1 Year of SportsCardBlog.net

At least one post a day.

That was my writing goal when I began SportsCardBlog.net exactly one year ago today.

I actually had the thought to start a site/blog a couple of years ago and I ran the idea by Mike Silvia, owner of Sports Card Forum. He said if I was looking to make money it probably wasn’t the best idea unless I was planning to put a ton of time and money into it.

But last year, after sitting around unemployed for a bit and needing something to pass the time between getting denied for jobs I was overqualified for or underqualified for, I decided to start a blog about my favorite hobby.

And thus, SportsCardBlog.net began.

A few months in after I bought some products to review, Panini’s Tracy Hackler took a liking to my blog and offered a sponsorship to review products. I was surprised and shocked at the same time. It usually takes quite a bit longer to get that kind of attention from card companies. I believe without the early support from Panini, this site wouldn’t be where it is today and would not continue growing. And recently, Upper Deck has gotten on board.

I could not have asked for a better first year of this site. I’ve got a loyal reader base and have made some great contacts and friends along the way. I wish I could attend the 2012 NSCC to meet with everyone but as I said, I’m kinda getting married two days later.

So from the bottom of my heart I want to thank the people who read this site, my followers on Twitter, Panini and Upper Deck for their support in product reviews, the other card companies who keep me in the loop, and everyone else who has had a part in helping this site grow.

I look forward to another year and what the future will bring. I have some great ideas coming up that will help and add more positive contributions to the hobby as a whole so you’ll definitely want to stay around for that.

2011 Black Friday Sports Card Deals

Looking for the 2012 Black Friday list? Click here.

Black Friday is coming upon us and as always, collectors look forward to the several deals that could be found by the online hobby shops. Why wait for Cyber Monday when Black Friday is earlier and you can sit at home and order your sports cards from these guys? These are listed in alphabetical order.

Atlanta Sports Cards (www.atlantasportscards.com)

Atlanta Sports Cards will be running several promotions on Black Friday. They will have their best prices of the year on pretty much every product in stock. Everything will be on sale. They will also be running around 50 Buy It Now boxes on eBay for very low price. Finally, there will be about 10 cases on 1-day auction to end Friday evening. Make sure you check these guys out.

Blowout Cards (www.blowoutcards.com)

Blowout Cards hugely successful Black Friday promotion is back again and possibly bigger than ever. There will be 100s of products on sale for up to 80% off, or more! Blowout’s annual phone-in contests for free one-year subscriptions to a Beckett magazine of their choice will also return. Get involved over at Blowout as there will also be fun contests and promotions all day long for free boxes of product! They are starting their promotion at 6am EST, so it looks like it will be another great success. As per my recommendation and experience, don’t give up if they experience server problems as there will be a ton of people getting in on these deals. They should definitely be on your list of places to visit.

CheckOutMyCards (www.checkoutmycards.com)

CheckOutMyCards will be having a shipping special for those who are less of gamblers and want to purchase some singles. Saving on shipping will save you a ton of money if you are purchasing a large number of singles or even just a few. You may even also find a few dealers on there holding a sale of their inventories.

Dave & Adam’s Card World (www.dacw.com)

Dave & Adam’s Card World also has an extremely successful Black Friday promotion that will be returning this year. With over 100 sports and gaming boxes at amazing deals, you can find a wide variety of product on sale this year. They will be making even more products available at these low prices compared to last year in order to satisfy more customers. DACW is also working on a deal with UPS to get these boxes and cases shipped in 3 business days with no additional cost to the buyer (lower 48 US buyers only). Oh, and some top secret details and promotions that even Adam himself won’t tell me, so make sure you check them out.

Onyx Authenticated (www.onyxauthenticated.com)

Onyx is having a number of deals on authentic baseball memorabilia and autographs of some of their top talent signed who do signings and sell game used memorabilia. Make sure you email sales@onyxauthenticated.com to get the deal information before anyone else on Black Friday.

Pittsburgh Sports Wholesale (www.pghsportswholesale.com)

Pittsburgh Sports Wholesale will be having some Black Friday deals, but doesn’t have the details panned out yet. Check them out on Friday and see what they have going on.

