Vintage Enhancements & Items Stored Remotely

COMC Buyers, we have a couple exciting changes to announce.

Items Stored Remotely
Yesterday we updated COMC to let you know when items are not currently stored near our Redmond, WA headquarters. For example, cards that are consigned through our Canadian processing facility may take a month or two to migrate down to our US headquarters. While the items are still in Canada, we can’t ship them as quickly. The website now indicates which items are stored remotely, and it doesn’t let you request expedited shipping for these items. We recommend using our Standard or Registered shipping options if you have any remote items in your shopping cart or shipment request.

Vintage Enhancements
Over the coming months you will start seeing some enhancements to how we process vintage trading cards. We have noticed that on average, cards that are pre-1980 sell for twice as much and twice as fast as modern cards. We want to make this experience even better.

1957 Topps #20 - Hank Aaron [VG] - Courtesy of COMC.comFirst off, we are partnering with Dean’s Cards to offer the largest selection of scanned vintage cards on the internet. Both of our sites currently offer a little more than 500,000 vintage cards each. COMC.com will be the first website to ever offer more than 1 million scanned vintage cards with one flat shipping fee.

We are just starting to test some items now, and we will soon offer Dean’s entire vintage inventory. You will be able to use your COMC store credit to purchase any of Dean’s items, and his team will ship those items to us every day. We will then separate the items into their corresponding orders, so you don’t have to pay extra for shipping.

You will notice that Dean’s scans look a little different than our traditional scans, and also Dean’s team has provided more detailed condition information. We are working on a strategy to offer similar condition details for vintage items that are consigned with us. Stay tuned for more updates.

This is just the first step we are taking to towards becoming the premier website for buying and selling vintage cards.

Where in the world did Tim go?

10 millionA lot has happened since my last check in. January turned out to be a pretty good month. Many people reported having their best month ever. Also, on Friday night we crossed 10 million items actively for sale. This is quite an accomplishment. Collectively we continue to set records for the largest variety of trading cards offered under one physical roof. Way to go COMC Nation!

Tim’s Time Off

Tim with childhood best friend Pete

Tim with childhood best friend Pete

I am glad for everything positive that happened while I was gone. I generally don’t like to publicize when I take vacations, but that wasn’t really an issue in 2014 because I didn’t take any. Well, technically I headed back to Minnesota on Christmas eve 2014 to start my first vacation in more than a year.

All 5 of Tim's nieces and  nephews

All 5 of Tim’s nieces and nephews

After two weeks in Minnesota and Colorado, I came back to Seattle with a “gift” from my nieces and nephews. Unfortunately, it was the kind of gift that kept me bedridden for a week.

At this point I was 3 weeks behind on email. I spent most of the next week taking care of stuff at the office, and then I had another one week business/personal trip.

Tim's brother Terry playing a recently restored pinball machine from their childhood

Tim’s brother Terry playing a recently restored pinball machine from their childhood

I went to Georgia to visit my brother and his wife for the first time in a couple years, and I took a little detour to catch an NBA game. This is a necessity since Seattle lost the Sonics.

Tim at an NBA game

Tim at an NBA game

Needless to say, I am still a bit behind on email and a few other things.

Status Update

Now to give you an update on the top requests that our customer service team has been receiving.

Auctions
Around Christmas, we gave you a sneak peak of COMC Auctions. Many of you have been curious when and how we will roll them out to the public. We are still wrapping up some loose ends to make sure we are doing everything the correct way. This will take at least another couple months. We may selectively launch some more test auctions in the meantime. Once we do start allowing you to run your own auctions, we will gradually roll it out. For example, there will be a limit to the number of auctions each user can run. We don’t want to flood the market with more auctions than it can handle. As we see how the market is responding to auctions, we will adjust the limits. The Auctions feature is just one of several big improvements we are working on this year.

Website Issues
There are two known issues on the website that we are tracking down right now. Both issues appear to have been introduced when we made some upgrades just before Black Friday. The first issue is causing some computers to sporadically get new shopping carts. If this happens to you, please contact us, and we can restore the items in your cart. We have not yet found a consistent way to reproduce the problem, but we have added some code to help us track it down. The second issue is a timeout error when trying to search from the Inventory Manager section of the website. This appears to be a regression from the database upgrade we made. We are searching for a workaround to this issue. Until then, you might be able to work around this issue by searching your port, and editing prices from the item details page. This is not ideal, but it might work for some of you.

