuff they actually care about and would only sell if they got a good price, and another port of stuff that they’re willing to make deals on.

    * On COMC, when I’m running a sale and I get an offer, I see my sale price as the asking price instead of my original asking price. It would be nice to be able to see my full asking price. This is one thing that keeps me going back to checkoutmycards.

    Keep up the good work! Thanks!

    • Hello Check Out My Deals,

      There is a fair number of gems in your reply. I have forwarded along these suggestions to our Development team for consideration. Thank you, once again, for your continued thoughts and contributions.

      Regards,
      Mark M.

      • Please pardon me. I meant to say, “There are a fair number of gems in your reply.”

  11. Port sales and auto accept are two totally different demographics of buyers. Leave them separate… sometimes it good to listen to the small people that got you to the success that you have achieved….. Coming a giant like ebay is great for the owners/stock holders but creates a bad feeling for the “original” users that get shafted after they did the ground work using the site when nobody was around ….

    • Hello Kev,

      There are still options that will allow you to utilize these tools. The Port Sale Promotion feature allows for quite a bit of versatility, and its functionality will continue to improve as our users give us more feedback on what they want it to be able to do. As for Auto Accept Classifieds, you will be able to achieve many of the same results using the Sales Promotion and setting your prices at a discounted rate that other users can buy at.

      We are listening to our users both new and old, and we want to move forward and provide better services with more functionality. What sorts of things can we do to make these new tools better work for you?

      Regards,
      Mark M.

  12. “We will require that no mention of whether or not the seller is utilizing Auto-Accept be included in the Title or Description of their advertisement.”

    I’m sure you have your reasons but I don’t like this.

    Also, I much prefer to go through the classified ads than the Promotions. Seems I’m not the only one. You portray the changes as if you are trying to protect sellers from themselves – please reconsider.

    • Hello Auto-Accept On,

      Though there were a variety of considerations that went into this decision, I did want to at least clarify that we aren’t attempting to protect the sellers from themselves. One of the key goals is to create a more unified system for these larger sales of items, so that as we continue to add new collectible categories to the site, we will have a singular method of allowing our users to sell these items.

      I also thought I would take this time to say that there are going to be several meetings over the next few days to review the response to these changes and to see what sorts of adjustments we can make to this system based on the feedback of our users. COMC.com is a site of dynamic change courtesy of your requests, and we want to take into account all of the valuable thoughts and comments we receive about this feature and those that are yet to come.

      Stay tuned, as there may be further adjustments over the course of the next few weeks. Again, thank you all for your continued contributions!

      Regards,
      Mark M.

  13. I understand what you’re saying, but if you’re an ‘original user’, then you have to remember a time when there wasn’t any such thing as a classified ad, or ‘auto accept’, or a ‘port sale’.

    You’d also have to remember when COMC charged 1 cent rent per month for any card priced at 26 cents or more. If you had 80,000 cards priced at 27 cents each, you’d have to pay $800 per month in rent. Now, that person would pay 0 rent, even if every card was priced at 75 cents.

    You’d have to remember when it cost $15 to add Auto Accept to your account, or $50 per month to increase the rent thresh hold to $1.

    You’d have to remember when it cost 25 cents to add a condition note to a card.

    Over the years, I’ve seen COMC make hundreds of changes. Most of them were actual improvements, requested by their customers. Some left me scratching my head. But even with those, I can usually see that they’re trying to improve the business, as they see it.

    • Hello Check Out My Deals,

      Thanks for these sentiments. We will continue to work and improve this system and make it more useful to our users. Sorry if we have caused you a couple of head-scratchers in the past, but I assure you that what we do always aims to make the experience a better one for as many users as possible. Keep checking back on this topic, as there may be further adjustments in the near future.

      Regards,
      Mark M.

  14. I have most all my purchases from auto accept, it’s been one of your best features. Not sure why it would be confusing to have two different types of sales. Either people check classifieds or they don’t. I find promotion sales more confusing. The sellers ports are too big to sift through at times, I never know which ones I’ve already checked, and a lot of times they might run a promotion boasting an average of %50 or so but most the cards I’d really be interested in might only be a small fraction of that. You should really list promotion sales by “new today” or something to that effect. I understand if you only want to use one sales feature, I just don’t understand your reasoning for doing it.

