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A Serious Discussion about Brick Classifieds


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You stated exactly my initial opinion on this site having a classified section. People who pay top dollar for sets most likely are not readers of this site but regular non-investing AFOLs

 

I guess you didn't read the post I just had, and its fine, you can continue to go post on eBay and pay 9-10% commission.  The classifieds will still allow you to post your ebay listings on this site to let people know about them.  It's all good.  The end result will be to help point people to listings for the sets that they want.

 

Also as far as driving people to the site, I would hope that sellers would do their part as well to let people know of it.  What does Bricklink do to drive people to that site?

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That's an interesting question.  How does bricklink get people to their website?  I am really surprised they never invested in some advertising anyplace, if they have I've never seen or heard any.  Despite all of it's success I only started using it by chance and it coming up in some type of Lego search way back.  Very random.

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Personally, I wouldn't pay to list or advertise sets on this site because of the audience it attracts. When I sell sets, I don't want customers who are like me and are buying Lego to resell because they aren't willing to pay the prices that I need to sell at,to make the profit I want to make. For me to sell or advertise here, it would have to attract true consumers who are looking to buy sets for personal use and don't care about the price. Right now, I just don't see what this site has to offer in terms of a viable marketplace that would make me want to add another sales channel to those that I already use.

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I guess you didn't read the post I just had, and its fine, you can continue to go post on eBay and pay 9-10% commission.  The classifieds will still allow you to post your ebay listings on this site to let people know about them.  It's all good.  The end result will be to help point people to listings for the sets that they want.

 

Also as far as driving people to the site, I would hope that sellers would do their part as well to let people know of it.  What does Bricklink do to drive people to that site?

Hi Jeff, I saw your post after I posted mine.. Then slightly modified it. I did state it was my initial opinion.

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Personally, I wouldn't pay to list or advertise sets on this site because of the audience it attracts. When I sell sets, I don't want customers who are like me and are buying Lego to resell because they aren't willing to pay the prices that I need to sell at,to make the profit I want to make. For me to sell or advertise here, it would have to attract true consumers who are looking to buy sets for personal use and don't care about the price. Right now, I just don't see what this site has to offer in terms of a viable marketplace that would make me want to add another sales channel to those that I already use.

 

I guess you don't read my posts either :)

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Personally, I wouldn't pay to list or advertise sets on this site because of the audience it attracts. When I sell sets, I don't want customers who are like me and are buying Lego to resell because they aren't willing to pay the prices that I need to sell at,to make the profit I want to make. For me to sell or advertise here, it would have to attract true consumers who are looking to buy sets for personal use and don't care about the price. Right now, I just don't see what this site has to offer in terms of a viable marketplace that would make me want to add another sales channel to those that I already use.

 

Jeff has addressed this in two different posts, trying to make the point that the vast sea of lurkers out there are, percentage-wise, a significant consumer audience, not just other resellers (or, occasionally casual resellers who are none-the-less primarily consumers).

 

If he's right (and he has the data we don't to make his opinion count for more), this could be a very useful sale-to-consumer site, particularly because if the fees are low enough, a sizable discount (eBay fees) can be made to the buyer without hurting the sellers' pocketbooks.

 

But even if it turns out that not as many consumers as is estimated are lurking out there with credit cards at the ready, I can see this turning into a very valuable business-to-business selling/trading venue.

 

At the fees being hinted at, though, I figure: what's a frog got to lose for trying it out?

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Hi Jeff, so if the site then is made up of just 50% investors, then to test this theory that the other 50% are regular non-investing lego buyers....

If we go back to Willy's example and he offers his Exclusive Crawler here on the classifieds lets just say he is allowed to create a new post offering his for sale right now (which I know he's not) based on your stats then he should have no problem getting $400 for his set on here right now since the other 50% of the people on the site are Non-investing lego buyers who would be willing to pay $400 for it just as he could get right now on ebay.

It would be a great test or even use another set maybe not as exclusive like a retired Imperial Shuttle and then we'd be able to see if it really would sell on here for market value or close to it and be competitive to what us other investors could get on ebay, amazon for it.

Id like to sell my sets, maybe even advertise but just want to make sure it would be competitive with what I could get elsewhere.

