legotownlinz

LEGO, Quo Vadis? Some Thoughts on a New Business Model

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44 minutes ago, legotownlinz said:

<snip>

Not every new part must be added to the stable set of parts. Of course the stable set is always a subset of the parts available at a given time. If a part of the stable set is retired, it should be announced early enough to give designers a chance to modify their designs. It is not necessary that each design is available on the platform forever, if part availability is guaranteed for two years it is certainly enough. 

I'm not sure how wide the selection in Bricks & Pieces is normally (currently it is down anyway due to COVID-19) but I'm guessing it's a decent chuck of parts in production so you could always make your order there if BL isn't satisfying your needs. Not being able to upload a parts list is of course a significant downside and should be corrected, but beyond that I'm not sure what it would achieve to make a system where people could upload their MOCs and others could vote for their quality and buy them. I mean, I don't see the profit potential in this kind of system, considering the severely limiting factor of parts selection of those currently in production at any given time. I feel that two years is a pretty short time for a MOC to be available as the only quality control would be votes from the general public (no TLG internal QC which ensures quality for their sets) so most prospective buyers would probably just skip the MOCs in favour of official sets and by the time a MOC gathered enough of votes to judge the quality, it would be ripe for retirement. Also, what would be the incentive for people to upload their designs? Part of the sales price? That would open a huge can of worms in terms of IP rights, payments, etc. and vast majority of people would earn only pennies if anything. For IDEAS it works because only a few sets make it through the process anyway. Those designers who don't care about money can upload their MOCs to sites like Rebrickable as it is so for them it would offer nothing new.

There are costs and risks in launching a site like this, and I don't think the potential profit would justify that risk. But of course I'm just some guy with opinions in the Internet, so I might be totally wrong. Who knows, maybe does TLG something like this planned with the recent acquisition of Bricklink and all. I'm not saying I wouldn't like this kind of service but I just don't think it wouldn't be profitable enough.

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1 hour ago, legotownlinz said:

Do you understand the meaning of the word 'average' in 'Average price of 10 cent per part'? I have no clue how you came to your conclusions unless you overlooked 'average'.

 

Yes, I know the meaning of the word average.

The question is what prices are you going to base them on? For example - LEGO's internal prices used when they determine values of sets, LEGO's PAB prices, LEGO's B+P prices, BL prices (average), BO prices (average), etc. There are many different prices for the same part.

2 hours ago, legotownlinz said:

Not every new part must be added to the stable set of parts. Of course the stable set is always a subset of the parts available at a given time. If a part of the stable set is retired, it should be announced early enough to give designers a chance to modify their designs. It is not necessary that each design is available on the platform forever, if part availability is guaranteed for two years it is certainly enough. 

This is very like Bricklink's AFOL designed sets programme, which is probably part of the reason LEGO bought BL. Those sets had to be designed from a narrow range of parts. The value of them was not very good compared to the BL prices for the individual parts or compared to basic LEGO sets with similar parts.

 

I still don't see who would do this. LEGO has no incentive to, as they already design their own sets and they already have a design competition via IDEAS for popular MOCs to be made into sets. Bricklink - the largest independent marketplace (at the time) -  tried through the MOC shop and failed. LEGO and BL partnered through the AFOL programme and seemed to have some success and will probably do something similar again. It wouldn't surprise me if popular MOCs that got to 10000 will go through that programme if they not pass review and have no IP issues. However, there is probably no point for niche sets that have hardly any following. Someone has to sort the parts and that is costly if the run is small.

 

 

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12 hours ago, Mylenium said:

Let me reply by firing the same question back at you: Have they, though? Given that there's a million competitors in that region, some of which are rather successful by themselves, it's a completely different discussion. And given the current political climate I'm not sure how future-proof an aggressive expansion in China, India and so on might be. The rest is of course irrelevant. We can all play the numbers game and armchair-CEO all day, but the simple truth is we all don't know. It just seems funny to me that a European company cares so little about actual European subjects. Even your claim about focus-testing with mostly European kids might not really make sense in this context then, as clearly some of these discussions would inevitably come up...

Mylenium

The existence of competitors in the region is itself proof that there's an audience for building toys in Asia that LEGO has previously failed to effectively cater to. I have little interest in playing "armchair CEO", and even less in wantonly speculating about "the current political climate" and what it might mean for the future. But the strong sales growth that LEGO has experienced in Asia in recent years seems to be a good sign that their efforts to expand their reach in that region have been far from futile.

