Status Update & Seller Tips

Catalog Status

The trading card catalog we began building from scratch less than 6 months ago now has just surpassed 3 million listings, and we have have scans of more than 90% of these listings. Just in the past 7 days we updated 190,000 listings, more than 5% of our catalog. This pace is made possible because of the tens of thousands of hours that COMC Nation has logged on the COMC Challenge.

While our crowd sourcing effort has already collected most of the critical data, we are still processing that data and improving the volume and accuracy of our catalog. We will continue to introduce new challenges, but we will not likely need the same amount of effort we needed previously.

Processing Status

We deposited more than 100,000 items into accounts last week and we are on pace to deposit the vast majority of the past due items by the end of the month.  There may still be some stragglers from obscure sets, but that will be less than 1% of our current pipeline.

Last year, our One Month processing service took 30 days on average. Over the past 6 months, our new, Basic processing service has taken about 39 days on average. Our goal is to get that average down under 28 days, and we expect that will be possible later this summer. In the meantime, we have some tips to help you get items on the site as quickly as possible.

Seller Tips

  1. Always use the Submission Wizard to ensure we have all of your information correct.
  2. Make sure all of your cards are oriented the same ways and sort your cards by thickness to speed up the process for our identification experts and our scanning team.
  3. Submit as many items as possible from products that have complete catalog information (see list below). We can process items much more quickly when we have the manufacturer’s entire checklist fully integrated prior to processing the items.  Also, buyers can easily find your items when they have complete, accurate descriptions.
2014 Panini Prizm World Cup Signatures #S-LME - Lionel Messi - Courtesy of COMC.com

2014 Panini Prizm World Cup Signatures
#S-LME – Lionel Messi

Here is an example of the value of tip #3. It typically takes 2-3 weeks for us to process 2014 Panini Prizm World Cup Soccer cards with our Basic processing service, about twice as fast as our current average.

Complete Catalog Information
Soccer
2014 Panini Prizm World Cup Soccer Cards

Baseball
2005 Donruss Classics
2005 Donruss Throwback Threads
2005 Leaf Certified Materials
2008 Upper Deck Documentary
2010 Donruss Elite Extra Edition
2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition
2011 Panini Limited
2012 Elite Extra Edition
2012 Panini Cooperstown
2012 Panini Golden Age
2012 Panini National Treasures
2012 Panini Prizm
2012 Panini Signature Series
2012 Panini Triple Play
2012 Panini USA Baseball National Team
2012 Playoff Prime Cuts
2013 Panini America’s Pastime
2013 Panini Cooperstown Collection
2013 Panini Elite Extra Edition
2013 Panini Golden Age
2013 Panini Hometown Heroes
2013 Panini Pinnacle
2013 Panini Prizm
2013 Panini Prizm Perennial Draft Picks
2013 Panini Select
2013 Panini Triple Play
2014 Panini Donruss
2014 Panini Prizm

Basketball
2004-05 SP Authentic
2009-10 Court Kings
2009-10 Panini
2010-11 Elite Black Box
2010-11 Panini Threads
2010-11 Playoff National Treasures
2011-12 Limited
2012-13 Elite
2012-13 Elite Series
2012-13 Panini Crusade
2012-13 Panini Flawless
2012-13 Panini Immaculate Collection
2012-13 Panini Prizm
2012-13 Panini Select
2012-13 Panini Signatures
2012-13 Playoff National Treasures
2013-14 NBA Hoops
2013-14 Panini
2013-14 Panini Court Kings
2013-14 Panini Crusade
2013-14 Panini Elite
2013-14 Panini Gold Standard
2013-14 Panini Intrigue
2013-14 Panini Pinnacle
2013-14 Panini Prestige
2013-14 Panini Prizm
2013-14 Panini Titanium
2013-14 Timeless Treasures
2013-14 Totally Certified

Football
2005 Donruss Classics
2007 Donruss Gridiron Gear
2007 Score
2008 Donruss Gridiron Gear
2009 Playoff National Treasures
2010 Donruss Elite
2010 Panini Threads
2010 Playoff National Treasures
2011 Timeless Treasures
2012 Gridiron
2012 Panini Black
2012 Panini Contenders
2012 Panini National Treasures
2012 Panini Playbook
2012 Playoff Prestige
2013 Panini Absolute
2013 Panini Black
2013 Panini Certified
2013 Panini Contenders
2013 Panini Crown Royale
2013 Panini Elite
2013 Panini Limited
2013 Panini Momentum
2013 Panini National Treasures
2013 Panini Playbook
2013 Panini Rookies & Stars
2013 Panini Select
2013 Panini Spectra
2013 Prestige