Keep up the great work Ed and Jeff, you guys do an amazing job and I have the utmost respect for you :-)

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I guess you don't read my posts either :)

I hadn't gotten to it yet, but it doesn't change my opinion. I don't doubt that a lot of people who come to this site don't post, but the entire focus of this site is investing in Lego and that is going to attract a very specific crowd. I have a very hard time believing that this site is attracting the same people who I regularly sell sets to elsewhere. Even if it did, it is not clear to me what it offers in terms of user experience from the buyer side that would motivate people to shop here versus Bricklink or Amazon or EBay. IMHO that's the most difficult question for sites like yours and BrickOwl to answer...if I am a consumer, what would make me want to buy here over the other outlets available? For sellers, you can offer lower fees, but without customers, it's a complete waste of time.

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First off, I would just like to applaud Jeff for posting this topic and discussing it openly with the members.  That alone shows that both Ed and Jeff and quite serious about trying to figure out what the members want and what helps out the site.  Sure, everybody wants what is best for their interest and they want things to be free, but free I don't think helps out developement of the site.  From what I read, they would put funds received back into the site which in return would mostly likely lure more customers and more eyes on your listings.

 

To me, paying a fee to have feeless transacations the rest of the year is a winner.  Not going into each listing thinking, "Ok if I sell this set for $250, I need to take of $25, etc,etc" The potential savings could be vast for some of you.  Someone here posted that they sell $20k?  Sure, I know the traffic isn't ebay, but then again, how many sites are.  You have to take what you can get.

 

Some of you sound like a broken record.  If you think all you will be doing is selling to the same people over an over, that is pretty narrow minded.  If the funds are there, they can open up Adwords accounts and pay enough to have #1 placement on google for selling sets.  Go on other family sites to let moms and dads know that there is a new place to buy and sell LEGO.  I am sure there are many others as well.  But it takes money to do all this.  If they are trying to pass on an opportunity for the possibility of massive savings over time, then why should they take the hit in the pocket as well.

 

I know this is just a discussion for them to get feedback, but open your minds to the possibilities.

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Hi Jeff, so if the site then is made up of just 50% investors, then to test this theory that the other 50% are regular non-investing lego buyers....

If we go back to Willy's example and he offers his Exclusive Crawler here on the classifieds lets just say he is allowed to create a new post offering his for sale right now (which I know he's not) based on your stats then he should have no problem getting $400 for his set on here right now since the other 50% of the people on the site are Non-investing lego buyers who would be willing to pay $400 for it just as he could get right now on ebay.

It would be a great test or even use another set maybe not as exclusive like a retired Imperial Shuttle and then we'd be able to see if it really would sell on here for market value or close to it and be competitive to what us other investors could get on ebay, amazon for it.

Id like to sell my sets, maybe even advertise but just want to make sure it would be competitive with what I could get elsewhere.

Keep up the great work Ed and Jeff, you guys do an amazing job and I have the utmost respect for you :-)

 

I think this is terrible reasoning.  Why don't you just ask Jeff what the winning lottery numbers will be.  Seriously?  So now he needs to prove himself to you.

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I like the idea that was brought up about tiered levels of Classifieds membership.  You will be able to attract the small and big fish.  Having a set fee of, say, $50-100 may be too much for a beginner investor, but pocket change to somone that is selling $10k + each year.  This may also add a lot more work for you, though, as opposed to a set fee across the board.  Whatever is decided, I will be sure to have listings there because I know that there will always be guys/gals here looking for that elusive new/used set that they didn't want to spend top dollar on ebay for, but a cheaper listing here will save everybody a few bucks. 

 

And to those that think people here won't spend top dollar, I think you are dead wrong.  Everybody misses on a set they want for a collection, and even us investors will be willing to spend a little extra on something we want.  I know I've spent big money on sets after they went EOL because I wanted them in the collection.

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Assuming that there are a bunch of lurkers on here willing to pay "non-picker" prices for sets isn't a "truth" per se but the small percentage of BP members who actually post on this forum in relation to the registered member base does lend credence to the idea that the lurkers are out there. I'm just not so sure that a high number of registered users surely indicates that the audience for sets comparable to ebay is there. I guess we may find out.

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I hadn't gotten to it yet, but it doesn't change my opinion. I don't doubt that a lot of people who come to this site don't post, but the entire focus of this site is investing in Lego and that is going to attract a very specific crowd. I have a very hard time believing that this site is attracting the same people who I regularly sell sets to elsewhere. Even if it did, it is not clear to me what it offers in terms of user experience from the buyer side that would motivate people to shop here versus Bricklink or Amazon or EBay. IMHO that's the most difficult question for sites like yours and BrickOwl to answer...if I am a consumer, what would make me want to buy here over the other outlets available? For sellers, you can offer lower fees, but without customers, it's a complete waste of time.

