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TLG acquires Bricklink

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2 hours ago, MAB said:

I received plenty of orders during that time in 2017, so it could have been coincidence that you did not.

No, sir. That's even greater evidence.
Many people who got even 2 orders per day suddenly went down to 0 per day for a couple / 3 months.
In the same time, many people noticed an increase of their average orders.
They did something and they knew they were playing with other people's money so they simply pretended nothing happened.
But why in the world the forum was plenty of messages of people experiencing the very same problem, in the very same period, in the very same way?

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48 minutes ago, Ankoku said:

Realistically though, how many extra sets are they going to sell because of that? I don't think it would be enough for LEGO to be too interested in.

Did any stats come out in regards to how many sets BL sold during the event they did in collaboration with LEGO? I do wonder if that was a test LEGO did in relation to buying BL.

I don't want to make up any rumours, but there was this Beyond the brick video about their warehouse holding all the parts for the project. And it looked still very cramped.

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7 minutes ago, Jacob Nion said:

I don't want to make up any rumours, but there was this Beyond the brick video about their warehouse holding all the parts for the project. And it looked still very cramped.

Said video:

 

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1 hour ago, Ankoku said:

Did any stats come out in regards to how many sets BL sold during the event they did in collaboration with LEGO? I do wonder if that was a test LEGO did in relation to buying BL.

They sold all that they were allowed (by LEGO) to make.

I imagine it was the first step in them being interested in buying BL. It could well be a good way to deal with AFOL like submissions from IDEAS that do not have a good business case for normal large production runs, but would make sense for smaller runs.

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On then other hand:
Lego may now provide parts lists of sets
When you wait for BL you wait ages.

and adding offical Lego sets....yes the BL morons even refuse sets,

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16 hours ago, KevinMD said:

This is a pretty silly complaint. If they wanted to profit from the scarcity they could just dutch auction them off and make plenty more cash. The fact that they give them away shows that they value the advertising more. 

Well, now instead of indirectly profiting from marketplace manipulation, they would now directly profit. Again, on a very small scale, but makes the practice of artificial rarity that much more sketchy.

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54 minutes ago, MAB said:

They sold all that they were allowed (by LEGO) to make.

That is good.

I am just wondering if they want to cash-in on stuff that goes viral.

e.g. The baby Yoda LEGO creation would be a good example of this, if it wasn't for the IP issues. Would be interesting if something became popular, they could just add a "Buy Now!". Then you don't have the hassle of trying to find all the parts, in the correct colours etc.

I don't see that as being a realistic proposition, since LEGO and the creator would never work fast enough to viably cash in on it.

That said, it would be an interesting world where AFOL's could create instructions for stuff and you can just buy the set from LEGO. Which is in essence what happened with the BL event. That way, the creator gets a small cut and LEGO sells more bricks.

Could be akin to a KickStarter for LEGO. Where sets which get enough pre-orders, get turned into real buyable sets. The bit which bothers me though, is that the BL event seemed very.... manual. You would hope the process would be far more automated in the creating of the sets.

Ultimately, were LEGO buying the user base more than anything else? They may not care about the sellers and are happy, for the most part, to just let that side of things carry on as it. What they are interested in, is all the people visiting BL and how they can sell to them. e.g. I visit BL and here far more than I visit LEGO.com. Maybe that is what they are interested in having access to. e.g. us.

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I don't understand why many people keep talking about "peanuts" or "pocket money".

Pocket money is still money. And there are no small markets, only markets that are yet to be discovered.

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2 hours ago, Ankoku said:

That is good.

I am just wondering if they want to cash-in on stuff that goes viral.

e.g. The baby Yoda LEGO creation would be a good example of this, if it wasn't for the IP issues. Would be interesting if something became popular, they could just add a "Buy Now!". Then you don't have the hassle of trying to find all the parts, in the correct colours etc.

 

I doubt they could cash in on any licensed ones without the IP or agreement with an existing IP holder. However, for anything unlicensed they might be able to do it the BL AFOL-program way. I guess it depends if it is cost effective for staff to be manually picking bricks like that. The other bad thing about it was prices for anyone in Europe, but the time you add on VAT and processing fees, the AFOL sets were quite expensive for what they contain. Whereas if LEGO can package them in Europe for Euorpean buyers, they are likely to be cheaper.

