On May 21st, 2017, buoyed on by a successful beta which came to be known affectionately as "Fight Club", Cardsphere opened up to public registration. It was a very different service at launch. Many features we take for granted as users today weren't available yet. Fewer import sources worked, none of the "window shopping" features were available, and to get card images you had to use a browser extension like AutoCard Anywhere.
Earlier this week, I posted Daring Archeology, a look at some artifacts from early designs from around the same time, or earlier. Check it out.
Still, enough people were willing to accept the early platform's limitations and work with us to get the community going. To this day I'm still not sure how much of that was trust we earned and how much was the sheer will of the people to get cards flowing again, but we sure are grateful.
A year later, here we are. Cardsphere is the best place to trade cards online, and growing fast. Just about two weeks ago, we noticed that for the first time Cardsphere was the first organic (non-paid) Google result for "trade magic cards online".
It's very exciting to discover Cardsphere appearing above many fine services which have been around for years. Then this sobering wave of responsibility hit. Each day we're reminded that Cardsphere being a success means keeping people happy. Despite this being a big responsibility, we love it.
Alexa's pagerank shows a steady increase in our global ranking over the past year. We keep an eye on how Cardsphere fares globally, and how that compares to our largest market, the United States. We're pleased with what we see.
Media & Support
One thing we noticed early on is that some competitors did promotions to build up numbers on social media. What we didn't see, however, was this translating to market activity. We have not invested in running ads, or doing giveaways in exchange for likes.
So, all of these numbers are "organic" as well.
- Number of Reddit subscribers: 998
- Number of Facebook followers: 333
- Number of Twitter followers: 586
- Number of Discord members: 590
- Number of support tickets handled: 142
- Number of blog articles published: 90
That we've been embraced by the larger Magic community is clear. If you haven't already, please check out our Year One Coverage Round Up.
There was a time in which whenever someone posted about Cardsphere, I knew them personally. Now I'm happy to see new names recommending the service on social media all the time. Loads of "old timers" often make these comments too.
We previously reported on Cardsphere's Growth Stats, and we're excited to update you with the latest information, which has kept up the steady pace.
- Number of accounts: 11,548
- Number of business accounts: 112
- Number of premium accounts: 74
- Number of users referred: 338
- Number of messages sent: 98,733
One unfortunate take away from these numbers is that the referral program is essentially irrelevant to community growth. This also shows up later when we look at badges. We're hoping to see this change as we increase how desirable Cardsphere Premium is in the coming year.
Top 10 Countries by User Count
- United States of America (8,641)
- Canada (895)
- Italy (300)
- Australia (274)
- Great Britain (272)
- Brazil (235)
- Portugal (83)
- Germany (82)
- The Netherlands (49)
- Denmark (48)
Top 20 All-time Senders (Number of Cards)
- Getting There Games (7,426)
- Doug Montalvo (6,940)
- DogonSiereht (6,560)
- Green Sleeves (4,833)
- jkatz (4,494)
- BafDraftGary (3,846)
- Maruff (3,610)
- Brax (3,343)
- Harmless Offering (3,331)
- BevMo (3,265)
- Dr. Infamous (3088)
- SA Cards (2,962)
- Big Daddy (2,885)
- Burb (2,810)
- SoulTrader (2,648)
- Woadworks (2,642)
- BrevKicks (2,573)
- Cyric (2,391)
- Erk (2,236)
- Joseph Werner (2,180)
Top 20 All-time Senders (Value of Cards)
- Doug Montalvo (37,403.48)
- Woadworks (23,798.86)
- Peter Twieg (23,170.91)
- Getting There Games (19,022.84)
- Feed the clan (14,645.05)
- BrevKicks (14,493.75)
- Kuroari (9,605.61)
- xUnder4Lifex (9,229.00)
- DogonSiereht (7,889.33)
- Devon Endres (7,161.59)
- RabbaTheHood (6,600.11)
- Greg (6,587.86)
- DELTA622 (6,506.98)
- gunhoe86 (6,128.91)
- Cyric (5,914.33)
- Burb (5,911.33)
- COLONEL ANGUS (5,754.55)
- SA Cards (5,750.02)
- Name Witheld By Request (5,729.05)
- Dylan (5,706.37)
Top 10 High Volume Trader Pairs
We thought about calling this the "People will say we're in love, Clarice" list. The number shown is how many packages moved between the two traders.
