Insight into Cardmarket: The State of Cardmarket, Part 2

CMInsightTeam

Earlier this year, we released an article that dove deep into the state of Cardmarket, the challenges we were facing, and the steps we're taking to ensure the continued success of the platform. An update to our users seems due. Join our CEO, Robert, as he discusses the state of Cardmarket today!


Robert Giel, CEO
Robert Giel, CEO

Hello, How Have You Been?

It's been a little over half a year since I last addressed the bigger picture of what's going on at Cardmarket. All these months later, I felt it was long overdue to give you an update on our current situation, our plans, and our vision for the coming period.

By the way, in the meantime, a few of my co-workers here at Cardmarket have also shared a lot of information from their perspectives. If you haven't already, be sure to look up those articles to gain an even better understanding of the people behind Cardmarket and what it is that we do. But now, without further ado, let's jump into some hot topics.

2022 So Far

As I mentioned in my previous article, 2021 was a hectic year for us. The pandemic, the surge in demand for trading card games (especially the Pokémon TCG), a shift within the company structure, a lot of new employees, and the performance issues that our platform experienced all forced us to tackle many issues at once.

Much of the dust has settled in 2022. I am happy to say that we've taken a lot of measures to keep your favorite TCG marketplace up and running more than 99% of the time. While we still are subject to server maintenance and other minor inconveniences, the website is working like clockwork. Big props to our relatively new system engineering team for making this happen!

We've also added the Digimon TCG based on feedback from our users and have expanded our product catalog department to four full-time people. (It's no easy feat keeping up with all the games and their releases.) Naturally we keep our eyes open for any other interesting TCGs. (Looking at you, OnePiece.) Your feedback regarding the addition of new games—whether through the comment section here on Insight, our support helpdesk, or social media—is welcome and appreciated. Just keep in mind that adding new games is always a question of resources.

Speaking of resources, I'm happy to announce that we recently hired our 55th employee! I feel like it's important to share this number, as it's a large milestone for us and really shows the growth Cardmarket went through over the past three years. I remember starting back in 2017 when we were less than fifteen employees. You can imagine the organizational challenges that come with hiring that many people in such a short time.

Nevertheless, I am so proud of how far we've come. Our team is a collection of different nationalities and personalities, not just from Europe, but from all over the world, and everyone works together toward the same goal: providing you the best TCG marketplace experience.

The State of the Update

A big part of my article earlier this year was to announce the largest software project we've ever undertaken in Cardmarket's history: not overhauling but completely rebuilding all of the system from the ground up. I am sure you are eager to learn what the status is.

Unfortunately, this task is not just as hard as we initially estimated but a little harder still. As you know (if you read the previous articles in this series) a lot of Cardmarket's code was written in the 2007–2014 era, before we had a proper IT team and software engineering principles, and most importantly, when we served a much smaller userbase.

While we now have a fully dedicated engineering team, working on a state-of-the-art API, there is still the technical challenge of how we migrate data and business logic from our legacy system to the new architecture. Development of this new infrastructure is well underway and making progress, but we're now tackling this migration.

One of the most important aspects we're looking into changing is what services we build in-house, and what services we outsource. As you might (not) know, Cardmarket's helpdesk and Insight are completely developed and maintained in-house. While they may be crucial to your experience as a user on Cardmarket, they are not directly part of Cardmarket's core business logic, the marketplace.

We've decided to do a gradual rollout of the new system, starting with exactly outsourcing these two components. We've already selected proven software solutions, and we will use this as our pilot for the migration of data and the marketplace in the coming months. If you notice some small changes on Cardmarket Insight or the helpdesk, it's because we're slowly decoupling it from our legacy system.

Naturally it's important to us that changes to your experience as a user are kept to a minimum, except of course when the opportunity for improvements arises. A feature like Cardmarket Insight can benefit a lot from using industry standard solutions rather than a product developed in-house. I am looking forward to these results.

This also means that the "new API" will not be ready in the first quarter of 2023. Rather it will be an ongoing process where we define new endpoints between the old and the new Cardmarket. Not only does this make for a smoother transition for all users depending on the API. It also gives us more opportunity to implement feedback and to improve compared to a "hard switch."

The State of the Industry

Another major topic that I quickly want to address is the current state of the TCG industry. We've been monitoring the mergers and acquisitions in the United States and it's only fair that we as Cardmarket share our thoughts on it:

We are incredibly grateful for the amazing community that we have on our platform, and it is our mission to keep providing you with the service you are used to. We have no plans to merge with any other platform, nor do we plan to increase our pricing structure. While we keep an open mind when it comes to expanding to new regions, products, and services, it is our main concern that the base operations of the platform do not suffer from any possible new ventures. We understand that we rely on you as a community to make this platform successful, and this will always be our focus.

