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A Serious Discussion about Brick Classifieds


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Let me put a simple example together about ways in which I think this can be beneficial to the buyer and seller.
 
We get a lot of traffic to the price guide pages.  Especially the more popular sets.  So lets take the Imperial Shuttle for example.  When i do a redesign on that page for the Classifieds, members and non members will see the Classifieds listings along with the eBay listings.
 
So say the set goes on eBay for $450, then you subtract your $45 in fees.  You just sold the set for $405.
 
If you list it on here for say $415, even $425, you can attract that buyer and still make more money than at eBay.

 

Yes, I understand that eBay gets more traffic, they are in the top 10 of all sites in the world.  But people to look at our guide pages quite regularly, so there is a good chance when people are doing comparison shopping, they would bite on a site that is dedicated to the buying and selling of Lego.

 
Edit....Wow Fcbarcelona101 and I are having the same thought process right now... :)

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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.

 

Yes, the savings in fees would be a big attraction, and the reason why I have been looking forward to this. But are there enough of these non-investors to adequately purchase items at a rate fast enough for someone like you (I don't actually know your volume rate of sales, obviously) to continue to list here and move items at a rate that would encourage you to keep selling here as opposed to ebay? If passing the savings off to the consumer by lowering the listing rate to undercut ebay due to the saving of fees, is it worth it if it takes longer to sell, for example? Not trying to be facetious, just trying to consider all aspects.

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Makes sense, it just needs to have a reputation here.  People are going to be more inclined to buy on ebay for the security then here.  Keep in mind who will be dealing with disputes, payment problems, and what not?  Needless to say I don't think selling here would be bad at all, i just hope there's not unforseen issues that will come this way.

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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.

Because Jeff asked the question and I don't think that anyone in his position benefits from an echo chamber of thumb's up posters who praise every idea he has. If you don't like what I have to say, don't read my posts.

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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.

 

Honestly I hope you make millions of dollars.   I really do and you can use whatever tools you best feel comfortable with. I will never force anyone here to use anything we have.  The information is here and available.  If anyone chooses to list their stuff here, I hope we act as a positive conduit to sell your set.  Ed and I are here to help people buy and sell, period.  You have made it clear that this is not for you and I respect that.  Maybe one day it will be something useful to you.

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Yes, the savings in fees would be a big attraction, and the reason why I have been looking forward to this. But are there enough of these non-investors to adequately purchase items at a rate fast enough for someone like you (I don't actually know your volume rate of sales, obviously) to continue to list here and move items at a rate that would encourage you to keep selling here as opposed to ebay? If passing the savings off to the consumer by lowering the listing rate to undercut ebay due to the saving of fees, is it worth it if it takes longer to sell, for example? Not trying to be facetious, just trying to consider all aspects.

 

Sure, I see your point. I'm a Rikki Tikki Tavi kinda girl - run and find out!

 

(And, with minor exceptions I'll probably limit my selling here at first to either the very scarce - I'm looking at you, 1999 McDonald's Set - or the items I have in multi quantities so they can safely be listed here AND there and everywhere, and may the best site win.  :shifty:

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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.

 

I get that you don't agree with him, but not sure why you are bringing so much emotion into your posts. Seems to me like he's just trying to make a logical evaluation of how he sees the site coming to be, and he's providing honest feedback, which I think is what Jeff wanted from all of us here.

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Let me put a simple example together about ways in which I think this can be beneficial to the buyer and seller.

 

We get a lot of traffic to the price guide pages.  Especially the more popular sets.  So lets take the Imperial Shuttle for example.  When i do a redesign on that page for the Classifieds, members and non members will see the Classifieds listings along with the eBay listings.

 

So say the set goes on eBay for $450, then you subtract your $45 in fees.  You just sold the set for $405.

 

If you list it on here for say $415, even $425, you can attract that buyer and still make more money than at eBay.

 

Yes, I understand that eBay gets more traffic, they are in the top 10 of all sites in the world.  But people to look at our guide pages quite regularly, so there is a good chance when people are doing comparison shopping, they would bite on a site that is dedicated to the buying and selling of Lego.

 Edit....Wow Fcbarcelona101 and I are having the same thought process right now... :)

As a seller, two critical pieces of this scenario are the front-end process through which listings are created and the back-end process through which transactions are closed. One of the reasons that I prefer to use amazon over any other marketplace is that amazon makes it unbelievably easy and convenient to list and sell. I don't use eBay as much these days because of the time involved in creating listings. Make the process easy for buyers and sellers and it stands a much greater chance of success.