Hockey
2005-06 Upper Deck The Cup
2010-11 Panini Luxury Suite
2011-12 Limited
2011-12 Panini Certified
2011-12 Panini Titanium
2012-13 Fleer Retro
2012-13 Panini Rookie Anthology
2013-14 Fleer Showcase
2013-14 O-Pee-Chee
2013-14 Panini Dominion
2013-14 Panini Prizm
2013-14 Select
2013-14 Totally Certified
2013-14 Upper Deck Trilogy

Multiple Categories
2008 Donruss Americana Sports Legends
2010 Panini Century Collection

Help us prioritize which products we work on next. What are the top three sets you would like to see added to this list?

A Peek Under the Hood: Processing Fees

How does COMC calculate and charge processing fees?
This is a question that frequently comes up so I would like to take a few minutes to explain exactly how we calculate and charge processing fees.  This is particularly interesting recently because of our new partial deposit functionality.

The Basics
In case you didn’t already know, you don’t have to do all of the work to list items online when you want to sell them.  You can simply box them up and ship them to us.  We will do all the work to list them for you.  Learn more here

In order to provide this service, we need to charge some fees.  The least expensive service is our Basic service, and it takes 2-8 weeks for us to process your items through our patented system.  It only costs $0.25 per standard raw trading card for this service, and our goal is to process your items in less than 4 weeks on average.

Unfortunately, we are a bit behind at the moment because of the massive amount of work we have put in to building a new sports card catalog completely from scratch.  We are now 85% done with the basic catalog information, but that last 15% will take a bit of effort.  What this means is that some items have missed their 8 week guaranteed due date.  For those items we only charge 50% of our normal processing fees.

Well, that is what’s supposed to happen, but due to some growing pains we had a couple of bugs that caused these fees to not be charged correctly, and I will explain those below.  Last year, the odds of us missing a due date were about 1 in 700 and our system for calculating and charging fees was a bit simpler.  This year, we had to make some innovative changes to how we process items so that we can do everything more efficiently, but it is now a bit more complicated.

How We Used to Do It
For the past several years, when we received your shipment of cards, we would estimate the processing fees up front, charge your account, then begin processing the items.  When the processing was completed, we would deposit all of the cards at one time into your account, and we would update the estimated processing fees to the exact processing fees based on the items that went into your account.

If you were to closely monitor your store credit history doing this process, you would have noticed a fee charged to your account when we first received your items.  Later, once we completed processing all of your items, that original estimate would be removed, and the correct, final fee would be charged to your account.

How We Do It Now
For our Basic processing service, we no longer charge anything up front.  When your items arrive, we simply create a placeholder transaction.  We then process your items in efficient groups of similar items based on the themes for the week. When items are ready to be deposited in your account, we no longer wait until all of your items are done before letting you start to sell them.  Instead, we partially deposit the transaction and only charge you for the items we processed.

This is where the complexity has come in recently.  Because we have a huge demand for our processing service and because we are using many of our sports card experts to create the new COMC catalog, we have some items that are taking more than 8 weeks to process.  These items are supposed to be charged 50% of the standard processing fees.  That is how we stand behind our guarantee.  As you can imagine, we lose money if we don’t hit these due dates, so we are very motivated to do everything we can to meet those deadlines, but sometimes it simply isn’t possible.

Prioritizing Due Dates
We have 30 employees that all help with different aspects of our processing system.  This doesn’t count our shipping, administration, and other teams.  As you would expect, they have a variety of responsibilities, experience, and skills.  In order to give you the best experience possible, we only have certain employees tackle the hardest cards.  Many of the newer employees can help out with easier items and can pass on the more difficult items in order to avoid mistakes.  As a result, we do not process items in the exact order that they arrive.  So, some items that are more difficult to identify need to wait on some of our experts, while others that were easy to process may get done sooner.  Processing items exactly in the order they arrive is inefficient, so we have to charge more for that.  That is a significant part of why we need to charge $1 per Premium item in order to guarantee 3 day processing.