Moreover, I disagree that they "care little about actual European subjects". I mean, Nexo Knights was every bit as European-inspired as Monkie Kid is Chinese-inspired. The Elves theme likewise took extensive cues from European medieval fantasy. Furthermore, Technic, Creator Expert, and Speed Champions have featured many different European vehicle brands, just as Architecture and Creator Expert landmark series sets have depicted subjects from numerous European cities.

There's certainly a case to be made that there are more futuristic or modern-day themes currently than historic ones, but that doesn't in any way demonstrate anti-European bias. After all, even within the past decade, themes with European historical settings have far outweighed ones with American or Asian historical settings. I'd certainly much sooner expect to see new Castle sets in the next few years than new Wild West sets…

My comment about LEGO's familiarity with the tastes of European kids was not in reference to focus testing. But you are correct that LEGO still does plenty of testing and market research with European kids, and that the outcomes of that testing and market research are certainly discussed when developing new themes. That's all the more reason not assume LEGO is ignoring, turning their back on, or otherwise failing European kids just because their themes don't line up perfectly AFOL anecdotes and generalizations about which themes kids in Europe want to see.

After all, LEGO sets still overwhelmingly dominate Amazon's construction toy best-seller lists in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy. And the LEGO Group's 2019 annual results revealed that LEGO sales in Western Europe grew by single digits that year, while the combined EMEA region (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) represented a 45% share of the company's net sales. It certainly seems like European kids are more satisfied with the current state of the LEGO brand than a lot of European AFOLs tend to suggest.

And in any case, this is all tangential to the point of this topic, which was proposing a custom set ordering system specifically to cater to the AFOL market. On that note…

On 5/15/2020 at 9:26 PM, legotownlinz said:

We neither want a decorated Christmas train nor an out-of-scale, overpriced Disney train nor a haunted train nor trains designed for children aged six. We just want detailed, ordinary trains and train-related buildings. The last excellent set was the Horizon Express in 2013. The competition offers many train-related sets for AFOLs. Trains are a niche market, but this is true for castle, pirates, space, ...  and many other themes and for each of these themes there are alternatives. If it's just trains, it wouldn't be an issue for Lego, but dozens of nice markets are relevant.

If you believe Lego is performing well: Fine. You can continue to collect Lego sets just because they are Lego sets. I don't. And I guess many other people are more focused, too. I would like to know your opinion how Lego can improve, that's why I started this thread. If you want to prove me that I'm an idiot who doesn't value Lego's products, please leave the discussion, it will lead us nowhere.

It's a little rude to insinuate that LEGO fans who like the current product range are indiscriminate in their purchasing decisions. Who's to say buyers of the Winter Village Train weren't interested in it specifically BECAUSE it was a holiday train? In the collections of Brickset users, it's the second most widely owned Winter Village set (after Santa's Workshop), and the most widely owned Creator Expert train by a huge margin. That hardly seems to line up with what you'd expect if fans were just indiscriminately buying any train set LEGO makes.

For my part, I had a much more passionate interest in Elves and Ninjago than I ever had in other castle or ninja themes. Their bright colors, compelling characters, elaborate fantasy settings and storylines, and exciting play features were all much more integral to my interest in them than what geographic area, culture, or chronological setting they happened to be based on.

And while I believe LEGO is performing well (because, in all honesty, I haven't seen any reason to think they aren't), that's hardly because I'm 100% satisfied with everything they do. Sometimes I get a little bit bummed when I think about how there aren't presently any themes that appeal to me the same way that Elves did, or the same way that Bionicle and Hero Factory did.

I do my best to deal with those feelings is to work on brainstorming my own creations, characters, and stories that can give me that satisfaction (which is very difficult compared to having that kind of enjoyment handed to you), and by speculating about and holding out hope for future new theme possibilities. But I don't get any satisfaction from imagining my personal disappointment as some great failure on LEGO's part, or disparaging people who aren't as disappointed about the absence of themes like those as I am.
 

