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Subject: Please add support for FLGS rss

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Heath Newton
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Why does BGG do such a horrible job at helping users find a good FLGS in their area? If you want to find a cheap online discounter they do a wonderful job at that but if you want to support a FLGS you have to go through long user made lists that are not user friendly at all.

I do own a FLGS and I DO NOT send my customers to BGG because the first thing they will see when they come here is that CSI/amazon and the other discounters are cheaper than my already 20% off prices I offer in my store.

There has to be some way to better balance this and give some support to the stores that people call their FLGS.
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Matthew M
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I've moved this to BGG Suggestions. It sounds like even with online stores offering a slightly higher percentage off than you you'd still come out ahead after shipping.

But that is beside the main point, which is an important one, about how BGG can better support FLGSs. I would be happy to hear your or anyone else's suggestions toward the end of finding a better balance.

Thanks for the post!

-MMM
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J. Marshall
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Why not add a category for FLGS? They can have their own listing like a board game, publisher or designer does.

Yes, web stores usually have the lowest price (sometimes, not always) but FLGS hold events, have places for people to gather and play and, usually, bulletin boards.

I have actually "friended" DiceHouse Games on my facebook page so I can hear news from them. If they had a BGG page, they could not only list their new products that week, but also post upcoming events (even potentially sign up for them) and start to get more visibility from those on the 'geek.

You can make it valuable to the stores by allowing facebook/twitter integration (so they only have to update once) as well as removing all online store ads from their page (but not from the rest of BGG). Publisher ads would still be allowed, of course.

This would also have the added benefit of allowing a BGG user to search for a FLGS, see the comments from them as well as get a feel for the store community.

The stores would have a footprint on BGG and be able to leverage the forums, blogs, pictures and other resources on teh site to meet other potential customers.

I think it'd be a great idea to bridge the potential gap between FLGS and BGG while still keeping the Online stores happy.
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Russ Williams
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Given that some sellers do various combinations of online, fixed location store, and traveling around to cons and fairs (and perhaps other business models I'm not thinking of now), maybe just a single category of "Game sellers" with basic address/contact info instead of trying to define what's a FLGS and what's not?
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Chaddyboy
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We do have an option for FLGS stores that would like to direct BGG users to themselves with our banner advertising program. We can target banner advertising all the way down to metro area, so the banners only show to folks that are likely to visit your store. The rates are also very reasonable, with a typical metro area costing as little as $50 per month for great coverage to any user accessing BGG via an IP within the metro area.

In the past several years, I have sent a few emails to all members of GAMA highlighting this feature, but the response has unfortunately been very low, and I can count the number of shops that followed through on the offer on one hand. However, the few that did decide to advertise have been very pleased with our service.

We really have no preference as to what kind of retailers we want to work with; it's just that, so far, online retailers have been fairly eager to work with us, whereas we don't hear much from the FLGS stores. In the end, we're more than happy to work with both online and FLGS retailers, so if you want to work with us, get a hold of me and I'll do whatever I can to assist!

We've also been bouncing around the idea of some sort of FLGS database for a while now, so perhaps there will be another option as well in the future!
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J. Marshall
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chaddyboy_2000 wrote:

We've also been bouncing around the idea of some sort of FLGS database for a while now, so perhaps there will be another option as well in the future!


OMG, please do this! It would be so awesome to have all stores have a presence on BGG. I think it would build up local communities AND BGG as a whole... it'd be like Yelp, but for gamers!
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Keith "Boaty McBoatface" C
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Crackerjack wrote:

I think it'd be a great idea to bridge the potential gap between FLGS and BGG while still keeping the Online stores happy.


Unless the brick and mortar stores are paying for this, I fail to see how giving free advertising to their competition would keep the online stores happy.
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Bryan Maxwell
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wilmheath wrote:
Why does BGG do such a horrible job at helping users find a good FLGS in their area? If you want to find a cheap online discounter they do a wonderful job at that but if you want to support a FLGS you have to go through long user made lists that are not user friendly at all.

I do own a FLGS and I DO NOT send my customers to BGG because the first thing they will see when they come here is that CSI/amazon and the other discounters are cheaper than my already 20% off prices I offer in my store.

There has to be some way to better balance this and give some support to the stores that people call their FLGS.


Being a little more professional and courteous in your request might help you make your case.
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Russ Williams
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Orph wrote:
Crackerjack wrote:

I think it'd be a great idea to bridge the potential gap between FLGS and BGG while still keeping the Online stores happy.


Unless the brick and mortar stores are paying for this, I fail to see how giving free advertising to their competition would keep the online stores happy.

