Introducing COMC Challenges

The COMC development team is pleased to announce the public release of the COMC Challenges, a feature that enables the community to contribute to the upcoming COMC catalog. Your support so far with this project is inspiring and we’re thrilled to team up with the COMC community to provide card collectors and sellers with the richest and most accurate catalog possible. With your help, our goal is to make the best collecting experience ever.

Our signed agreement with Beckett ends on March 31, 2014. Over the next few weeks, we will transition the website checklist and price guide to our new catalog and suggested list prices. For a quick and smooth transition, we’re calling upon the community to help by participating in a series of Challenges.

The idea behind the COMC Challenges is simple: we have millions of card images, and we’re asking the community to provide information easily gleaned from the cards while our identification experts research the best grouping and naming of the sets. Challenges are designed to gather data as quickly and efficiently as possible by showing a series of cards and asking simple questions about them.

How it Works (I don’t care, show me the money!):
The Sports Challenge asks for the card’s sport. Next, the Players Challenge asks for the first two letters of a player’s first and last name. Cards with that information are then ready for the Teams Challenge, which asks for the team represented on the card, narrowing down the potential number of players in that group.

While you provide information through Challenges, our identification team is analyzing each card in our inventory to identify years and compile sets.

By combining the sport, year, team and player initials we are able to analyze publicly available rosters to further narrow down the list of possible players that might be on a card. We will finish off the first round of player data by introducing a new Challenge that allows the community to confirm exactly which players are on the cards.  

Prizes
While you take on Challenges, you’ll earn points and compete to move up on the Leaderboard. On March 17th, 24th, and 31st, we’ll award $100 Store Credit to each of the 10 contributors who earned the most points during the previous week (Sunday-Saturday). Additionally, every 5,000 points you earn before April 1 enters you into a drawing to win COMC Store Credit prizes up to $1,000.

If you’re one of the first 500 players to earn 20,000 points, you’ll also receive an exclusive Founding Contributor badge that displays next to your username so everyone can see you were an original contributor to the COMC catalog.

We released a beta version of the COMC Challenges a couple of weeks ago to a select group of customers and we’re now ready to provide everyone the opportunity to contribute. With the help of the community, we’re over 30% of the way through the Player Initials Challenge for the four major sports. Under each Challenge, you’ll see a Community Progress bar so you can track how close we are to the goal.

Bottom Line
We’re excited to eventually include more details like player hometowns, cameos, and T206 backs. Please tell us in the comments below the kinds of info you want to see. Also, if you’d like to offer your expertise with any particular cards or sets, please email catalog@comc.com with a list of your specialties so we can get in touch.

Your support has been great so far, but in order to complete our goal of a new catalog by March 31st, we need a lot more help. So share this post, tweet, blog, and talk to your friends and fellow collectors – let’s get the word out! Stay tuned to the COMC Blog for status updates on the COMC Challenges and catalog project as we approach March 31.

Thanks,

Grant Wescott
Program Manager
COMC.com

56 thoughts on “Introducing COMC Challenges

  1. I see what you’re getting at. Besides hometown and current residence, I’d like to itemize players’ birthdays, year they were drafted, round they were drafted, and team that drafted them. I know some out there collect card numbers, too, because every now and then I sell a bunch of random cards that are #13 in their respective sets.

  2. I’d like to be able to search the multi-sport section by specific sports, or have the also have multi-sports cards also listed in the individual sport sections.

  3. Could probably use some direction on the “team” challenge – it the card is labeled as one team, but pictures the player with a previous team, which team “gets the card” – picture, text/logo, or mark as multiple teams?

    • Anything you mentioned will work for us. If you select one of the teams, someone else will likely end up selecting the other. We will review the discrepancy an note which one is from the current year and which was from the previous year.

    • I second this. Lots of guys collect college based teams and/or college based cards – not sure if there’d be a way to refine the search as well. For example if I want to see Michigan cards. Then refie to say Denard Robinson cards, but I only want cards with him pictured in his college uniform. Due to today’s licensing issues its no longer just the oldest cards of him are going to college photos. Same with a lot of other players. This to me would be a huge help.

  4. Anxious to see how I can contribute, even happier they used, what appears to be a 2008 Score Gold Martin Rucker Auto, a player I collect, being a Mizzou alum

  5. I have to say that I am highly disappointed that spring cleaning wasn’t announced in time for me to send more cards in time for the start at .25c. I have some goin in but only a few left to be processed, but with the new processing I can’t pay to have cards on in 2 weeks at .35c and its not feasible to send in at $1 to have them on in a week. As a seller I look at this as the spring black friday. I cant help but think other sellers would like a heads up on the info as well.

