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A new marketplace to buy & sell Lego!

Hello Everyone,

I have assembled a team of developers to create a new Lego Marketplace. Over the coming few months we will create a site that you can buy and sell Lego parts and sets.
The point of this project is to develop a modern, secure alternative to some of the other websites that enable you to buy and sell Lego parts.

We would like to ask you guys (and girls), what your thoughts are on this new project. Also we are looking for ideas, we have quite a few really cool ideas already (3D Viewer, Part out LDD files, multiple members of staff to a shop...), but we need some more!

Also, I know lots of the Lego Community are Computer Scientists (Like us!), If you would like to help out with the site please contact me and we can tell you where you can help.

We will be posting regular update on the sites progress, so stay tuned!

Regards,
Frank Hemsworth

roxioDougoutmadforLEGOpiratemania7
«1345

Comments

  • PhoneboothPhonebooth USMember Posts: 1,430
    First of all, welcome to Brickset! Below you'll likely find comments and feedback ranging from fully supportive (great idea!!! Good luck!!!) to cynical (how's your new site better than what eBay, brickset, brick link has to offer?)

    If you're requesting feedback be prepared for the worst, as some are as critical as they come. If you're sincere, however, you'll surely find loads of support.



    YellowcastleMatthewDougout
  • Bosstone100Bosstone100 USAMember Posts: 1,412
    Frank,

    With all the talk of hacking, this is a good idea. I'm not a seller but I do use Brickstore for tracking when I build sets from my general parts inventory and order parts from Bricklink. I'd like to see continued compatibility with Brickstore files. I just like having control my inventory data and not having to rely on the internet to access it.

    For example, I live in South Florida and there is always a danger of hurricanes knocking out internet. That would be the best time, having nothing else to do, to build Lego.

    Just a thought.
  • frankelfrankel Member Posts: 44

    First of all, welcome to Brickset! Below you'll likely find comments and feedback ranging from fully supportive (great idea!!! Good luck!!!) to cynical (how's your new site better than what eBay, brickset, brick link has to offer?)

    If you're requesting feedback be prepared for the worst, as some are as critical as they come. If you're sincere, however, you'll surely find loads of support.

    Hello,

    Thanks for the heads up! We are looking for good and bad feedback at the moment and would encourage anyway to say exactly what they think!

    Regards,
    Frank Hemsworth
  • CapnRex101CapnRex101 United KingdomAdministrator Posts: 2,282
    edited May 2013
    Earlier this year a similar suggestion was made by another group to create a site to rival Bricklink. That was an utter failure, thanks in part to the lack of any ability to really demonstrate how well the project was progressing, but also to the fact that the people heading up the project were fairly sparsely known among the Lego community.

    I think almost everybody would agree that Bricklink is in dire need of some updating. While it may function well as a whole, the appearance of the website is dated and off-putting.

    However, this particular attempt at creating a new website for buying and selling Lego seems poorly thought out as you have presented no information whatsoever about what you are creating the site and how much progress you have made (for instance, you do not even provide a name for the proposed website). Furthermore, please do not take offence to this, but since you only joined yesterday, I wonder how well known you are through the Lego community? A project like this relies in part on the creators being already well known and trustworthy, as demonstrated by @SilentMode's Project Swapfig, which has proved popular thanks in part to his already cemented reputation.

    Finally, the expense involved in creating a website such as this would be enormous, so perhaps some indication of how you propose to fund this would be helpful.

    I apologise for my negative attitude, but I hope this adds a bit of realism to the idea, which is a nice one as many would love to see a competitor for Bricklink (or preferably a vast improvement on the already established site), but it needs a lot more work before you even consider presenting it in my opinion.

    Nevertheless, the best of luck to you all, these are some great ideas and I would love to see them put into practise...
    PaperballparksidersddRedbullgivesuwind
  • frankelfrankel Member Posts: 44

    Frank,

    With all the talk of hacking, this is a good idea. I'm not a seller but I do use Brickstore for tracking when I build sets from my general parts inventory and order parts from Bricklink. I'd like to see continued compatibility with Brickstore files. I just like having control my inventory data and not having to rely on the internet to access it.

    For example, I live in South Florida and there is always a danger of hurricanes knocking out internet. That would be the best time, having nothing else to do, to build Lego.

    Just a thought.

    Hello,

    Great thought! We will definitely make the site compatible with Brickstore. I know Brickstore has not been touched in about 5 years by it's developers so after the site is completed and if all things are successful we will be creating an offline version of our site that users can access without internet access.