- Feed the clan & Peter Twieg (55)
- althemighty & Peter Twieg (50)
- Kuroari & althemighty (34)
- Doug Montalvo & Woadworks (34)
- Chuck Z & Getting There Games (33)
- Woadworks & gunhoe86 (29)
- Doug Montalvo & Brian Doran (26)
- DELTA622 & Woadworks (22)
- Doug Montalvo & cleverpseudonym (21)
- Intel O' Gents & BAFDraftGary (20)
Top 10 Earned Badges
The introduction of badges was a bit controversial as many users expressed that they were not motivated by achievement systems. That being said, we got a lot more positive feedback, and I have seen a lot of badge hunting discussion on various forums.
First Volley(Received a card)
Courier's Capsule(Sent a card)
Rise of Eagles(Sent to USA)
Foil(Sent a foil)
Thieving Magpie(Received a foil)
Gold Token(Deposited funds)
Trade Caravan (Moon)(Sent a card worth over $25)
Treasure Cruise(Received 100 cards)
Into the North(Sent to Canada)
Merchant Scroll(Sent 100 cards)
Dwarven Recruiter(Referred 10 users)
Mana Drain(Withdrew funds 50 times)
Sorcerer's Strongbox(Sent 500 sealed products)
Teferi's Puzzle Box(Sent 100 sealed products)
Duskwatch Recruiter(Referred 50 users)
King Macar, the Gold-Cursed(Received 5,000 foils)
Imperial Recruiter(Referred 100 users)
Zedruu the Greathearted(Sent 5000 foils)
Some of these badges were designed to be achieved at a much later date, of course.
Rank of "Country" Badges
We introduced the "send to a country" badges to increase our international trading. Anecdotally, I know it works with many users who hunt badges. This is the ranking of the badges from most to least awarded.
Rise of Eagles(USA)
Into the North(Canada)
The Monarch(Great Britain)
Ninja of the Deep Hours(Japan)
Traverse the Ulvenwald(Germany)
Sheep Token(New Zealand)
Top 10 Blog Articles by Unique Views
Number shown is the unique views of the article.
- Mono Black Devotion in Modern by Saihaan Khan (4,912)
- Data Mining to Evaluate the Magic the Gathering Arena Economy by Lucas Buccafusca (4,113)
- Reassessing the Magic Arena Economy: A Drop in the Bucket by Lucas Buccafusca (3,504)
- Under Age Magic Players by Phil Morris (2,794)
- HollowVines: The Opportunity Cost of Explosiveness vs. Consistency by Cody Brown (2,533)
- New User Money Back Guarantee by Ted Rodney (1,828)
- The Enternalist: Eternal Magic in 2018 By Joe Dyer (1,506)
- Approach of the Second Sun in Rivals of Ixalan Standard by Jer Lundin (1,343)
- Rotations, Bans and Bears... Oh My! by Phil Morris (1,331)
- The Eternalist: The Long Road Home by Joe Dyer (823)
The Cardsphere community loves arbitrary decimal milestones. Unfortunately, we are just short of having completed $1,000,000.00 worth of trades in our first year operating. All the same, we're happy that the numbers look as good as they do. After all, last year at this time we had finished a very small closed (ahem) beta.
- Average package size: 3.85 items
- Largest package: 1154
- Average value of traded cards: $3.55
- Number of cards available for trade (excluding multiples per user): 2,276,408
- Including those that are Non-English: 53,500
- Number of Wants (excluding multiple copies per user): 165,037
- Including those that allow more than one language: 9,495
Here's a representation of the data we show on the Market Dashboard, for the entire year. The median offers are about what we expected, but there are a few crazy outliers, all of which were investigated to make sure they were not ghost trades or other monkey business.
And when someone claims that low value cards don't move on Cardsphere, just show them this one:
Top 10 Traded Sets
Number is the count of items from the set which have traded.