Bug #1
A couple weeks ago, we discovered the code that discounted the processing fees for past due items was only in the code path we use for final deposits when a batch of items is completely done.  This was the first time we missed any due dates with our new partial deposit system.  So I changed the code to make sure that we also give the discount when we calculate fees during partial deposits.

In order to fix up existing transactions that had been overcharged, we simply needed to do another partial deposit or do a final deposit.  In either case, we completely recalculate the fees, delete the old fee that was previously charged, and charge the newly calculated fee.

When we do a partial deposit, we send an email notification that explains how the fees were adjusted and what items were deposited.  In some cases, this resulted in people being charged a negative amount (a.k.a being credited) even when we deposited some items into their account.

Bug #2
Great, Bug #1 was fixed. We were factoring in our 50% discount guarantee and not overcharging our customers.  For the next couple weeks, everything looked good.  People were getting their overcharged credits back, and then I got an email yesterday informing me that we were crediting some people back even when they weren’t affected by Bug #1.

So I walked through the code and realized that I had missed one line of code when I incorporated the 50% discount into the partial deposit code path.  I forgot to recalculate exactly which items were now past due.  So the code assumed that everything that hadn’t been recalculated was past due if we were now past the due date.  It didn’t factor in any of the items that had already been deposited over the past couple weeks before the due date.

This bug has been fixed, and now people are being charged the correct processing fees.  Unfortunately, some people were affected by these bugs, and they got a couple confusing emails where there account was overcharged and/or undercharged and finally, correctly charged.

In Closing
I personally apologize for any confusion this bug may have caused you, and I want you to be assured we will own up to our mistakes and fix them as quickly as we can. I care deeply about the experience you receive with our service, and our entire team is doing everything we can to give you the best we can afford while also making it as cost effective as possible.  This is a hard challenge to balance, and we are not perfect.  However, at the end of the day, I hope you enjoy our service more than any other.  After all, that is our mission. “Optimize Enjoyment: Maximize what you care about; minimize what you don’t.

Free Promotions, Free Shipping & Improved Search

More than 4,000 people have tried the COMC Challenge. Our progress on the catalog is amazing.  We are so grateful for all of your efforts.  We have been progressing at about 1% per day.  Just three weeks ago we were at 60% of the basic set name, card #, and description data.  Today we crossed 80% of the basic information.  We expect to reach 90% by mid May  The last 10% will likely be a long-tail that takes several months to finish.  Along the way we will have many errors we will needed to fix up, but by the end of the year we will have an amazingly rich and accurate catalog.

To celebrate the amazing progress, we are letting our sellers run a FREE Sale Promotion and we will be offering Free Shipping to buyers as well.

BlakeGriffinImprovedSearchFree Promotions – Sunday to Sunday
Hundreds of sellers will be running Sale Promotions from this Sunday through the following Sunday, May 4th.  Get ready to take advantage of the savings!

Free Shipping
To accompany all of the great sales running next week, we will also be providing FREE shipping for orders of 20 or more items.
Note: If you were the original consignor of an item or if you bought it in Advanced Reselling Mode, you will be eligible for a $3 discount instead of free shipping.

New Inventory
We just deposited more than 100,000 new items into sellers accounts in the past week.  We are now fully caught up on Premium and Mailbox processing services, and we are making progress on getting our Basic service back to it’s 4 week average target.

Improved Search
Last night we re-enabled the ability to browse by Players and Team. Over the next few days we will be hooking up the ability to filter your search by attributes such as Serial Numbered, Memorabilia & Autographed.

We have already started to see some really cool improvements to our  new catalog.  For example, we have college teams now.  Ironically, this improvement has created the need for an improved Browse Teams page because we now have thousands of Teams instead of just a few hundred.

I can’t express enough how grateful we are for having such a loyal and supportive fan base.  Thank you for helping us through this transition!

Catalog Update

Hello COMC Nation! We’re into the 2nd week since we began our transition to the new COMC and it’s been an interesting time around our offices. We’re busy working on our card catalog, but realized it’s been too long since we gave everyone an update on what’s been going on at COMC.com.

Progress
Right now we’re over 66% of the way through basic catalog creation for items currently listed on COMC. We expect to have 90% of the basic data complete in less than a month. Some of the data on the website is inaccurate, primarily player names, and we’re actively fixing descriptions while we create the catalog and process new submissions.

The best way to help us meet our goal of complete data by next month is by playing the Ultimate Card # Race. This Challenge provides us with card numbers which, above all other Challenges, speeds up our ability to identify items and create the new catalog.