Other companies I contacted that may or may not have deals going:

Cards Infinity (www.cardsinfinity.com)

Did I forget you? Send me an email with your information.

Reply from Upper Deck’s Mike Phillips

So as you may have read with my interview with Thomas Fish of Blowout Cards, I asked about why Blowout Cards was not part of the Upper Deck Authorized Internet Retailers program. I was told to direct any questions about that to Mike Phillips, Director of Hobby Sales, or Richard McWilliams, CEO of Upper Deck. I figured that I wouldn’t get any response from the CEO of a large company like Upper Deck so I went to the source which I felt would give me an answer. In a short turn around time, I received an answer that completely avoided my actual question 100%.

I explained my situation of why I was asking the question and specifically asked why Blowout Cards was not an Upper Deck Authorized Internet Retailer. The response I received seemed like a form letter with my name attached to the top. No answers, no comments, nothing. This is basically like saying “no comment” to the press when you have a question. You know they know the answer, they just don’t want to say it. Here is what was said:

Thank you for your interest in Upper Deck’s Authorized Internet Retailer program. While there are many factors that Upper Deck takes into account when choosing its AIRS, first and foremost to even be considered as an AIR one must own and operate a full time brick & mortar trading card and collectibles store. Any brick & mortar store that has met the qualifications of becoming, AND has been approved as a Certified Diamond Dealer can apply to be considered for appointment as an AIR. Upper Deck will add additional AIRs to its network as it deems necessary. Upper Deck currently has eight AIRs in the US and five in Canada, with a few new AIRs pending in the coming months.”

So there is the answer. I was told that Blowout Cards has a B&M store as well and I’m guessing with their presence in the hobby they have moved quite a bit of Upper Deck product over the years. Why would you not allow one of your best retailers the opportunity to not sell your product in the first 30 days, or whatever the limitations are?

Personally, I don’t see this program lasting for the long run. Not only are collectors unhappy with this program, so are some of your top retailers over the past few years. If you really want to fix brick and mortar sales, it’s not your job to do it. It is 100% up to the B&M shops to fix themselves. I would not mind paying $10-$20 over prices at places like Blowout Cards at a B&M shop if I actually enjoyed going to the B&M shop. The ones I have been to around me are terrible. They know nothing about the products coming out, they are overpriced even more, and rarely do they get their products on the shelves in enough time. They don’t cater to the customer, all they do is cater to themselves. I am going to use my experience at Wayne’s Sports Cards in Edmonton, Canada, is my prime example of how a shop should be run. Great customer service, promotions, and tons of selection. If I lived up there I would be in there whenever a new product came out instead of ordering from anywhere online in Canada. In the end, collectors don’t want to wait to open their boxes. That is what made Chris of Cards Infinity so popular. I will show up at a B&M that deserves the support and pay whatever to open up product myself. I just can’t find one in my area that I am willing to support. And B&Ms are wondering why they are losing money.

Quit whining to Upper Deck and Panini that your sales are down. Take some of the blame yourselves and improve the experience and make people actually want to come to the store. Until that happens, people will just keep buying from places like Blowout or DA Card World online.

Interview: Thomas Fish of Blowout Cards

After the success of my interview with Adam of Dave and Adam’s Card World and my review of Blowout Cards vs. DA Card World I received an email recently from Thomas Fish, one of the owners of Blowout Cards. He was disappointed that I gave the nod to DA Card World when it came to customer service and assured me that Blowout Cards treats every customer with the same level of customer service and mentions how Blowout gives away a lot of product during the year without customers needing to buy anything. For one, I can attest to that as I entered one of their contests recently for a full case of product for showing your reaction to receiving a redemption card. After spending time in their forums, which I had never really visited, they give away items quite a bit to members on their site which is great for promotions. So I recommend people check out the Blowout Cards Forums.

So after that email and checking out what he was talking about, I decided to ask him a few questions. I used questions in my interview with Adam and also got some more input from the sports card community. Again, nothing really hard hitting but you can read his responses and maybe it will help you decide where you want to purchase your products from. So here is another uncut interview from Sports Card Blog (Caution: Another long read!):

 Sports Card Blog: I’ll start with the basics, how did Blowout Cards get its start in the trading card industry?