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34 minutes ago, astral brick said:

And there are no small markets, only markets that are yet to be discovered

of course there are small markets

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40 minutes ago, astral brick said:

I don't understand why many people keep talking about "peanuts" or "pocket money".

Pocket money is still money. And there are no small markets, only markets that are yet to be discovered.

If you think that selling Ice in Iceland is not a small market but a market yet to be discovered, you are super optimistic.

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When I see how broken Lego's website is at the moment, trying to order the frigging Batmobile, with errors everywhere, seemingly trying to connect to.. FACEBOOK.., god, I hope that none of Lego's in-house web devs will touch Bricklink.
The last time I placed an order, no one was able to pay because of a bug with VISA. How is a giant company ok with a website that has pretty much never worked correctly?

Edited by anothergol

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13 hours ago, Roebuck said:

Lego sees that a single goat cost 30 euro on BL. So they make a set and include a couple of goats in it, since that is a part that has very high value a lot of AFOLs want it. The set will sell more copies that if it had not goats included and Lego makes a lot of money..

If the outcome of this sale is that LEGO finally rereleases that stupid freaking goat, I am so in. I don't care what else happens. :sarcasm:

More seriously, I was shocked, saddened, and ultimately troubled by this news like so many others. However, once Bricklink was out of the hands of fans whose primary reason for running it was being an AFOL, it was bound to be taken over by business interests eventually, or keep being disrupted by ownership changes. Perhaps LEGO is the only company that can ensure a stable future, even if the future doesn't look much like the Bricklink we knew in the past.

Personally, I'm puzzled by LEGO's positioning of Bricklink as a fan community first, as if the marketplace was kind of a side note. I suppose in corporate speak Bricklink is too many things to neatly categorise, but I always viewed it as a really great fan-created and maintained reference catelogue, and a platform to buy and sell what we're all here for. The community aspects like the MOC system and forums, and the design software, seemed to me to be secondary fluff that's not really Bricklink's core function.

The AFOL design program, while cool, also didn't make much sense to me, since it turned Bricklink into an entity in itself, and not just a platform for individuals to sell things. It's as if a flea market started selling you Flea-Market branded goods from corporate Flea-Market headquarters.

Ultimately I hope LEGO doesn't get the wrong idea about what makes Bricklink important to AFOLs (though I suspect they will), and I hope they leave the marketplace and catalogue intact. If they don't, yes another platform out there will become the primary one, but the countless hours put into Bricklink's catalogue won't be easily or quickly redone.

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5 hours ago, MAB said:

I doubt they could cash in on any licensed ones without the IP or agreement with an existing IP holder. However, for anything unlicensed they might be able to do it the BL AFOL-program way.

If you look at the rules for the Ideas stuff, they only accept stuff which isn't already licensed, as adding to an existing license is too much hassle. Also, I don't think they would allow any set to use a license which hasn't been through LEGO's own in-house teams like Ideas stuff does. So as I mentioned, it would most likely be stuff which doesn't have a license connected to it.

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I'm not sure I understand the angst with taking over BL with regard to uncovering a new data source for selling stuff, be it reissues of sets or working out what parts afols want or what's rare - the 6 month sales data is publicly available. Nothing stopping a company this size from employing someone to trawl the sales data looking for patterns if that's what you want. Personally I think it's definately not the reason TLG wanted to take ownership of it. On top of that, for rarity etc, the price guide is also public with an API

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Can I kindly ask someone educated to explain me why TLG's acquisition of Bricklink is as I read a disaster or terrible news or worst scenario ever?

Because I do not understand this stance.

Let's consider some facts:

  • BRICKLINK DOESN'T WORK PROPERLY, IT'S FULL OF BUGS, IT'S NEARLY INACESSIBLE  FROM MOBILE

While we agree that TLG doesn't seem the best company in regard of mantaining websites, Bricklink is so broken that even a company not that good would only make us benefit from some iintervent.

