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.

We’re Back…in Card Show Mode!

First, a sleepy, furry word from Tim:

Thank you for your patience while we transitioned to our new catalog.  Welcome to a new era for COMC.com!  We are grateful for the outpouring of support we are receiving, and we appreciate feedback as we continue to work together, building our new catalog.

As we mentioned previously, the next few weeks will be a bit rocky with missing data, errors, and many opportunities for improvement.  Everything submitted is for sale as usual, but items that are missing data are harder to browse/search. The current state of the site is “Card Show” mode.  Just like when you go to a card show and browse tables and bins looking for those rare items and special deals, that’s a bit what shopping on COMC will be like for the near future while we rapidly build our database.  We are optimistic about the speed at which you will see improvement, as our data increased by 10% in one day alone!  Your contributions have been significant.  You’ve made a big difference!

Ways To Make It Better

  • The best way to help populate data is still by playing The Challenges, as the data entered there is normalized. When you assign a team name like New York Yankees to a card, you’re essentially bucketing that card with all the other Yankees cards. Be on the look out for new challenges and prizes!
  • You can submit missing data or corrections for existing data for specific cards in your inventory or for sale on the site:
    • Go to the Inventory Manager in your Dashboard.  When you find missing/incorrect data in your inventory, click the Edit link next to the item description:

Inventory Manager

    • When you find missing data in the Search Results, click on the item and, at the top of the page next to the description, click the Edit link:

Search Results

    • From Edit (from your Search or Inventory), you will get a popup where you can enter data that is missing or needs correction:

Catalog Details

    • Please keep in mind, edits you make to a card are not normalized, meaning if you enter the correction to Teams: “New York Yankees” or “yankees” or “new yyok yankz”, the system won’t bucket it with other Yankees cards. It is still very helpful to use the new Edit feature, as it flags the card as incorrect and lets us know your correction suggestion.  It is just a less efficient process than playing the Challenges and will take more time to correct, as someone here will need to review each correction.
    • Please DO NOT USE the Report Error function, as that is used for reporting ID errors. These will go to the wrong team.

As we said previously, we won’t charge storage fees for the month of April.  We expect to have player and team search functionality fully restored by the end of April.  In May and June, we will be working on more advanced search functionality, such as the type of memorabilia.

Suggested List Price (SLP)

We were hoping to have the beta version of our pricing suggestions live today, but we ran out of time.  We will release it soon and let you know more as it develops.  Once our SLPs are live, contributors who earned at least 20K in Challenge points will receive free SLPs while it is in beta.  In the meantime, we have turned on the “Going Rate” feature.  This feature may help you price your cards by showing you how many like items are on the site and the range at which they are being priced.  While we have previously had quite a few requests for this feature, we have hesitated to turn it on to prevent a race-to-the-bottom with pricing.  We will be monitoring how this feature is being used, and if it remains good for the COMC ecosystem, we may choose to keep it enabled.

Going Rate

Going Rate Feature

The other way to receive helpful pricing information is to click Sales History to the right of the items in your inventory. This activates a popup which tells you the condition, how many are for sale, how many have sold and shipped, and at what price.

Sales History Feature

Sales History Feature

We hope you enjoy COMC while it’s in Card Show mode, and we will continue to let you know as things develop here.  Please continue to contribute to the catalog and let us know what we can do to create the best collecting experience!

Out With the Old: Retiring the Old Site

On August 1st 2012, we began transitioning from CheckOutMyCards.com to COMC.com and running dual sites in parallel.  It has been eight years since we began offering our unique service with CheckOutMyCards.com, and it is with deep pride and a certain degree of sadness that we announce that, as of July 1st, 2013, the old site has been officially shut down and retired, and we will be fully committing to the new site and brand COMC.com.

It has been a tremendous journey that has brought together a team of over 50 unique Team members, close to 3000 sellers, and well over 50,000 buyers!  As a tribute to where we have been as a company, we want to take a moment and relive a few of the crowning moments during the company’s time as CheckOutMyCards.com.