Mind you, one major difference between my situation and yours is that I haven't yet seen any third-party building toys that come close to filling the void left by past themes that I miss having around. If anything, the enjoyment I got from those might've been MORE specific than an interest in realistic castle or train sets might be, since my enjoyment came from a combination of design and media-driven storytelling elements that resonated with me, and no other building toy brands have really created much original storytelling that has quite what I'm looking for (at least, none that I'm presently aware of).

That said, if Mattel were to make She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Mega Construx kits, I could imagine buying those in a heartbeat, since that series exemplifies many of the storytelling elements I loved about LEGO Elves to an even greater degree (I'm still giddy from the pure perfection of the final season that came out two days ago), and Mega Construx has made some huge strides in their design quality that have previously piqued my interest on the toy side of things.

Likewise, in your case, if you come across a third party brand that seems reputable enough and high enough quality for your standards, and has the type of sets you want to see, I'd say go for it! The concept of "brand loyalty" is hardly worth depriving yourself of enjoyment, and if LEGO's competitors do end up finding considerable success with train sets, it certainly won't discourage LEGO from making more stuff like that themselves.
 

I feel like custom fan-made sets are a suggestion LEGO gets often enough that they are probably already keeping tabs on what sort of technological or strategic innovations might make it a viable possibility in a way that LEGO Factory/LEGO Design by Me was not. Their partnership with BrickLink (pre-acquisition) on the AFOL Designer Program seems like pretty strong evidence they're open to pursuing new possibilities for that sort of thing. But in terms of the particular steps they'd need to really make this work, I think that's a lot harder for any of us to really speculate on.

We have some general, broad insights into the sort of costs and other potential pitfalls LEGO might have to wrangle with to really pull that sort of thing off, but we don't know the specifics like the people who actually work at LEGO exploring these sorts of possibilities. Needless to say, I'm not quite as optimistic as you about how well the specific steps you're proposing might work in practice, but I don't see much point debating that sort of stuff when it's really anyone's guess what the actual costs or outcomes of that sort of proposal would really look like.

For all we know, they might already be working on something kind of like you're suggesting, and they just need more time to finish fine tuning the details and lay the groundwork before they're ready to make any sort of announcement about it. Conversely, it's possible that they've already looked into these possibilities, and wound up encountering an obstacle that none of us here could have anticipated, and that they currently don't have any solution for.

Regardless, I'll be interested to see if LEGO ever does manage to come up with a custom ordering service that really lives up to its full potential. Their acquisition of BrickLink certainly gave them access to a wealth of data about AFOL purchasing decisions which will surely give them some clues about what AFOLs are looking for that they aren't currently getting — even if it might take time for them to sift through that data, draw useful conclusions from it, and act on those conclusions.
 

Sorry for my usual rambling… you can disregard this if it's too tedious. A topic like this is a lot to think about!

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8 hours ago, MAB said:

This is very like Bricklink's AFOL designed sets programme, which is probably part of the reason LEGO bought BL. Those sets had to be designed from a narrow range of parts. The value of them was not very good compared to the BL prices for the individual parts or compared to basic LEGO sets with similar parts.

Bricklink's AFOL program was a good start. It could be a good alternative to custom orders when done regularly and with less limitations.

Another improvement that would be rather easy to do is integrating Pick-a-Brick into Bricklink. 

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18 minutes ago, legotownlinz said:

Another improvement that would be rather easy to do is integrating Pick-a-Brick into Bricklink. 

I don't think that will happen. LEGO have stated that they will not interfere with the way Bricklink runs, if they become a seller there then I expect many of the independent sellers will leave. I certainly would. But also PAB is often expensive compared to BL sellers, and their range is somewhat narrow unless you want really basic bricks only.

49 minutes ago, Aanchir said:

I feel like custom fan-made sets are a suggestion LEGO gets often enough that they are probably already keeping tabs on what sort of technological or strategic innovations might make it a viable possibility in a way that LEGO Factory/LEGO Design by Me was not. Their partnership with BrickLink (pre-acquisition) on the AFOL Designer Program seems like pretty strong evidence they're open to pursuing new possibilities for that sort of thing. But in terms of the particular steps they'd need to really make this work, I think that's a lot harder for any of us to really speculate on.

We have some general, broad insights into the sort of costs and other potential pitfalls LEGO might have to wrangle with to really pull that sort of thing off, but we don't know the specifics like the people who actually work at LEGO exploring these sorts of possibilities. Needless to say, I'm not quite as optimistic as you about how well the specific steps you're proposing might work in practice, but I don't see much point debating that sort of stuff when it's really anyone's guess what the actual costs or outcomes of that sort of proposal would really look like.

