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TLG acquires Bricklink

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3 hours ago, Itaria No Shintaku said:

I would feel very very robbed if I had to pay money twice. I am buying products on bricklink that I assume they have already been bought by someone. So that fee has already being paid. Asking an extra would be like asking to pay twice a fee.

That is exactly my point. If they are capable of wringing twice the fee from you, they will. There was a very big problem with re-sale of event tickets (like music concerts etc) in that events would sell out on the ticket provider and then resellers would inflate the price selling them on. Selling them on using sites that belonged to the ticket companies; companies who would take a nice slice of profit from the resale of tickets they had already sold! It took Government intervention for measures to be put in place to prevent the worst of it. 

2 hours ago, Grover said:

more concerned with some of the farther reaching implications of involving a company bound by legal agreements for licensing and corporate image for how their product is used after it passes from their control (and thus trying to control that use as much as possible).

Indeed. They are already admitting that they will need to remove products that do not match their corporate image. Which probably means anyone selling MOCs of modern war situations or anything from the World Wars will be removed from Bricklink. Also, might prevent store names that references war, armies or soldiers and possibly even Gun (After all, the pew-pews LEGO makes are Blasters, not guns!). 

It is quite the quagmire of unconsidered problems.

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What is it you wanted TLG to do? if its true that BL have been for sale for a while as some claim and with the large store chains going bankrupt all over world. TLG then need to secure an important channel as BL is, I dont think TLG expect to re-earn from fees what they paid but in the long run they have secured this platform.. that is if all AFOL's dont freak out about it in advance before they even find out how it will go...

Edited by Dane

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12 minutes ago, Dane said:

...that is if all AFOL's dont freak out about it in advance before they even find out how it will go...

How long have you been around AFOLs?  'Freak out' is like the default response.  Love of a small plastic world and fear of real life seem to go nicely together :wink: 

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So I saw Jangbricks video pointing out a contradiction between interview with both brickset and brothers-brick. LEGO keeps saying that "warfare and violence is something that the LEGO Group will never support." All the while they have many gun elements as can easily be seen in the 'Minifigure, Weapon' section on bricklink, not to mention having both Star Wars and Overwatch themes. Which have a large thing of violence (Especially Clone Wars that was killing clones and other characters like it was going out of style).

I have no care about brickarms, if they say they just want to have only official LEGO elements on bricklink, than I would be fine with it. But the contradiction is what I have a problem, along with the "don't want warfare and violence" that always say while still breaking that rule is what I'm getting really annoyed of.

Edited by ShadowWolfHount
forgot to add the link to jangbricks video.

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13 minutes ago, andythenorth said:

How long have you been around AFOLs?  'Freak out' is like the default response.  Love of a small plastic world and fear of real life seem to go nicely together :wink: 

Thus far I find most arguments people bringing up very reasonable.

Some may freak out, others say it's all fantastic and wonderful (which is a silly and naive point of view really), but the word I read the most is 'concerned'.

@Exetrius thank you. I will make sure to rewrite my statement more eloquent and submit it to whatever TLG will offer for communication. As they stated they want to consult the community for opinion.

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I think this is terrible news. 

It should have stayed independent. Already they are interfering, making false statements that there is 'no conflict' when there clearly is, sayin g they're not going to implement anything immediately, then immediately having to backtrack when pointed out they won't be allowing things such as Brick arms on there anymore. 

 

I'd suspect they truly want to data mine the hell out of it because it gives an insight into what people are *still buying* and *still interested in* while not having to do any market research of their own into what people might want to buy. It'll show them trends, as well as what pieces are highly sought after, enabling them to focus on them being in their own online BaP section... 

Essentially, it's just one big market research tool for them, with a couple of added extras they can probably use to their advantage of free profit, but also they'll implement their own policies on it as they already have done, removing the independent feel and freedom of it. It'll probably stick around for years, but I really can't see how it'll become better. 

 

We may just see a different range of new stuff offered by tlg than we would had they not acquired it... 

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2 minutes ago, Fuppylodders said:

I'd suspect they truly want to data mine the hell out of it

Data mine what already? :wink:

BL sales data is already public. https://www.bricklink.com/v2/catalog/catalogitem.page?S=8158-1#T=P

BL seller inventories are public.

BL wanted list data is somewhat public.

2 minutes ago, Fuppylodders said:

because it gives an insight into what people are *still buying* and *still interested in* while not having to do any market research of their own into what people might want to buy.

One might say this is....useful?  Finding out what people are actually buying?

 

For the record, I think TLG will screw up BL, but only by accident.  TLG have no obvious good record in running online platforms.

I also suspect it was a distress sale, the previous owner of BL had possibly lost interest (more interested in BTC-type crypto currency and giving away his fortune).  TLG have probably re-homed it with good intentions, or to keep it out of the hands of others. Stuff like this happens.  People who haven't bought, sold, or crashed a business see weird motives to business decisions, where business mostly just runs on well-intentioned mistakes. :moar:

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3 hours ago, Gray Gear said:

Advertisement is not a nececary expense. It is a expense a to grow a company to make more profit in the future.