If it's simply a listing of all sellers (including online sellers), then they all benefit. And it's not "advertising" in the sense of presenting itself to users all the time on every page as they browse the site; rather it would be a resource that users specifically go to just to get standard basic contact info (e.g. "I'm visiting Berlin next week - are there any stores or game cafes there I could visit?") So there is still an obvious motive for buying advertisements, as ads more actively present themselves to the users, instead of the user needing to consciously intentionally search out the info.
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Tomello Visello
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chaddyboy_2000 wrote:
We've also been bouncing around the idea of some sort of FLGS database for a while now,
there used to be a menu pick for GameStoreDB.com. I found that useful.

(but I have wondered how much maintenance that site gets. I tried adding/edting in the past and did not succeed)



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Heath Newton
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Bryan - Thanks for your opinion. I do not think my post came off as rude but I will try to word things in a more professional manner.

I think just a FLGS locator would go a long way as a start. Also in response to the $50/month offer I think that is a great offer for stores in large metro cities but I live in a smaller city(Wilmington, NC) and $50/month would not be worth it for my store. I would be willing to pay $20/month however so if you would consider changing the fee I will be the first to sign up under the new fee. You could also do the fee based on the cities population which would make the offer fair for people like me.

I personally love BGG and the hardcore gamers at my store all frequent here. Most of them support our store which I greatly appreciate but when I see a customer browsing my games I am very hesitant to send him here to learn about more games because that will probably be the last time I see him in my store unless he comes to our gaming nights. When we first opened we even used to have signs by games saying #1 on BoardGameGeek.com but quickly realized that it was a very bad idea to be advertising for a company that is undercutting us. This is also echoed on the GAMA forums which I'm a member of. From a FLGS owner's perspective I do not see a perfect solution that would allow BGG to keep their revenue from advertisers and make the FLGS happy but as I said previously I think just a locator would be a very good start.
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Roger
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Heath, I absolutely agree that there should be a better way for people to find FLGS through BGG. Some kind of easily-findable registry would seem to be the easiest way.

But I also think you shouldn't be so hesitant in referring your customers to BGG. If you are hoping to create "gamers" they will inevitably find out about OLGS. You want to keep them as customers by providing them with advice, space, smiles and those irreplaceable "browsing moments" - not by trying to keep the internet secret.
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hsquid wrote:
Heath, I absolutely agree that there should be a better way for people to find FLGS through BGG. Some kind of easily-findable registry would seem to be the easiest way.


For a starter, there's this thread:

FLGS of the World - A List of Game Store Advice on BGG

or a geeklist with pictures and comments on some FLGS:

Your most beloved FLGS!

Now, if BGG could make this information more accessible to newcomers, easily searchable and not "hidden" as it is now, that would be great!

Just a thought, but: why not create a "FLGS / Online Retailer" - aka "Shop Finder" - section, similar to "Persons", etc.? Then you could search for any shop, go to its site here on BGG (with the shops address/url), and maybe even get some additional info and pictures about it before clicking the url leading there. Closed stores could be reported via corrections.

I know, there is Google, yes. But having this incorporated in a site dedicated to gaming and how to get new (or old) games might be useful.

And here are many other possibilities....
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Heath Newton
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hsquid wrote:
Heath, I absolutely agree that there should be a better way for people to find FLGS through BGG. Some kind of easily-findable registry would seem to be the easiest way.

But I also think you shouldn't be so hesitant in referring your customers to BGG. If you are hoping to create "gamers" they will inevitably find out about OLGS. You want to keep them as customers by providing them with advice, space, smiles and those irreplaceable "browsing moments" - not by trying to keep the internet secret.


If they find it on their own that is totally fine but if I am telling them about a new game and they do not want to buy it right now it would be very unwise for me to say well when you get home check it out on boardgamegeek.com. The first thing they would see would be ads to buy the game cheaper than they just saw it at my store for.

I am by far not the only store owner that feels this way after hearing countless others complain about not having a site to send customers to. There is another site in the works that I really hope will give us another option.
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Derrick Wente
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Engoduun wrote:
...
Just a thought, but: why not create a "FLGS / Online Retailer" - aka "Shop Finder" - section, similar to "Persons", etc.? Then you could search for any shop, go to its site here on BGG (with the shops address/url), and maybe even get some additional info and pictures about it before clicking the url leading there. Closed stores could be reported via corrections.

I know, there is Google, yes. But having this incorporated in a site dedicated to gaming and how to get new (or old) games might be useful.

And here are many other possibilities....