- Ixalan (11,806)
- Amonkhet (10,619)
- Kaladesh (10,173)
- Hour of Devastation (8,280)
- Dominaria (8,094)
- Unstable (7,769)
- Modern Masters 2017 (7,630)
- Battle for Zendikar (7,607)
- Aether Revolt (7,147)
- Khans of Tarkir (6,509)
Top 10 Least Traded Sets
Number is the count of items from the set which have traded. I have removed a bunch of irregular sets in Cardsphere that don't map to a recognizable released product.
- HasCon (7)
- From the Vault: Dragons (11)
- Commander's Arsenal (23)
- Magic 2015 Clash Pack (26)
- Battle Royale (27)
- From the Vault: Exiled (29)
- Duel Decks: Elves vs Goblins (31)
- Collectors' Edition (33)
- Beatdown (34)
- From the Vault: Legends (36)
Top 10 Most Wanted Cards
People like lands. Who knew?
Top 10 Most Owned Cards
Top 10 Most Traded Non-Foils
Swamp (Full Art)(679)
Forest (Full Art)(666)
Island (Full Art)(665)
Mountain (Full Art)(652)
Plains (Full Art)(628)
Field of Ruin(454)
Top 10 Most Traded Foils
Path to Exile(153)
Spirit Token (Full Art)(116)
Thopter Token (Full Art)(103)
Elemental Token (Red) (Full Art)(99)
Top 10 Most Valuable Trades
- Legends NM
The Tabernacle at Pendrell Valefor $1,222.00 (96% index)
- Beta SP
Forcefieldfor $1,000.00 (82% index)
- Unlimited MP
Time Walkfor $994.34 (91% index)
- Unlimited MP
Timetwisterfor 850.00 (111% index)
- Judge Promo NM
Gaea's CradleFOIL for $815.65 (100% index)
- Lorwyn Sealed Booster Box for $700.00 (487% index)
- Arabian Nights SP
Library of Alexandriafor $676.30 (90% index)
- Unlimited NM
Time Vaultfor $548.46 (102% index)
- Unlimited NM
Time Vaultfor $548.10 (100% index)
- Unlimited NM
Underground Seafor 531.50 (91% index)
Top 10 Trade Count per Card Type
Total Trade Activity By Color
We previously published an article about Country to Country delivery times. We're thinking that eventually this data will be used to provide an ETA in the system, For now, here's an update to the data set.
Cash In and Out
- Number of times funds were added: 4,909
- Number of users who added funds at least once: 1,086
- Number of users who added funds more than once: 681
- % of those who cashed in who did so more than once: 63
- Most times a single user added funds: 119
- Largest cash out request: 5,555.56
- Total amount cashed out: 196,860.00
- Most money ever in escrow (value of cards in transit): 65,075.13
- Money held by all users (size of economy): 159,767.48
What's Coming Year Two?
Deployment has slowed down a bit because Michael's been refactoring some of the main pages to make sure they are ready for new features this year. As it tends to happen when you go back to redo some old code, more and more potential improvements tend to show themselves, and these are hard to resist. But that is mostly done now, and he's got the design and implementation of tags well underway. Tags will be custom classifications you can give to your Haves and Wants to help manage your collection. All users will get the ability to use a small number of tags, Premium users will have no such restriction. And that's going to be a strong theme in Year Two: developing value added features that will make people want Premium.
Another important theme will be improving usability and experience across the board. Most pages will receive an overhaul to address outstanding issues. We will make use of card information (colors, types etc.), internally-accumulated stats (e.g. delivery times). It will be an evolution, not a revolution.
Another thing we plan to address soon is maturing the disputes system. Not just providing a dashboard experience, but allowing users to self-resolve disputes. Most of the time this is what happens anyway, so waiting for me to pass by once a day to release funds seems silly.
We're continuing to seek out the best marketing opportunities to keep growing the community, and have a number of small projects in the fire we can't talk about just yet (That's right, keep 'em hungry).
But no matter what the year brings we know that it's going to be a lot of work, a lot of fun, and very much worth it because of the community -- The community we have all built together. It's kind, generous, thoughtful and honest. Oh, and funny. Really funny.
Every day we are lifted up by the good humor and support we receive from people we didn't even know last year, many of whom have become our good friends. I keep trying to think of better or more meaningful ways to explain how thankful we feel. That's really the hardest part of putting an article like this together. There's just no way we can express our thanks in any way that can really show you how we feel. Thank you.
Guys, I think we launched.