Advertisement for a product is money you pay.
Lepin & Co. do not pay a single cent, yet they benefit.
TLG advertised set XXXXXX, Lepin did the same paratising the ad that TLG paid for.
Defending the copycats always wrong. There is no valid reason for defending them. Never.

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Good gravy, a lot of Chicken Littles over this news. All we have to go off is the CMO’s word that little to nothing will change, especially regarding sellers. This sounds like a promising thing as it gives the company more insight into us AFOLs. 

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OK, so I've only read about half the postings on this so apologies if I repeat something.

4 hours ago, koalayummies said:

The Brothers Brick did a most excellent job with question preparation for that interview yesterday. Brought up some really fantastic points. That was some good Lego journalism.

I will applaud them for asking a couple very tough pointed questions (though most went unanswered).

My favorite was about the conflict of interest:
 

Quote

 

Brothers Brick:

LEGO creates artificial scarcity for things like San Diego Comic Con exclusives like sets and minifigs. And then LEGO would immediately turn around and profit from that artificial scarcity. How is that not a conflict of interest?

Julia Goldin:
You’re right in the fact that we do create some exclusives, some exclusive building sets for particularly advanced [builders] or for particular platforms. We’re not doing it particularly with profits in mind as much as we’re doing it as part of a cultural moment that creates something that’s really interesting. So, this is where I, again, I don’t see how that conflicts with the platform.

 

I don't understand how Julia doesn't understand this is a problem. Lego creates figures that are artificially rare, then instead of making $2 profit, makes $20 to $30 commission on something that costs pennies to produce. While I will concede that I'm sure there much worse reasons they do this (namely exploiting complete-ists to drive perceived value in their product) ; it just makes artificial rarity that much more sketchy.

Counter point: If this spells the end of catering to scalpers (and ultra rare figures), then I'll be a big fan of this acquisition.

Edited by Gomek

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From what I remember LEGO saying, in regards to guns, it is a public perception thing. e.g. people become outraged by the idea of mini-figures with guns. If it is an IP, in a way, it isn't so much their problem, so they don't worry about Overwatch/Star Wars. The general public don't mind the Star Wars stuff etc. having futuristic guns.

I think, where they worry about public perception, is when the gun is a replica of real guns past and present. Which is what Brick Arms does a fair amount of.

I honestly don't know if they would do an Aliens IP, since the M41A Pulse Rifle looks a bit like normal guns. Bit too close for their risk analysis.

Also, with IP, they seem to have a different set of rules. e.g. mini-figures are always yellow, unless it is an IP, then real skin tones are used.

With Brick Arms, at least you can see that this was an established position for LEGO and it is understandable that Brick Arms stuff can't remain on BL because of that position. It makes sense. Obviously, this is unfortunate for Brick Arms and what they do is important for to AFOL community and their lack of presence on BL will hit their sales.

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7 hours ago, Lego David said:

LEGO is a company. The reason they exist is to make money. And they certainly wouldn't invest a few millions of dollars without expecting even more money back. Whether that is trough fees or by using BL as a place to sell their own stuff, it's still money that's the biggest motivation.

They're not dumb, if 99% of their income comes from kids, if they invested pocket money it's not to directly make pocket money, but improve their image, because their brand is all they have.
If that ensures them that Bricklink isn't gonna be filled with third-party parts, there, that may already be worth what they invested. If there's a company that knows how serious of a threat clone brands are, it's the one that started itself as a clone brand.

Bricklink only shows incomplete stats, so maybe this will be totally wrong, but let's do a quick computation:
https://www.bricklink.com/help.asp?helpID=1304

From the 2013 chart, let's round it at 1 million orders per year. Or let's be very generous, make that 2 million orders per year (BL says to have 1 million accounts, god knows how many are still very active, so 2 millions orders/year seems fair). Let's also be generous on the average order value, and make it $40. What's 3% of 80 millions? 2.4 millions. With that you have to pay salaries, and remember, that's a year of programmers on Studio & other apps TOO.
..but let's be generous here too and let's say it's 2.4millions profit. How much is Lego making again? Let's check. 1.2... BILLION!

Pocket money I say. We're only a handful of adults playing with Lego, we're not the market.
Lego's profits seem to fluctuate by +- 200 millions each year, the acquisition of BL isn't gonna reflect in that, even if they raised the fees to 100%.

I mean just look at this chart, BL's pocket money may just affect the decimal part, they're not caring at this level. Instead they work on the protection of what they have & their image, because that's globally what makes a difference.

lego-group-net-profit.jpg

 

 

Edited by anothergol

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1 hour ago, Ankoku said:

I think, where they worry about public perception, is when the gun is a replica of real guns past and present.

Something ironic in this, Lego's most useful parts generally started as minifig accessories, including weapons.