Response Times on Escalations
Um… Yes. I was on vacation. I am back now. If you are still waiting for a response to something, please contact us again, and we will make sure you get a response more quickly.

Time to Print Checks
In the past when the company was smaller, I processed all checks myself as the requests came in, and there was plenty of time for them to be delivered within 2 weeks of the cash-out request. As we’ve grown, this now goes through our accounting system that is structured around the print date rather than the delivery date. While the new system is a much better process internally and has freed me to spend more of my time on things you really care about, unfortunately, it can sometimes take a bit more time. We will be updating the website to reflect that checks will be mailed within 10 business days of the cash-out request.

Catalog Progress
Thank you for your patience as we continue to improve our catalog. Even though it has room for improvement, many people have still been able to post their best months ever. At this point we are working on the long tail. We estimate that 96.5% of the data has been entered, and we still have more to clean up. We ran some good challenges in December to help us clean up the data, but I haven’t incorporated the results into the catalog yet because of my time off. I expect to get that done in the next few weeks.

Some people have asked why we have done work on other areas of the site when the catalog is not done yet. The short answer is that we have limited resources, and the catalog will never be “done.” Also, not everyone in the company has the necessary skills to contribute to the catalog. In any case, we expect to always invest in improving the catalog. Sometimes I may choose to make unrelated improvements to the site because they have potential to increase our available resources. This will in turn allow me to have more resources to put back in the catalog. I fully expect our catalog to be superior to any other trading card catalog in the near future. The amount of resources we have available will determine how near that future might be.

Setting Expectations
2014 was by far our most challenging year. We basically had to re-invent ourselves. In doing so, I had to set the course for COMC and rally the troops to go there. While we did not accomplish every goal we set out to hit, we are now stronger than ever. As Confucius said, “If you shoot for the stars and hit the moon, it’s OK.”

Now for 2015 I want to focus on under-promising and over-delivering. We still have another big year ahead of us, but we don’t have all of the time crunches of 2014. 2015 is going to be an exciting year. I look forward to the next phase of the COMC journey.

Test Auctions & Win a Shopping Spree

If you haven’t tried out our new auction system. Now is a great time to kick the tires. We have more than 400 auctions that end tomorrow, and we will be starting hundreds more that end on December 25th.

COMC auctions are refreshingly simple. When you win auctions, the items transfer into your account within minutes of the auction ending. If you don’t have enough store credit in your account when the auction closes, that is OK. As soon as your account has sufficient store credit, the items will automatically transfer into your account within seconds. And as always, you get flat rate shipping on unlimited items, or you can put items you win back up for sale instantly.

Win a Boxing Day Shopping Spree
Go test out placing a bid. On December 26th, we will be issuing $1,000 worth of shopping sprees. 50 different users that have placed bids will win a $20 Boxing Day Shopping Spree. You will get one entry for every different auction you bid on, and you will also get one entry for every dollar you spend on auctions that you win.

Auctions to Watch
2014 Topps High Tek TEKtonics Diffractor #TD-CR - Cal Ripken Jr. /50 - Courtesy of COMC.com 2014 Topps High Tek TEKtonics Diffractor #TD-CR – Cal Ripken Jr. #33/50

Here is a must-have for serious Cal Ripken collectors. This is a true /50. There are no parallels of this card. Only 50 collectors can add this card to their collection.

2014 Topps High Tek Autographs Cyan Printing Proof #HT-NR - Nolan Ryan /1 - Courtesy of COMC.com2014 Topps High Tek Autographs Cyan Printing Proof #HT-NR – Nolan Ryan #1/1

For Nolan Ryan collectors, you have a rare opportunity to pick up a 1/1 on-card autograph.

2014 Panini Limited Rookie Signatures Black #158 - Troy Niklas /1 - Courtesy of COMC.com2014 Panini Limited Rookie Signatures Black #158 – Troy Niklas /1

Notre Dame fans? Want to speculate on a rookie? Here is a 1/1 autographed rookie card of Arizona Cardinals tight end Troy Niklas.