For all we know, they might already be working on something kind of like you're suggesting, and they just need more time to finish fine tuning the details and lay the groundwork before they're ready to make any sort of announcement about it. Conversely, it's possible that they've already looked into these possibilities, and wound up encountering an obstacle that none of us here could have anticipated, and that they currently don't have any solution for.

While the sets sold well, the (by hand) picking and packaging of them seemed to kill off Bricklink staff for ages. From the videos, it looked like everyone was drafted in to pick. They were very late getting many of them out, and these runs were really quite small. I cannot see how the AFOL programme can scale up cost efficiently without automatic or robot picking. And if they scale up, they might as well do a normal sized run of normal sets, rather than smaller runs of much more niche products. I'd love to see how they do the picking in future if this was the reason behind purchasing BL.

To me, the real downside is the cost - Bricks and Pieces basic parts are often expensive compared to Bricklink sellers and to price per part ratios in regular sets. Presumably this is down to hand picking and the complete lack of economies of scale when picking/packing individual orders. I wonder what size run for a set it makes sense for them to automate the picking.

 

 

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19 minutes ago, MAB said:

I don't think that will happen. LEGO have stated that they will not interfere with the way Bricklink runs, if they become a seller there then I expect many of the independent sellers will leave. I certainly would. But also PAB is often expensive compared to BL sellers, and their range is somewhat narrow unless you want really basic bricks only.

As you said, Pick-a-Brick is not cheap, so it wouldn't hurt other sellers too much. Of course Pick-a-Brick must be treated like any other seller and not be privileged in any way.

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10 hours ago, Aanchir said:

The existence of competitors... (500 million unnecessary words)

Geez, you sure can't keep things brief and like to hear yourself ramble, do you? It's really not fun even getting into a discussion wherever you hang around and I'm not going to even bother now...

Mylenium

Edited by Mylenium

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22 hours ago, MAB said:

They could, but do they need to and would it benefit the company? If sales of other themes go down as the people buying knights are no longer buying Ninjago or whatever, then was there a benefit?

Even that argument could be twisted. Aren't perhaps people just buying Ninjago stuff as foundations for MODs/ MOCs to turn them into dragon dens and knight castles? ;-) You see, this can be spun in so many ways. That aside I don't think I'm exactly lobbying for crazy, elaborate knights castles, but this stuff being successful for other toy manufacturers tells me something. Playmobil wouldn't invest so much into Novelmore if there wasn't something to it. And seeing people buying bulk lots of the new Minifigure Series 20 Knights and Vikings perhaps tells its own story, too. So to summarize: I still think LEGO are missing out on a few things here and they could easily make a buck or two in this without it being detrimental to other series.

Mylenium

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3 hours ago, Mylenium said:

Geez, you sure can't keep things brief and like to hear yourself ramble, do you? It's really not fun even getting into a discussion wherever you hang around and I'm not going to even bother now...

Its annoying I have to agree. Especially when you want Lego to do something really bad and your dreams get interrupted by a long speech on why its impossible. However if you want to make sure the point gets across properly, sometimes it has to be done. I guess people do that here as they want to have a deeper discussion. Not really a malicious act. Don't be upset. None of us here really work for Lego so we're all really stating opinions. None of us really know what could happen. Myself included. 

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4 hours ago, Mylenium said:

Even that argument could be twisted. Aren't perhaps people just buying Ninjago stuff as foundations for MODs/ MOCs to turn them into dragon dens and knight castles? ;-) You see, this can be spun in so many ways. That aside I don't think I'm exactly lobbying for crazy, elaborate knights castles, but this stuff being successful for other toy manufacturers tells me something. Playmobil wouldn't invest so much into Novelmore if there wasn't something to it. And seeing people buying bulk lots of the new Minifigure Series 20 Knights and Vikings perhaps tells its own story, too. So to summarize: I still think LEGO are missing out on a few things here and they could easily make a buck or two in this without it being detrimental to other series.

They invest a lot and it is successful.

What should LEGO do? Invest a lot in a few things and do them well, or invest a little in lots of things and do them very superficially? 