  6. A good example of more than one team for a card is the 1962 Topps Don Zimmer card. He has a Mets Cap on, but had been sent to the Reds so the card is technially a Reds card. There are almost as many Mets collectors who want that card (that and the high # Bob G Miller I believe are the only 62′s with the Mets cap) who want that card as there are Reds collectors.

  7. Make sure that the catalog is keep up to date. That is my biggest complaint of other catalogs and card collecting programs. I don’t remember how many times I had to contact card collecting programs to help them update their programs.

  8. As someone mentioned above, i’d like attributes like “On-Card Auto”, since I prefer searching for those over sticker autos. Also other attributes such as “Patch” , “Short Print” , “Parallel”, etc. Maybe even further breakdown the attributes with sub attributes like the already mentioned “On-Card Auto”, along with “Multi-Colored Patch”, “Serial #ed /25 or less”, etc.

  9. I am expecting that “suggested list price” information you are developing will be free to registered users just like the Beckett book value was at one point. This “suggested list price” should only be based on COMC sale histories–not on other possible sources. This will make the development and use of the “suggested list price” easy, consistent, and clear.

  10. I’d like to be able to search by inserts. Also would like to search by graded ( any type). Would also like to search by female / male

  11. I think a HOF tag would be relatively easy to add and useful.

    I also think the ability to search by “SOLD OUT” cards would be extremely beneficial when trying to determine which cards to send in to COMC.

  12. Would like to be able to search players who are in the Hall of Fame. Baseball, Basketball, Football etc. I collect hall of fame players and so do other people. Just a simple designation of HOF would be fine. Also a graded card search.

  13. Still a little confused on one part. How does the system know when we make mistakes on the naming? If the answers are already known, why ask?

    • Good question! Not all of the cards have known answers. A selection of them do, and your score is based off of your answers to those cards with known answers.

  14. I would like an option to search by players nationalities. For example I like to buy hockey cards of finnish born players.

  15. 1) For players, should we use the name on the front of the card or the back? Example: a player has “Bill” on front, but “William” on back.

    2) For those Allen and Ginter cards that aren’t people, what should we use for player name? I’ve had “Fairy” and “Summer Palace” – I’ve been skipping them, but should I instead enter “Fa” and “SuPa”?

    • 1) Both are correct answers and are equally valuable information. However, if you find they were not “correct”, just click the Double Check button after the Challenge is over and we’ll take a look and award you the points you missed.

      2) A&G cards are interesting. I generally skip the non-player/person cards but it’s also acceptable to enter the initials, or put them in “full name not visible” (what is the full name of that Fairy anyways?). Same rules apply as above, if you get one wrong, click the Double Check button and we’ll adjust your score appropriately.

      On a side note, don’t worry about proper capitalization. It might slow you down and our computers will fix the answers up.

      Thanks!

  16. Could we have a feature like “remove from wantlist”. Like under each listing you can add to watchlist. Just once its added then it would show up as remove from want list. Would be much easier then going through your whole want list to find that card and then removing it that way.

  17. Looks like this is going well so far! I’m sure behind the scenes things are going pretty crazy with less than 3 weeks to go (and will be crazy for some time afterwards), but once the growing pains are worked out this should be an unquestionably positive change.

    Couple thoughts:

    1) I get the rationale for cards being shown multiple times, i.e., to lessen the chance of mistakes getting through. That said, is there a reason for the same people to get the same cards more than once? I’ve seen many cards twice, and some I could swear I’ve seen three or four times. When I see them multiple times, I’m less inclined to check closely that I got the name right, and as a result, if i made a mistake the first time round, there’s an increased likelihood that I’ll make the same mistake the second time.

    2) If a particular answer is given as incorrect, and I challenge (double check) that, who reviews it? Does someone from COMC look at the discrepancy, or is the card thrown back into the pile, so to speak, to generate more user input on how to tag it? If it turns out that the request for a double check was warranted, what happens to the points that were originally deducted (or not awarded, technically)?

    3) A discussion for another day, but the prospect of a cameo feature is great. Currently the only way to find them seems to be to pour through endless amounts of random cards (rarely with success, when it comes to the player I collect), so a comprehensive database would be extremely useful.

    • 1) This is a bug. Challenges are not designed to show the same card multiple times to someone, we’re working on a fix for it.

      2) When you get a wrong answer and select the Double Check button, we review your answer and the correct answer. If we determine your answer is correct (for instance, if you use the player’s given name instead of his nickname), we add that to the data and award you 100 points.

      3) Awesome! I personally can’t wait to include cameos.

  18. This was loads of fun. I did great on multiple choice / sports. I think that game was done in a week so we must all have. Unfortunately, it takes some extra time typing on the mobile phone with the touchpad for player initials. Im still chugging along.

    One suggestion, as a collector, Ive seen a few cards on the game that I had not seen before that I later sought out on the site. Can you allow a feature that would pop open the item in a new window? The game could automate the skipping process to the next card so you can continue but this would be a welcome addition.

