Card #15,000,000 & The Modern Baseball Card Investor

TheModernBaseballCardInvestorAbout a week ago I got an email from Jeff Hwang, author of The Modern Baseball Card Investor.  I first met him at the Industry Summit in Las Vegas a little more than a year ago, and we had a really good conversation about the baseball card market.  His book is now done, and he wanted to send me a copy of it. I just got my copy in the mail the other day, and was pleasantly surprised with how well he described COMC.com in his Enhanced Liquidity section of the Introduction (pg 30-31).  eBay got a paragraph and we got nearly a full page.
JeffHwangAuto
Jeff did a great job of summarizing the difference between COMC.com and other sites.  It captures the essence of what has made us successful.

Here is an excerpt…

The online consignment site COMC.com has further enhanced the liquidity of lower priced cards by creating a centralized online exchange where all the cards listed online are in one physical location, and can be traded multiple times without being shipped.  Launched in 2007 as CheckOutMyCards.com, COMC.com allows users to submit cards to the company’s website in Seattle, where the cards are scanned front and back and listed online for a small fee, as little as 25 cents per card.

In contrast to eBay, where a seller typically incurs both eBay and PayPal fees for every transaction made, a seller on COMC instead receives store credit for the full amount of the sale, and pays a further cash-out fee only upon cash out – similar to the way a stock investor only pays a capital gains tax upon selling a stock, and not while holding.  Meanwhile, a buyer only pays shipping if/when he wants to have the physical item shipped; he can turn around and relist the item without incurring a shipping cost (the card is already located in COMC’s warehouse), or can otherwise save on shipping costs by waiting until he has acquired multiple cards.

As such, users can flip cards for profit on COMC.com without ever physically being in possession of an actual card, the same way a stock investor can trade stocks online without ever physically being in possession of a stock certificate.  But more importantly, the site dramatically improves the liquidity of low-priced cards by lowering the otherwise prohibitive transaction costs associated with them – most notably shipping costs, as well as the time it takes to list and sell and then ship such cards.

At the sports card and gaming collectibles Industry Summit in Las Vegas in March 2013, the company announced that it had listed it 10 millionth card, and had to that point shipped 3.6 million cards to 75 countries.

2000 Upper Deck MVP Pro Sign #IB - Isaac Bruce - Courtesy of COMC.com
Card #15,000,000
I thought it was fitting to announce that just today (writing this on Friday July 11th, 2014) we identified item #15,000,000 as 2000 Upper Deck MVP Pro Sign #IB – Isaac Bruce, deposited it in Fiber1’s account, Fiber1 put it up for sale, and I purchased it.

Not only have 50% more items been consigned with us since March 2013, we have also shipped 50% more items to buyers.  That is more than 5 million items shipped all over the world.

Thank you COMC Nation for making this possible!
 

 

 

COMC is heading to some Card Shows this weekend!

Hello COMC Nation! We just wanted to let you know that COMC representatives will be attending card shows this weekend!

so...many...cards...

so…many…cards…

Those of you in Northern California can drop by and talk to the head of our Shipping team, Geoff Holland, at the show in the Serramonte Center in Daly City, CA. Geoff says you can give him a call on Saturday, if you’re having trouble tracking him down – his number is 1-425-260-8025.

Folks in the Portland area can drop by and say “Hi!” to the head of our Processing team, Jim Osborn, at the COMC table at the show in Mall 205. Jim will be there on Saturday only, but he didn’t give us his phone number – but, he’s tall and it’s easy to find him in a crowd!

Geoff and Jim will be accepting submissions for COMC, so you can drop your cards off and save a little bit on those shipping charges.

Have a great weekend!

COMC Offices closed Monday, May 26th for Memorial Day

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Hello COMC Nation! We wanted to take a moment to remind everyone that this coming Monday is Memorial Day.  As it’s a national holiday, our doors will be closed and our staff will not be in their offices. With this:

Customer Service will be closed Monday, May 26th & will reopen Tuesday, May 27th at 9 a.m. PDT.

If you need to contact us over the holiday, feel free to email us via staff@comc.com or leave a voice message at 1-800-517-3540 – Moe or Norbert will get back to you as quickly as possible when we return Tuesday morning.

Everyone at COMC wishes you all a safe and happy long weekend, as we remember those who have put themselves into harm’s way for this country – those who have come back to their country, and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Changing the Shape of COMC in 2014

I hope all of you enjoyed some wonderful holidays and are prepared for an exciting new year. At COMC, I know that’s the case. To get things started, we have a very big announcement to make.