    Thanks for your comment and suggestions.

    Regards,
    Frank Hemsworth
  • frankelfrankel Member Posts: 44

    Earlier this year a similar suggestion was made by another group to create a site to rival Bricklink. That was an utter failure, thanks in part to the lack of any ability to really demonstrate how well the project was progressing, but also to the fact that the people heading up the project were fairly sparsely known among the Lego community.

    I think almost everybody would agree that Bricklink is in dire need of some updating. While it may function well as a whole, the appearance of the website is dated and off-putting.

    However, this particular attempt at creating a new website for buying and selling Lego seems poorly thought out as you have presented no information whatsoever about what you are creating the site and how much progress you have made (for instance, you do not even provide a name for the proposed website). Furthermore, please do not take offence to this, but since you only joined yesterday, I wonder how well known you are through the Lego community? A project like this relies in part on the creators being already well known and trustworthy, as demonstrated by @SilentMode's Project Swapfig, which has proved popular thanks in part to his already cemented reputation.

    Finally, the expense involved in creating a website such as this would be enormous, so perhaps some indication of how you propose to fund this would be helpful.

    I apologise for my negative attitude, but I hope this adds a bit of realism to the idea, which is a nice one as many would love to see a competitor for Bricklink (or preferably a vast improvement on the already established site), but it needs a lot more work before you even consider presenting it in my opinion.

    Nevertheless, the best of luck to you all, these are some great ideas and I would love to see them put into practise...

    Hello,

    Thanks for your comment, you raise some good points. At the moment, we are in the very first stages of this project. When we are further in development with the project we will update you on all the specifics.

    At the moment the project is being funding by two investors. This will cover the cost of developing the site and purchasing the servers to host the website on. We are still looking for investors to cover the costs of offices and full time staff.

    In the next few weeks I will be posting updates here and on our website. (Which will be revealed soon!)

    Thanks for your suggestions
    Regards,
    Frank Hemsworth
    Dougout
  • SirKevbagsSirKevbags Fairy Land Member Posts: 4,030
    @frankel If you perform anywhere near to your race horse namesake you're going to do very well. Best of luck.
  • CapnRex101CapnRex101 United KingdomAdministrator Posts: 2,282
    @frankel - Thanks for the clarification, I apologise again for coming across quite so negatively. I would love to see a brand new site for this purpose, with a brilliant new and modern design I hope.

    I look forward to seeing some more details!
    frankel
  • frankelfrankel Member Posts: 44
    @kevbags We will try our best!

    @CapnRex101 No problem. We will keep you guys updated so you don't loose hope!
  • samiam391samiam391 A Log Cabin in KY, United StatesMember Posts: 4,283
    @frankel- I'd love a more updated site then Bricklink and look forward to what you all have to offer. Since you are looking for suggestions, I'd request that you have up to date and very pristine stock photos of items, specifically minifigures.

    It's hard for me to go through BL sometimes just because of how out of date and poor quality the pictures of minifigures are. I know I can upload my own photo, but nicer stock photos would be a nice side option to have!

    Best of luck!
  • frankelfrankel Member Posts: 44
    @samiam391 It is certainly something we are looking at, images are very important and we are hunting for some sources of images.
  • jasorjasor United StatesMember Posts: 839
    1) multiple worklists that are easily made, and able to work from separately.
    2) heavy interaction with users
    3) UI UI UI to be accessible to inexperienced and experienced alike.
    4) shareable lists
    5) exportable/importable user content, whether it's inventory, shopping lists, etc....and has to have compatiblility with existing sites
  • samiam391samiam391 A Log Cabin in KY, United StatesMember Posts: 4,283
    Oh yes, I have one more simple request too..

    A user interface that doesn't look like it's from 2000. :o)
    Dougout
  • frankelfrankel Member Posts: 44
    @jasor Great Ideas! What exactly do you mean by worklists?
  • legoprodslegoprods SpainMember Posts: 440
    Search through BL's suggestions in the forum (where you posted yesterday).

