First Silent Auction Is Officially Open

In lieu of our big announcement Sunday evening, we are debuting our first silent auction in company history tonight. It will end at 11:59 p.m. PST Tuesday June 22.

First Ever Silent Auction

Here are some stats about the lot that is up for auction:
Total Book Value: $10,927.35
Original Asking Price: $3,890.42
Current Owner: sidelinecardz
# of items: 1,662
Items with no Book Value: 26
Average Book Value: $6.68

Go place your bid

Auction Rules:
– The auction will last one week.
– Bidders will be allowed to bid as much as they like.
– Funds will not be locked at the time of the bid.
– The highest bidder will get the first opportunity to win the lot.
– In case of a tie, the first bid placed from an account that has sufficient funds will win.
– If the highest bidder does not have sufficient store credit, they will be given 2 days to purchase any necessary credit.
– If the highest bidder is not able to pay, we will give the next highest bidder an opportunity to purchase the lot.
– 5% of the final price will be collected for the silent auction service.
– The remaining 95% store credit will be added to the seller’s account.
– Upon completion of the auction, we will announce who the winning bidder was.

Since this is our first auction experience, we expect to review how this auction goes and take feedback into account for future auctions.

15 thoughts on “First Silent Auction Is Officially Open

  1. Pingback: COMC Silent Auction Has Begun! - Blowout Cards Forums

  2. Very cool! A couple of quick observations:

    * The ‘silent’ aspect of the auction could hamper activity on the rest of the site. If I win, I’d like to pay for the whole thing out of my account balance and not have to add money to the account. As long as I think I have a shot of winning, I’ll be reluctant to do anything which would lower my account balance below my bid. So I might put off sending in another batch of cards for processing, or I might stop buying cards on the site until I know for sure if I won the lot or not.

    Multiply that by 10 or 20 or 50 dealers and this really changes the dynamics of the site for the duration of the auction.

    I would propose that in the future, the seller of the port is allowed to choose whether the auction is ‘silent’ or ‘open ascending price’.

    * The 20% cash out fee is a real killer here. Let’s say someone just cashed out $1250 credit from their account for $1000. Now this port comes along and they win it for $1000. So they have to transfer $1,000 back into their account. But the $1,000 was $1,250 in their account last week.

    The solution for the buyer would be, in the future, to never cash out a penny from their account if they think there’s a possibility of buying a port in the future. But then dozens or hundreds of dealers are each holding back hundreds or thousands of dollars and COMC never gets any cash out fees from those dollars.

    I think COMC should seriously consider allowing sellers to opt in to a “pay-as-you-go” fee structure. If the seller chooses this fee structure, then all sales are subjected to a final value fee of, say, 5% and that seller has no cash-out fees.

    This would have the added benefit of adding more sellers to the site. I can tell you from speaking to dealers in the real world that the 20% fee scares the bejeezus out of them.

  3. Fine by me. Fewer sellers mean higher selling prices because supply is being artificially repressed.

    And if that’s not enough, selling on eBay almost costs you 20% when you factor in shipping, fees, gas, and time. Good God, the time. The best thing about COMC is you Fixodent and forget it. This site is essentially a co-op, and we all get to use their labor to do all the scanning, listing, and selling.

    Still not convinced? Have you ever sold on sportlots? It takes a ton of volume to only have 20% taken out, and you still have to pick and ship yourself, AND everything is 18 cents.

  4. I’m not saying the fee structure isn’t reasonable. I’m saying that I’d prefer if I could choose an alternate fee structure which is also reasonable.

    By now, COMC should have enough real world data to figure out what FVF they could charge and be revenue neutral with the 20% cash out. How much money have they ever taken in cash out fees? How much money have they ever had in sales? Divide one into the other, and there’s your price point. Maybe it’s 5%, maybe 8%, maybe 10%. It wouldn’t be the full 20%, because money is also used for posting fees and to buy other cards. Anyway, there’s a point at which it’s no skin off COMC’s nose to allow sellers to opt for a FVF.

