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Subject: Using a credit system for game trades? rss

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Steve S
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Apologies if this suggestion was already put out there - I did a search for posts about trades and the number of hits that came back was astronomical wow

Anyway, I'm a big fan of the series of "____swap" websites (PaperbackSwap, SwapaCD, SwapaDVD) - these sites are incredibly popular (especially the book one), and I think one of the reasons behind the success is that they use a "credit" system for trades rather than having to have users hunt down people to trade with directly.

For example, if someone sends out a book or CD that was requested from them, they mail it out, and when the receiver gets it, they tell the web site this and the site credits the mailer with credits they can apply to request a book they want, and the cycle continues. Credits can also be purchased if someone wants to request an item but doesn't have the credits or anything worth trading at the time.

So I could just picture it - someone requests your copy of TTR, which has a certain "credit value" attached to it, and you mail it off. Once they receive it, they update the web site, and you are credited with ___ credits which you can then use to "buy" another game (or games, depending on how many credits you have) from any other user who has games up for trade, and the cycle continues.

Obviously because of the huge scope of the BBG user base and games that could be up for trade, details would need to be figured out such as figuring out how to apply (or restrict) international shipping, along with the varying level of trust people would have in the "trust system" that credits them only after the item has actually been received - but in the end it could almost be an amazingly easier way of applying the "math trade" concept that I continually see people trying to do and always makes me scratch my head in confusion.

Thoughts?
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Jordan Robbins
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sounds like cool idea, i'm sure someone could come up with a "value" system that is based on how many people want a certain game in trade and how many are avalible for trade.

Unfortunatly i'm normally too trusting, so it'll be interesting if others have a problem with it.
 
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Ian Klinck
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The biggest problem with this is that the values of games vary widely, and not necessarily in any relation to retail price. Games can be valued very differently by different people, too.

I think that Math Trades really fill this niche better.
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iklinck wrote:
The biggest problem with this is that the values of games vary widely, and not necessarily in any relation to retail price. Games can be valued very differently by different people, too.

I think that Math Trades really fill this niche better.


Agreed.
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Jason Carlough
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I'm not trying to be a jackass or anything but this is essentially what auctioning your game for real money is.
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jasoncarlough wrote:
I'm not trying to be a jackass or anything but this is essentially what auctioning your game for real money is.


Not quite since real money is not being exchanged, but now that you mention it, the GG system and GG auctions serve virtually the same effect and are already present.
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Steve S
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Quote:
The biggest problem with this is that the values of games vary widely, and not necessarily in any relation to retail price. Games can be valued very differently by different people, too.


Thus the bit I mentioned about figuring out a valuation system in credits, and not doing the "1=1" system like the book site uses. You "price" it at whatever value you feel is fair.

Quote:
I think that Math Trades really fill this niche better.


Except that math trades are short-lived events that are only applicable or usable by a very small number of users of the site. Whenever there's a math trade 98% of the users either don't qualify for it and/or don't understand how they work.

Quote:
I'm not trying to be a jackass or anything but this is essentially what auctioning your game for real money is.


Uhhh... except that you're not using money. That's kind of one of the points of the idea.

Quote:
Not quite since real money is not being exchanged, but now that you mention it, the GG system and GG auctions serve virtually the same effect and are already present.


Huh? I've been a member on BGG off and on for about 10ish years, and I've never heard of a GG auction. I'm not saying they don't exist, just that they apparently aren't being used to any extent that would make it anywhere near as usable - getting GG for your game would be pretty much useless if nobody else is taking GG as payment... might be something to look into farther though.
More thoughts though, for the system to work it couldn't be time-limited like on an auction, it should work like the marketplace, plus when you can earn GG through other activities it'd be hard to gauge just how much a GG is worth when it comes to trading them for a game...
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Steve S
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Uhh, I just did a little more poking around Google with a couple of different keywords than before and I think I found a site that already does this?

http://boardgamely.com/

Never heard of it before though, and you'd think with the community we have here *somebody* would have mentioned it before... hmm...

[Edit] Ah, it's apparently a "work in progress." I wonder how long they've been working on getting it up and going.

[Edit2] Email has been sent asking for more info on how the site is supposed to work once it's up, and when it's supposed to go up.
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Shadoglare wrote:
Huh? I've been a member on BGG off and on for about 10ish years, and I've never heard of a GG auction. I'm not saying they don't exist, just that they apparently aren't being used to any extent that would make it anywhere near as usable - getting GG for your game would be pretty much useless if nobody else is taking GG as payment... might be something to look into farther though.


http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geekauction.php3?action=listope...

There is a 7 day max on any auction, so I see you point about longer and or permanent listings. However, in essence your GG is a form of credit that you can buy games for, and the listing party gets to set their own starting bid and/or buy-it-now price. then, at least in theory, the GG credit earned can be applied to a future auction purchase. Other than the time limit in place, the GG Auction system functions in the manner presented by the OP. Although, I would not want a "value" system telling me how much my game is worth, and would prefer to set the pricing myself, which you can already do with the GG Auction system. Why people don't use it more often is another question entirely, but the system is already there for the most part.

