Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I Think This Needs Some Discussion

After the recent poll's deciding victory for the positive impact that card blogging has had on the hobby, I am not going to make some argument for the 4-10 people who voted negative, nor the 14-20 who voted indifferently. I do want to go over some philosophies regarding this voting structure as I assume that the people voted the way they did for a certain reason.

I want to start with the people who voted positively, which is where I stand myself. Card blogging has been great for the hobby and it has been around before a lot of you think it has. It has brought about a lot of discussion as well, as I know that manufacturers and hobby insiders all either have blogs or read blogs every day. It is basically free market research, and you can see a sliver of the market without even going to a store. What are the hot topics? Where are the mistakes? Who do we need to hold accountable for our actions? All of these questions are answered in the blogs.

Also, with upwards of 10 million people visiting sports blogs alone every day, you can expect that there are a lot of people who read what we write. Mario at Wax Heaven has been lucky enough to have been featured on some of the biggest sports blogs around on multiple occasions. There have been close to 400,000 visitors to his site. That is awesome. Yesterday, SCU was featured on deadspin, which was also very cool, and I can tell you that we have at least 10-15 new readers from the emails I got. Card blogs are most definitely reaching people.

Card blogs have also exposed the soft underbelly of the hobby on a regular basis, and that is something that benefits EVERYONE. Sports Card Info has made it their goal to keep everyone informed, and I think that is pretty important, as information is always at a premium for the uninformed. Plus, considering how many "im new" emails I get every day, I think its great that card blogs are becoming a resource for people rather than for profit magazines and websites. I love getting "Im new" emails because I can show these people a world of information they could never get from Beckett or Tuff Stuff. We answer to NO ONE, and I think that kind of lack of ties makes the news here as great and informative as it can be.

For those people who voted indifferent, however, ill agree with you on some points. Typically we only reach around 500-1000 people a day, most of whom are probably other bloggers who have a vested interest to check the other blogs. I know I sure do. To only reach that many people per day in a multi billion dollar industry is less than a sliver of the complete demographic. Yes, we need to reach more people. Yes, we need more sources to help us. Yes, we need to do a better job of making our message heard. But the reality is that the wrong people have the reigns on the uninformed public, and that sucks. Also, the bloggers who have made an impact on the mainstream media are not spreading any kind of good word. For "those people" the hobby has been business as usual and that is the info they spread. Worlds without cardshops being the destruction of the hobby, price guides being the best source of pricing info for any collector, "prices may be going up, but at least I still have my 1979 topps baseball cards to brighten my day..." type of things. When that is the face of the bloggers, yes, we have not made any sort of impact at all.

Moving onto the negative people, I know two of the votes were out of spite, one was from Beckett, and im not sure about the others. I keep track of IP addresses for the site, and the Beckett admins are so fucking dumb that they think I cant tell when they are here. Either way, I want to discuss why those votes may have counted, had they actually been real. I think there is a negative aspect to blogging, because of the amount of work it takes and because the companies can use it against us. Beckett has their own blog, and though it is not as widely read, its still a face for people to see when they try to break in to collecting again. Also, a lot of blogs, especially this one, can get whiny and too condecending at times. I am a huge perpetrator of this, and I get that I should focus on positive stuff too as it would help bolster some better feelings. A lot of my detractors say I don’t like anything about collecting and that is not true. I wouldn’t spend the time or money I have spent if I hated everything. Yet, that is the message that people get here, and that is a definite negative impact.

Overall, when one blogs, it becomes more about the person than about the hobby. In real life, I am just as opinionated on most topics as I am on the ones I discuss here. Stupid people bug me just as much on main street as they do on blog street. Ha.

As cathartic of an experience as it is, the true focus should be improving the things we want. I think I have made more progress than I expected I would, and I definitely never expected to be featured on deadspin or talk to the brand managers for any manufacturers. Really, as long as people are trying to improve that’s all that matters, we spend enough money to deserve that kind of respect. I know Upper Deck has made a commitment to that, surprised as some of you may be, and they know its not about shutting me up, but rather making good products so I never have to start talking in the first place. This is something Beckett refuses to understand. As recent as yesterday, I received emails from my sources saying they are trying to think of ways to make me quiet rather than improve their product so I don’t need to destroy them here.

After being here in blog land for around 6 months, its time to show you guys what blogs can really do. We are coming into the meat of Football season with Limited and Gridiron Gear coming up and SPA and Ultimate on the horizon, and you can bet I will give you what you want to know. Holy Hitter will continue his group breaks, so make sure to sign up, and Will will continue to contribute as he has. The thing I can promise, though, is that this site will continue to grow beyond your wildest expectations. I still have a few aces up my sleeve.


  1. I believe I voted 'Indifferent'. Not because I don't enjoy blogging and reading other people's blogs, but more because I haven't seen any major changes brought about because of blogs. Some are interesting, some are funny, some are frustrating, and some are inspirational - but as far as impacting the hobby, I don't see anything. Spreading the hobby - definitely, but not changing it. From my perspective, that means nothing has changed. If someone got back into the hobby, or started into the hobby, then obviously blogs have had an impact for them, and their perspective would be different.

    Also, as a note - a poll on a web page generally implies some sort of anonymity unless otherwise stated. If you are keeping track of IP addresses and calling out votes you disagree with / don't like, you are going to skew the results of any future polls.

  2. I keep track of IP addresses for the site, not the polls. Either way, what does anonymity have to do with anything when I cant see names, only cities/states and internet providers?

  3. Very good insight on the impact of card blogs. To be honest, I think that SCU is one of the only blogs (maybe the only blog) that has really had a major impact. No, we haven't seen major changes in the industry yet, but you only started the blog six months ago, right?

    The fact is that you are changing people's attitudes about the hobby. I know that you've made a huge impact on me. Without SCU, I'd never be thinking as much about how the hobby could get better, and I know that I wouldn't believe that we as bloggers could bring about positive change. But now I believe and know that we can do it.

    I've seen a lot of other bloggers impacted by SCU too. Slowly, an army of bloggers that aren't happy with the status quo in the hobby is forming. As all of our blogs get more readers, more and more collectors will be on our side. As you've documented, the card companies are starting to listen. Change will happen. It won't all happen overnight, but it's happening, and it'll happen more and more in the coming months and years.

    Thanks for all the great work you have done, Gellman!

  4. Thanks for the nice words Dave. Its nice to have an ally that writes as well as you do.

    I will admit, though, it does feel good to see that other bloggers have taken up the flag and ran with it. I think that was on the main pallette of goals for this site.

  5. Gellman, I think your impact has definitely been a positive one. I mean, when was the last time UD sent a box to Beckett? I would have to think you had a hand in that. Not to trivialize the rest of what you have done, but that is pretty concrete.

    Plus, you give us a "flag" to rally behind, as you put it, and I cant thank you enough for that. I really think this hobby would be a worse place without blogs, but especially yours - no doubt.

  6. Thanks for being a fan, this place is more habitable because of all the awesome people that comment.

  7. Great take on the blog world. These forums give everyone a chance to connect and share.

    Great blog - I enjoy reading it.