    More sellers on the site would also mean more BUYERS. Most of the sellers on COMC are also buyers on COMC. If a large dealer comes to the site, they’ll also send all of their customers to the site.

    For instance, I know one of the largest non-sports dealers in the world. He has tens of thousands of 19th century non-sports cards just sitting around because he hasn’t had time to have put them on his website. He has hundreds of thousands of cards from the 1930’s, 1940’s, 1950’s. He absolutely cannot wrap his head around the 20% cash-out fee. I’m like “even on a $2 card? 20% would only be 40 cents, and the site will scan, pack, ship, everything.” He still can’t get past the 20%.

    It was the same when I spoke to a large vintage sports dealer. This guy has multiples of nearly every sports card from the 1950’s and 1960’s. He has a website and a loyal customer base. I kept suggesting that he could send in all of his cards under $5 or $20 or $50, and that would free him up to concentrate on the bigger stuff. But he can’t wrap his head around the 20%.

    I’m not suggesting that COMC change its fee structure. I’m just suggesting that they could have 2 or more fee structures and let sellers choose which is right for them.

  5. I am really confused on why everyone is so scared with the 20% cash out fee. Everyone i talk with thinks that 20% and no work is so much better than what the other sites offer. Yes, eBay fee’s may be lower, but i have not heard one person say anything about paypal fee’s. charge-backs from paypal, or negative feedback which can ruin power seller fee’s discounts, which will in effect make a sellers ebay bill go up. everyone want to compare ebay and COMC, but they are leaving out a major part of the equation with out mentioning the headaches and fee’s of paypal or negative feedback. if anyone would like raw data to support my statements, please feel free to email me. COMC’s fee’s are more than fair and extremely competitive with other sites for selling sports cards in regards to how they run their business. If anyone is questioning the fee’s or are scared by them, they have never run an ebay business or do not know much about this industry to begin with. What percentage of fee’s are dealers losing going to the major conventions, compared to the amount of sales they will do in a given weekend. Pretty close to 20%, when you factor in travel, hotel, gas, time and food. Not to mention the bar bill on saturday nights. Why are these issues not being brought up in the forum. the amount of work COMC does to list your cards and ship them out once they sell, is worth so much more than 20%. i honestly can not figure out how they are making any money with the amount of time and effort that goes into listing cards on the site. People really need to sit down and figure out what the cost of doing business is in the sports cards industry, stop taking shots at COMC and complaning about fee’s when they are really not that high compared to the competition.

  6. I’m not complaining about the fee, and I apologize if I’ve offended anyone who thinks I have. I’m simply reporting what other people have said to me.

    All games have to be played by rules and all rules alter the way the game is played. I’m not saying a particular rule is “good” or “bad”. I’m saying that way the rules are structured alters the behavior of market participants. COMC can alter rules in a way which will be to their advantage, and they can alter rules in a way which will be to their disadvantage.

    The cash out fee makes it advantageous to do certain things on this site and disadvantageous to do others.

    At present, I’m perfectly comfortable selling items, using a percentage of my sales to post new items, using a percentage of my sales to buy cards from other dealers, and cashing out what’s left over.

    However, when I cash out, it is with the expectation that I won’t be immediately putting the money back into my account.

    Suppose I have $5,000 in cash sales. I use $1,500 to process an additional 10,000 cards, $1,500 to buy cards on the site, and cash out the remaining $2,000 for $1,600 in cash.

    Then a portfolio comes up for auction. I win it for $2,000. But I don’t have the money in my account because I cashed out. So I have to transfer the $1,600 I just got, plus an additional $400.

    If I had kept the money in my account, I would not have had to pay the additional cash out fee.

    So time passes and I sell another $5,000. This time I spend $1,500 on processing, $1,500 on other dealer’s cards, and I have $2,000 left over.

    Do I cash out the $2,000? Or do I sit on the $2,000 in anticipation of another portfolio coming up for grabs?

    Under this scenario, I paid COMC $400 in cash-out fees on $5,000 in sales the first time, and I paid them $0 the second time, because I never cashed out.