Date Event
Dec 21st, 2005 Check Out My LLC is founded
Aug 1st, 2007 CheckOutMyCards.com launched at the 2007 Nationals
Sept 4th, 2007 Make an Offer function is launched.  During January of the following year, the Counter Offer function is added.
April 9th, 2008 CheckOutMyCards.com moves into a bigger warehouse
Nov 28th, 2008 CheckOutMyCards.com has its first Black Friday sale
July 2nd, 2009 CheckOutMyCards.com adds its one millionth item to the site.  To commemorate, Tim buys the card from the user
Aug 23, 2009 CheckOutMyCards.com partners with Blowout Cards
Mar 12th, 2010 First card valued over $1000 sold on site
May 14th 2010 First official port sale completed.  On September 15th of the following year, the port sale offer system is added
Nov 24th, 2011 CheckOutMyCards.com launches the wildly successful First Time Seller Coupon and Referral program
Dec 3rd, 2011 CheckOutMyCards.com moves into its current warehouse
Aug 1st, 2012 CheckOutMyCards.com transitions to COMC.com
July 1st, 2013 CheckOutMyCards.com is retired

As we gaze across the path that brought us here, it feels right to also see where we stand in the present.  CheckOutMyCards laid the groundwork for everything that COMC has become and the switch to COMC has provided us with new tools and options that weren’t possible before.  A short list would include:

  • Being able to filter search results
  • The Promotions Feature including the now frequently used Partial Port sale function
  • The Beckett Grading Service integration
  • The ability to expand into new collectibles such as comics and many yet to come.
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Memories, like candles, light the pathway to the future.  Or something corny like that.

Yesterday, the team at COMC allowed CheckOutMyCards.com to finally retire.  We would love to hear about your personal experiences with the old site and where we have been.  Please feel free to use the Comments box below to fill us in, and help us celebrate the next step into COMC.com’s future.  We’re still expanding the new site experience and we know our users always have a lot of great suggestions for changes and features.  Keep letting us know what you’d like to see and we’ll keep listening and improving.

Disabling Port Sales Until After Cyber Monday

We have tracked down some of the root causes of the performance issues while the site is under heavy load. Unfortunately large port purchases need to lock the entire site for too long. We will not be approving any Port Sale classified ads until Tuesday.

None of our Black Friday Weekend promotions apply to Port Sales anyhow. Sorry for the inconvenience. We recommend running Promotions this weekend instead of trying to do any Port Sales.

Site Down – Tonight 1-4 a.m. PST – Update Your Sales Before This!

We hope you had a good Black Friday!  Our Black Friday Weekend Specials are far from over.  We learned a lot today from the increased traffic, made some tweaks, and want the rest of the weekend to be smooth sailing.  In order to best accomplish this, we are taking the site down TONIGHT from 1-4 a.m. PST. 

Sellers, if you are updating your Sales, please make sure you finish BEFORE 1 a.m. PST.

The site will be down so the server can do some optimizations and give good performance throughout the rest of the day.

Peace.

EXTENDING “Get Paid To Buy”; Clarification: Specials NOT on www.CheckOutMyCards.com

More good news!  Technical issues should be fixed, and we should now be running at full capacity!  In light of the technical difficulties, we are EXTENDING the “Get Paid to Buy” Special through tomorrow, Saturday, November 24th.

For this Special, we will pay you 10 cents store credit for every item you purchase & ship from COMC.com.