Fast Track Your Inventory
We just introduced a feature that enables sellers to make items in their portfolio easier to find by potential buyers. If you have items for sale on the site, you’re now able to speed up their catalog creation by playing Challenges in the new Fast Track mode.

On the main Challenges page, check the box at the top of the screen that says “Fast Track My Inventory” to display items from your inventory first. Not only does it let you provide data on your items, it also bumps up the priority of Fast Tracked items you provided answers for to get asked to other contributors playing Challenges.

Please note there are some exceptions to Fast Track mode.  It’s not available for items in your inventory for which:

  • Data was already collected from that particular Challenge.
  • We don’t yet have enough data on an item to include it in that Challenge. For example, a card won’t get queued up in a Card # Challenge if we haven’t yet assigned it a prefix.

Processing Delays
Consignment processing has experienced slowdowns since the transition on April 1st. We are prioritizing catalog creation in order to process items so they can have complete data on the site. Premium processing should be back to normal next week and Basic processing will be running full speed sometime next month.

To help with the delays, we are still honoring our long-standing policy of applying a 50% discount on fees for late deposits when items are added to your account.

We are very sorry for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience and understanding. If you need anything, please don’t hesitate to call or email customer service.

Once again, we cannot sufficiently state our gratitude to you, our community, and advocates. Your response has been amazing, and we wouldn’t be here without you!  Thank you for completing Challenges, submitting suggestions, and participating in community dialog on our Blog, our Facebook page, and through Twitter.

Premium & Basic Processing Services

In the past, when we have changed our processing services, what we really changed was some combination of the price and the length of time it took to get the cards on the site.  We have tuned those two variables several times over the years as we’ve grown and have always tried to strike the right balance.  What has never changed, however, was the way we did the work.  For years, no matter the price point or the deadline, we’ve done the identification and scanning processes more or less the same way – one order at a time, and uploading all the cards once the entire order is done.  While our new Premium and Basic processing services may appear to be another tuning of rates and timelines, they are actually completely different from this old model.

blog pic-basic vs premium1The Premium Service

The Premium service is significantly streamlined and much more scalable.   It is now possible for some cards to be live on the site within a few hours of arriving.  We expect most items to be done the day after they arrive, but it might take up to 3 business days if we get slammed.

Previously it was virtually impossible for us to finish all of our steps the same day an item arrived.  Now, all processing is done ASAP, and items are handed from one department directly to the next.  We can even have many different people working at the same time on the same batch if necessary.  Once all of the steps have been completed on all of the items in the Premium batch, the items are automatically uploaded into your account.  This used to require someone to review the fees and confirm completion.  Now, Premium batches are generally small enough that the computer can safely determine if all stages have been completed, and your items no longer have to wait for extra human steps.

You can expect to see Premium items going live Monday through Friday.  Occasionally some may also go live on the weekends, but don’t count on it.

The Basic Service

The Basic service has been revamped and re-engineered even more than the Premium service.  Instead of doing entire orders one-by-one like in the past, we have developed a new method to work with like items in batches.

To describe this process, let’s use the analogy of a card show full of tables of cards from different sellers.  Rather than sending our team table-by-table to process each of the items at one table before going to the next table, we now do an extra step that makes things more efficient.  The step is kind of like having one employee responsible for hockey cards, another employee responsible for football cards, and another employee responsible for separating the cards by sport. Now when someone processes cards, they can focus on one particular genre instead of having to jump all over the place.  This analogy is only intended to give you an idea of the kind of optimizations we have made.  The technical details are much more complex than this.  We can neither confirm nor deny whether our previous or current process have any resemblance to this analogy.  :)

In practice, we expect to focus different members of the team on different types of items each week.  Every week we will process items from the current year and items that are in season, as well as other items that tend to be hot.  Items that are out of season and that might not be super hot will only be processed every two to three weeks.

Most of the processing will be done Monday through Thursday.  On Fridays we will review our work, and as soon as we have signed off on the items, the computer will automatically upload the partial batch to the website.  Once we get near the 8 week mark, we will clean up any remaining items and confirm that the correct fees are charged.  Our goal is to have an average per-card processing time of less than 4 weeks.

This past Friday and Saturday we finished our first Basic upload, giving more than 100 sellers items to price.  We have already completed more than 50% of the Basic items people have submitted.  The new system gives us the flexibility to assess the overall incoming volume and be sensitive to the current demands of the buying market.  The increased efficiency gives us time to focus additional efforts on the quality of the data that we associate with the images.

