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A Serious Discussion about Brick Classifieds

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So Ed and I spend time together on the weekends and obviously a lot of talk is about the website.  This is always a good thing and always very productive.  As time goes by on the site and certain things come up, ideas change, new questions come up and we discuss what we should do about it.  Keep a steady course or change direction and build a new plan of action.  Many people here have been waiting to see what Brick Classifieds is and what it has become.  That is all great, but one thing Ed and I have started to talk about is what do you expect out of it and honestly, what do we expect out of it.  This is what I am talking about.

 

A brand new site has come out recently, BrickOwl.  It is put together very nicely, has a nice feature set, has been talked about many times here and has lower rates than both eBay and Bricklink, but yet, I sure don't know of many people from here or anywhere that have been buying or selling from there.  Sure there are some stores there, but I am wondering and concerned as to why more of you have not been trying it out.  What do you have to lose?  I thought it would have been overloaded by now. Is everyone waiting for Bricklink 2.0?

 

We offered the ability to advertise here on this site and I have yet to really get anyone to do it?  If there are so many serious Lego dealers, why wouldn't people want to advertise their store to get people to try and buy their stuff.  Everyone that visits this site is not a seller.  We have quite a large number of visitors that come here looking for deals, so why would you not want to invest in your business to get more eyes on your products and make transactions so that you can buy other inventory?  This really doesn't bother me, but I have just been shocked that no one really want to advertise their eBay business, etc.

 

Like I said earlier, we kick a bunch of ideas around.  Here is something we would like to know.  Would you be open to paying a yearly fee to list as many items as you want and have no commission at all.  That way, there is no need for any type of billing, transactions, nothing.  You list the sets, sell you sets, and deal with your customers.  In the end, if you are a casual or serious seller, you would be able to save a boatload in fees/commissions.   

 

Why would this be good?  Well for one, it will help to site continue to grow.  It would be reinvested back into the site to pay for the data, purchase more locations in the future, more contests, advertising and possibly help build a kick butt mobile app.  It would also be positive to make people want to make sure they get their pennies worth and list sets to make their investment worth while.  All these sites that don't charge anything and have free listings are nice, but many people bail, leave their listings, post crazy prices, etc.  Could help with buyers knowing that the sellers have to be paying members in order to have listings.

 

I am sure Ed will post more of his thoughts later, but we want to know where all of you are at.  Launching something like this is no small feat. Everyone has been patient and we appreciate that.

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I would definitely pay a yearly fee to sell sets on Brickpicker depending on how much the fee is. How much would that fee be?

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Good that you bring this up, and I would be open to paying that yearly fee for as many listings as you think fair. It reduces transactions and time for everyone.

 

This is not strictly about the Classifieds, but something I had been meaning to bring up regarding the ads. Personally, it just not make sense for me to advertise right now just because I am a very small time seller with a small inventory, and I feel this is geared up more to the high volume kind of guys. One thing I think you should consider is offer some kind of free trial of whatever length you consider appropriate. This way you will show those who sign up how much their sales or traffic increases by advertising on the site, making it more likely for them to pay for the service in the future.

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I am just curious what is going to drive buyers to the site.  Buyers who would pay retail, period retail, or period retail+ I mean.  Most, if not all of us found this site looking for investor information, or low prices on lego.

 

For instance--I listed my 41999 crawler on ebay for $499.  Nobody here would pay that.  Taking out the ebay fee, I could list it here for $450.  Again..nobody here would pay that.  So maybe I lower it to $399 for my friends here to get a crack at it---again--nobody here would pay that.  The most anybody "in the know" here would pay for it--is maybe $300-$350 max.

 

Although----now I will contracdict myself.  I just spend hundreds of dollars paying double for some harry potter sets, and still looking for a deal on the alley for ~ $200---which is well over period retail.

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I look at it from my own perspective living in Australia. 

As a seller obviously I am wanting to make as much profit from a sale that I can, and constantly flipping sets on eBay helps keep the cash flow moving (minus their ludicrous fees). But most of the sets I buy, the deals from the stores I also post here or others do. Others can obviously find the same deals and purchase from similar avenues that I do. As shipping fees are also crazy here on top of it, it also makes things more expensive before even remotely considering shipping internationally. Investors on this site are savvy in terms of deals and would find better options regardless of whatever advertising I put in place. 

In terms of buying, I would definitely be checking it out and seeing what sort of bargains I could pick up to resell later on or for my own personal collection. 