  19. I would like to see a couple of things

    When search and bring up a particular set, I would like to see an option that would allow me to sort the cards by number. This way they are listed in order and will help make it easier to research ..

    In the dashboard where seller stats are listed, I would like to see an option that would allow you to see how many cards you sold by sport.

  20. As for the COMC challenges. I am doing the math, COMC guys. And I understand that at the end of every week (ending Sunday) you will be awarding the top 10 finsihers a $100 prize. Apparently, as I am keeping track of the daily leaders in the top 10, I am coming to realization that certain people are averaging more than what is possibly normal. In a matter of three days (72 hours), the top leader, or leaders, would had to have spent a minimum of 48 hours in order to achieve that colossal number to be in the top ten. Either they really are spending 16 hours a day partaking in the challenges, OR they have additional friends, family, or employees each logging onto the same account on different computers and iphones and dividing the work. If they each have five people doing different challenges, then the amount of time it would take them to complete 500 points would be on average 2-3 minutes. For me alone, It would take at least minimum 16-17 minutes. ANd this is IF I go non-stop with no rest. I just feel it’s kinda unfair.

      • Should I show the math? Maybe then I’d be taken seriously. You can’t argue numbers.

        On average to compete one of the current challenges (and get a perfect 100 points) it would take about 2min. and 30 seconds.

        For every hour, that would be 2,400 points (if all is perfect).

        In a days time (24 hours) the MAXIMUM that could be gained is 57,600. And this is IF the person goes ALL day non-stop AND perfect.

        How does one break 100,000 points in less than 88 hours??? (Sunday to present time Wed) if they go NON STOP PERFECT every minute for every hour on the dot.

        Conclusion: you have to have gotten additional help.

    • Wow! Ive noticed this also but I was under the assumption that many card shops have several employees playing the game. Unfair but not against any rules to date I have seen. This became very discouraging for me. If I go non stop on initials for one hour, I can possibly get 1000 pts on a PC. And that is fairly fast.

      But I have watched people jump me by 8k-10k pts in 24 hours and while its not as big of a discrepency as what was just mentioned, it appears that users are having time to play non stop. Be it a in store customer contest. I could see that being the case for many.

      Ive realized as of this wk when popularity rose in the games, I stood no chance to get to the top. But I made it to 17k pts on my mobile phone and will keep contributing to earn my badge. I wonder if they can use IP or other types of filters to get a more accurate reading before doing the awarding to make it a bit more fair. I bet Ive spent just as much if not more time than many users in the 50k pt range. It sure beats a cell phone game so I wont complain much.

      • I experimented by asking my wife, who has minimal to no knowledge of athletes, or sports cards, by logging on my account using her iPad just to see if we could both partake the challenge simultaneously.

        I took on the baseball challenge and she took the basketball.

        I finished the challenge in 2 minutes 45sec. She completed hers around 4 minutes 50 sec.

        However, as soon as she completed hers, I had 200 points in less than 5 minutes.

        The system does allow for multiple people to partake the challenge simultaneously.

        I then realized if I could have at least three bodies doing the challenge simultaneously for at least an hour a day.

        I could cut my effort and time by 67%!

        And gain almost 5,000 points more in less time that would had taken me three hours to complete.

        With three people I could gain over 7,000 points in one hour.

        Mathematically, for one person that would be impossible because on average it would take a person minimally 2 min. 30sec. And going nonstop AND perfect for an hour would ONLY get 2,400!

        For users like myself, I already know it’s a lost.

    • People, with no resources, who may need to understand what effort and time is required before setting their goals too high and end up feeling cheated and discouraged.

      In other words, people who are human should care.

      • Because a mindless game is real important….Spend those hours doing something that actually makes the world a better place , like say charity work or is that not human enough.

      • The payoff is pretty good. If I were better organized I would have used Taskrabbit to get a bunch of people to do this for me, or I would have written a program to do it for me. The sooner this gets done, the sooner we all benefit so I am glad people are finding ways to beat the system. This is the fastest, cheapest way to get to where we as a community want to be. There are lots of times where nobility is an asset, but here it can’t be the top priority.

        I think I have about 3,000 points but I would rather price unpriced cards or play Threes if I have the time to do this. I am so thankful that others have the time to identify these cards because it will indirectly benefit me, just as it will everyone else.

      • Well, I’m no Ghandi or Pope John Paul “making the world a better place”, but allow me to begin here looking after the handful of hobbyist who may appreciate my observation. :)

      • I agree. However, with all events and contests, these details should be disclosed with either an asterisk or disclosure. There should be clear rules sets before misleading individuals with hopes to attain something that is unattainable due to the loop holes. It’s to some extent unethical and discouraging who may not understand the math and they will spend a days worth of their time forgoing the challenge with high expectations with nothing to show for it. In a way, it’s rather upsetting. However, it’s a huge gain for those who can benefit from it! You gotta love capatilism!