    • Hello Layne,

      Though the specific classified ads for Auto Accept have been currently taken down, the function has not gone away. Many users continue to run Sales promotions that serve this purpose and show the reduced price up front, rather than as an auto accept of an offer. Also, keep checking back on this, as there may be further adjustments to this as we continue to reevaluate how best to serve all our users.

      Regards,
      Mark M.

  15. You make some good points, COMD, though I wasn’t trying to suggest that COMC were hurting sellers, more that they were trying to prevent sellers hurting themselves. Maybe they’re right, maybe this will encourage (nearly said force!) sellers to offer cards cheaper and presumably have the desired effect of increasing sales, which is of course great for buyers, sellers and COMC.

    • Auto-Accept On- I’m not saying I’m a big fan of this change. I just don’t think it’s malicious. Someone said that COMC was shafting the little guy like eBay, so I presented evidence that they probably aren’t (at least, not intentionally).

      As a 15-year veteran of eBay, I know that it’s possible for an ecommerce site to take its customers for granted, and to try to get an ever-increasing amount of money from a stagnant (or shrinking) group of users, without doing anything extra in return.

      I’m not saying COMC is incapable of doing something like this, just that this particular change probably isn’t it. In my experience, COMC has always acted in good faith, and they’re willing to listen to their customers. For example, both the classified ads and promo sales started out as customer requests on this blog (and/or at blowoutcards forum ).

  16. I also think removing auto accept is a bad idea. Haggling has always been part of collecting, people feel like they are getting a better deal when they talk your price down. Buying something in the sale format is pretty much buying something at a new list price, auto accept is essentially a bargaining process that you are going to win. If you wanted to change it so that only 50% auto accept would be used in order to avoid confusion, that would make sense. I don’t see completely removing one of your more clever features as being a positive however.

    With promotions I’ll give you an idea that would work well for me: Grant every seller a limited number of promotions that they can post for free and use whenever they like on an annual basis, where you guys still take your cut from sales. I don’t have a large enough inventory to pay an upfront fee, even though I did well in the last site wide promotion (I would guess the free shipping promotions generate much greater day to day traffic on their own).

    • Hello RRTrading,

      I just wanted to clarify that the auto accept function has not been removed. We are simply removing the Auto Accept Classified function and mentions of this in the advertising of their promotions. You will still be able to have this function running on your account to allow you greater ease and control over your offers.

      Thank you for your suggestion. I have forwarded this on to our Development team for further consideration. We appreciate your contributions to this discussion and will be working to make the experience better overall.

      Regards,
      Mark M.

  17. This is going to hamper my buying… To be honest when I make offers I only wait an hour or so for a response before cancelling and moving on to the next sellers. The reason is simple.. if I am trying to fill a need for our customers I don’t have time to wait for a seller to decide to respond with an accept or decline or not respond at all as some sellers seem to do…or to play games with the seller raising their prices and then counter offering. So knowing who has auto accept on helps me decide who to start with… Of course you then have those who put auto accept at 50% but raise most of their cards to prices well above book…talk about head scratching…

  18. I actually like to use the ‘Auto-Accept’ ads to search for items to flip because it DOESN’T show the actual discount for each card on the site. Hoping to find a card on sale that other buyers either don’t realise is there or they are to lazy to bother looking for. I am sure there are other flippers like me so sellers will lose sales but that may or may not be more than offset by more sales from other buyers.

    I do this on checkoutmycards.com only because when you hover over the card # link it shows the lowest price for the whole site as opposed to only the lowest price of that particular seller (which you can already see on the page anyway).

  19. I’m glad I read all this. Since I have always preferred the old site I just found out that there are far more Promotions on the new site than the old site. I assumed they would be the same. So now I’ve
    affectively moved on to the New Site, especially since the Main things I would check on the Old Site were Small Port sales and “Auto-Accept”, which are now gone.

    Two things stood out to me amongst these posts. One, I hope you never allow multiple accounts and if you decide that you will I hope it’s not done secretly. I believe that will kill you like It did to Etopps. Secondly, Someone stated that they didn’t want to “play games” with someone who would raise their price while making a counter offer. I have done that but never considered it “playing games” because sometimes the offer would be on a card too low priced to begin with. Who has time to monitor the prices of their cards everyday??