A Bit of History
Six and a half years ago we made our first appearance at the National Sports Collectors Convention to unveil our innovative consignment concept. From day one, we wanted to offer a service where people could see the scans of the actual cards alongside the catalog information, including book value.

We were very fortunate to grab the attention of Dr. Jim Beckett and Peter Gudmundsson, the CEO of Beckett at the time. Jim was very interested in our ideas and recommended that Beckett do what it could to help us see where this concept could go. Within a few months we had our first data licensing agreement signed.

Since the beginning, we have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with Beckett, allowing us to focus on our core competencies while utilizing some of theirs. We are very grateful for this relationship and thankful for their support while we grew from literally nothing to become the second largest marketplace for single sports cards. Being second to eBay is not too shabby.

Changing Tides
A few years back the ownership of Beckett changed hands, and earlier this month the new owner informed me that Beckett is no longer interested in partnering with us.

What does this mean for COMC?
We will replace the catalog data we received from Beckett over the years with a new catalog we are building from scratch. We will also replace the book value information on the website with a new “suggested list price” based on our sales data.

While these are daunting tasks that will require enormous amounts of effort, all of us here at COMC are eager to participate in this project. COMC was built by collectors for collectors. We listen to your needs and care deeply about providing the best service possible for you. Now we have the incredible opportunity to offer that same level of service for catalog and pricing data.

Temporary Impact on COMC Services
We look forward to rolling out these updates over the next several months, but in the meantime there will be a transition period where we cannot offer all of the same services we have historically offered.

  1. Static Book Prices – Until we establish our new “suggested list price”, the book values listed on the website will not be updated.
  2. Consolidated Processing Services – We will post another blog entry announcing the temporarily changed processing services we will offer while our sports card experts create the new catalog.
  3. Interim Catalog Data – While we replace the catalog data, there may be periods where we don’t have all of the same data we previously had.

Long Term Impact on COMC Services
This is where things get really exciting. Here are some of the changes we expect to see.

  • More detailed and accurate catalog based on actual, verified cards
  • Pricing data that is tuned to our marketplace
  • Freedom to list our data on any site, service, or marketplace we choose
  • Ability to sell or give away data

What do you want to see?

  • What card attributes would you like to search, filter, and sort by?
  • Do you want to contribute to the new catalog? Should we charge for pricing data so we can pay those who contribute to the catalog?
  • Where else would you like your cards listed and advertised?

On a Personal Note
I couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities ahead of us. Since I was 9 years old, I have studied price guides. I went on to get my Bachelor of Science in Math and Master of Science in Computer Science. The first piece of software I ever wrote was to help me build complete sets of sports. I spent 10 years with Microsoft helping design and build Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Access. I literally design databases, write code, and solve math problems in my sleep. I have put in my 10,000 hours, and I am finally free to do a project that I was born to do.

The New Year brings a great opportunity to partner with you to explore the many ways our catalog and pricing data can benefit collectors. Please let me know what hopes and ideas you have for this new service in the comments below. I will personally read every one of them.

Happy 2014!

Tim Getsch
Founder and CEO
COMC.com

The New COMC Bulk Price Editor

During the days of the original CheckOutMyCards.com website, Tim introduced the Bulk Price Editor – a tool that made pricing cards quick and easy for those who had submitted large quantities of items for consignment.

When we moved to COMC.com, we had to discontinue the availability of the Bulk Price Editor, as the technology of the new website was incompatible with the way the Bulk Price Editor was created.  We knew it was a popular tool, so it was always our intention to create a new Bulk Price Editor, one that was compatible with COMC.com.

After a lot of work and effort on Tim’s part, we’re able to announce that the *new* Bulk Price Editor is available as a Beta download.

Please note that using the Bulk Price Editor takes up bandwidth on the COMC servers, so we ask that sellers limit their usage to adjusting their prices on a monthly basis. We want to keep the Bulk Price Editor as a free service, so we ask everyone to be kind and not overuse it.

Bulk Price Editor DOWNLOAD (login required)

System Requirements:

- Windows XP or later

- Microsoft Office Access 2007 or the Access 2007 Runtime (Free Download)

How to Install:

- If you don’t have Access 2007 or are not sure if you do, download and install the Access 2007 Runtime from Microsoft. (If you download the Bulk Price Editor without Access 2007 Runtime, you’ll get a message telling you to download and run the Access 2007 Runtime first.)

- Download and install the Bulk Price Editor (login required).