LEGO simply cannot do everything that everyone else does and to a high standard. I think it better that they do what they want to do well, rather than trying to match their themes to what every other competitor is doing.

People have bulk bought Spartans and Romans in the past - and LEGO know about it as they have written about it in books - so popular figures in S20 is nothing new.

14 hours ago, legotownlinz said:

As you said, Pick-a-Brick is not cheap, so it wouldn't hurt other sellers too much. Of course Pick-a-Brick must be treated like any other seller and not be privileged in any way.

So there is little point of them putting PAB on BL if they are not competitive. The new XP interface has already shown that they are favouring some sellers over others via whatever algorithm they use to highlight stores, and they do not make that algorithm public. 

Edited by MAB

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2 hours ago, MAB said:

What should LEGO do? Invest a lot in a few things and do them well, or invest a little in lots of things and do them very superficially?

Whoa... Don't even get me started. Just look at "Hidden Side". LEGO clearly have invested a lot into it, but from what it looks like it is only mildly successful both in terms of popularity as well as commercially. So you can invest a lot of resources in one thing and still fail, kind of making this particular point a bit moot. At the same time a theme you didn't think would work may unexpectedly explode and become your best-seller. The old analogies for movie "sleeper hits" vs. "box office bombs/ duds" obviously applies. So for what it's worth, it's really not about that. And say what you will, even done superficially a knights theme or similar could be successful enough for a little while at this point. After over 20 years without it, people are clearly starving. rinse repeat for other subjects and genres. My 2 Cents...

Mylenium

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6 minutes ago, Mylenium said:

 And say what you will, even done superficially a knights theme or similar could be successful enough for a little while at this point. After over 20 years without it, people are clearly starving. rinse repeat for other subjects and genres. My 2 Cents...

I think here you highlight the problem that LEGO has with some people wanting stuff brought back from the deep past and the complete dismissal of anything doen in a modern style.

You say it has been over 20 years without a knights theme or similar. And even something done superficially would suffice. Yet all of these are within the past ten years. If these don't count then nothing modern ever will.

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8 hours ago, Mylenium said:

Geez, you sure can't keep things brief and like to hear yourself ramble, do you? It's really not fun even getting into a discussion wherever you hang around and I'm not going to even bother now...

Mylenium

Maybe the problem is you? It must be nice to be able to come to wild and absurd conclusions, and then when somebody actually bothers to put in the effort to deconstruct your bogus arguments piece by piece, dismiss the work they put in out of hand on account of wordiness. No need to actually defend your claims when your attention span is the size of a gnat's.

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On 5/18/2020 at 10:49 AM, Lyichir said:

Maybe the problem is you? It must be nice to be able to come to wild and absurd conclusions, and then when somebody actually bothers to put in the effort to deconstruct your bogus arguments piece by piece, dismiss the work they put in out of hand on account of wordiness. No need to actually defend your claims when your attention span is the size of a gnat's.

Whoa! Chill out dude. His conclusions may have been kinda untrue. But no need to attack someone man. :wink:

Edited by Brandon Pea

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On 5/15/2020 at 4:20 AM, legotownlinz said:

I guess it's more likely that 99% of the customers buy from Bluebrixx...

How is it possible that they sell knockoffs of famous scifi models out in the open?

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On 5/19/2020 at 11:50 AM, astral brick said:

How is it possible that they sell knockoffs of famous scifi models out in the open?

Not sure what models you mean, but in general Bluebrixx does not care about IP. They sell a knockoff of the Lego Ideas piano and several modular buildings without paying the designers. Bluebrixx is a dislikable company and one of the reasons I wish there are better alternatives, preferably one with Lego bricks.

Edited by legotownlinz

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If the rumors are true that 10277 is a Crocodile engine, then Lego has just stopped me from buying a train from the competition. I prefer Lego products because the quality is superior and I'm sure many people feel the same. The products must just be there, then they will be bought instead of the clone stuff.

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On 5/18/2020 at 3:49 PM, Lyichir said:

Maybe the problem is you? It must be nice to be able to come to wild and absurd conclusions, and then when somebody actually bothers to put in the effort to deconstruct your bogus arguments piece by piece, dismiss the work they put in out of hand on account of wordiness. No need to actually defend your claims when your attention span is the size of a gnat's.