 

I see what you are saying, but does that mean that I shouldn't try to create a product and build it over years, just like Bricklink has been around for 10 years to get where they are today?  Should there only be eBay and Bricklink and no more offerings?  I don't think that is fair.  I don't think Bricklink offers their buyers anything special do they?

 

Assuming that there are a bunch of lurkers on here willing to pay "non-picker" prices for sets isn't a "truth" per se but the small percentage of BP members who actually post on this forum in relation to the registered member base does lend credence to the idea that the lurkers are out there. I'm just not so sure that a high number of registered users surely indicates that the audience for sets comparable to ebay is there. I guess we may find out.

 

Did anyone here say that the audience here is even remotely comparable to eBay?  I sure didn't.  The only thing I said was that you should consider that every single users on this site is not just an investor.  

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Jeff has addressed this in two different posts, trying to make the point that the vast sea of lurkers out there are, percentage-wise, a significant consumer audience, not just other resellers (or, occasionally casual resellers who are none-the-less primarily consumers).

 

If he's right (and he has the data we don't to make his opinion count for more), this could be a very useful sale-to-consumer site, particularly because if the fees are low enough, a sizable discount (eBay fees) can be made to the buyer without hurting the sellers' pocketbooks.

 

But even if it turns out that not as many consumers as is estimated are lurking out there with credit cards at the ready, I can see this turning into a very valuable business-to-business selling/trading venue.

 

At the fees being hinted at, though, I figure: what's a frog got to lose for trying it out?

He also has a vested financial interest in creating the impression that there are a lot of buyers here. I'm not saying he's making up,what he's saying, but, unless I'm missing something, I'm not sure how the owners of this site would have any special insight on the willingness of the lurkers to begin buying sets on this site through a marketplace that doesn't yet exist. They are certainly privy to more information than I am, but I have not yet heard anything to suggest that there is a huge demand from people wanting to buy on this site.

If you're talking business to business, I could see that much easier than a consumer marketplace, but, again, I still don't see this site as filling an unmet need in the marketplace. I already sell a lot of sets in bulk to resellers through Bricklink and think that there are plenty of others who do as well. Unless I thought that there was a group of customers who would come here to buy, but who wouldn't go to bricklink or eBay or amazon to buy, I don't see a huge reason to expand and begin trying to sell here.

If you think it's worth it to give it a go here, by all means do so. For me, it's a straight cost-benefit analysis...the fees may be really low, but the time that it would take to manage listings and complete transactions would kill it for me.

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A big benefit to buying/selling/trading here would be the confidence given by real members who've established themselves and can be transparent about their intentions versus the anonimity of eBay. As prices go up, it would be nice to be able to trade a few sets with other members to stock our inventory with something we are missing or want more of versus using cash. This could be a huge benefit and fill a business need that I don't think exists yet.

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Did anyone here say that the audience here is even remotely comparable to eBay?  I sure didn't.  The only thing I said was that you should consider that every single users on this site is not just an investor.  

 

Ok, I should've explained this better. What I mean't was that we don't know if the non-investor userbase here is willing to pay prices comparable to ebay going rates. And I know you didn't explicitly say that, it is something I've hypothesized based on the concept that was mentioned that there is a userbase of members on here who don't regularly post yet are willing to use the classifieds. Will they pay a price for items comparable to ebay median values is the question I'm exploring.

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He also has a vested financial interest in creating the impression that there are a lot of buyers here. I'm not saying he's making up,what he's saying, but, unless I'm missing something, I'm not sure how the owners of this site would have any special insight on the willingness of the lurkers to begin buying sets on this site through a marketplace that doesn't yet exist. They are certainly privy to more information than I am, but I have not yet heard anything to suggest that there is a huge demand from people wanting to buy on this site.

If you're talking business to business, I could see that much easier than a consumer marketplace, but, again, I still don't see this site as filling an unmet need in the marketplace. I already sell a lot of sets in bulk to resellers through Bricklink and think that there are plenty of others who do as well. Unless I thought that there was a group of customers who would come here to buy, but who wouldn't go to bricklink or eBay or amazon to buy, I don't see a huge reason to expand and begin trying to sell here.

If you think it's worth it to give it a go here, by all means do so. For me, it's a straight cost-benefit analysis...the fees may be really low, but the time that it would take to manage listings and complete transactions would kill it for me.

 

So why are you even wasting your time or our time with your posts.  You already knew before even reading this that you had no interesting in posting here. So go post on eBay.  You obviously have your own interests somewhere else, so take your cost-benefit analysis and go there.  Wow, where is that thumbs down button when you need it.

