It’s with indescribable excitement that we are proud to finally announce that Cardsphere Marketplace will launch in just 7 short days. There is a lot to talk about here, so I’ll start by hitting you with a quick TL;DR in case you don’t like jibber-jabber:
We are adding traditional “Buy Now” features to Cardsphere, which we are calling Cardsphere Marketplace, and it will go live on Feb 24th, 2023. Marketplace is being added as an opt-in only feature and will not replace our existing trading features.
How We Got Here
This idea actually hatched in January 2019, before the dark times, and by that I mean Project Booster Fun. Shortly after New Year’s, the three of us met and each wrote down 5 things we would like add to Cardsphere, and adding “buy now” for cards was the only item that was on each of our lists. There were no solid plans made, just that we knew this is was the destination at which we all felt we should eventually arrive if we wanted Cardsphere to reach critical mass.
From there, every time we started to head towards that direction, we would be somehow derailed, usually by Wizards of the Coast and their ever-expanding Project Booster Fun initiative. It absolutely dominated our development efforts for the year leading into a pandemic which would add its own set of complications for us as it did the rest of the world.
The Desire for Faster Horses
Without a doubt, the most requested feature that we’ve had since we opened our doors back in 2017 has to do with this little carrot of information found beneath each card image:
Over and over again we’ve been asked to give users the ability to see who these people are that have the cards they need, and every time we asked why they wanted that information, the answer was always the same: so that they could message the user and ask them how much they wanted for the card.
With a team of only three people including a single developer, we have to be good at really digging down into what people are actually asking for when they ask for something like this. Do they actually want to be able to painstakingly message 686 people about a card in hopes that one of them will agree to send it to them after some bartering? Or do they want a way to quickly use the funds in their account to instantly have a card sent to them? After being asked repeatedly for faster horses, we believed what users really wanted was an automobile.
Once we got Project Booster Fun and the ability to accommodate 17 variants of a single card in one set mostly under control, we started putting out small but meaningful updates which were secretly all parts of a larger goal that would eventually meld into what we called “The Plan.”
Pieces of the puzzle showed up as important updates, such as the ability to top up your account instantly with Paypal and the ability to opt-in to share your inventory with others. We even baked in an easter egg that no one seemed to notice or think twice about:
What Happens to the Cardsphere We All Know and Love?
We are committed to not alienating the dedicated users that have made Cardsphere the top trading platform in the Magic community today, and helped us be one of the few remaining independent marketplaces not owned by ebay/tcgplayer.
Everything having to do with making cards available to buy now is going to be opt-in. Users won't even see marketplace controls on their haves/inventory page unless they go to settings and enable them. Anyone choosing to not enable marketplace can still receive "buy now" cards using their balances, of course.
To avoid any confusion as to how a transaction was started, Cardsphere will always refer users as senders and receivers regardless of how the trade was initiated.
If you only want to use these new features to get your cards faster, it will be as easy as it is on any traditional marketplace:
A new tab on card pages lists the "Top Buy Now" offers for that card. One click adds it to the spiffy new shopping cart and I check out when I’m done shopping.
You can add multiple cards from multiple senders and check out with them all at once.
From here, simply check out and confirm the transaction on the next screen, and you're done!
The transaction then appears on your Receiving page along with any other cards you have on the way.
If you want to make some or all of your cards available for other users to buy now, first keep a couple of things in mind:
- Once you add cards to marketplace, the receiver is going to be in control of when a transaction is initiated. You are still bound by the same Terms of Service that has always governed Cardsphere, specifically the requirement to ship within 3 business days.
- At launch, these features will not give you the ability to control the package size to accommodate your shipping costs. You must bake that cost into the price for the time being, so keep this in mind when listing low value cards.
- A price change is still not a valid reason for a dispute or cancellation. If you list a card for buy now on Cardsphere Marketplace and the price goes up after a transaction, you are obligated to ship the card for the agreed price. Doing otherwise will quickly limit your access to the platform.
With that out of the way, let's look at listing cards on marketplace. First head to your settings page, enable the marketplace features, and choose which countries will be able to receive cards from you using buy now.
Next navigate to your Haves inventory page. Notice some brand new controls:
Checking the box and populating these fields will make the card available to buy instantly on Marketplace. Pricing is going to work the way it always has on Cardsphere, rather than setting a dollar value, you will set a percentage of the index value of the card, and your prices will fluctuate with the market.
Rather than a price ceiling as we have always had, you will now have a price floor. This prevents cards from being sold for less than the specified value, no matter how low the index price drops. Here, the card can never be sold for less than $117.15, regardless of how low the price goes – but if the index price goes up, your pricing climbs with it in lockstep.
Over on your Actions tab, you have new mass actions that you can apply to your haves/inventory:
These mass actions will work the same way mass actions work now. You'll use your filter tabs to narrow down your view, and then apply mass actions. Clicking Set Price will allow you to set a price and make cards available to buy instantly on marketplace.
Clicking Set Floor will allow you to set a price floor using your current filtered view:
Your filters tab will now allow you to filter by cards that are listed for buy now on Marketplace:
We will be relying heavily on feedback from our community to learn which features are needed most as we flesh out the largest update Cardsphere has seen to date.
With that said, from what we've shared it should be fairly obvious that with marketplace we are launching this as MVP, or minimum viable product, just as Cardsphere was when we first opened to the public back in May, 2017. That is, we are rolling out the foundation of what marketplace will turn out to be, and will iterate from here based on both feedback from our users and our internal roadmap.
The first stop on that roadmap is package controls for senders making their items available to buy now on Cardsphere Marketplace, which we understand is a necessity. These controls will include a minimum dollar value threshold a user must reach before they can buy from you, among other things. (Again, please make note of the absence of this feature and price your cards accordingly for now.)
Thanks so much, everyone!
-Ted, Michael, and Efren