PS: Sorry for any confusion, the front page module is labelled as "Geek Gold Auctions", while the page for them is labelled as "Geek Auctions", but they are in fact the same system.
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Chris Flood
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I think it could be a good idea. The issues folks are bringing up don't make a lot of sense, as they are not issues for the example sites you mention. There are of course huge variations in price for books, and I've scored a few books (hardbacks no less) on Paperbackswap that were worth considerably more than the raggedy books I traded away. Yet these site remain viable.

The alternatives that supposedly don't make such a service necessary also don't make a lot of sense, as you've noted in your replies. Yes, you could sell games (or books or CDs) in auctions, and many people do here or on eBay, but that does not preclude a space for a swapping site. Math Trades are certainly innovative, but are short-lived. A site like "swapaboardgame.com" would basically be one infinitely long, constantly executing Math Trade. I think it's a good idea.

The more important issue is volume. I don't know how much money Paperbackswap.com makes, but its volume of trading is sure to dwarf anything a board game trading site could pull off. There are more people who have books than who have games, most people probably have more books than games, and the low cost of shipping books makes it much easier to ship them. Moreover, once you're done reading your newest book, you're ready to ship it off. Once you've played your newest game, you'll probably want to keep it around for at least a couple more plays. There might be some money to be made on a site like this, but probably not as much as the example you mention.
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Adam Thorsen
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Hey guys, this is Adam from Boardgamely.com. If you're interested in this idea let me know. I've put a lot of work into it, but I'm having trouble getting enough people to list games. I'd like to get at least 1K + games listed before I launch (I'm not even close to that right now) so there's something worth seeing when people come to the site. Do you think there's a way I could reach people here on BGG? I can buy an ad, but the minimum ad price is a significant cost.
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Steve S
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You might be able to do a "press release" type deal with something like Purple Pawn or some of the other "board game update" type web sites up there... I wouldn't bother with something like a banner ad, most people that see them ignore them, and frankly more and more people (including myself) don't even see them due to ad blocking browser plugins.

I've been thinking the web site would need more work too though.
One of the biggest turn-offs I noticed is that, to be honest, the web site in the state it's in right now is *really* unprofessional looking. Anywhere you go other than the main home page takes you to what is obviously a Google Docs document/form. The email address to contact for more info is your personal email address rather than something related to the site (you should at least have your host forward "@boardgamely.com" emails to your usual address, or maybe if you really want to use gmail something like "boardgamely@gmail.com"). There are no details about how the site is to work other than "send off a game and get credits."

Board games can get pricey, and if people are going to conduct trades through a web site, it has to look trustworthy and professional, especially for a type of service that as far as I'm aware hasn't been done before - people are going to be skeptical. You say there's been a lot of work put into it, but the web site almost looks like a slap-together afterthought. Most people are going to want to at least have an idea what the system is going to be like before signing up.

Also, right now you just have a generic form asking users to list a few games they'd like to trade - this may also make people hesistant if there's no way to edit their list of games - more than likely they'll be trying to trade it somewhere like BGG as well, so it's possible that by the time the site launches, they'll no longer have the games they listed.

Another issue is you don't mention if there will be a charge to use the site or not. I can pretty much guarantee that if it's not free to use, nobody's going to use it when they can find alternatives like the trading system at BGG (which is a site you'd probably share a majority if your user base with). Sites like PaperbackSwap make their money by allowing users to pay cash for book credits, as well as allowing you to print postage right through the web site, which they probably take a cut of as well. You'd have to figure out some sort of similar system unless you're hoping to make enough off of something like donations only in order to be able to pay for the web site upkeep.

Other things you might want to think about doing might be stuff like updating your search engine tags, and maybe posting some type of progress updates so that people know that that site isn't dead - people want to sign up on a site that they know will be ready to roll soon, not one that might, somebody, maybe, if they're lucky, actually launch.
If you haven't already you might want to set up a Facebook page that makes occasional updates, and I was thinking maybe a BGG guild but I don't know what the rules are regarding what kind of "promotional" guilds there can be.

Oh, and you might want to ask for feedback regarding this type of service in a forum such as the "general gaming" forum (I'd say a large number of forum readers completely bypass the "suggestions" forum we're in now), asking in such a way as to not be blatant spam to try to get people to the web site.

Sorry if that all amounts to a bit of a blunt response - personally I think the concept is great, and would love to check out a service that would help do the "accounting" for this type of trade system, but I think some work would still need to be do in winning over people's trust in the system you're putting together.
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I would support this, here or on another website. Some may not want to deal with cash, and would prefer exchanges. I use http://bookmooch.com/ with success, and I love it!

The commercial value of the game is not the only thing that should determine its worth in a point system, size and weight is a lot more relevant.

Another option is a http://www.netcycler.com/-type ongoing math trade...
 
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Adam Thorsen
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Blunt is great! Thanks for the forum tips. I understand that I have to earn users' trust, and that the quality of the site that you see now is low. On the other hand, I've launched a lot of DOA products in the past, so I'm very careful about only releasing the minimum product that will actually work for people. If I do manage to get enough games to launch, I can assure you the site will probably be pretty ugly, but I can also assure you that it WILL get you more games to play without having to buy them new or used.

If you happen to be in the SF Bay area and would like to chat, please drop me a line.
 
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