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Ok, I should've explained this better. What I mean't was that we don't know if the non-investor userbase here is willing to pay prices comparable to ebay going rates. And I know you didn't explicitly say that, it is something I've hypothesized based on the concept that was mentioned that there is a userbase of members on here who don't regularly post yet are willing to use the classifieds. Will they pay a price for items comparable to ebay median values is the question I'm exploring.

 

 

Keep in mind that if the fees for listing are low enough here, they don't have to pay eBay comparable rates. A portion of eBay's percentage could be knocked off -- all of it if the seller wanted, but at least some of it makes the item lower priced than the same item from the same seller on eBay. Add in a discount for paying by postal money order and you save 3% PayPal fees - offer 2% savings to the buyer, both of you come out ahead.

 

I don't know if it will work, but I do know that if I don't try to support the best of the new venues (and based on management, I'd put this venue in that "best of" category) I'm not really helping myself.

 

Example: Bonanza.com is a decently managed website with no listing fees, but Google loves them. I have my eBay listings mirrored there and get a steady trickle of sales at a low final value fee, no listing fee, and almost no work (they sync my eBay store listings daily, anything that sells on Bonanza I immediately remove from eBay to avoid the double sale on my OOAK offerings). No, Bonanza is no eBay in traffic, but without little sites to offer a little challenge, the 800 lb. Gorillas remain the only games in town.

 

I like to have my eggs in more than one basket, and more than even the two big baskets of Amazon and eBay. Bricklink is a separate venture and I have high hopes for it, but a few ads here aren't going to break me in time management and could pay off.

 

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

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This would also rely on sellers pricing their items taking into consideration there are no 10% fees involved. That should mean we can sell at lower prices here and get the same amount of profit, giving us an advantage over other sites.

 

YESS!!!  Someone else finally gets it.  Amazing.  But many of these other people feel that they only way to do business is to make sure you charge super high prices to cover your 10% losses but then come and tell everyone here that you just sold your set at this high price.

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At the end of the day the proposal is just another market.  How can that be bad?  A seller will list an item for whatever they are willing to take for it, a buyer may or may not buy it at that price.  The prices will find an equilibrium.  That happy medium will hopefully be lower than Ebay due to reduced transaction fees, letting the buyer and the seller share some of that win.

 

Sure, Ebay may get higher prices if you are willing to hold out for uniformed buyers (which on average should be less than potential brick Classifieds buyers).  But as long as you list a set for the price you want to take how as a seller can you lose?

 

This is a long term game as well.  If the website is well built as I'm sure it will be and the fees are lower I don't see how it can't grow to at least bricklink size perhaps.

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I see what you are saying, but does that mean that I shouldn't try to create a product and build it over years, just like Bricklink has been around for 10 years to get where they are today?  Should there only be eBay and Bricklink and no more offerings?  I don't think that is fair.  I don't think Bricklink offers their buyers anything special do they?

 

 

Did anyone here say that the audience here is even remotely comparable to eBay?  I sure didn't.  The only thing I said was that you should consider that every single users on this site is not just an investor.

I never said that you shouldn't try to build the product. When I first became aware of this site, it seemed pretty clear to me that you would try to build a user base first and then try to add some type of marketplace to monetize your traffic. Nothing wrong with that...I was just saying that, as a seller who has been at this for a number of years, there is nothing about this site or the ideas being discussed that would lead me to sell here because you are talking about starting a new marketplace for a product that already has multiple marketplaces that are are mature and well utilized. Unless you are bringing something new to the table that the other outlets aren't, then my view is that you're, at best, creating a niche marketplace that will be used by small numbers of consumers. Could I list products her and possibly close a few sales, probably. However, if I could sell those same sets elsewhere on platforms that I'm already using, what's the point?

I have to disagree with you on Bricklink. They offer users something very special...they were the first game in town as a dedicated lego marketplace and have a large base of buyers and sellers as a result. There is a lot I don't like about bricklink, but I have not found anywhere else where I can consistently, year after year, close as many large transactions as I can through bricklink. Last year, I had five deals that were $3k or greater. In the past two days, I've had two deals that were over $400.

I'm sure that non-resellers come here as well, but that doesn't mean that they re willing to buy things when they come here. Prove me wrong and I will be happy to sell here, but, right now, I just don't see a reason to.

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I was already factoring in passing the ebay fees onto the brick classifieds buyers.

ie: selling a set here for $375-$400 instead of $450 on ebay. If the brick classifieds

can bring in buyers around that amount then it will do very well. Of course, if sellers here

are unable to get even $350 for a set that completed ebay auctions have been selling for $450

then I don't see it working. I do hope it succeeds!

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