  • BRICKLINK HAS NO CURRENT WORKING HELP DESK

While I can agree that TLG isn't good at website, perhaps their help desk is the better I've ever experienced (and you also know that is true since they keep on shipping expensive envelopes for maybe 1 lost part all over the world for free)

  • BRICLINK HAS NEVER REFORMED THE FEEDBACK SYSTEM

Which isn't working. People can virtually ransom your shop out of a negative feedback. (1 - make a bogus profile and place a very big order that you won't pay making all those pieces unbuyable for being sold to other people 2 - once upon order cancellation, you can still leave a negative feedback. 3 - repeat)

  • BRICKLINK'S DATA ON AVERAGE PRICES CAN BE EASILY SPOILERED

Within a policy that "everybody can make his own price", I can put a part in two lots, one at a low price, one at an incredibly high price (that I don't care to sell at) that will influence the future sales of people using the automated funcion "average price for sale" for part-outs making it sometimes pretty futile. This has been discussed so many times on the forum, but nothing has ever been made to fix that (like using a different average function, or a customizable one).

  • BRICKLINK RARELY (if never) HANDLES INCORRECT ITEM LISTING

People listing sets as "complete" when missing parts just in order to avoid it disappearing when you make a research upon complete sets only. You can report them, but seldom they will be removed/listed correcty after the report.

  • INTERNET HISTORY IS FULL OF EXAMPLES IN WHICH PEOPLE ABANDONS A TECHNOLOGY IN FAVOUR OF ANOTHER BECAUSE PEOPLE MOVE

I remember having used ICQ, IRCnet, MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and Skype. That was before because people were all on one platform, then they had several reasons to move and when all the people you want to get in touch with are on another platform, you move too. It has never been distastrous or terrible news. It's simply called "moving on". Wheter bricklink is severely reformed, or abandoned by AFOLs, you will however need to rebase your knowledge from scratch. What makes a difference? The only way you wouldn't have to re-learn is if they keep bricklink as it is now. Which, being itself not a change, cannot be a bad news.

  • TLG SEEMS PERCEIVED AS EVIL

This is something that I honestly always fail to see. Why are there some AFOLs who hate TLG? This may be little off topic, but I always fail to see that. Yes, in the announce and interviews they surely have been compelled to reinsure AFOLs that they are doing our good. But why should be them compelled to? Why should AFOLs need to be reinsured? Isn't TLG the one producing the stuff we love to play with? Isn't TLG so our bigger benefactor, giving us every year fresh material to play with, providing LUGs with free stuff (they are not compelled to), shipping you pieces that you may have not found in boxes for free (they are not compelled to), making special prices for their stuff if you are in a LUG with at least two different projects (they are not compelled to), having an entire plaftorm in which you can have the dream of your set becoming real (they are, again, not compelled to), and in the meantime trying to be ethical devolving part of their income to the LEGO Foundation (they are not compelled to) and spending a lot of money in research for eco friendly plastic?
In comparison to all the rest of the Toy companies, to me TLG seems a whole different world. I don't see Mattel or Hasbro doing nothing even comparable. Still people perceive TLG as an evil company and post all over the internet the picture with the LEGO shark eating the bricklink fish. 

I'm not a newbie. I can say I had no dark age and I spent a lot of my free time discussing with AFOLs. So it's not something I don't want to see. It's just reality, some people seem to secretly (or not so secretly) hate TLG for whatever reason. I have some suspects, like, many of these AFOLs are angry at TLG because they are biased, many other may be angry at TLG because they think TLG owes them one, for whichever reason. Like, TLG isn't making the sets they love. Or TLG isn't re-releasing the damn goats. Or the sets are too expensive for their own perception. Everyone of this people seems to know better than TLG what TLG should be doing, without having the big picture TLG has.

Sorry for being this long, that was not my initial idea, but I really had an itch to scratch.

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23 minutes ago, Itaria No Shintaku said:

Can I kindly ask someone educated to explain me why TLG's acquisition of Bricklink is as I read a disaster or terrible news or worst scenario ever?

Because public internet forums attract more extreme opinions?

I am +1 (agree) to the rest you wrote also.

Edited by andythenorth

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42 minutes ago, Itaria No Shintaku said:

BRICKLINK DOESN'T WORK PROPERLY, IT'S FULL OF BUGS, IT'S NEARLY INACESSIBLE  FROM MOBILE

As a buyer, I don't think I ever got ANY bug from BL, out of hundreds of orders. Is it so broken from the seller's side?

