We hope that you had a fantastic Holiday Season and a Happy New Year! We already have our bags packed and are ready for the first stop on our 2017 schedule. Up first will be the 2017 Upper Deck Certified Diamond Dealer Conference in Phoenix, Arizona on January 11th and 12th. If you own a hobby shop and are an Upper Deck Certified Diamond Dealer then be sure to join us at the Sheraton Grand Phoenix Hotel!
COMC will be in attendance with our own booth set up for both days of the conference. We will be available both days to meet with hobby shop owners to discuss how COMC can help their shops become more successful. We’ll have a booth set up to be able to help dealers set up and manage their accounts, offer demonstrations of our service, and answer any and all questions they may have about our service.
If you will be in attendance at the event and would like to drop off consignment submissions, we will be accepting submissions at our booth on both days as well. We look forward to seeing you there!
What a whirlwind the last two weeks have been! It goes without saying that this year was by far the BEST National Sports Collector’s Convention yet for COMC. This year we saw eight COMC staff members make the cross-country trek to Atlantic City, New Jersey for the 37th Annual National Convention. This year COMC had a booth in the corporate area with the likes of Upper Deck, Panini and Topps.
Over the course of our five days at the convention, we met with hundreds of members of the COMC Nation who shared their thoughts, suggestions, and feedback with our staff! We also provided nearly two thousand 300-count boxes for collectors to fill up at the hundreds of booths around us. Even though we opted not to run a National Convention processing special this year, we accepted nearly a thousand pounds’ worth of consignment submissions. That’s a staggering amount of cards!
Tim and Steve share a laugh with a long-time COMC consignor
In lieu of a processing special, this year we opted to run daily store credit giveaway drawings three times a day for a total of $400 a day, as well as a Grand Prize drawing of $500 at the conclusion of the Convention! All those in attendance at The National who had a COMC account were eligible to enter, and those who didn’t have a COMC account…well, let’s just say a lot of accounts were created! We ran four computer stations at our booth for convention-goers to browse the COMC marketplace, sign up for or manage their accounts, and even print their submission paperwork on the spot.
What an amazing turnout!
Grant and Steve prepping boxes to hand out.
The most iconic cards all under one roof.
In their admittedly sparse downtime, our team was able to enjoy the sights and sounds of Atlantic City at night. Under the hot summer sun, they toured the Boardwalk, enjoyed popular local restaurants such as Kelsey’s (Soul & Comfort) and Angelo’s (Italian), and tried their luck at the local casinos!
We want to thank everyone who stopped by our booth and contributed in making this year’s experience at The National the best one yet. We’ll be back next year in Chicago from July 26th-30th, 2017 for another great convention, and we hope that you’ll consider heading to the Windy City with us! No matter what you collect, there is nothing quite like the experience that is the Sports Collector’s Convention.
Ever get some news that was so good you wanted to shout it from the rooftops? Then you know the mood we’re in at COMC. However, since our roof is likely far from yours, instead we made a video to talk about some of the things that we’ve been working on, and to address the status of our lawsuit.
I just released version 4444 of our internal software yesterday. It was less than 20 months ago that I released version 3333. That is an average of more than 2.5 versions every business day.
While you may not have noticed many changes to the design of the COMC website recently, this stat might help you understand why. We have been busy re-inventing the software that runs behind the scenes now that we are in the business of building and maintaining checklists.
It is our ability to adapt and change so quickly that has allowed us to weather the storms we have faced, and it will also allow us to thrive going forward.
I just released version 3333 of our internal application today. This is the software that is used by our 50+ employees to manage all of our processing and shipping. Yes, that means that I release more than once a day on average. This is part of our competitive advantage. We are able to quickly adapt to the changing needs of the business, and boy, have there been a lot of those lately.
Thank you for your patience as we continue to catch up with all of the changes. We are rapidly adapting and evolving to meet our new needs. Good thing I put in my 10,000 hours with Microsoft before launching this business. I couldn’t imagine trying to tackle these challenges without so much technology at my fingertips.
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:
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:
From Edit (from your Search or Inventory), you will get a popup where you can enter data that is missing or needs correction:
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 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
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!
Let’s start with the good news: we are getting TEN TIMES our normal traffic today!
This means we have the necessarytraffic to reach our goal of increasing sales by 10 times (as part of the previously announced “Perfect 10 Black Friday Special”).
As for the not so good news, as you may have noticed, there have been some site issues today. Please know that we are working very hard to resolve them all and expect to be fully up to speed very soon!
We’ve recently switched to a new server specifically for customer service, and this morning we discovered that some of our replies weren’t being sent out and some were being caught in “spam” filters upon arrival to the customer’s email inbox. The issue should be fixed now, but if you’ve emailed us in the last few days and haven’t received a reply please email us again and let us know so we can take care of you, and please also take a look at your spam email folder to see if our reply was mistakenly filtered out.
It is interesting to follow the average page views per month from year to year for .
2007 Q3 – 0.1 million views/month
2008 Q3 – 1.1 million views/month
2009 Q3 – 2.5 million views/month
2010 Q3 – 4.4 million views/month
As the traffic continues to grow we need to make performance optimizations to handle the workload. In a post on Monday I alluded to some changes that might be noticeable by repeat visitors. The major update that I made was a performance optimization that affected nearly every page of the website. As a result many pages started loading significantly faster.
We migrated from using ASP.Net’s stored procedure profile provider for custom user information to using direct queries with Microsoft’s LINQ to SQL. This made it very easy for us to make highly targeted, optimized, and secure queries just when we needed the information.
This is just the first of many performance improvements we plan to make to the site. Over the next few weeks I will discuss a monumental change that we have in the works. Hint: The future is cloudy.
At last… I found the needle in the haystack. Wow, what a pain. We got our new email server all configured about 10 days ago, and it seemed to be working great for just about everyone. However, no one from with an aol.com email address was getting our emails.
AOL required reverse DNS to be configured for the IP address that is sending the email messages.
This had all been configured correctly with our old email server, but when we migrated the the new email server, I had to change some of our firewall settings. The email server happens to accept request from a couple different IP addresses. So it was successfully receiving emails that were routed through mx1.checkoutmycards.com, but when it was sending emails it happen to go out through a different IP address.
I realized this by doing a “What is my IP” search and seeing that it didn’t match mx1.checkoutmycards.com. All I had to do was change one firewall setting so that outgoing emails got sent through the same IP address as the one that had reverse DNS configured.
I even created an @aol.com email address just to test the scenario and make sure things worked. Hopefully all of you at aol.com can now receive our emails.