These guns, MOCers understand how annoying their SIGHT is, but we have to do with that, because it's a gun. Well, some in my collection have the sight cut off. And where did I get them? Bricklink of course! Cut off by kids who would prefer this part NOT being a FRIGGING GUN.

13981.png

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5 hours ago, Peppermint_M said:

That is exactly my point. If they are capable of wringing twice the fee from you, they will. There was a very big problem with re-sale of event tickets (like music concerts etc) in that events would sell out on the ticket provider and then resellers would inflate the price selling them on. Selling them on using sites that belonged to the ticket companies; companies who would take a nice slice of profit from the resale of tickets they had already sold! It took Government intervention for measures to be put in place to prevent the worst of it. 

Indeed. They are already admitting that they will need to remove products that do not match their corporate image. Which probably means anyone selling MOCs of modern war situations or anything from the World Wars will be removed from Bricklink. Also, might prevent store names that references war, armies or soldiers and possibly even Gun (After all, the pew-pews LEGO makes are Blasters, not guns!). 

It is quite the quagmire of unconsidered problems.

If they remove products that don't match their 'corporate image,' would that mean banning some of their own older products?

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8 minutes ago, anothergol said:

Something ironic in this, Lego's most useful parts generally started as minifig accessories, including weapons.

And Bricks & Pieces calls this piece SUBMACHINE GUN Ø3.2 SHAFT

62885.jpg

Somehow, if it's used in LEGO's own themes like 2014 Ultra Agents, and also in 2019 Lego Movie 2, they have to add round pieces to it to make it some fantasy weapon like this : 

(Ultra Agents 2014 example)

tn_70163_alt4_jpg.jpg

But if it's a licensed theme, it's apparently fine to to be used as a "gun"

(Star Wars 2017 example)

75184-3.jpg

Edited by TeriXeri

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7 minutes ago, Grover said:

It's not about guns.
If it was about them, a revolver or a tommy gun would count as much as a sword. They are always weapon.
It's TLG not wanting to do modern warfare
Actually a tommy gun cannot be considered modern warfare, it's something of more than 100  years ago.

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You are ignoring the part in the brothers-brick interview where 'violence' was also in there, so the gun thing still holds weight. Not to mention all the licensed IP (along with their own) that breaks this rule, especially licensed with Indiana Jones, Overwatch, Superhero Star Wars etc.

They keep talking about these moral rules but always break their own rule they set for themselves.

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I fail to see how people are afraid of licenced parts/sets whatever being removed. All sellers on BL are RE-SELLERS of previously existing items, no one is PRODUCING ITEMS, no one is even a RETAILER. TLG paid the fee already, and anyone can re-sell anything of physical property.

When you listed your old Hulk pyjamas on eBay did Disney demand a cut? Or send a cease-and-desist?

And if they did it would be illegal.

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1 hour ago, Itaria No Shintaku said:

It's TLG not wanting to do modern warfare
Actually a tommy gun cannot be considered modern warfare, it's something of more than 100  years ago.

Dude, revolvers are still around.  WW2 is also a no-no for Lego (or they would make tanks, like the competition does), except it's ok when it's Indiana Jones. Just like FPSes are banned, except it's ok if it's Overwatch.

Also, Brickarms & others do old time & fantasy weapons too.

I think Lego is ok with war when it has enough fantasy behind it. Of course they are, they aim at kids and kids love to pretend war.
But Brickarms are just arms, eventually it's up to the kids to pretend it's fantasy or reality. But let's face it, kids will use all of Lego's guns and make their City minifigs shoot at each other. And when I was a kid when Lego had no weapon yet, these were guns:

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcT8HeSMG3fytxNJeZXQ-N4

2 minutes ago, Artanis I said:

I fail to see how people are afraid of licenced parts/sets whatever being removed. All sellers on BL are RE-SELLERS of previously existing items, no one is PRODUCING ITEMS, no one is even a RETAILER. TLG paid the fee already, and anyone can re-sell anything of physical property.

When you listed your old Hulk pyjamas on eBay did Disney demand a cut? Or send a cease-and-desist?

And if they did it would be illegal.

They do decide what you can sell on BL or not. You're still free to sell somewhere else of course.. where no one is gonna find it.

(not that I think they would ban licensed parts, I don't see why they would do that either)

Edited by anothergol

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3 hours ago, Gomek said:

OK, so I've only read about half the postings on this so apologies if I repeat something.

I will applaud them for asking a couple very tough pointed questions (though most went unanswered).

My favorite was about the conflict of interest:
 

I don't understand how Julia doesn't understand this is a problem. Lego creates figures that are artificially rare, then instead of making $2 profit, makes $20 to $30 commission on something that costs pennies to produce. While I will concede that I'm sure there much worse reasons they do this (namely exploiting complete-ists to drive perceived value in their product) ; it just makes artificial rarity that much more sketchy.

Counter point: If this spells the end of catering to scalpers (and ultra rare figures), then I'll be a big fan of this acquisition.

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. 

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