This is a great idea! To a certain extent, maybe after some kind of "Shop Finder" gets established, second-hand stores can be added as well. I've been to several in my area and only ever come across games I would undoubtedly pass up such as checkers, chutes and ladders, etc.
This "Shop Finder" could also be of benefit by allowing users to add information to the page. ie, one of my FLGS websites is nearly never updated. I would be more than willing to do a quick rundown of events or products offered in the form of threads or something.
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Christopher Hill
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Hey Everyone,

I am one of Heath's customers. From my perspective his store is fantastic. The staff is friendly and helpful and they stock just about all the current BGG mainstream games. Yeah, their prices are a bit higher than on-line retailers, but so what? You end up paying for shipping in most cases when ordering on-line so you save what, a few dollars? Boardgames are a luxury expense. Most people that can not afford to buy boardgames are not going to buy them anyway, whether from a brick and mortar store or on-line retailer. I personally love the convenience of having a store in my town. For years we didn't have one. It is very hard to find gamers when there is no exposure.

Heath, from my perspective a link on BGG to your website is all you need. Advertising, on the other hand should be done locally as (I am guessing here) 90% of your boardgame business is going to come from the local market. Advertising is a tough expense though, because it is not always guaranteed to work.

Just keep treating your customers the way you do and we'll keep coming back and hopefully we'll bring a few of our family and friends along with us.
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Rick Scholes
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The "shop finder" is a great idea. I look on BGG and the Internet for local stores when I travel and I go out of my way to visit them. Knowing which are worth the effort would be a great help. As previously noted, BGG at present is not useful in this regard.

To be useful the "shop finder" must include a way for BGG users to post evaluations of those stores. Not all will be good. This information is essential however. The retailer should be allowed to comment but not remove the posts.

As an example, I recently spent over an hour of vacation time making a side trip to visit an apparently successful LGS near Harvard and MIT whose website says they are going on-line soon. Nice selection of euros in the store but the prices were all a few dollars ABOVE retail for the half-dozen games I was eager to purchase and knew both on-line and retail prices. The $110 on-line order I placed when I returned home would have cost me over $185 at that store. When I asked the owner he said that they were considering an on-line store with prices the same as in the store. I definitely leave the F off this LGS.

BGG isn't Consumer Reports. [For those of you not in the US, it is a monthly magazine that tests and reports on price and quality of consumer goods and maintains neutrality because it does not accept any advertising.]

BGG doesn't want to anger its advertisers. There are therefore limits on what can be posted without driving them away. I don't know what those limits are. Let us ask:

In law school I co-founded a consumer newspaper, I taught statistics in college, and I now practice bankruptcy law. My interest in the best price for the quality received is deeply inculcated. About a year ago I did a statistically accurate analysis of the prices of 50 games in over a dozen on-line stores. Three consistently beat the others on price. I see ads on BGG for those other stores.

OCTAVIAN: could I have posted that analysis on BGG without interference?

P.S. The OP perhaps should think a bit more expansively about advertising. His post tells us he owns a game store but not where. [Chris Hill's post does.] The OP's US flag "badge" doesn't even tell us what city he lives in. How can he ever hope for us to find his store?
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Matthew M
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bankrupt wrote:

In law school I co-founded a consumer newspaper, I taught statistics in college, and I now practice bankruptcy law. My interest in the best price for the quality received is deeply inculcated. About a year ago I did a statistically accurate analysis of the prices of 50 games in over a dozen on-line stores. Three consistently beat the others on price. I see ads on BGG for those other stores.

OCTAVIAN: could I have posted that analysis on BGG without interference?


That sounds like a perfectly appropriate contribution to the Discussing Retailers forum.

-MMM
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chaddyboy_2000 wrote:
We've also been bouncing around the idea of some sort of FLGS database for a while now, so perhaps there will be another option as well in the future!


Absolutely!! Would love this as when I travel (which is not very often, but still...) it would be nice to know wheare the good game stores are!!
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canucklehead wrote:
chaddyboy_2000 wrote:
We've also been bouncing around the idea of some sort of FLGS database for a while now, so perhaps there will be another option as well in the future!


Absolutely!! Would love this as when I travel (which is not very often, but still...) it would be nice to know wheare the good game stores are!!

Also, if there could be an option to click on an icon at the store's page which directed you to google maps to see where it is... interactive awesomeness!meeple
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Rick Scholes
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chaddyboy_2000 wrote:
We've also been bouncing around the idea of some sort of FLGS database for a while now, so perhaps there will be another option as well in the future!


