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BGG shutting down Marketplace

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10 Aug 2022 12:22 #334928 by jpat
If you care, y'all have probably already seen it, but BGG announced yesterday that it'd be shutting down the Marketplace in September.

This follows bungling on the rollout of a new marketplace (with 9% commissions instead of 3%), which was (in my sense) somewhat popular with buyers but not with sellers. I myself wasn't invited to the closed beta, wherein free shipping was offered as an inducement and as a way to artificially inflate the success of the new venture. That venture collapsed less under pressure from disgruntled users than from the collapse of the developer.

Now the "classic" marketplace is also going away.

In usual BGG fashion, the explanation is functionally nonexistent, and questions, even on the "official" thread, are being carefully constrained.

For a site that's 90% user content and has built itself up over the years on the generosity of "donors," it's rather appalling that they feel as though they can no longer serve the users. It's been speculated that this has a fair bit to do with sales tax data, but one would never know based on how BGG communicates, which still falls into the hobbyist model (if I'm being generous) rather than a robust user community model.

Plus, unless I'm misreading, it looks like all the marketplace ancillaries will be gone, too, which would include price history, price comparator, etc. Those data were invaluable for ascertaining real-world values of items. Admittedly, there were lots of problems with the data, particularly the inability to differentiate bundles from single items easily, but the savvy user could get a lot of info out of that.

Anyway, it's all horseshit.
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10 Aug 2022 12:26 #334929 by jpat
Replied by jpat on topic BGG shutting down Marketplace
Links:

Official announcement: boardgamegeek.com/thread/2914396/announc...market-shutting-down

Official "answers" thread (limited to nuts-and-bolts questions): boardgamegeek.com/thread/2914393/questio...-market-announcement
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10 Aug 2022 12:30 #334930 by charlest
I really wish we'd have some sort of an explanation.

From what I understand, only payment processors must be burdened with the new tax laws regarding sales of over $600 being reported to the IRS. So PayPal would be the one reporting your income in that way.

However, since BGG takes a commission, it entangles them in the sale - at least, that's what I've seen speculated.

If that's the case, it seems like they could drop their commission and let it exist as is. If they need income to help sustain it, they could make it a premium feature and require a yearly fee or something similar.

I really wonder if this void will result in a new entity popping up. I'm surprised we don't already have a board game user focused e-commerce site.
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10 Aug 2022 12:36 - 10 Aug 2022 12:45 #334931 by sornars
It's a huge loss for anyone who likes to play older games. I've been able to round out my collection of Euros and OOP gems because of this marketplace. On eBay they come and go too quickly where as on BGG I could play a slight premium but almost always find what I was looking for.

I do believe it is the act of running a marketplace that connects sellers to buyers that requires them to ensure the sellers are paying their sales tax. The term of art is being a marketplace facilitator. I suspect that laws written with Amazon and eBay in mind have had some collateral damage here.

I think things will spring up but I doubt any will be dominant and at best they'll be regional players. I've been able to use BGG to buy stuff from the US and across Europe which is once again valuable when you're looking for the obscure.

For folks in the UK, somebody was shilling this last week: www.playon-games.co.uk/ . No idea on if it's good or not but competitors are already in action.
Last edit: 10 Aug 2022 12:45 by sornars.
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10 Aug 2022 12:47 #334932 by jpat
Replied by jpat on topic BGG shutting down Marketplace
If the owners want to run BGG like a real business, then it can't or at least shouldn't operate on a "patron" model. Though they don't call them donations anymore (I'm pretty sure they did at one time, way back when), that's what you do when you expect people to be invested (literally and figuratively) in the site's direction.

It's been pretty clear for years that BGG's owners wanted to literally capitalize on this vast wealth of user-created content and peer-to-peer interactions. Not only that, but that they increasingly push buying shit as the official ethos. At a basic level, facilitating peer-to-peer sales of used games works against that in obvious ways.

Few serious people wanted a "modern" e-commerce experience out of the BGG marketplace. For basic peer-to-peer supplemented by private messages, it was fine. Not great, but good enough. To my knowledge, no one said "modern e-commerce experience or nothing."

I sent a PM to Aldie asking for further explanation, not that I expect I'll receive it.
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10 Aug 2022 12:49 #334933 by gversace

charlest wrote: However, since BGG takes a commission, it entangles them in the sale - at least, that's what I've seen speculated.


Possible, since ebay did the same thing, even when they were taking Paypal. I got 1099 forms from them and Paypal (for the same transactions) last year, since my state went to the $600 reporting threshold early. It also wouldn't surprise me if lawyers got involved and told them that even if they don't accept commission, the only way to completely insulate themselves, from either the sales taxes or reporting threshold (or both) is to not formally facilitate the actual transaction at all. I'm also guessing the lawyers told them not to talk about it, lest it be seen as admitting they knew there was a potential problem.
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10 Aug 2022 13:23 - 10 Aug 2022 13:25 #334935 by Msample
I bet the usage of the Beta site cratered vs the old one. Higher commission, forced to use Stripe as payment processor. Whenever I clicked on a game I'd see no listing on the beta version.