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Personally, I have been waiting for the Classifieds to be defined before deciding exactly how to approach them as a sales entity.  My biggest worry where they are concerned is that it will be the same people that use them both for buying and selling.  I look at eBay as the place that I may find people who do not know the value of the sets or pieces that they are buying or selling.  As a buyer I look for good deals and as a seller I look for buyers who will overpay for my items.  Both exist in great quantity on eBay (and Craigslist in some areas).  BrickLink is populated with sellers who know more about what they are selling and buyers who are also educated and are motivated by different goals than the average eBayer.  I see users on this site as fitting much more in the mold of the BrickLink user.  It makes me wonder what I would be able to sell successfully on this site.

 

All that aside, it makes me a bit nervous to think about a flat fee to sell rather than one based upon listings or sales.  I am a very small fish in this pond and do not intend to do more than dabble as a seller.  I don't think that I am the only one that frequents this site that is essentially a hobbyist--a serious, need to be informed of everything hobbyist.  Of course we all want to be making some money, but not at the expense of having fun in the process.  Perhaps a series of plateaus would be appropriate--up to X listings or dollars per year for X fee, tiered so that larger sellers pay more than us little guys, but we are still able to afford to be involved.

 

Thanks for opening this up for input, and I hope that mine is useful in some way. 

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The main appeal to me would be getting decent deals on retired sets. I would definitely be willing to pay the price of a retired set if a seller is willing to take out the 10% eBay of the lowest eBay price for a similar set...

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I have been looking forward to the Classifieds and would be open to paying a yearly fee. I think you would have to put SOME limitation on us, though (one ad per day, one ad per week, whatever) or there'd be spamming.

 

There's only one reason I haven't purchased a display ad to point to my eBay store and that's the fact that I don't have the volume yet. A classified ad is a different feel to me - I can, for example, post our dance game there, give a bit of a discount (depending on the yearly rate on the classifieds) on our eBay price, and not feel like a little girl dressing up in her mother's evening gown the way I would with a "Hey come to my store! Observe my 30 Lego listing with awe and buy them!" display ad.  :queen:

 

Down the road (maybe as early as the new year) I'm looking forward to purchasing a display ad, too. They're a very reasonable price and like you I am befuddled why some of the bigger wigs around us haven't bought them - this site has way, way, WAY more lurkers than posters, and I reckon a lot of buyers as well as sellers.

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Just a thought: How about a tiered annual fee? 12 listings/year for one rate, 25 listings/year next rate, 100 listings/year next rate, unlimited (up to 1 per day) listings at top rate?

 

That would give the big AND little guys an attractive option and keep your bookkeeping almost as simple.

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The main appeal to me would be getting decent deals on retired sets. I would definitely be willing to pay the price of a retired set if a seller is willing to take out the 10% eBay of the lowest eBay price for a similar set...

 

I think that would be the main deal for everyone here, or else selling to markets where buyers don't have access to the monster discounts some do

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The main reason why I haven't tried BrickOwl is because I don't have a lot of sets that have gotten to the point of selling them. Most of my sets are sets that haven't been retired yet or for very long because I have only been investing for 8 months. I'm a small time seller and investor. That is the same reason why I haven't advertised. My second reason why I haven't tried BrickOwl is because I'm waiting for the Brick Classifieds first. I was going to compare them to eBay and go from there.

A flat, one-time yearly fee would really simplify things for everyone and as long as it is not too high, I would be willing to do/pay that.

EDIT: I'm pretty sure this question has been asked, but I do not remember the answer. Would us young adults under the age of 18 be able to use The Classifieds for buying and selling?

Edited by Darth Lego

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Perhaps with all your lego and web based know how, you 2 could launch a completely seperate site for the selling of lego sets--with no connection to us?  I like the us vs. them vibe of this site----the semi-underground nature of friends helping each other pay the absolute least for each of their sets, while discussing ways of maximizing profits turned at the expense of "everyone else".

 

Somehow the posts here of "I just sold a 4x4 crawler to some dope in Australia for $600" would be extremely upsetting to the fella in the next forum over that just paid it.

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Just a thought: How about a tiered annual fee? 12 listings/year for one rate, 25 listings/year next rate, 100 listings/year next rate, unlimited (up to 1 per day) listings at top rate?

 

That would give the big AND little guys an attractive option and keep your bookkeeping almost as simple.