$25 Minimum for Basic Service

In order to encourage items to be submitted in quantities we can deal with more efficiently, the Basic service does have a $25 minimum.  You are free to send in fewer than 100 cards for the Basic service, but it is best to submit at least 100 items per batch.

Items Requiring Premium Service

As of February 1st, all Mailbox items are $1 each and will be processed with our Premium service.

In addition, the following items will be processed with our Premium service:

  • Graded cards
  • Encased cards
  • Oversized cards
  • Sports Poker Chips, Coins, Pins & Bottle Caps

If you send any of the above items in a batch for Basic service, they will be separated out and processed with our Premium service.  To make life easier on our Processing Team, we would appreciate you separately grouping any of the above items from the Basic service items within your submission.

Thank You

We appreciate all your great feedback and constructive suggestions so far.  We are working hard behind the scenes to get a host of new features launched, so please keep your eyes on our blog and subscribe so we can keep you in the loop!

Simplified Processing Services

Thank you so much for your overwhelming support and encouragement as we take on the enormous task of creating a new catalog and price guide.  You make all of the long hours and late nights worth the effort.  COMC Nation is the best!!!

For us to build our new catalog and price guide, we need to free up the sports card experts on our processing team. We simplified our processing services and streamlined our systems to make us more efficient so we can still handle a large volume of cards while working on these new projects.

Your patience and understanding is greatly appreciated as we make these adjustments.  Some of these changes may only be temporary, but we suspect that many of these simplifications will stay permanently.
blog pic-basic vs premium1
Streamlined Processing Services
Rather than the 40+ processing options offered today, we will offer just two services for cards and two for comics.  If you were counting on any of the old options, you have until Tuesday, January 21st to postmark any submissions using the current services.

Premium: Fast Processing for Any Item
We purchased some new equipment, wrote a bunch of software, and adapted our systems to allow us to cost-effectively process small packages quickly.

For only $1 per card, your cards will be added to the site within 1 to 3 business days. Although 3 days is the guaranteed maximum lead time, we will strive to get the items added to your account as quickly as we can.  You can use this service for cards of any size, including graded and encased cards, and there is no minimum charge.  For example, you can send us one graded card and receive it in your account very quickly for only $1.

Basic: Flexible Processing for Standard Items
Many users requested their submission batches be partially uploaded instead of waiting until everything is done. We are pleased to announce that our new systems and processes now allow us to do this.

Rather than offering our old One Month processing service and charging $0.25/card up front, the Basic processing service has a 2-8 week lead time, and we don’t charge you the $0.25 per card until the cards are added to your account. Although 8 weeks is the guaranteed maximum lead time, we expect the average to be much faster.

Typically the hottest cards and in-season sports will be first in line.  For example, during the summer we might process the current year’s products every week, but basketball, hockey and football cards from the 90’s might only be processed every third week.  The overall average processing time should still be less than one month.  As always, the 90 days of free storage starts once items are added to your account.

To keep things simple, we are going to require a $25 minimum when using the Basic service.  Less than 5% of our One Month processing fees come from submissions that are fewer than 100 items, so we hope this does not severely inconvenience anyone.  If you were used to sending smaller batches, you may now choose to wait until you have 100 items before shipping them to us.  Hopefully this saves you some money on shipping.  It definitely helps us be a lot more efficient.

Expensive Items
Our Basic service is intended for simple items that we can process quickly.  When items are expensive we need to do extra verification to make sure buyers will be happy with their purchase. Please use the Premium service for items that you want to list for more than $50.  If you use our Basic service with expensive items, there will be a $0.50 fee to upgrade your item. You will be able to instantly price your items at more than $50, and we will assign the item to one of our card experts for a more detailed review. They will double check to confirm that the item is identified correctly and that we didn’t miss any condition notes for flaws that might not be visible in the scan. All items processed with our old processing services are exempt from this new requirement.

Mailbox Submissions
Starting February 1st, we will process all Mailbox submissions through our Premium service.  We appreciate all of the new users who have tried this service during its testing phase.  Now that we have data about how the service is used, we have discovered that it is extremely time consuming to open all of the packages, so we can only afford to offer this service at the price point of our Premium service.