    Now, suppose COMC has a different fee structure, an optional one, where I can choose an 8% Final Value Fee as I sell cards.

    I have $5,000 in sales and I pay $400 in FVF to COMC. I have $1,600 left over in my account and I transfer that to my Paypal account. Then a collection comes along and I win it for $2,000. I add $2,000 to my COMC account, which is the $1,600 I just transfered from COMC plus an additional $400.

    In both scenarios, I’m paying the same fee. Except in the one, I’m paying as I go, and I’m not hampered when a potential big-ticket purchase comes along.

    Right now, COMC is setting up rules which will alter the course of the site, and by extension, the entire sports card hobby. So I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think for a few minutes about how different rules will affect different market participants, and to establish rules which will have a beneficial effect.

    In the real world, companies spend millions of dollars on market research, and millions more to consultants who will analyze the numbers and tell them what they mean. On this blog, COMC is able to gather that sort of information absolutely free. And it’s probably worth every penny.

    Once again, my apologies if anyone took anything I said the wrong way. Tim wanted feedback and I gave him feedback, based on my own experience and the discussions I’ve had with others.

  7. Some additional feedback:

    * I found the ability to download the details of the auction into a spreadsheet to be extremely helpful.

    * If practical, I would like to have the lowest COMC price for each card as one of the spreadsheet fields. For instance, if a card books for $10 but other people are offering the same card for $1.99, it would be useful to have that data before bidding.

    Anyway, I placed a bid. Good luck with the auction, and thanks again for your continued efforts to improve the site.

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  9. Sorry, checkoutmydeals, i was not attacking you or any one else. And all of your points are valid concerns, i just feel if people really evaluated what percentage of profits go to “fee’s” to sell on other sites or at card shows or conventions, the 20% might not be as hard to swallow. best of luck and i really like your selection of cards and your pricing. thank you for being a valued member of COMC. Sorry if my tone was nasty.

  10. Fees are never fun. It’s all a balancing act.
    I like the concept of having the cards in one place, getting scanned, someone else deals
    with the shipping, etc. The problem comes from the maintenance fees and shipping fees.
    For a single card or even a few cards the shipping is fair, but in larger amounts it just does
    not feel right. The is especially true for the graded cards, I just don’t understand why it
    costs so much to ship vs the other cards when sent in bulk.

    The other thing is, while I would happily pay the 20%, and send cards in to be the store’s
    stock, the maintenance fee would kill any any chance for it to make sense to send lower
    priced cards unless you are 100% sure that they will sell before the fees kicked in.
    A larger stock of cards makes the site more inviting for buyers.

    Consider someone who had a batch of 500 of cards that currently book for about $1 per.
    The processing costs are $3 + 15 cents per, so you have a minimum of $78 cost for a
    bunch of cards that book at $500, plus whatever your shipping costs were to begin with.
    So you need to sell over 100 cards to just break even, if you are getting it as cash and
    you are able to sell at guide.

    Of course reality is, for most cards, you would have to offer a discount, so you have to
    sell even more to break even. This would be OK if you are able to stay the long haul, but
    if you are both giving a discount, and you are paying the maintenance cost, its riskier.

    Now, if you change that to $10 cards, then it starts becoming more reasonable.
    The costs stay more or less the same, but you need only sell 10 cards to get to a more or
    less break even point.

    This, of course, assumes that the seller take the cheapest option to get posted.
    For a cheap card it is, in fact, the only way that someone can hope to break even.
    If they were to pay the 50 cents per for express, well you can see there would be small
    chance at making anything.

    Maybe once we can actually see what is sell for how much we might be able to make
    intelligent choices and send stuff in. Until you know what is going to sell, fear will keep
    many cards off the site.

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  12. Question about the silent auction? I see the minimum bid is $350. But the minimum bid has been that since the 14th bidder. It is now at the 18th bidder and it is still at a $350 minimum bid. Is an $11,000 high book auction really going for $350??? Just curious to know how this works becaue I may put my “port” up for auction. But if an $11,000 “port” is only going for $350 my “port” might buy me lunch at McDonalds.

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