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!

New enhancements

We’re still working hard adding info to our database, completing overdue items, and correcting errors, but we also want to continue moving forward in other ways.  You may have already spotted a new feature we are rolling out: enhanced page content. Our non-ID team has developed this new way to improve the site, and we’re excited to share it with you and hear your input on what pages you would like to see enhanced.

We’ve begun by adding some extra details for popular players. You can take a look here at the new enhanced page for Michael Jordan:

Michael Jordan Page

We’re going to continue to expand this feature to more players, teams, and sets.  If you have a favorite, let us know in the comments, so we can build our list.  We have pages up already for Ken Griffey Jr., Wayne Gretzky, Bo Jackson, and several other players.

Benefits to Enhanced Content

A key benefit of this new feature is that pages with more relevant content are easier to find when people search Google or other search engines.  An easy-to-find page has more eyes seeing it, which leads to more sales for those items and more buyers on the site. Getting our sellers’ cards in front of more eyes is always a top-tier goal here at COMC, as is expanding our buyer base. This project helps to do both at the same time. Eventually we hope to have many enhanced pages, potentially even including enhanced content on personal portfolio pages.

Catalog Project Status

We’ve said it before, but we continue to appreciate the patience and involvement of our amazing community. We’re approaching 90% complete data on the site which means we’re digging into some of the harder sets to research and list, but we’re committed to finishing this project all the way. We also want to make sure you know that our team is reviewing all the submissions you’ve made using the “edit” button. We’re methodically moving through them, focusing on the highest-value items first, and we’re grateful for your help in getting all this crucial data.

Enhance Content – How You Can Help

This new project is one you can help with too. Our initial rollout pages have some new video content made by our team here at COMC, but we hope some will come from great outside sources. If you know of an awesome box break vid that does a good job of highlighting a popular set or a great mailday vid that shows off some sweet cards of a particular star, let us know in the comments – we may use it to enhance the content on COMC!  Thank you and please chime in with a comment telling us what players and sets you’d like to see with page enhancements on the site!

 

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?

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.

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!

$1 per 1,000 points is back, plus new daily prizes in the COMC Challenge

The community has been awesome this month – good suggestions, helpful feedback, and amazing participation have gotten us 70% of the way to a complete basic catalog.  We’ve been listening, and folks have asked for the return of our reward from March: $1 of Store Credit for every 1000 points completed.  So it’s back, but for a limited time only!  Take advantage while you can, because now it’s even better than before:

  • INSTANT PAYOUTS  When you earn 1000 points by submitting data in the COMC Challenge, $1 of Store Credit will be immediately deposited into your account.
  • FOCUS ON YOUR INVENTORY  With our new Fast Track mode, you can earn Store Credit while speeding up the catalog creation of your own items.
  • DAILY PRIZES We’ve got some new contests with more winners than ever – you don’t need to spend the whole week competing, now you can win in one day.

Prize #1: Top Daily Overall Scores2014facebookmockup01

1st place: $40
2nd place: $20
3rd place: $10
4th place: $5

Prize #2: Fastest Weekly Times (“Ultimate Card # Race” only, with 100% accuracy)

1st place: $40
2nd place: $20
3rd place: $10
4th place: $5

And YES, you can win in both categories.  You can submit data in ANY Challenge and be eligible for these prizes, but please note that data submitted in Fast Track mode is not timed and so it cannot win for fastest time.

Prize #3: Get the word out

We want this news to reach as many people as possible, so if you have a Facebook account you can enter to win another prize!

1)      ‘Like’ our Facebook page
2)      Comment on the Facebook post below
3)      In your comment, tag a friend (use the “@” symbol and type their name)

We’ll randomly pick four winners who will each receive $25 in COMC Store Credit!

Finally, some of our Challenge superstars are accumulating an incredible number of points.  To any user who at any time earns a total of more than 1 million lifetime points, we will award an exclusive red COMC Contributor badge to your username on the site in honor of your amazing contribution.  This opportunity will badgebe ongoing, as new Challenges over the coming year will help us build a catalog that is deeper and richer than ever before. Earning a million points will be an incredible effort, but some people are more than halfway there already!

We appreciate everyone who has done even one Challenge; this is a community effort, and we are committed to eventually presenting a catalog with depth and accuracy that honors and reflects the community spirit of our hobby.

Thanks,
COMC