But would it be where casual users could find it, instead of buried in the Discussing Retailers forum a Octavian dictates?

If I spend the better part of two days calculating a statistical analysis comparing retailers' prices I want people to be able to find it.
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Heath Newton
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kinga1965 wrote:
Hey Everyone,

I am one of Heath's customers. From my perspective his store is fantastic. The staff is friendly and helpful and they stock just about all the current BGG mainstream games. Yeah, their prices are a bit higher than on-line retailers, but so what? You end up paying for shipping in most cases when ordering on-line so you save what, a few dollars? Boardgames are a luxury expense. Most people that can not afford to buy boardgames are not going to buy them anyway, whether from a brick and mortar store or on-line retailer. I personally love the convenience of having a store in my town. For years we didn't have one. It is very hard to find gamers when there is no exposure.

Heath, from my perspective a link on BGG to your website is all you need. Advertising, on the other hand should be done locally as (I am guessing here) 90% of your boardgame business is going to come from the local market. Advertising is a tough expense though, because it is not always guaranteed to work.

Just keep treating your customers the way you do and we'll keep coming back and hopefully we'll bring a few of our family and friends along with us.


Hey Chris! Just for the record Chris is one of the key guys at the shop that keeps the board game group alive and jiving. He has taught more games than I have hair and him and the other members of the local board game group have helped to make our store not just another "magic the gathering store" but a good healthy mix of all types of gamers.

As for the FLGS locator I think it would be great to be able to search by zip code and have stores linked to a user account which would force store owners to come on here and sign up and hopefully get involved more in the community. The owner would have to submit their store to be included in the database and could enter all the information manually. The stores should have a rating feature and place for comments just like the games do. I also enjoy visiting stores when I'm traveling and a feature like this would make it a lot easier to find the better stores that are worth going out of the way for.
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Russ Williams
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wilmheath wrote:
As for the FLGS locator I think it would be great to be able to search by zip code post code

Please don't make the list US-only.

Of course also allow searching by city. And hopefully it is smart enough to not show only stores in a given post code or city, but also others that are close.
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wilmheath wrote:
kinga1965 wrote:
Hey Everyone,

I am one of Heath's customers. From my perspective his store is fantastic. The staff is friendly and helpful and they stock just about all the current BGG mainstream games. Yeah, their prices are a bit higher than on-line retailers, but so what? You end up paying for shipping in most cases when ordering on-line so you save what, a few dollars? Boardgames are a luxury expense. Most people that can not afford to buy boardgames are not going to buy them anyway, whether from a brick and mortar store or on-line retailer. I personally love the convenience of having a store in my town. For years we didn't have one. It is very hard to find gamers when there is no exposure.

Heath, from my perspective a link on BGG to your website is all you need. Advertising, on the other hand should be done locally as (I am guessing here) 90% of your boardgame business is going to come from the local market. Advertising is a tough expense though, because it is not always guaranteed to work.

Just keep treating your customers the way you do and we'll keep coming back and hopefully we'll bring a few of our family and friends along with us.


Hey Chris! Just for the record Chris is one of the key guys at the shop that keeps the board game group alive and jiving. He has taught more games than I have hair and him and the other members of the local board game group have helped to make our store not just another "magic the gathering store" but a good healthy mix of all types of gamers.

As for the FLGS locator I think it would be great to be able to search by zip code and have stores linked to a user account which would force store owners to come on here and sign up and hopefully get involved more in the community. The owner would have to submit their store to be included in the database and could enter all the information manually. The stores should have a rating feature and place for comments just like the games do. I also enjoy visiting stores when I'm traveling and a feature like this would make it a lot easier to find the better stores that are worth going out of the way for.

Please be realistic:

No Ratings for stores, let's make this a neutral place. The danger of fake votes in either direction is too high.

Also the shop owners should not (and sometimes cannot) be forced to have an account on BGG. Think of toy/boardgame departments inside larger warehouses, for example.
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Russ Williams
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Engoduun wrote:
Also the shop owners should not (and sometimes cannot) be forced to have an account on BGG. Think of toy/boardgame departments inside larger warehouses, for example.

Agreed, although I assumed Heath meant "forced" in the rather loose sense of "since there could be a link from the store's entry to a BGG account, they would surely want to create a BGG account to have better contact with customers and so on", not that having a BGG account would be literally required for stores to be listed.

(Analogous to how many designers and publishers create BGG accounts because it's an obvious good thing and so they are "forced" in the loose sense of "Duh, of course I want to have an account here, I'd be a fool not to!" even though it's not required for games to be listed in the BGG database.)

(Right?)
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