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Yes, the savings in fees would be a big attraction, and the reason why I have been looking forward to this. But are there enough of these non-investors to adequately purchase items at a rate fast enough for someone like you (I don't actually know your volume rate of sales, obviously) to continue to list here and move items at a rate that would encourage you to keep selling here as opposed to ebay? If passing the savings off to the consumer by lowering the listing rate to undercut ebay due to the saving of fees, is it worth it if it takes longer to sell, for example? Not trying to be facetious, just trying to consider all aspects.

 

If you want me to give you a Jeff Mack 110% Day one guarantee that these people will be as crazy as the people on eBay and pay anything you throw at them, that would be reckless and foolish of me.  Price your sets accordingly and see what the people do.  You have nothing to lose.  It's not like I have a contract with these people that they will jump and buy everything up.  They will be regular consumers like on any other site.  If you have a set they are looking for and it has a good price, I am sure they will consider buying it from you.  That's all I can say about this. I am not sure what else I can tell you.

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Sure, I see your point. I'm a Rikki Tikki Tavi kinda girl - run and find out!

 

(And, with minor exceptions I'll probably limit my selling here at first to either the very scarce - I'm looking at you, 1999 McDonald's Set - or the items I have in multi quantities so they can safely be listed here AND there and everywhere, and may the best site win.  :shifty:

 

Ahh....you had to bring back another long forgotten childhood memory. Wasn't Rikki Tikki Tavi a Mongoose or something?

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Just to throw this out there as another option to reduce seller fees - but make classifieds compatible with more than paypal. maybe go with Dwolla as another option? The company is among the challengers to PayPal and had a few bumps in the road over "bitcoin" currency, but as far as a legit currency exchange, it's been gaining tread and getting good PR. Something to think about: http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/advisor/evolution-online-payment-systems-dwolla-challenger-paypal-230050012.html.

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Guest eightbrick

I am with FCB and Jeff on this one. With lower fees, we will be able to sell our stock at lower prices. Selling on BrickClassifieds would be like an efficiency on the factory floor: any savings made can be passed on to the consumer (raising the demand), while still producing the same amount of profit, if not more.

 

The more relevant issue for me though is how closely BrickClassifieds and Brickpicker will be tied together. If they become dependent on each other, then Brickpicker is going to have to gain some more "mainstream" Lego fan appeal, digging into the crowds of Brickset and Eurobricks, arguably the largest fan-run AFOL sites. Those sites are much of why bricklink became so popular, if a newbie on one of those sites asks a question like "where to buy Lego pieces", the first answer they are going to get is bricklink. The two sites being closely intertwined could lead to plenty of problems - and opportunities.

 

However, bottom line, the way I see it, is the demographics of the customers on BrickClassifieds is going to be largely dependent one what we, Brickpickers, do. If we want BrickClassifieds to become the go-to place for sets for collectors and not just investors, we are going to have to start making some noise, putting accounts on Brickset, FBTB, Rebrickable, Eurobricks, etc. to work. People are always going to trust word of mouth over some pop-up ad on a website.

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As Jeff has pointed out, we are at the point of where we have to decide what path...if any, the Classifieds will take when dealing with price and commission structure.  Jeff has most of the framework finished to make the Classifieds active.  The problem is, as I can see by the earlier responses, there are many different expectations.  Let's go over some main points from my perspective:

 

  • First point I want to make is that the site is much more active than you think.  We monitor the site activity and members very closely and pay a large fee monthly to know exactly what every member does on the site at any given second. The amount of people who post about investing is extremely small in comparison to the people who actively use the site for information on sets, prices and deals.  We see what pages people read most and it's not always about investing.  Many of you are underestimating the amount of non-investors on this site.  There are ways to promote the "selling" aspect of LEGO sets that would help draw new people into the mix, but until we actually do sell sets, we cannot make this happen.
  • To many of you who feel they need to sell their sets to uninformed to make money, I cannot help you beyond letting you post your eBay and Amazon listings for free and extra exposure.  With all due respect, this site is not about fleecing people to make a profit, it is about charging fair prices and to help everyone make money and enjoy the hobby.  Our basic philosophy for the Classifieds is to give you fair prices to list your sets so you can pass the savings onto others.  If you use our savings to pad your wallet, instead of trying to pass some savings onto buyers, then your item might not sell as quickly as one would hope.  I am not knocking those sellers who look to take advantage of the less informed.  Buyers have the ability to research prices and should make better choices, but if they want to pay huge markups, all the power to you.  My point is, our Classifieds might not work for some beyond the extra eBay advertising.
  • Jeff and I don't want this to become a huge pain in our @$$.   Excuse my French, but the prices that we are discussing to list items on one of the most active LEGO sites in existence is very small...maybe too small to make this worth our effort to be quite honest. Giving such exposure for so little money can open up a litany of issues...mainly having members spamming the site with fraudulent listings and expecting eBay type service for free.  This will not happen.  We cannot or will not guarantee any transaction.  The Brick Classifieds will be about "listing" items in a newspaper type format with the same sort of principals.  Newspapers do not guarantee any listings or items, they just advertise them.  If you can see and agree to this sort of philosophy, then the Classifieds will work for you.  If you are looking for guarantees, then we cannot help you.  How can we be assured only serious people listing items on the site?  Charging the upfront fee is one way.  