You may continue to have items sent to “COMC Mailbox C/O [your account name]” and we will process them in 1-3 days and add them into your account for $1/card with no minimum.  Items will frequently be scanned in toploaders, and these items will be subject to an extra $0.20 shipping charge.

When the remaining legacy mailboxes are opened, we will process the items at $0.50/item, and we will waive the $5 minimum.

Graded, Encased, Jumbo, and Extra-Thick Trading Cards as well as Sports Poker Chips, Coins, and Pins
All of these items should be processed with the Premium service.  It is the same price as the old One Month service, but your items will be processed in 1-3 business days, and there is no minimum fee.

Hot List
The new Basic service has “Hot List” features built into it.  So the “Hot List – One Day” service is going away.  You may include Hot List items with the rest of your Basic items, and they will be given higher priority.

To Be Graded
The old To Be Graded service is going away.  You can use either Premium or Basic for anything you want graded.

One Week
We know a lot of you like our One Week processing service.  Unfortunately we need to significantly adjust our offerings to support our new work load.  We expect you will use the Premium service for some of your items and the Basic service for the rest. If you were willing to pay $0.50 for our old One Week service, there is a good chance your items will be processed on the faster side of the 2-8 week spectrum of the Basic service.

Bulk Services
All of the bulk services are going away.  The Bulk Two Day service will likely be permanently gone because the new Premium service is less expensive and basically the same speed.  The Bulk Two Week service is in a similar boat as the One Week service.  You will probably be happy with the Basic service as a replacement for the Bulk Two Week service.  The Bulk Ten Week service is being sacrificed because we need our team to focus on new projects.  If anyone really liked any of the bulk services, you have two weeks to get your items in the mail.

Beta Test
We don’t have the bandwidth to process new Beta Test submissions.  Once we get the new catalog under control, we will bring this back.

Comic Processing
Basic processing is $1 per comic book and has a lead time of 2-8 weeks.
Premium processing is $3 per comic book and has a lead time of 1-3 business days.

Summary
Starting Wednesday, January 22nd we will only offer the following processing services:

Basic Cards 2-8 weeks $0.25/card $25 minimum fee
Premium Cards 1-3 business days $1/card No minimum fee
Basic Comics 2-8 weeks $1/comic $25 minimum fee
Premium Comics 1-3 business days $3/comic No minimum fee

You can start trying these services today.  Be sure to remember the following…

  • Basic is the lowest priced service and works for raw items that are standard sized or smaller.
  • Premium is very fast and not very expensive.  It works for any item.
  • Use the Premium option for items that you expect to list for more than $50.  If you accidentally miss some expensive items in your Basic submission, it’s no big deal, but there will be a charge of $0.50 to upgrade those items.

We hope these changes are not too much of an inconvenience for you.  In many cases these new services will improve your selling experience because of faster processing speeds and/or lower fees.  As we catch up on the catalog and price guide project, we will reconsider what services we can offer.

Sneak Peek: Vault Imaging

The Vault is going to be a whole new way to buy and sell high end items online.  It is going to bring with it 10% cash outs, sale of these items at major shows, and a brand new set of high resolution scans!  Today, we wanted to take a moment to show you a before and after shot of one of the items that will be available for sale very soon on The Vault.

Here is a scan of this item as it appeared on COMC:

The original 4x Zoom

The pictures of the individual items have been a hallmark of the service COMC provides since we started the site.  But now, we are able to provide an even clearer view of the items placed into The Vault.  Here is the same item after having been rescanned and placed in The Vault:

These scans are more pristine and clearer than any that have been on our site before.  Better yet, once the new Super Zoom function has been released on The Vault, it will be easy to view every detail of the card with a 36x zoom!

The new 36x “Superzoom” – click on the card to see the difference!

So tell us, what you think of our new imaging and about your plans for The Vault in the comments below.  Be sure to join us on our FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for more information about this service!

New Vault Filters

With the official launch of The Vault service approaching, we’ve introduced some new tools to help you manage your Vault Eligible items.  There are now three new filters in your Inventory Manager to help you list your items on The Vault.

***If you want us to take your items with us to sell at The National that are currently on COMC.com, you need to mark them for rescan by TOMORROW, Wednesday, July 17th.  More details below.***

New Filters

From your Inventory Manager, select the Show Items dropdown.  You will see three new options: Vault Eligible, Vault Needing Attention, and Vault Candidates.