Can you try not to escalate things? I appreciate why you feel the need to shout and rage, but maybe you could try a private message with little maturity and civility and not try and flame things up several hours (And posts) later. 

Some people want the succinct points and a few cited sources. Others are ok with something akin to an essay, but in a discussion thread, maybe it would be better to post the essay elsewhere with a link shared with a post that rounds up the main points? 

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On 5/18/2020 at 7:46 AM, MAB said:
On 5/17/2020 at 5:00 PM, legotownlinz said:

As you said, Pick-a-Brick is not cheap, so it wouldn't hurt other sellers too much. Of course Pick-a-Brick must be treated like any other seller and not be privileged in any way.

So there is little point of them putting PAB on BL if they are not competitive. The new XP interface has already shown that they are favouring some sellers over others via whatever algorithm they use to highlight stores, and they do not make that algorithm public. 

The new XP interface gave me the suspicion that LEGO is going to mold BrickLink into an Amazon-style interface, where LEGO is the preferred seller of anything they currently have in stock (parts-wise) - thus eliminating B&P and PaB from their website - and 3rd party sellers get the "buy box" for all the other parts. You can still buy the current parts from LEGO, but someone looking for "Red Brick 2x4" will get to LEGO's store first, and might never see that another seller sells the same brick for 50% cheaper.

I have already sent Lawrence @ BrickOwl my sincerest hopes that he will not cave and stay independent. He can double the commission for all I care.

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On 5/19/2020 at 11:50 AM, astral brick said:

How is it possible that they sell knockoffs of famous scifi models out in the open?

It's usually ok if you do not use the protected names and logos.

It is/was even ok to sell toys/models of cars with the original emblem and name without buying a license (EuGH Opel vs Autec). But since ~2016 things seems to have changed (VW vs Premium Classixxs) and some toy companies are talking up to 15% price increase just because of licensing .

Source in german:

https://www.sueddeutsche.de/wirtschaft/modellautos-unternehmen-streiten-sich-ums-spielzeugauto-1.3307965

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1 hour ago, Phil B said:

The new XP interface gave me the suspicion that LEGO is going to mold BrickLink into an Amazon-style interface, where LEGO is the preferred seller of anything they currently have in stock (parts-wise) - thus eliminating B&P and PaB from their website - and 3rd party sellers get the "buy box" for all the other parts. You can still buy the current parts from LEGO, but someone looking for "Red Brick 2x4" will get to LEGO's store first, and might never see that another seller sells the same brick for 50% cheaper.

I have already sent Lawrence @ BrickOwl my sincerest hopes that he will not cave and stay independent. He can double the commission for all I care.

It would be stupid for Lego to ruin the platform as it would just make other platforms stronger. Pick-a-Brick integration is good for customers as long as they do not disadvantage other shops. 

1 hour ago, Gimmick said:

It's usually ok if you do not use the protected names and logos.

It is/was even ok to sell toys/models of cars with the original emblem and name without buying a license (EuGH Opel vs Autec). But since ~2016 things seems to have changed (VW vs Premium Classixxs) and some toy companies are talking up to 15% price increase just because of licensing .

Source in german:

https://www.sueddeutsche.de/wirtschaft/modellautos-unternehmen-streiten-sich-ums-spielzeugauto-1.3307965

Interesting.

Premium Classixxs boss Klaus Kiunke mentioned in the article is also the owner of Bluebrixx...

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4 hours ago, Peppermint_M said:

Can you try not to escalate things? I appreciate why you feel the need to shout and rage, but maybe you could try a private message with little maturity and civility and not try and flame things up several hours (And posts) later. 

Some people want the succinct points and a few cited sources. Others are ok with something akin to an essay, but in a discussion thread, maybe it would be better to post the essay elsewhere with a link shared with a post that rounds up the main points? 

No worries about that. I've added them to my ignored users list and won't engage with them myself any more. I know firsthand how much work my sister puts into her posts, and how sensitive she is about trying to make economical use of language. So I don't have time to feign respect for people who not only rudely ignore the entire thing just because they're longer than the average post on here, but make a point of telling her that they refuse to read it just to rub it in her face. But you're right, it serves no purpose to stoop to their level.

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@Lyichir Don't let them get to you man. Personally, I dont mind @Aanchir's long responses. I actually enjoy reading. I do BCRs myself sometimes. Look on the Lego City 2020 page and you'll see. 

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