Meanwhile I've hardly had any B&P order that didn't bug at one point.

42 minutes ago, Itaria No Shintaku said:

While I can agree that TLG isn't good at website, perhaps their help desk is the better I've ever experienced (and you also know that is true since they keep on shipping expensive envelopes for maybe 1 lost part all over the world for free)

I totally agree here. But the thing is that out of hundreds of orders, I've never needed BL's help. Meanwhile I've so many times needed to write to Lego, because everything you touch there is broken, and you never get any info about the availability of a part. So yeah their help desk is very polite & all - not necessarily very useful because well, often they don't know more than you do, about problems that are way out of their reach. But we shouldn't be needing it.

Like since the last change of the VIP system. At the moment I have 2 VIP #'s, none of which gets accepted in phone calls when they ask to enter it. I once called to simply know which was my "new" VIP number (would it be so hard to write it somewhere on the VIP account info?), one that would get recognized in the system. Polite support & all, but it only made things worse, as I'm not getting VIP points anymore.
Even to phone to Lego I've had to try everything - eventually getting Lego's number from a Lego shop in my country (and it looks like a backdoor, with 2 redirections to the right service). Because of course, none of the numbers on their website was working.

So as for online stuff, there is just nothing Lego could bring to BL, but the opposite yeah. As for software, I still find the LDD superior, so the people who are/were on the LDD are surely talented ones, who even knows if they're still with Lego & doing what. Studio is too a marvel of programming, though - only not very well fine-tuned yet.

Edited by anothergol

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1 hour ago, Itaria No Shintaku said:

I'm not a newbie. I can say I had no dark age and I spent a lot of my free time discussing with AFOLs. So it's not something I don't want to see. It's just reality, some people seem to secretly (or not so secretly) hate TLG for whatever reason

Many seem to be angry because they think Lego did that for the money, which I don't believe at all. I don't even think Lego expected so much hate after buying BL, more the opposite.

But there are valid points. Like, Lego is quite censored. The usual "no alcohol, no weapons, no religious stuff". There are MOCs on BL, most likely they will have to obey those rules now. Quite some war vehicles (there is even a "military" section at the top) & churches there, it's gonna piss some people to see them removed. I personnaly don't mind, because for me BL has never been any relevant as for MOCs. But if Lego had bought Rebrickable, I would have a problem with that.

I don't think at all that Lego is interested in BL's pocket money, but I do believe there's a high risk that Lego's rules are gonna be applied to BL, because they have been applied everywhere, with no exception. Do you have any example of anything Lego has done that wasn't 100% kids friendly? (yeah those ashtrays & all, but they wouldn't do that today).
I was joking previously with the fact that BL can't be kids-friendly because dirty used parts mean a risk of diseases, but I can totally imagine Lego's lawyers explaining them that no, "child died because of E.coli found on parts sold by Lego" is a risk they just can't take, restricting BL to new parts & thus killing it.
I believe Lego will really have to stress on the fact that BL is for adults, but again, I've never seen Lego do that yet. It'd be great news if Lego started to do adult stuff, though. The best "Lego" sets I ever bought were not made by Lego, but by a chinese brand, while the original MOCs (by the Arvo brothers) were Lego.

Edited by anothergol

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19 minutes ago, anothergol said:

As a buyer, I don't think I ever got ANY bug from BL, out of hundreds of orders. Is it so broken from the seller's side?

Apart from the very fact that it's not responsive and this is quite a titanic problem, yes.
Uploading parts may lead in problems like:

  • Random Error 500 (Internal Server Error). It's not you, it's us. This little guy with a garbage bin on his head greeting you), which means that if you don't cache data whatever operation you just made, well you have to redo it. And that means that if you visualize 100 elements per page and you did 100 changes you have to redo. Them. All.
  • Random Error "Possibly someone just bought the parts you listed" (which is never the case). Some updates fail for no actual reasons and spawns this error. To be honest, this happen much less frequently than the 500 one.

These are errors from the system. Plus you have human errors.