    You'll see 100's of great suggestions made by the community that will never be implemented at least in this decade it seems.
    frankel
  • SilentModeSilentMode UKMember Posts: 549
    The most important thing at the beginning is to get the basics down, and to make sure the site runs efficiently. Add to it and improve it afterwards.
    frankeljasonord69akylejohnson11
  • emilewskiemilewski CT, USAMember Posts: 475
    Good luck with the project. I buy and sell on BL and have learned to navigate it but would welcome a modern alternative that is secure. I use Brickstore extensively to manage my inventory so an offline or online equivalent would be great. BL has tons of functionality, the trick is to put that same functionality in a form that is easy to navigate and user-friendly.
  • jasorjasor United StatesMember Posts: 839
    Wishlist = "wanted list" = brick project etc
  • BobaFett2BobaFett2 Member Posts: 12
    Good luck in your endeavor. I've always felt that Bricklink was good enough. It's true that it doesn't have a modern look, but I'm just using it to buy sets, so I don't worry about that sort of thing. Have you considered as a group discussing with the Bricklink staff a transformation of their site? Then you wouldn't have to attract enough sellers to make the site a viable alternative.
  • BanditBandit Member Posts: 890
    BobaFett2 said:

    Have you considered as a group discussing with the Bricklink staff a transformation of their site?

    ROTFL! Funniest thing I've read all day!
    jasorDougoutsidersddMatthewRedbullgivesuwindcardgeniusFollowsClosely
  • BobaFett2BobaFett2 Member Posts: 12
    I can't edit that post, so I'll add my recommendations here:

    My recommendations:
    Don't waste time on animations
    Drop-down menus are great
    Include a system for selling customs
    Make a separation between sets from smoke-free homes and from homes with smoke - something obvious and required (a lack of said notification would result in a penalty of sorts)
  • kylejohnson11kylejohnson11 Member Posts: 508
    Sounds great! Like Drew said, basic functionality is the most important for start up. All the bells and whistles can come after.

    Also, make sure LEGO is not in your name or the domain name. I'd hate to see you shut down before it can get off of the ground.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,207
    BobaFett2 said:


    Make a separation between sets from smoke-free homes and from homes with smoke - something obvious and required (a lack of said notification would result in a penalty of sorts)

    And what about pet-free? And maybe used kid-played and used adult-played. Or used but looks new, and used and slight scratches, and used but heavy scratches or damaged. It all gets too much.
    BobaFett2 said:

    Have you considered as a group discussing with the Bricklink staff a transformation of their site? Then you wouldn't have to attract enough sellers to make the site a viable alternative.

    I wouldn't bother. The complete lack of updates is down to them knowing that they are perfect and that anyone that tells them otherwise is wrong.
  • DougoutDougout Member Posts: 888
    Hi Frank, welcome to Brickset, I love the idea you have.

    To my understanding, Bricklink's creator passed away and there is not a very good administration that runs it. It's color scheme and GUI is off-putting, but it has some nice search features (only in need of some updates).

    I know one problem with first sellers and buyers is feedback. It would be convenient for the buyer or the seller if they could somehow link their account from your website to Bricklink or eBay. This may become problematic as you would need to contact people from those sites for permission and data, but it is an idea.

    You have a big task at hand, but I think it is a very good one and with good funding and good programming I think you could make it a real winning website. I would focus on the user interface and how smoothly it runs. That is obviously one of your top goals. Good luck!!
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,207
    Dougout said:


    I know one problem with first sellers and buyers is feedback. It would be convenient for the buyer or the seller if they could somehow link their account from your website to Bricklink or eBay. This may become problematic as you would need to contact people from those sites for permission and data, but it is an idea.

    eBay won't allow it. It used to be that you could export feedback from ebay to yahoo auctions (yes, a long time ago!) but they closed that down ages ago.
  • leemcgleemcg Member Posts: 607
    edited May 2013
    Feedback is uselessly flawed though. I've only managed to differentiate excellent from adequate sellers by placing lots of orders. I can then keep my own record of which sellers are less-than-exceptional. Problem is I can't share that with anyone.

    All else being equal I'd rather give my business to sellers who send orders and invoices out immediately, package well to minimise postage and use separate baggies, make few mistakes and rectify them well when they do. I've placed 150 orders in the 2 years since discovering BL to discover some of these sellers.

    However an invoice in 4 days, all Lego in one big bag sent a week later doesn't justify a non-positive response because, in reality, it's perfectly fine. So almost every seller I've used looks just the same if you check my feedback scores (I do try to differentiate in my <75 character text).
  • DougoutDougout Member Posts: 888
    edited May 2013
    ^Good point @leemcg, feedback is slightly flawed. I feel most people are encouraged to leave positive feedback in order to receive it and it only takes one jerk to ruin a good seller's feedback for a year. In it's format today, it's really up to the buyer to weed out bad sellers as you have suggested.
    CCC said:



    eBay won't allow it. It used to be that you could export feedback from ebay to yahoo auctions (yes, a long time ago!) but they closed that down ages ago.

    I was afraid eBay would have a policy like this. Too bad.