  21. I think the point is that if someone is spending “Days worth of their time” trying to win $100 There is something seriously wrong.
    Wouldnt a person be better off taking a 2nd job and earning more than $100 and not hoping to win something

  22. Each point takes about 1.5 seconds to generate (2.5 minutes per round). So multiply total points by .000417 to figure out how many hours that person spent (.000417 is 1.5 divided by 60 divided by 60, rounded to the millionth). So the leader this week (128,120 points so far) has spent about 9 hours per day. As a yearly salary that ain’t so hot, but it’s totally possible for one person.

    But isn’t the real point that we’re going to have one awesome card catalog once this is done? I’m excited for that, and I think we all appreciate that so much time and effort is being put in by the guys doing this challenge. I had a bunch of time earlier this week that I put in, and while I’m not going to be able to vie for the top 10, in a way, that’s a good thing; it means that there are lots of people out there that have put in data for close to a hundred thousand cards each, helping to create a comprehensive database in such a short period of time.

    Another question for Grant: any way that we could see total number of cards that have been and/or need to have data entered, rather than just percentages? Particularly when close to the end, it would be cool, and most likely motivational, to see the numbers count down.

  23. I just want to say thank you, COMC for putting in the effort and care in updating the challenge and making it a fair challenge. There’s a huge difference between the leader last week, at this point of the week, and the current leader for this week. Almost a 35,000 point difference.

    I have to say COMC, unlike other websites, really does value the value in both customer respect and fairness. Not to mention having the compassion to listen to the customers.

    I can take part in the challenge knowing I won’t be competing with the unfair advantage of having to contend with over five extra bodies at a time.

    I’ve been a COMC user for almost a year now. I’ll be honest when I say COMC has yet to let me down. You guys deserve to hear that. Keep up the great work. You guys are moving in the right direction.

      • I would just like to say THANK YOU TO EVERYONE PARTICIPATING IN THE GAMES, WRITE YOUR PROGRAMS & CHEAT, A BADGE-COOL….BUT I GOT MONEY TO MAKE & PEOPLE TO DO & GET MY HUSTLE ON, SORRY LOOKING AT MY PHONE MORE THAN I DO ISN’T WORTH $100 STORE CREDIT REGARDLESS IF I HAD THE ABILITY TO “WRITE” A PROGRAM, I SIMPLY DON’T HAVE THE TIME & MAKE $$ JUST AS QUICK IN EVERYDAY REAL LIFE. THANK YOU TO ALL YOU BRAINIAC’S, KEEP UP YOUR CODING !

      • Thanks for the encouragement, Mark. We’re extremely appreciative toward the community that is helping make this possible. We do want to create a level playing field so EVERYONE who contributes knows that their efforts are very valuable, not only to COMC, but to collectors and sellers everywhere.

  24. This reminds me of the last contest that was held that I complained about. The consensus was that “hey, when something is given away free why should you complain about fairness”. Correct, so I’m not complaining.

    • Currently we don’t have anything in place that allows us to notify you of the result. We’ll consider adding that feature if we can. Thanks for playing!

      • Hi! There’s something everyone could try.. Bookmark the result page if you’re going to challenge the “wrong answer”. Later you can check if the points have changed. For example I got 30 points from one of the challenges. My answer was correct but the system claimed I’m wrong. Later I checked this certain result page and there my result was 130 pionts after COMC staff double-checked it. :-)
        Thanks for the great challenges!!

  25. I feel better to see that you gave $1 credits to the smaller contributors. I’ve been wary that you will cater to the bigger customers and scammers and that would lead to your eventual downfall like it did to Etopps. Thanks.

    • Hi my name John Giacchino, it’s been a while now, cause you never called me back. I’m the one, that what we tried to get me set up for full account it wouldn’t accept, passy/and or e-mail. Finally i was told a tech was going to call me and try and figure out what happened, as had been a full member for a long time and than poof! One day i couldn’t get signed in. Custmor Serveris work very had to help me but just couldn’t figure it out. I was told a tech would call me. Well i never got a call, and i just kinda forgot about it. I WANT BACK IN!. My number is (605) 262-0363. Could somebody please!!! call me and try an fix the problem. Thank You very much.

      John Giacchino

      • Hi John, give us a call at 1-800-517-3540 and we’ll get this sorted out for you. Sorry for the delays.

  26. How long does it take for the founding contributor badge to appear once you are one of the first 500 people to break 20k? Been there for a couple of days now and still no badge. Acquired probably half of the points when there wasn’t even any other incentive (contests, $1 per 1k, etc.) to play the challenges, so it would be pretty disappointing to not at least receive the badge after all that data entry. Thanks.

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