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1 hour ago, Itaria No Shintaku said:

 

  • BRICKLINK DOESN'T WORK PROPERLY, IT'S FULL OF BUGS, IT'S NEARLY INACESSIBLE  FROM MOBILE

I agree it is poor on a mobile phone, but from a PC it works fine. There are outages (and too many of them) but when it is up it is perfectly fine from a computer. LEGO's website is rather poor on a phone too. But then many websites are poor on a small display. Especially any website where you typically have many items on screen at once, like a parts list.

  • BRICKLINK HAS NO CURRENT WORKING HELP DESK

Yes, the help desk is very slow, and that seems to be down to lack of resources / staff.

  • BRICLINK HAS NEVER REFORMED THE FEEDBACK SYSTEM

Which isn't working. People can virtually ransom your shop out of a negative feedback. (1 - make a bogus profile and place a very big order that you won't pay making all those pieces unbuyable for being sold to other people 2 - once upon order cancellation, you can still leave a negative feedback. 3 - repeat)

That is not how it works. If you file a NPB then any negative feedback left by a buyer is automatically removed once the NPB is completed.

  • BRICKLINK'S DATA ON AVERAGE PRICES CAN BE EASILY SPOILERED

Within a policy that "everybody can make his own price", I can put a part in two lots, one at a low price, one at an incredibly high price (that I don't care to sell at) that will influence the future sales of people using the automated funcion "average price for sale" for part-outs making it sometimes pretty futile. This has been discussed so many times on the forum, but nothing has ever been made to fix that (like using a different average function, or a customizable one).

This is only a problem if sellers insist on using the average currently listed price when parting out, that is base prices on items that have not actually sold. Personally, I prefer to base my prices on items that have sold, where the problem of high unrealistic prices is not such an issue. However, even then it is worth using common sense when parting out and not just automatically accepting averages. If it is a relatively new part, chances are the six month average price will have come down. If it is a currently in demand part, prices might have come up. If it is a minifigure or expensive part, it is worth checking prices individually.

  • BRICKLINK RARELY (if never) HANDLES INCORRECT ITEM LISTING

I disagree here. I have reported 100s like this over the years and they are removed. I reported some a couple of weeks ago and they are gone.

  • INTERNET HISTORY IS FULL OF EXAMPLES IN WHICH PEOPLE ABANDONS A TECHNOLOGY IN FAVOUR OF ANOTHER BECAUSE PEOPLE MOVE

I agree, if something better comes along, people move. However, BO although almost a copycat has not really dented BL's market dominance. Similarly there are examples where people stick with a technology because it kills competitors. Google, amazon, ebay, etc over the years there have been predictions that all will disappear to be taken over by something else.

  • TLG SEEMS PERCEIVED AS EVIL

Isn't TLG the one producing the stuff we love to play with?

There is a difference between LEGO bricks and LEGO the company. I love the product, I don't love the company. They are poor when it comes to internet technology, predicting demand (new Batmobile set today ...?). I think their pricing has become a bit of a joke recently, in so much as I rarely buy at RRP. It seems they price items so they can be reduced. They have decent customer service, but it is not perfect. I think the big thing here though is that they think they can somehow own the fan (AFOL) community. They may say they are doing things for the fans, but in reality they are doing it to make more money. Of course, they are a business and that is their primary goal. I wait to see what they plan to do in changes to the terms of usage of BL. If they start to add in clauses such as using data for other purposes than processing bricklink sales, then I will opt out of my data being used in this way. If BL remains a separate company, then they should not be sharing personal data with LEGO, for example.

Edited by MAB

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1 minute ago, MAB said:
  • BRICLINK HAS NEVER REFORMED THE FEEDBACK SYSTEM

Which isn't working. People can virtually ransom your shop out of a negative feedback. (1 - make a bogus profile and place a very big order that you won't pay making all those pieces unbuyable for being sold to other people 2 - once upon order cancellation, you can still leave a negative feedback. 3 - repeat)

That is not how it works. If you file a NPB then any negative feedback left by a buyer is automatically removed once the NPB is completed.