    I guess it shouldn't be about IMPORTING feedback, but rather jus DEVELOPING a successful feedback system.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,529
    ^ & ^^ I think the 'positive neutral negative' system is too simplistic these days. Something like the 5 stars for different areas, like ebay has now, would be better, or even marks out of 10 for each.

    The trouble is that even that is flawed. 8/10 may mean 'perfectly ok', but some buyers would see it as less than perfect.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,207
    8/10 is less than perfect.
  • frankelfrankel Member Posts: 44
    @Paperballpark

    Hello,
    We are currently developing this feedback system, I think 5 stars makes the system more defined to avoid the ambiguity of 8/10 cases like you said.
    We will have different areas of feedback such as:
    - Seller Communication
    - Packaging
    - Speed of Dispatch
    - Accurately described parts

    We hope this format will help give the buyer a better idea of each of the sellers reputation.

    Regards,
    Frank Hemsworth
    DiggydoesDougoutFollowsClosely
  • DiggydoesDiggydoes Cologne/GermanyMember Posts: 1,079
    To me as a small-time BL-seller this feedback system sounds great!
    I've just "earned"my first neutral feedback (of over 500) because i've forgot 1tile (worth 3ct.),and the Buyer didn't even contacted me but just left the neutral feedback!
  • KanohiKanohi Member Posts: 41
    ^ get used to those @Diggydoes :) I get one of those every thousand transactions or so. Even got a negative once without communication beforehand I think.

    @frankel - maybe another category (or sub category) describing how well a seller handles a mistake in an order? I usually dont get too upset by a mistake or three but absolutely cannot stand when a seller either ignores my inquiry or does something unsatisfactory like giving me a coupon for $.05. I won't leave a negative if given a coupon, but definitely wouldn't mind having an effective way of letting others know before they order.

    --Gary
  • leemcgleemcg Member Posts: 607
    Maybe also when coming up with a composite score, then try doing something more than just a straight average - maybe weighting by some function of the number of orders placed (of the buyer giving the feedback). Not that someone who has placed 100 orders is more important, but they probably know the difference between a good and excellent seller a bit better than someone who has just placed their first order.
  • cardgeniuscardgenius Member Posts: 153
    edited May 2013
    As a buyer, my biggest complaint with BL is when I have a large order with lots of different parts and pieces, it can take hours trying to find a seller that has most of what I need.

    I would place a lot more orders and spend a lot more money there if it wasnt such a task. Better pictures would be a plus too.
    yys4u
  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    @cardgenius You said what I was thinking as well. I waste hours trying to find a seller who has several items I need, and often find in the end their shipping costs are inflated. I think all charges should be transparent. I don't mind paying a fee for packaging, but it should be reasonable.
  • MarkeyMarkey Member Posts: 69
    @cardgenius It is a lot easier to look for stores who have your parts, if you make a wanted list.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    The automated cost program needs to be built into the site.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Shipping charges should be auto calculated, so that you know the cost at the time you order.

    Also, just like eBay, requiring instant payment should be a requirement. I'd include PayPal, Google Checkout, and Amazon Payments as the three primary payment systems.
    kylejohnson11
  • frankelfrankel Member Posts: 44

    Shipping charges should be auto calculated, so that you know the cost at the time you order.

    Also, just like eBay, requiring instant payment should be a requirement. I'd include PayPal, Google Checkout, and Amazon Payments as the three primary payment systems.

    Hello,
    We are currently looking at those three options. Paying for an order instantly Is very important. I think this will avoid the 'NPB' issues as a seller will only receive an order if it's paid for. (We may be offering other payment methods where instant payment is not possible).

    Thanks for your ideas and suggestions!
    Regards,
    Frank Hemsworth
  • ColoradoBricksColoradoBricks Denver, CO, USAMember Posts: 1,642
    I am not sure how instant will be implemented, but it will be a real disadvantage to the buyer. Today on BL, I got an order for 11 sets, 4 small, 5 medium and 2 large. After a bit of juggling, spread them into 2 boxes to optimize cost/weight and package size.
    Also International sales that are close to 4lbs, I do my best for the package to stay below 4lbs so they be be shipped 1st class and cheaper. I always charge for exact shipping cost on BL and I fell that if I had to pre-calculate shipping, the buyer will overpay or it.
    It is easier on eBay, as it is one or more predetermined items. That said, if precalculated cost is for a single item and buyer can request a global invoice for combined S&H that would work out better.