Click To Enlarge

Click To Enlarge

  • Vault Candidates: shows you a list of items in your inventory that qualify for the Vault. These items will have at least a $20 Beckett Book Value (or no BV due to scarcity) and a minimum $40 COMC asking price. With each Vault Candidate item, you’ll see an “Actions” button underneath your asking price where you can select the “Make Vault Eligible” option.  From there, choose the “COMC Services” option, then “Rescan for The Vault.”  At that point, your item will be assigned to receive a high-resolution 36x scan.
    • please note, there is a .50 cent fee to have your cards re-scanned at the higher 36x
  • Vault Eligible: displays items in your portfolio that qualify as Vault Candidates and have already been scanned at the 36x level.
  • Vault Needing Attention: shows items that are Vault Eligible but await a Vault-appropriate asking price. To enter your asking price, click “List on The Vault” and a popup screen with listing options will appear. You may also mark these items “Not for Sale on The Vault” from this popup.

Important Dates

  • Until September 30th listing cards on The Vault will be free.  This is an introductory special, so take advantage of it now!
  • Any items listed on The Vault by July 24th will be going to Chicago for display at the COMC booth at the National.
  • To ensure your Vault Candidates are made Vault Eligible by the 24th, they need to be submitted for a 36x rescan by Wednesday, July 17th.

Your cards could be on display and available for sale at the biggest card event in the country, but you need to act quickly to take advantage of this offering.  In the meantime, be sure to keep following us on our FacebookTwitter, and Google+ pages for more news and further updates.

An Apology To Our Most Important Partners

Hello COMC Nation. On Tuesday, July 9th, Beckett book values became no longer available for free on COMC.com. For the last 6 years, Beckett has been gracious in allowing us to provide their data to you, but the time has come where they are no longer able to extend this service through COMC.  Because we realize this tool is valuable to many of our users, we designed the ability to purchase Beckett subscriptions using COMC Store Credit, allowing our users to continue viewing book values while browsing items on the site.  Additionally, we are branching into offering our own COMC sales history as an added benefit.  As always, we are listening to you, your feedback, and truly care about you and the hobby.  While we are a business, we are also collectors, and we are passionate about building an awesome space for buyers, sellers, and flippers.

Learning From Our Mistakes

Through this, we realize an area in which we can improve as a company is communication, and we have taken steps to do that.  In this case, we should have communicated more clearly and repeatedly with you about these impending changes, and we apologize for that oversight.  Going forward, we now have a plan to build into every new site feature when and how we will communicate changes to our customers.  In the haste of making this necessary change to the site, we overlooked ensuring we communicated it well to you. We’re very sorry, will do better next time, and have already altered our system to do so.

Sales History

The loss of free book values on the site is, understandably, going to be a somewhat difficult transition for many users.  However, we are committed to our customers, and are working to provide a tool to aid you in your purchases and sales.  We are in the process of launching a new tool that will display historical sales data of actual sales on our site.  With access to this information, we believe that you will be able to even more accurately see what your cards are worth on the market.

This new tool is in its beta stages and we want your input on this new service.  For the time being, when you click on the asking price of a card, you can spend a History Point to see the historical data of the item.  Right now, this includes how many are currently on the site, how many have sold on COMC, and the highest price the card has ever sold and shipped for.

Why Do I Have To Answer Questions to Get History Points?

One of the first questions we were asked about the Sales History tool was why a user needed to answer questions in order to earn historical data points.  As some of you have guessed, one of the reasons Beckett has decided to no longer provide book values on COMC for free is because our site could be scraped for that data by various programs and that data could be used and sold to other sites.

The Sales History that we provide to our users falls under a similar category.  If the data is simply provided on the site, it can be scraped and that data sold.  In order to protect this data, our initial method is the COMC IQ Test, a sort of CAPTCHA which proves that the user is human and allows them to earn the credit needed to conduct healthy buying and selling practices.

How can we make Sales History better?

We want to make this feature available as quickly as possible and we want it to provide the value our customers need.  To do that, we need the help of our most important partners: you.  Our site exists to encourage users to enjoy collecting, easily sell items, and flip items to make money and have fun.

Please, tell us how we can make our new Sales History tool better for you.  We need to protect this information, but we want it to be more accessible and useful to our users.  What other sorts of information should be displayed?  Do you have a good idea for where the data should be displayed to make it easier for you to utilize it?  Is there an easier better way for us to protect this data while still making it more easily accessible?