How to Use:

- From the start menu or the desktop, click on the Bulk Price Editor shortcut.

bulkstart

- This will bring up the Sign In page on COMC.com.

- After you sign in, the Bulk Price Editor will start downloading the items from your inventory.bulkload

- When this is done, you can search through your inventory for groups of cards that you would like to perform bulk operations upon.

bulkhome

- Once you have selected the group of items you would like to perform a bulk price change to, you can select the type of bulk operation to perform.

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- When this is complete, you can review the pending price changes.
– You can click in the green cells to manually edit any of the pending price changes.
– Finally, you can submit your price changes to COMC.com.

Thanks for your patience as we worked to bring back the Bulk Price Editor. Again, we request that users limit their price changes to about once per month – this will not overtax the servers and will allow us to continue to offer the feature for free. Please use the comments section below to let us know how it works for you, if you have any difficulties in the process of loading or running the Bulk Price Editor, and feel free to share any ideas or thoughts you may have.

New Social Media and the COMC Hockey Pool

Greetings to the COMC Nation! We’re pleased to announce the arrival of our new COMC International Facebook page, as well as our presence on Twitter as COMC International.

We’ve introduced these new venues as a means for our friends outside the United States to communicate with us, so we can address any issues that arise and to help them meet their needs as international customers of COMC.

Everybody into the pool!

We’re pleased to announce a contest for all our hockey loving friends. We’ve set up a hockey box pool for the upcoming 2013-14 NHL Season.  We’ll be offering prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place – the prizes will be determined on the number of participants in the pool, overall. The more players we have, the bigger the prizes we’ll give out.

Entry is really easy:

First: Score the COMC Social Media Hat Trick, by liking our COMC Facebook page, our new COMC International Facebook Page, and following our new COMC International Twitter page.

Next: Go to COMC Hockey Pool to register your team. Be sure to use your COMC username as your team name for easier identification.

It’s a beauty!

Then: Set your lineup and you’re good to go!

Along with the grand prizes at the end of the season, we’ll be giving out monthly prizes of COMC History points, based on the pool standings at the beginning of every month. We’ll also give a random team a prize of COMC history points, just for participating. So, there’ll be plenty of opportunities to win!

Be sure to sign up as soon as possible, as the season starts on October 1st and the deadline to enter and make any changes to your team is October 6th, 7pm PDT.

Good luck to everyone who signs up. Game on!

And, as always, be sure to keep up with all the news and company updates by following us on our blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube pages.

Card Pricing & Beckett Book Value Updates

Over the last few days, you’ve probably noticed a lot of activity on your Dashboard, mostly in regards to prices being removed from your cards. This is happening due to some extensive software updates happening between COMC and Beckett.

In the past, we had developed a system for scheduling updates from Beckett, to ensure the prices we had for our sellers were up to date. However, the algorithm we used might take up to 6 months to catch every update, which meant some prices weren’t as up to date as they could have been. This past weekend, we (with the help of Beckett) changed how we manage the updates, as we move closer to live updates.

This means that all prices for all cards will soon be updated within 24 hours of their change via Beckett. But, unfortunately, when we initiated the change to the live update system, our software detected that many of the prices within our database had not been updated for weeks, or even months.

How Book Price Updates Are Handled

In order to protect against the case where a book price might radically increase while your asking prices might be lower than you had hoped, we will automatically clear those asking prices so that you get a chance to reset the price as you desire.

Our software works like this: if a book price increases and the current asking price is less than 50% of the new book price then the asking price is cleared altogether and the card is brought to the seller’s attention for re-pricing.

Temporary Bug over the Weekend

This past weekend, a lot of data got cleared out, and many people received notices that parts of their inventory needed attention, due to book values changing drastically or being removed. However, that was a software glitch and it has been cleared up, with most people having their original prices restored. Those sellers who started re-pricing their cards noticed (a day later) that their prices were cleared again, due to the book value software updating again. And, for this, we are sorry for your inconvenience.

Status of the Beckett Data Synchronization

Our databases are still working to catch up to Beckett, and we hope to be fully synced with them by the end of this week. When it’s completed, then we’ll be doing smaller updates on a daily basis and your book values will be up to date. However, until the updates have finished, some people are still going to be seeing their prices being deleted. Again, we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

This upgrade to the book value pricing system has been a long time coming, and we’re thankful to Beckett to assisting us in this endeavor. We do this as we strive to make our customer’s experience as positive as possible.  We thank you for your patience and your input, as we work together to make COMC.com the best place for collecting cards.