2014-15 Panini Totally Certified Jerseys Purple Die-Cut #76 - Andrew Wiggins /99 - Courtesy of COMC.com2014-15 Panini Totally Certified Jerseys Purple Die-Cut #76 – Andrew Wiggins /99

Great opportunity to pick up a jersey card of the leading candidate for rookie of the year, Andrew Wiggins.

Cyber Monday Promotions & Shopping Sprees

Cyber Monday Shopping Sprees
Some of our Black Friday Weekend Shopping Sprees went unclaimed, so we just issued 100 more shopping sprees. If you logged into COMC in the past year, you may have won a Cyber Monday Shopping Spree.

Check to see if you won

2005-06 SP Game Used Edition SIGnificance Dual Extra [Autographed] #XSIG-MM - Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan /25 - Courtesy of COMC.comCyber Monday Promotions
Many of our sellers are running Cyber Monday Sales with the deepest discounts they have ever offered. You have until midnight PST today to buy up as many of these items as you can.

Best Deals Contests
Don’t forget to post your best deals by tomorrow night for a chance to win a box of cards.
Learn more about the contest

Free Shipping
We are providing Free Shipping on any order of 10 or more items. This special only applies to items that were purchased in Simplified Shipping Mode, not Advanced Reseller Mode.

Very Large Shipment Requests
If you try to put in a shipment request for more than 500 items, we will process those requests after midnight. They will still get the same promotional rates, but we don’t want to bog down the server with these requests while everyone is shopping today.

Black Friday Update
In case you missed it. Here is a quick video update on our Black Friday Status and other COMC news.

Black Friday Shopping Sprees

Ozcard 468X60

Here is the breakdown of Shopping Sprees that were awarded for Black Friday.

Facebook Peyton Manning Contest
– 1 x $509

Scavenger Hunt
– 2 x $100
– 10 x $50
– 108 x $20
– 237 x $5

Buyers (based on items purchased and shipped since last Thanksgiving)
– 1 x $200
– 200 x $20

Sellers (based on items consigned in 2014)
– 100 x $20

Users were allowed to win more than one of the above prizes.

Find out if you won

Successful Stress Test

Thank you to everyone that hammered on the site for the past hour. We have successfully discovered some areas of the site that need to be fixed.

We will be taking the site down from 11PM to 5AM to address these issues.

We are extending the free shipping shipping for 10+ items 2 more hours, until 9PM tonight. If you miss that, please just come back anytime from Thursday through Monday to get free shipping.

Also, we will be giving extra prizes to everyone that hit an error or that attempted to purchase store credit during the hour.

Thanks for the help. I hope you enjoyed the scavenger hunt!

Pre-Black Friday Scavenger Hunt & Stress Test

ScavangerHunt
The first 50 different people that complete the following tasks between 6PM and 7PM Pacific time today will receive a $20 Black Friday weekend shopping spree. Additionally, we will randomly give away another 20 more shopping sprees ranging from $20 to $100 based on the entries listed below. We will be giving out a total of $2,000 of shopping sprees.

Warning: This is intentionally a stress test. We are doing this before Black Friday to measure what load our servers can handle. We do expect that you will experience some errors. Try as much as you can over the course of the hour.

Have fun!

Tasks
(OPTIONAL) Buy some store credit (1 entry per $1 you buy)
Make an offer on anything in the Charity account (1 entry per offer. It will be automatically accepted.)
Use store credit to buy an item that is currently on sale and features a player in a black jersey
Set an asking price for the item you just purchased
Use store credit to buy an item that is currently on sale and features one of your favorite players
Place a shipment request (1 entry per item shipped, Free shipping on 10+ items)
Add a comment to this blog post stating that you completed the tasks (1 entry for posting, ONLY 1 post please)

Optional Tasks
Add some items to your cart that feature players on your favorite team
Purchase your shopping cart with either Amazon, Credit Card, or PayPal (1 entry per item purchased)

6 PM PST is just 2 hours away, so start your engines!

UPDATE: 6:50 PM PST
Congratulations! You successfully stressed out our server, and you helped us uncovered some areas that need to be fixed. We will be taking the site down from 11PM PST to 5AM PST to address several of these issues. Since many of you were unable to accomplish some of the tasks because you were so successful at stressing out the server, I will see what we can do about awarding some extra prizes for those of you that hit errors.