I think that that is a great idea. Different fees for how much you sell. I think that it would be a lot better for everyone. 

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Just a thought: How about a tiered annual fee? 12 listings/year for one rate, 25 listings/year next rate, 100 listings/year next rate, unlimited (up to 1 per day) listings at top rate?

 

That would give the big AND little guys an attractive option and keep your bookkeeping almost as simple.

 

I like this idea.

 

For me I sell 20k of new and used legos on ebay a year. It would be nice to be able to offer people deals on stuff via this site. I've already been in contact with people about buying things that they found on my ebay store and recognized my user name or items that came up in discussion. I really like this site, the users on this site and the guys behind this site. I'd love to sell via this site.

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I am looking forward to Brick Classifieds and would be open to a yearly fee too.  I haven't bothered with Brick Link (because the interface infuriates me) or Brick Owl because I figured Brick Classifieds will be the place (besides eBay) to sell my stuff once it is up and running.  I think Brick Classifieds will be good for international sales and retired sets.

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Also, I like how the fee would go toward paying for the data. I would much rather sell Lego sets on Brickpicker knowing where my fee is going, than paying a fee every time to eBay for selling a Lego set.

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This is something that has a lot of different sides. Here are some of my points of views:

 

1. Sort of like Willy is saying, what is the target audience? As an investor, a lot of us want to sell our sets for top dollar. Even with Brickclassifieds, if I want to get top Dollar, Ebay will make more sense just because with BIN, I can make sure I am still going to get what I want. Obviously this is more important on bigger sets, but if I make a great listing with pictures, etc. I may be able to get well over the Brickpicker listed price.

 

Problem is, if someone sees something for sale on this site, what do they check first? The BP rate for the set. I guarantee sets aren't selling much over that rate. I have gotten 20-30% over that rate on Ebay, so even with fees I would be inclined to go that route.

 

2. Listing fees just need to be done in a way so that we don't have spammers abusing how often you can list. I would pay an annual fee, no matter how much I sell just to support the site. I think a tiered system is better - the Brickpoint system is great and you could even go the route of giving special rates to high sellers, etc.

 

3. I mainly see I would use this for a quick sale. If I want to get rid of a set quickly or a specialty set quickly, I can post it here and I know my target audience will be looking for it.

 

I like the Brickclassifieds, but I do think it is going to cater to old, rare, retired items that aren't up on Ebay as much and large lots. I don't expect it to cater as much to an investor getting rid of their inventory. No fees are awesome, and this site rocks, but in an absolute honest opinion, I can't see there being enough site traffic to consider using it over Ebay when I want top dollar.

 

Now - the disconnected site idea is possibly better as you could get more casual fans. Again though - being able to immediately look up a price average is going to be rough. People can look up Ebay sales, but there are people who don't and buy a set for $200 more than its worth. And if others look up old sales, they see that and it justifies it. Looking at an average, its hard to justify paying over.

 

Just now, I don't pay over the BP price for ANY set.

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I've been looking forward to Brick Classifieds.  I've held off on looking at BrickOwl because I thought Classifieds was on it's way, probably others here are the same.

 

I think a tiered annual fee for a fixed amount of listings would be a good start point.  Making it open and unlimited could see sections spammed with hundreds of overpriced listings.

 

Classifieds would be another avenue to market.  That can't be a bad thing.  Especially as transaction costs would be lower than the other big markets.

 

If we truly see this "Lego game" as a real investment market then we as investors should be willing to buy off each other at Market Prices.  :phone:

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Regarding Brick Owl, the problem might be that it really is no more than a prettier Bricklink - and Heaven knows Bricklink needs prettying up, but pretty isn't enough to make people jump from old to new.

 

But I think of Bricklink as more a parts site than a set site. I'd think the classifieds here would be more for complete in box or complete out of box sets, with outliers like me listing some customs, etc. as well.

 

I'd also think that it would make an excellent trading venue, and that's something nobody else really offers. If I find myself with 200 small whatevers and am looking to trade them 10 to 1 for 20 larger whatevers, I might just be able to make that deal with one or more other users here who'd like to get out of their large sets a bit and diversify to quicker moving smalls for a season, etc.

 

The sellers here who find the really fantastic deals on sets could find themselves able to flip them quickly and in bulk to sellers who can't find those deals local to them, too. If I'm stocking up on Joe Schmoe's Amazing Riding Lawnmower sets and the best I can find locally is retail, but some guy in Outer Nowhere has a toy shop close down and he finds himself with 50 of them at 75% off and wants to make a quick buck, what quicker way to a positive cash flow than to list them for 30% off here to a pack of hungry investors?