Flippers

We understand this change is having a big impact on you, but we are not abandoning you.  Flipping is one of the unique things about COMC, and you are in important part of our ecosystem.  In light of this change, we are brainstorming ways to support you and give you the tools you need to do what you do.   In considering our new Sales History tool, what information and functionality could best help you get the job done?

New Cost

We are committed to making COMC an enjoyable place to buy and sell collectibles online. We always strive to keep costs down for our customers. Some issues, such as the loss of Beckett book values, are out of our control. We designed a way for our users to link their Beckett OPG accounts and purchase subscriptions with Store Credit to provide our users with the option of viewing book values while browsing COMC. We’re working hard to find creative ways to adjust to the loss of book values on the site and your input and ideas are invaluable as we continue to do so.

We Are In This Together

We eagerly look forward to your ideas on how to make this tool easier to use.  Please leave your thoughts in the comments below or send your suggestions to our Customer Service team.    As a final note, if you send us an email within the next 24 hours with the subject “Discussions with Tim,” concerning your thoughts on either the Beckett Subscription feature or our Sales History feature, your feedback may be featured in Tim’s upcoming video.

Most importantly, however, we want to take this opportunity to express our dedication to you: our buyers, sellers, and flippers. COMC is nothing without you. We are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to improve the experience of buying and selling collectibles for all of our users. Whatever direction we take, or obstacle we face, we will never compromise our commitment to you.

Moving forward, we hope you will continue to give us your input, ideas, and concerns. We’re fortunate to have customers who are as passionate about COMC as we are. Our service is only great because of you and will only get better with you by our side.

Thank you for partnering with us for 6 amazing years.

Launching Beckett Subscriptions

***Post updated based on feedback.***

Hello COMC Nation,

Today we are launching the changes we announced back in October regarding how we will handle and manage Beckett Book Values with the launch of COMC.com.  As we’ve grown as a company, our partnership with Beckett has had to change.  With this change, we’ve been able to provide features like our Grading through COMC service.  Unfortunately, as we’ve grown and our inventory has gotten larger, our inventory has become too large to give away the Beckett Book Value data as we had in the past.  As it’s Beckett’s business to supply pricing data, we can’t simply give away a third of their data for free.  Yet it is important to us to find a solution that works for all parties.  We hope you understand, and we are working hard to innovate and continue to make COMC a great place to buy, sell, and flip.  While this may be a difficult change, we won’t stay here as a company, and there will be some positives.  We will continue to listen to you and come up with creative ways of helping you enjoy the hobby.  This step can perhaps move us away from book prices determining asking prices and truly let the market decide.

Starting today, users will be able to purchase and utilize their Beckett Subscriptions directly through COMC.

Now when you look at cards on the site, you should see this:

Bryce Harper

The Subscribe link now displays next to Beckett BV. When selected, it leads you to a page to purchase a Beckett subscription through COMC:

Click to Enlarge

On this screen, you will have the option to purchase the level of service that best meets your needs as a buyer or seller.  If you only need to know the value of a single card, player, or sport, you’re covered.  If you like to shop for all kinds of cards, you’ll want to consider a Total Access subscription, which grants you full access to the millions of items listed in Beckett’s Online Price Guide.  All subscriptions purchased on COMC will also be accessible on Beckett.com.

Existing OPG Subscription

What if you already have a Beckett OPG subscription?  As you can see in the photo above, you can link your current subscription to your COMC account to view the book values for all the COMC listings to which you’re currently subscribed to.  After clicking the link, a popup will display requesting you to log in to your current Beckett account.  Once successful, your accounts will be linked and any subscriptions purchased on either site will be reflected in both your Beckett and COMC accounts.

Physical Beckett Guide

There’s another option if you’re “old-school” and still want to have that physical copy of the Beckett Guide. If you choose the “Dynamic Duo” option, you’ll have access to the OPG as well as receive your physical copy in the mail. So, you’ll have your Beckett access however you need.

Consignors

Finally, to all our consignors  don’t worry. You still have the ability to see Beckett book values for items you submitted to COMC as it’s built into the cost of our processing services.

While this is a big change, we have something else waiting in the on-deck circle that we’re just about ready to announce, which we hope will be a game-changer. Tim is busy working on it right now.  Stay tuned for details, and in the meantime, feel free to leave us your thoughts in the comments below and stay in touch by following us on FacebookTwitter, and Google+.