I think its another sign that despite the Kumbaya BGG is just one big happy family that in fact BGG is in fact a BUSINESS. And they are large enough to require lawyers, accountants etc to steer them in directions like the one that probably told them that they were a big enough entity to be required to monitor sales tax, whatever etc etc.

To be fair BGG seems to have downplayed, somewhat. the patron/scrappy company schtick that colored their pleas for "donations" in their early days. A while back someone did some decent speculation/analysis that showed the end of year fundraiser/donation/whatever you call them drives had declined in recent years - but even so, they still estimated that its well over $100K in free money thrown at them.

I had far more crickets chirping than responses the few times I used BGG Marketplace; I think in recent years Facebook has replaced a lot of the secondary market need that BGG used to fulfill - I've had far better luck in FB getting responses, more reasonably priced stuff etc.

The only thing I'll miss from the BGG Marketplace is the pricing history, which was went back far earlier than Ebay, and was far far far easier to find than on Ebay.

In the end run I suspect that the commissions ( or lack thereof ) weren't enough to justify the overhead to collect them.
Last edit: 10 Aug 2022 13:25 by Msample.

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10 Aug 2022 14:00 #334936 by Sagrilarus
So this shuts down trades and want-to-buy markers?

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10 Aug 2022 14:09 #334937 by n815e
Replied by n815e on topic BGG shutting down Marketplace
From what i saw, beta is shutting down because the vendor they were using is going out of business.

I’ll miss the marketplace. I didn’t use it often, but it was great for getting a sense of what is available, how much people are paying for it. It helped me decide on purchases a lot. And I managed to get some really great deals by using the subscription to get notifications.

I also wonder if the individual game message boards will now be flooded with “I have this for sale” posts that will make them less useful over time for people who are there to read and participate in discussions about the actual games.
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10 Aug 2022 14:09 #334938 by Msample
In one of the threads they said that each game page would have a Flea Market field. How this will differ in practice from the old market ( maybe no commission? ) I do not know. I think this takes effect 10/1 or thereabouts.
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10 Aug 2022 14:55 #334939 by gversace
A business of pretty much any size needs to be concerned with sales taxes and payment processing. It can be quite a burden. And $100K for the end of year is nothing if they're running a business with server costs and employees. That doesn't even pay for a single software developer full time.

My understanding is that the flea market area will just be for people to post games they have for sale, and the entirety of the transaction would occur without BGG direct involvement, including communication, shipping, payment, etc.
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10 Aug 2022 14:57 #334940 by Shellhead
I don't know if sales tax is the crucial issue, but it has become a real hassle for some businesses. For a long time, e-commerce in the U.S. was treated as exempt from sales tax, as many of you Amazon users probably noticed. As Amazon and other online businesses continued to grow, their revenues became a significant chunk of overall business activity, leaving states with somewhat underfunded by their sales tax. Four years ago, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision on South Dakota v Wayfair Inc that states can require out-of-state sellers to collect and remit sales taxon sales to in-state customers. Even if the seller has no physical presence in the customer's state.

At the time that this ruling went down, I was doing accounting for a rapidly growing software reseller, and the software publisher did not bother with sales territories for the resellers. 80% of our business was in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa, and we had physical presence in those states, so we were properly charging and remitting sales tax there. The other 20% of business was all across the country, ranging from California to Puerto Rico (which has very unconventional sales tax laws compared to the rest of the U.S.). In some cases, we were required to immediately apply for a state sales tax ID and start reporting. Other states still weren't charging sales tax on e-commerce, but I had to check in on those states every month to see if any of them passed new laws. BGG probably doesn't want any part of that mess.
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10 Aug 2022 16:55 #334943 by jpat
Replied by jpat on topic BGG shutting down Marketplace
Not to contradict myself, but maybe in my case it's just as well. There's honestly very little market for most stuff of anything more than a few years old, and shipping even on a good day is a hassle (and I've increasingly gotten feedback that I wouldn't have a year or two before about high shipping rates, like I'm the one setting them). The monetary value of older games beyond a few highly desirable items is near zero. For items that are still in print, it's nigh impossible to compete with the big sellers, much less Amazon. Why buy my (perhaps but not) funky copy when you can get a new one for a few dollars more with free shipping?

It's probably time to bite the bullet and just starting donating. At least I can gain some tax benefit on it, and perhaps someone will get something they want.
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10 Aug 2022 17:14 #334944 by dysjunct

jpat wrote: It's probably time to bite the bullet and just starting donating. At least I can gain some tax benefit on it, and perhaps someone will get something they want.


Bringing new meaning to the next "Let's Donate!" thread.
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10 Aug 2022 17:16 #334945 by Msample
As I've said in other threads, if you have access to cons/meetups they can be a great way of getting rid of games w/o the hassle of shipping, emails etc. I sold about $600 at WBC a few weeks ago between the auction and flea market.


The other avenue is NOBLE KNIGHT will buy stuff, giving you store credit or a slightly lower amount in cash. They cover shipping as well. You won't get top dollar of course, but its hard to beat the one stop shopping ( or opposite in this case ) . Their pricing is variable of course; if they have six copies of say CASE BLUE they aren't gonna give you the same value as if your copy was the only one. But its easy and convenient. Good for unpunched/shrink stuff .
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