Thomas Fish: Blowout Cards was founded in 1998 by Chris Park. Chris started off breaking boxes and cases and selling team sets and singles to collectors and card shops across the country. His customer base expanded and he bgan to move from singles cards to unopened wax. Providing unopened boxes and cases at the best prices on the Internet became his niche. While others were focusing on card shows back in the late 90s, Chris was building an Internet presence through newsgroups and websites…one of which was eBay. In 2005, Thomas Fish partnered with Chris and began to build and market BlowoutCards.com.

Sports Card Blog: How many employees do you have working for you?

Thomas Fish: The Blowout Cards team currently consists of approximately a dozen members and that number does fluctuate depending one what projects we have and the time of year.

Sports Card Blog: In your opinion, what makes your company a better choice when purchasing products?

Thomas Fish: The consumer has many choices when making their purchases and our goal is to provide a hobby shop experience online for collectors.

Blowout Cards is focused on providing consumers with a fun place to shop, the most competitive prices and the very best customer service. We are very proud of being voted best online retailer the last 2 years by collectors. We do our best with the assistance of our community to provide as much information as possible so our customers can make smart choices when making their purchases.

Sports Card Blog: Why was Blowout Cards not included in the first batch of Upper Deck Authorized Online Retailers? Or why do you think this happened if there was no official reason?

Thomas Fish: This is a question that should be directed to Upper Deck. The director of hobby sales Michael_Phillips@upperdecknv.com or the CEO of Upper Deck Richard_McWilliam@upperdeck.com would be better suited to answer that.

(SCB Note: I have sent an email to Michael Phillips and await a response.)

Sports Card Blog: Now I have some questions from your consumers…I had a few people ask if you plan on carrying older wax products or more of a selection of older wax products then you currently have in stock?

Thomas Fish: We are always looking to enhance our product selection. If collectors are looking for any specific products the Blowout Cards team has numerous resources to procure older wax. We are always adding to our product selection and urge collectors to follow us on Twitter where we constantly update with our new offerings and restocks.

Specific out of stock items or older wax inquiries should be sent to chris@blowoutcards.com

Sports Card Blog: How are you able to keep your prices so much lower than your competition?

Thomas Fish: We run a very efficient business and negotiate with vendors the best deals possible and pass on the savings to our customers.

Sports Card Blog: An issue that several people weren’t impressed with was the way giant sales are handled by Blowout and if you planned on a different system in the future? (ex. Black Friday)

Thomas Fish: We were the first in the sports card industry to run a “Black Friday” sale on that scale on-line. The Black Friday sale was one of the most successful sales in Blowout Cards history with over 2 million page views. We were able to offer our customers thousands of boxes at prices never seen before. We did learn a lot from that sale and although mostly positive, some customers did have difficulty getting through and ordering since many of the boxes sold out within a few minutes. The Blowout Cards team is constantly looking for ways to enhance the customer experience. We are very open to any suggestions and ideas and all are appreciated and can be emailed to fish@blowoutcards.com.

Sports Card Blog: Does Blowout plan on starting a loyalty program for repeat customers?

Thomas Fish: We do appreciate all of our customers and run some of the industry’s most entertaining and fun promotions. We are planning on many more exciting things for our customers…STAY TUNED and be sure to visit us at Blowout Cards and follow us on Twitter.

Sports Card Blog: And finally, do you personally collect cards yourself? If so, what are your favorite teams or players to collect?

Thomas Fish: Although I don’t currently collect cards myself I do still have my collection from when I was younger. Somtimes I look through it and I am amazed to see how things have changed. It is crazy to think that at one time inserts “limited” to 10,000 were considered extremely rare. Come to think of it when I was first buying packs in the last 70s and 80s inserts didn’t exist. My favorite and first card I bought was a 1976 Fred Lynn at a coin show in White Plains, NY. I instantly became a Red Sox fan. I do collect original comic art and understand the passion that collectors have.

Thank you for allowing me to share with you and your readers.

Sports Card Blog: Thank you Mr. Fish and go Red Sox!