    As a buyer, there is always the usual inventory issues, I sometime pick a store for a specific item, add a few things to my order so it is not just a single item. That specific item is not there, in not enough quantity or it is the wrong variation. Order can be cancelled, I have not paid it, it does not go any further.

    Cheers,
    CB
    frankel
  • frankelfrankel Member Posts: 44
    @ColoradoBricks There is a postage issue that we will need to sort out. Do you think an invoicing system would still work?
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,529
    edited May 2013
    ^ I think so yes. Just make it easy, rather than having to 'send money' through paypal. Order the goods, then within 24hours (usually) when the seller has calculated postage etc, the buyer then gets a 'pay now' button next to the invoice, that they click and is integrated with paypal or whatever, to quickly and easily pay.

    Instant pay sounds good, but I think in reality it would be a pain in the backside to implement, with all the different sizes, weights etc. of bricks, and all the different postage costs in different countries, determined by parcel size, weight etc.
  • FenrisAkashiFenrisAkashi Member Posts: 242
    edited May 2013
    If invoicing is kept in place then the invoice order should not be a binding contract and merely a quote.
    You should never have to agreed to purchase something without knowing the final cost when it comes to things like Lego bricks.

    Everytime I want to place an order with a new seller I have to thinking about how upset I will feel if I get someone charging unreasonable shipping rates.
  • frankelfrankel Member Posts: 44
    Thanks for the great ideas everyone, I am meeting with the Development team tomorrow, I will show them all your comments and suggestions you have made.
    Regards, Frank
  • HardradaHardrada Member Posts: 439

    Shipping charges should be auto calculated, so that you know the cost at the time you order.

    Also, just like eBay, requiring instant payment should be a requirement. I'd include PayPal, Google Checkout, and Amazon Payments as the three primary payment systems.

    Will this be a USA only site? What about all those European folks using bank transfer? Mandatory instant payment would be extremely bad. It would potentially inflate shipping charges (see below) and would also prohibit order additions or order alterations.

    I think pre-calculated shipping charges will equal increased shipping costs for buyers as sellers not able to account for every variable will try to stay on the safe side. Most national postal services have very complicated price tables and lots of extra services the buyer might or might not want.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^ That all sounds hard, but a professional company should be able to figure it out.

    I know that I'd make it a priority if I was doing a Bricklink replacement.

    All the data is known, product sizes, national postal service rates, you just need it all input into a database and a good backend system running to compute it all.

    It isn't hard, just lots of grunt work to put together (and money to pay for it).
  • HardradaHardrada Member Posts: 439
    So you say a parts seller should measure every single unique part of his beforehand to see whether they can be posted in a 2 cm thickness letter? Or will the database of this new site calculate with all these? (There can be a ton of silly size/weight/density restrictions across all the countries, their national postal services and all other couriers.) And that was the first of many examples on variables that can have a serious impact on postage costs.

    The other thing you surely can't calculate with exactly is the weight of the packaging materials. You can only have an estimate on that beforehand. (Sure if it's a single item order then you might now, but you can't pre-calculate it for every combination of items.)

    You are thinking with the mindset of someone selling a few hundred different Lego sets.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,207
    I don't think shipping needs to be quoted at the time of the order, just before the order has to be accepted. So buyer asks for a quote for a selection of parts (by placing an "order"), seller states price for shipping. Buyer can accept that (place order) or reject it.

    The seller could be told the total weight of the cart to help with pricing postage.

    The buyer could be given a chart of estimate postage costs, to decide whether to look in the seller's store before spending time there.
    jasor
  • leemcgleemcg Member Posts: 607
    I have to say I don't think it would be possible to work out shipping beforehand accurately. I think the best you could do would be to charge enough to cover a good approximation, and deal with any differences as a business on average. Most other businesses seem to work this way (it surely doesn't cost LEGO the same to send a keyring, a PaB selection or an exclusive set).

    A good example of why calculating postage accurately is impossible is because it depends on how well you pack. There are a few excellent sellers on BrickLink who mangage to get bricks aligned and flat in ziplocs (I still don't know how they do that!), so that they don't move, don't have any air and are flat. These fit in thin boxes reducing postage (certainly for UK postage). Others put everything into a bag and need a thicker box.

  • 19741974 Member Posts: 141
    I'd like to see just ONE example of a company that deals with similar small items that have auto calc on shipping costs worldwide. I really do not think it's possible

    Also, if I'm buying old MISB sets I really don't care what the shipping costs are, I just want them really wellpacked. If that means the seller uses hundreds of grams of packing material and a bigger/sturdier box than is minimum so be it


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