    • Chuck…we will agree to disagree on whether it is “playing games” and I can assure you the first time it is done to us, our staff will never make an offer on that sellers cards again.
      We have spoken with COMC on this and suggested that in a scenario like yours…the offer must be rejected before a price is raised. Once the offer is rejected then the negotiation is over and the seller can do whatever he wants with the card. If someone walks into my store and offers me $5 for a card I have $8 on… can take the card out of the case…walk into the back room….put a $10 price tag on it and then counteroffer at $8 or $9? Ok…I suppose I could…but would that customer ever come back? Now…if I decline his offer and he passes on it and leaves…and I then put the $10 tag on it and he comes back a week later and sees the change…it then becomes a change in market condition. Hopefully that explains why in my opinion monkeying with prices during an offer is unprofessional and borderline unethical.

      • TripleAvintage: Suppose someone walks into my store and sees that I have a Mike Trout auto card priced at $40. He tells the cashier he wants to make an offer and so I’m called from the back office. The buyer offers me $20 and I do a double-take, realizing it was priced and put on the floor before Trout was called up to the majors and became rookie of the year. It now has a book price of $100 and my competitors are all selling it for $80 or more. Why is it unethical for me to reevaluate its value once it has been brought to my attention? It seems *more* than fair for me to say, “Look, I’ll honor the $40 price I had listed if you take it to the cashier now; otherwise I’m putting a $75 price tag on it.”

        Your proposed solution doesn’t help the buyer. It only prevents me from giving the buyer an opportunity to purchase at the bargain price originally listed. Your proposal would force me to reject his offer, ask him to leave the store, and then raise the price in private. How does that help him?

        Of course, had the buyer simply brought it to the cash register he would have gotten a steal and I’d never have known about it. Instead, he tried to squeeze me; in so doing, he risked alerting me to my pricing error. Unfortunately, I think that’s what the usual complaint boils down to: some buyers want to be able to squeeze sellers without any risk that it will backfire.

        FTR, I have never *countered* with a higher price than the original listing. But I raise (and lower) prices during negotiation all the time. For me, it’s about saving time and repricing as soon as I’ve been alerted to inefficient pricing, and it’s not personal. I’m sorry if I ever lost your business because of it, but I cannot agree with your charge that this practice is unprofessional.

  20. Just wanted to underscore a point that Eric made above: the “mouseover” function that permitted rapid appraisal of pricing competitiveness within a portfolio is now gone. I recommend returning this functionality as soon as possible. Of course, this is just a special case of the many excellent suggestions COMD makes above.

  21. Pyweed I won’t comment if we offer on your cards at this time or not. However..I would NEVER EVER threaten a customer with a price raise if he doesn’t take an offer now.

    What I do with my pricing once he walks out the door is none of his business and certainly I would not use it as leverage. If a seller did that to me it would be the last time I attempted to do business with them.

    In the situation you illustrated… I would decline the offer…maybe point out that the card books $100 and tell him $40 was as low as I can go….if he declines….I wait for him to leave and then decide what to do with my price.

    That said I understand everyone handles their own business in different ways…….. I have to rely on my perception of what has worked for me over the last 22 years as well as how I expect to be treated as a customer.

    • Sounds to me like the only difference is the intent one ascribes to the price change. In my example, leverage obviously has nothing to do with the seller’s price adjustment. He’d rather not sell at the below market price, and is only doing the buyer a favor by disclosing rather than concealing his intent to raise the price once the buyer leaves the store. As a buyer I personally would rather have one last chance at the listed price before it goes up than have no chance. Sometimes I would pass, but sometimes I would concede that the original price was fair. To each his own, I guess, but I think there’s no need to read malevolent intent into the disclosure.

      • I understand what you are saying… but the fact the malevolent intent COULD be read by the statement of intent to raise price is enough reason for me not to say it.
        My entire staff went through a professional sales training course some years back..
        When it comes to pricing and negotiations we don’t ever speculate on what an item might be worth…never tell anyone what we paid for stuff or what our intended selling price is when we buy something… When offers are made we accept…counter or decline… it is a very straightforward and professional approach.

  22. Pingback: Has their COMC sale slowing down? - Blowout Cards Forums

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