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Another thought - this one is only half-formed, so feel free to point at it and laugh - is that with Lego LEGO Shop at Home, Amazon, etc., enforcing purchasing limits and/or outright banning folks, the classifieds could be a very handy place for some of the little guys to flip super-hot sets to some of the bigger guys.

 

For example, I buy a safe-and-sane two of the limited-du-jour on Amazon or Lego LEGO Shop at Home, keep all the nice VIP points and free bonus offerings for myself, and ship a trade or at-cost sale off to another seller who can't get any more of them from the mystery-limits at LEGO Shop at Home.

 

(Clearly shipping would be a factor in these cases, so local trades might work best, but I can see some super exclusives that Seller A doesn't necessarily want to tie up his cash in but Seller B is dying to get his hands on more being worth even the extra shipping in some cases.)

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Well I wanted to let people post some stuff to see where it was going and on people's minds.

 

The one thing I want to get out there is that for any of you that think that all of the visitors of this site are just people that are here for investing purposes only, then you really don't understand everything about this site.  I would say that maybe 50% of this site is made up of Lego Investors.  There is quite a large number of members that you don't even know that already come to this site that are primarily just buyers.  Who are these people?  They are the same people that visit sites like Bricklink and eBay.  They are the people that like to use Lego to.....ready......build things.  Yes that is right, build things.  Actually open up the boxes and build them and build their own creations.    Why are they on this site you ask?  Because they too like to use the Brickfolio to know what their collection/investment in LEGO is worth for all the sets that they "BUY".    They come here because, yes we do talk a lot about deals and these people "BUY" a lot of sets to keep building.  They like the set guide pages because it presents information differently to them.

 

Once people lose the idea that every single member of Brickpicker is here to just just buy sets for their collection to sell, it will open up many possible ideas for you.  If you think about it.  If the world knows of Brickpicker as the place where people buy sets, they may start to come here first because they know the inventory will be here and they will be dealing with knowledgable sellers.  If the site offers their sellers no commissions and you price your listings accordingly, buyers may opt to check here first netting you more cash.

 

I know I have mentioned it before in other posts, the amount of people that actually join in the forum conversations is quite small.  There are many more lookers than participators.   These are the people you would be selling too.

 

I don't really care about the advertising.  Chances are it will disappear, but I wanted to put it out there to these people that have written me on many occasions, but then once it was available, no one has wanted it so far.  I don't think it was too expensive?  But just like anything, you test the waters and see what people do. This is why this topic has come up now, so we can make whatever final changes before we release this thing and the business model may not be right.

 

I really don't think I will be making a whole different site for this, not at this point anyhow.

 

Ed and I talked about tiers, could be a possibility, the overall goal is to keep it simple for everyone.  No decision has been made, but we are looking at options, that if you think about it, even the person that sells 10 average priced sets a year would be making out quite well.

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I am just curious what is going to drive buyers to the site. Buyers who would pay retail, period retail, or period retail+ I mean. Most, if not all of us found this site looking for investor information, or low prices on lego.

For instance--I listed my 41999 crawler on ebay for $499. Nobody here would pay that. Taking out the ebay fee, I could list it here for $450. Again..nobody here would pay that. So maybe I lower it to $399 for my friends here to get a crack at it---again--nobody here would pay that. The most anybody "in the know" here would pay for it--is maybe $300-$350 max.

You stated exactly my initial opinion on this site having a classified section. People who pay upper / top dollar for sets 'likely' are not readers of this site but regular non-investing AFOLs. Maybe I'm wrong...
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Like most of us here, i have also been waiting for the brick classifieds. - I do feel there should be the same rating system that ebay uses. i also would not mind paying a yearly fee, even if it was a high fee, just not as bad as paying ebay.

 

i hope this can all come together, i have ALOT of sets i would like to move when it is available!

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I'd like to ask a very silly question....I honestly can't find anything about brick classifieds or advertisements for ebay shops on the site.  Am I missing it or is it just not up yet because it's still in the planning stages?  I'm not sure I'd ever use the advertisements as I currently don't have an ebay store, just my personal ebay, but I'd love to post some stuff to the classifieds section!  Will this be new AND used or strictly new sets?  I like the idea of a yearly fee for posting, although not any more or less so than paying a fee per listing.

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