So again, I would like to thank Mr. Thomas Fish of Blowout Cards for spending his time answering these questions for me. It is obvious that he loves his job and understands the passion that collectors have out there. I think with him having a forum on his website, he clearly sees that day in and day out. I will try and get that information on why Blowout Cards was left out of the Upper Deck Authorized Internet Retailer program and see if I can get an answer. I’m not sure if I am to expect one or not but if an answer is given I will immediately post the information. It’s definitely a head-scratcher to me as to why Blowout Cards isn’t included and it would be nice to know.

If you haven’t checked out Blowout Cards for your trading card needs I recommend visiting their website. They have some of the best prices on the internet when it comes to boxes and make sure you check out their forums too. They seem to always have cool stuff going on there.

Blowout Cards vs. Dave & Adam’s Card World

Recently many of you have been reading and viewing my card reviews on YouTube and on this very blog. Since I have not been in contact with the sports card companies yet as far as helping review products, I have purchased those boxes in which I have reviewed. The exception being 2010 SP Authentic football and 2010 World of Sports as I won a contest on Upper Deck’s Facebook and those were my prizes.

When I purchased the 3 recent boxes, I used two different companies online in order to kind of rate and review each company on customer service, price, and shipping methods. Basically each of those things is something important when you are purchasing your cards online. After this post, you will have the information you need to make the best decision if you are choosing between these two online dealers.

Customer Service – Edge DA Card World

DA Card World has a premier buyer program which I qualified for the last time I made a purchase from them in which they will give you even lower prices then they have on their website. Having a little reward program for being a customer who has bought from them before is definitely an incentive when choosing to buy from a store. Including these incentives is the free product they give out for purchases. Now the products they choose aren’t great and aren’t worth a lot, but it’s nice to get free things just for ordering from them. Lower prices + free stuff is always nice for being a repeat customer. Blowout has never contacted me for anything after I have bought cases of product from them in the past.

Price – Edge Blowout Cards

Blowout Cards name exemplifies the types of prices they sell their products for. Blowout prices. I would guesstimate that 85% of their products are the lowest prices on the internet, or anywhere for that matter. Every product I purchased in total was cheaper on Blowout then anywhere else online. Not only did they beat DA Card World in price, they beat all the competitors in price. If you include the free stuff I received from DA Card World, you could buy that amount at Blowout Cards and still save money. That’s how low Blowout Cards prices are. Plus, the box I pre-ordered from Blowout Cards didn’t even have a price on DA Card World. Obviously I’m going to choose the store that has an item up for sale and the price.

Shipping – Edge Blowout Cards

Both companies provide free shipping for orders over $150 which is great. There is nothing I like better then free shipping. But free shipping often is the slowest shipping available. Blowout Cards leaves this open for their choice of shipping at the cheapest rate. Here is the skinny on my shipping experience:

Ordered on Monday.  I ordered 2 boxes from Blowout and 1 box from DA Card World. But this is the most important part, one of the boxes I ordered from Blowout Cards was a pre-order on an item that didn’t come out until Wednesday. DA Card World shipped that Monday. Blowout Cards shipped the Wednesday the product came out.

First package arrived on Friday. Which one do you think it was? Definitely not what I expected. Blowout Cards’ package actually arrived in 2 days via USPS. I had to wait a full week for the DA Card World package to arrive via UPS. Both companies shipped from the east coast to the west coast. I was very impressed by the speed and choice of shipping by Blowout Cards in this transaction.

Overall – Edge Blowout Cards

Overall with these transactions I would go with Blowout Cards. The fast shipping and lower prices are definitely the more important things then customer service. The only thing that makes me sad is that DA Card World is an authorized Upper Deck dealer and Blowout Cards isn’t. I don’t know why Upper Deck ruled them out, but I’m sure it had something to do with politicking and all that mumbo jumbo. I will continue to use both companies as I see fit. If you can find a lower price on DA Card World, by all means, go for it. They are still a great company and their services are top notch. I will still use both companies as I see fit per transaction. But this time around Blowout Cards took the cake, and that cake is not a lie.

You can go to their respective sites by these links. Blowout Cards & DA Card World