Weekend Specials are on www.COMC.com ONLY and NOT on www.CheckOutMyCards.com

Please keep in mind that all Black Friday Weekend Specials only apply to www.COMC.com and do NOT apply to www.CheckOutMyCards.com, as they were designed for the functionality of http://www.COMC.com and do not fit with http://www.CheckOutMyCards.com.  Also, we are in the process of retiring http://www.CheckOutMyCards.com and want to encourage you to try out http://www.COMC.com if you haven’t already!  We hope you will grow to love your experience on http://www.COMC.com as you have on http://www.CheckOutMyCards.com.  We are investing a lot to give you many new reasons to love http://www.COMC.com.  If you have been confused regarding the Black Friday Weekend Specials, please contact Customer Relations: staff@comc.com, 1-800-517-3540. Here are our Extended Customer Service Hours.  We want to go the extra mile to ensure you are a happy customer.

We regret any inconvenience you’ve had purchasing today!  Not only has our system been taxed, but also the systems of a few vendors we rely on, like PayPal.

Hopefully, extending the Special will make things a bit sweeter and offering some clarification will make things more understandable.  We hope that erring on the side of getting you new features and specials as quickly as possible pays off more often than it does not.  We appreciate you working with us as we refine the experience for you.

Thank you,

The COMC Team

Update on our best promotion ever

When we originally discussed what kind of promotion to run for the National Collectors Convention at a meeting back in June, we all felt that a theme surrounding the number 5 would be fun to run and easy to explain. It was our 5th anniversary and we’ve traditionally done number-themed specials at the National. A 550-count box for $55 was very similar to what we did the previous year. The only change was that we were removing the “5 product” restriction to make the deal more appealing, so as a safeguard we added a five-box limit just to be careful. We also decided to open the special up to everyone in case there were people who couldn’t make it to Baltimore to drop cards off.

At the 2011 National we took home about 70,000 cards, and we’d substantially increased in size since then so we estimated we’d be shipping back roughly 100,000-120,000 cards from Maryland and probably receive another 200,000-250,000 in the mail. Our estimate for drop-offs was pretty good, as it turned out, but our guess for mail-ins was 400,000 cards off.

The final tally of items we received was about three quarters of a million, and it all arrived within about a two-week period so the due dates were extremely clustered. On three different days there were over 100,000 cards due to go live.

To stay on top of the processing curve we asked for volunteers from our consignors to have their items delayed in exchange for a discount. We also brought on twenty employees in a combination of full time, part time, and temporary positions. Everyone at COMC has been working extremely hard and I am very proud of the dedication and perseverance of all of the teams in the face of an unprecedented quantity of incoming business. The three biggest due dates were Friday September 7th, Monday the 10th, and Wednesday the 12th. Looking at the raw math we expected to be late on some batches from each of those days, but due to the heroic efforts of the Processing and ID teams we actually were successful at hitting the dates for items due for Friday AND for Monday.

Today is Wednesday, the last large due date, and we will be late on some batches beyond those from the customers who volunteered to be delayed. Here is the relevant information:

- If your batch is delayed we will assign it a new due date one week out, and discount the batch by $5. You’ll see the discount reflected in your store credit when the batch goes live.

- Some new customers sent us batches of thick cards that actually would have been less expensive to send in under our Four Week service. After we finish uploading the last of the submissions from the special we’ll be analyzing the batches we’ve uploaded and we’ll figure out who would have been better off sending in their items as Four Week and give them a retroactive price change.

- We always try to maintain our high standard of identification quality, but we encourage consigners to review their uploaded transactions with extra care considering the volume that has just come through our system.

Thanks, everyone, for making this summer our biggest season yet. We’re looking forward to the fourth quarter of 2012.

As a final note, we’re going to start moderating off-topic comments more proactively. Please keep all comments relevant to the post. If there’s a topic you’d like us to post on that would make for positive discussion, shoot us an email at staff@comc.com.

Special thanks to Jeremy Williams for writing this blog post.

10% of 5 years in 2 weeks

First 5 years of service: 7.5 million cards processed
First 2 weeks of August: 0.7 million cards submitted


Normally we receive about 100,000 cards in a 2 week period. Due to our 5th Anniversary Special, we received about 7 times that in the first couple weeks of August. Last year we ran a similar special and only got about 100,000 cards. We figured we would probably get 200,000 – 300,000 cards based on the growth of the site and a slightly better promotion. Oops!