That is why I used the word "ransom".
Picture this case my friend. 
I want to ransom all your pieces. Then I buy ALL your shop with a bogus account.
What happens? You understand this is a bogus order, and you cancel my order. 
This leaves me open the chance to give you a negative. Oh, you will retaliate for sure but why should I bother if that's a bogus account?
And what if you don't cancel the order instantly?
You can start a NPB only a week after the order date.
Then I have a week more to pay.
And what if I reply to the NPB? I gain an extra week.
Making your whole shop at ransom for 21 days.

And I can repeat this practice every 21 days.

That is quite enough to ruin someone's business.

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4 minutes ago, Itaria No Shintaku said:

That is why I used the word "ransom".
Picture this case my friend. 
I want to ransom all your pieces. Then I buy ALL your shop with a bogus account.
What happens? You understand this is a bogus order, and you cancel my order. 
This leaves me open the chance to give you a negative. Oh, you will retaliate for sure but why should I bother if that's a bogus account?
And what if you don't cancel the order instantly?
You can start a NPB only a week after the order date.
Then I have a week more to pay.
And what if I reply to the NPB? I gain an extra week.
Making your whole shop at ransom for 21 days.

And I can repeat this practice every 21 days.

That is quite enough to ruin someone's business.

I have had it happen. If you believe it is a bogus order, then you can report the ID to the admins. If the ID has made a few large purchases (that is, targetting others as well) and none have been paid then it will be banned and the orders cancelled and any feedback from the bogus account removed.

Alternatively, if you believe it is a bogus order then start the NPB after 7 days. But in the meantime, if you are sure it is a bogus order then you can just upload the parts/sets in the order again to make them available.

 

And how do you expect this to change under LEGO? Do you expect them to remove customer rights? So for example, they could allow a seller to instantly cancel any order if they like, and stop the buyer leaving any feedback. That would not be good for customers.

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3 minutes ago, MAB said:

I have had it happen. If you believe it is a bogus order, then you can report the ID to the admins. If the ID has made a few large purchases (that is, targetting others as well) and none have been paid then it will be banned and the orders cancelled and any feedback from the bogus account removed.

Alternatively, if you believe it is a bogus order then start the NPB after 7 days. But in the meantime, if you are sure it is a bogus order then you can just upload the parts/sets in the order again to make them available.

 

And how do you expect this to change under LEGO? Do you expect them to remove customer rights? So for example, they could allow a seller to instantly cancel any order if they like, and stop the buyer leaving any feedback. That would not be good for customers.

You can't do this on Amazon.
Why? Because you first pay then the item becomes unavailable.
The bigger problem within bricklink is this one: instant checkout is not compulsory. It should be.
Having not compulsory instant checkout forces the ones that have it to offer a side-non-instant-checkout solution for stubborn users who don't want, for any reason, pay instantly (or who cannot, there are countries in which paypal doesn't work). When I do make an order on BL I always ensure I have the money to make it available and if there's instant checkout, that's better. If there isn't, I pay within minutes from when I receive the invoice.

I would gladly welcome a mandatory instant checkout. Bricklink isn't applying it, so whoever does it, saves the day.

Now, you probably are already thinking: what if someone wants instead to pay via IBAN/Bank Transfer/Moneygram/Western Union/Cash on Delivery etc?
Those people who clearly do not (or cannot) want to keep up with the times, can be offered the chance to however do their purchases but previous approval from the buyer.
Like quoting! Super easy!
You receive an order that's gonna be paid via IBAN? Western Union? You check the order and approve it as much as you would do with a quote!

Or you want to make even super easier?
You give the users two options: QUOTE and INSTANT CHECKOUT. If you cannot pay the moment you order, the pieces aren't yours. If someone instant buys them, the pieces are his/hers. If you want to ensure them, you instant pay them.

It may seem to remove a customer right, but that's not it... as much as on whatsapp I was able to see all the messages and now they changed it and I can remove my messages whenever I want preventing people from reading them any more. Is this removing my right to see all the messages. No. It's just a new feature. You don't remove the customer the chance to buy outside instant checkout, but you make this chance subject to the seller's approval.

This way everybody is happy. 
The seller may say "I will approve the order previous payment". 
Or "I won't approve the order".
If the buyer has no malicious intent, the buyer is as much happy as the seller.

This would really halve the problems within buyer and seller that we have now on BL.

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