As I stated earlier, there are many different expectations and we cannot meet them all.  It might just work out that a simplified version of the Classifieds is released.  I don't know how to make it work for everyone.  Jeff and I love working on the site and giving members more and better features, but we have to examine if our efforts in developing an elaborate LEGO sales feature will be worth it financially to us.  When all is said and done, we are not here for kicks, but to make money from the site.  The Classifieds could help us make money or become a burden.  We are hoping to figure that out with this thread and to develop a commission structure that will benefit buyers, sellers and us at the same time, while preventing fraud and poor transactions.  Thanks for your time.   

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As Jeff has pointed out, we are at the point of where we have to decide what path...if any, the Classifieds will take when dealing with price and commission structure.  Jeff has most of the framework finished to make the Classifieds active.  The problem is, as I can see by the earlier responses, there are many different expectations.  Let's go over some main points from my perspective:

 

  • First point I want to make is that the site is much more active than you think.  We monitor the site activity and members very closely and pay a large fee monthly to know exactly what every member does on the site at any given second. The amount of people who post about investing is extremely small in comparison to the people who actively use the site for information on sets, prices and deals.  We see what pages people read most and it's not always about investing.  Many of you are underestimating the amount of non-investors on this site.  There are ways to promote the "selling" aspect of LEGO sets that would help draw new people into the mix, but until we actually do sell sets, we cannot make this happen.
  • To many of you who feel they need to sell their sets to uninformed to make money, I cannot help you beyond letting you post your eBay and Amazon listings for free and extra exposure.  With all due respect, this site is not about fleecing people to make a profit, it is about charging fair prices and to help everyone make money and enjoy the hobby.  Our basic philosophy for the Classifieds is to give you fair prices to list your sets so you can pass the savings onto others.  If you use our savings to pad your wallet, instead of trying to pass some savings onto buyers, then your item might not sell as quickly as one would hope.  I am not knocking those sellers who look to take advantage of the less informed.  Buyers have the ability to research prices and should make better choices, but if they want to pay huge markups, all the power to you.  My point is, our Classifieds might not work for some beyond the extra eBay advertising.
  • Jeff and I don't want this to become a huge pain in our @$$.   Excuse my French, but the prices that we are discussing to list items on one of the most active LEGO sites in existence is very small...maybe too small to make this worth our effort to be quite honest. Giving such exposure for so little money can open up a litany of issues...mainly having members spamming the site with fraudulent listings and expecting eBay type service for free.  This will not happen.  We cannot or will not guarantee any transaction.  The Brick Classifieds will be about "listing" items in a newspaper type format with the same sort of principals.  Newspapers do not guarantee any listings or items, they just advertise them.  If you can see and agree to this sort of philosophy, then the Classifieds will work for you.  If you are looking for guarantees, then we cannot help you.  How can we be assured only serious people listing items on the site?  Charging the upfront fee is one way.  

As I stated earlier, there are many different expectations and we cannot meet them all.  It might just work out that a simplified version of the Classifieds is released.  I don't know how to make it work for everyone.  Jeff and I love working on the site and giving members more and better features, but we have to examine if our efforts in developing an elaborate LEGO sales feature will be worth it financially to us.  When all is said and done, we are not here for kicks, but to make money from the site.  The Classifieds could help us make money or become a burden.  We are hoping to figure that out with this thread and to develop a commission structure that will benefit buyers, sellers and us at the same time, while preventing fraud and poor transactions.  Thanks for your time.   

 

 

These are all fair points - Set up this way, I think it will be a niche. You don't have to cater to everyone, because there are plenty of other places to sell sets. If people want something special, they can go to Ebay. If they want to sell something for the right price to someone who knows more about Lego, they can use the classifieds.

 

As long as the want and expectation is not to make this the foremost and best place to list everything Lego, then it will work just as you see it.

 

The upfront fees are important. I don't like paying fees, but you all have done a tremendous job keeping spammers off the site so far, but this will somewhat attract them. 

 

I know there are definitely things I would post on here - and if someone wanted to get rid of something quick, this would be a good way.

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