We received more cards in two weeks than we have ever processed in a 3 month period.

We had been hoping to launch the new COMC by the end of this month, but that was before we received 10% as many cards in a two week period as we had received in the previous 5 years combined. Unfortunately, we have had to put all development efforts on hold in order to increase our work force by nearly 50%.

Due Dates

Many of you have been wondering what will happen with due dates. As you may have suspected, it won’t be possible for us to process everything in just 5 weeks. That would have required hiring about 60 temp employees. Instead we have opted for a much more healthy balance of permanent full-time, part-time, and temp employees.

As a result we expect to process about 65-80% of the 5th Anniversary Specials on time. The rest will get processed as soon as we can, but they may get delayed by 2-4 weeks. We will be strategically skipping the most difficult submissions so that we can try to satisfy as many customers as possible.

5 Week Guarantee for the 5th Anniversary Special

If we miss a submission’s due date, we will discount the processing fees $5. Also, for each additional week we miss a due date we will discount an additional $5. If you would prefer to get the discount instead of getting your cards posted on time, please let us know, and we will prioritize your submissions accordingly.

4 Week Processing Blackout for September

Because of the enormous backlog, we will not offer our 4 Week processing service during the month of September. If you have stuff you are planning on sending us we will honor the 4 Week guarantee as long as the package is postmarked by this Saturday, September 1st. Any packages that are postmarked after September 1st will be given a due date of October 29th. Starting October 1st we will only allow the new One Month processing service that will cost $0.25 per item.

1 Week Processing Fee Going Up in October

We will keep the $0.35 processing fee for 1 Week service during the month of September, but on October 1st the One Week processing service will cost $0.50 per item.

PayPal downtime scheduled for Thursday evening

Between 9pm and 11pm Pacific Time on Thursday the 19th PayPal will be temporarily down, upgrading some tech stuff.  During that window PayPal transactions will not be able to be completed.

What will be affected on COMC?
During this two hour window the following things will not work: Store credit purchases by PayPal or credit card; shopping cart purchases with PayPal or credit card.

What will not be affected?
You will still be able to spend store credit as normal on the site – buy cards, flip stuff, request shipments etc.  You’ll be able to add things to your shopping cart and your computer will remember your cart contents, but you won’t be able to purchase the cart until after 11pm Pacific.  You will still be able to request cashouts or refunds just like always.  You will also still be able to email us and tell us how great/awful you think COMC is (though we’ll be going to bed so we won’t write you back until the next day).

The PayPal downtime is only scheduled for two hours, and COMC won’t be down at all.
Thanks!

Just finished the most insane day ever!

Wow, today was an amazing team effort. Because of the snow last week we have built up the largest backlog of work ever for both shipping order and processing incoming cards.

At the beginning of the day we had about 10,000 cards that were due to be deposited today that hadn’t even been scanned yet. Normally we try to scan the cards at least a week before they are due so that we have time to make sure they get uploaded to the website without having to worry about any hiccups.

The entire team worked together to do what was necessary to deposit every order before it was due and to ship as many cards as possible today. It was quite an amazing feat, and I am so proud of everyone here.

Tomorrow we have 4 new employees starting. They will have our first official new employee orientation. We also have 4 other employees that just started in the last month or so that will be joining them. 7 of these 8 employees will start full-time on our shipping team, and the eighth employee is focusing on our processing team. Our goal is to over staff shipping so that we can offer the fastest service with the highest quality. Any extra resources in our shipping department will help our processing team get ahead.

We still have several job openings available, so please spread the word.
– Order Fulfillment Clerk
– Office Administrator
– Customer Service
– Quality Control Specialist
– Trading Card Identification Specialist
– Coin Identification Specialist
– Software Development Engineer
– Software Test Engineer
– Network Administrator / General IT Person

Our GM is working on the job descriptions. They will be posted here when he finishes them.
Current Job Openings