Cardmarket Series

The last topic I want to discuss is a rather difficult one, the future of the Cardmarket Series. For those of you unfamiliar, the Cardmarket Series was our very own tournament series in Europe.

We all know what kind of toll the pandemic has taken on organized play and events, and it wasn't any different for the Cardmarket Series. We had planned and already partially organized a fresh series on different locations in Europe for 2020 when the arrival of the corona virus forced us to cancel all events. Since then, it has been equally hard trying to organize things for the past two years, with lockdowns ending, new lockdowns coming into effect, and every country having different rules.

The Cardmarket Series has always been an important tool for us to stay in touch with the community and to foster paper play. But it also is a very costly and organizationally demanding operation.

This is why we have decided that the Cardmarket Series will not return in the foreseeable future.

I know this is difficult to accept, and I understand the importance of Cardmarket's contribution to the European tournament landscape. However, this doesn't mean Cardmarket will no longer be involved in any organized play. Rather than trying to organize one major event, we will be focusing our efforts on a more local level. This means we are looking to partner up with local event organizers. This way we will hopefully provide more ways to play, for more people, at a lower barrier of entry, rather than competing directly with the events that the game producers organize themselves. Stay tuned for more information on this later.

In addition to this, we've also expanded our video channels. Our YouTube channels for Magic: The Gathering and for Yu-Gi-Oh! are aimed at providing you with quality, quirky, and regular content and will serve as one of the major ways we are interacting with you as a community. Be sure to check out the channels for collaborations with your favorite TCG celebrities, live gameplay, wacky content, and of course the occasional giveaway.

I hope this article has given you a better understanding of the current state of Cardmarket. We'll do our best to release these updates twice a year to inform you of any changes that are happening at our company.

From everybody at Cardmarket, thank you for being here with us. See you in a few months!

Robert



20 Comments

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Appel(20.09.2022 11:39)

As much as I understand that building a new site and migrating all processes from old to new is a complicated and time consuming undertaking I am really not impressed with the way Cardmarket has approached all this. It feels like there is no sense of urgency whatsoever.

Just take a look at the current state the site is in. Amateur sellers (including those that are trying to make the big leap towards professionalism) have been cut off from the API for almost 2 years now. And now after several broken promises we are told once more that we will have to wait at least another half year. This is totally unacceptable!

And then there are the attachments that are not working for a whole week now due to external host issues... How is it even possible to take so long to solve something like this?

Money can't be the issue here as the constant flow of sales commissions revenue that this site generates should be enormous! I rarely saw a site this large struggle so hard on getting... Stuff... Done!

When the stakes are so high with so many people depending on you, one would expect more from a professional company... Were talking about people's (main) income here and when deadlines aren't being met one should take action... Get more hands on the project, outsource whatever is possible. Hire more expertise if necessary, anything then can speed up the process should be considered.

So please step it up a gear Cardmarket, the competition is not standing still... (Ebay / TCG-Player merger etc) However... WE your sellers are standing still... So many passionate people here that all have to wait and wait to unfold their plans and ambitions... This while market conditions are deteriorating, fast! We really need a working API, that should be one of the top priorities.

Anyway, I am sorry if I sound a bit frustrated but I am sure there are a lot of people here that think the same way but for some reason do not wish to speak out and be vocal about it. The thing is, just like anyone else I want nothing more then to see Cardmarket being successful and excel as a sales platform. There is so much potential, and it just hurts to not see it being used the fullest right now. :(

So yeah, I really hope that you guys will blow us all away with Cardmarket 2. 0 and that it will be worth the wait. But in the meanwhile I also hope the API situation can be re-evaluated for us amateur sellers so we can finally make some steps forward as well as it's long overdue.

Wish you all the best, Godspeed and I hope the entire team will have a bit smoother ride from now on till the end. :)

MagicMesk(22.09.2022 15:27)

Appel - absolute right! Beside that, PowerSellers (old ones) have an API and doing their work 1000 Times faster - new users who could scale - simply cannot..

Cardmarket - you have the money - you have the manpower - Do something fast. Iam wating over an year now..

Simply thinking about moving to another plattform with a nice API and fast response..

P-King69(12.09.2022 01:05)

I would really love a cardmarket app!

Tehed(11.09.2022 15:57)

Thank you all for your hard work !

MarioCard(11.09.2022 14:24)

When will we finally be able to filter the "deals" window at the front page? It's a neat feature but without language or condition filter its 99% useless. What do I care if an Italian card in good condition is super cheap compared to the German or English version in EXC or NM ..

Leidnix(10.09.2022 12:21)

If you look on how the attendance droped of for the LMS you can hardly be blamed for not continuing the CMseries at this point.

maxsilver(10.09.2022 11:14)

Could you please go into more dteail about how you want to replace the Cardmarket Series. If you partner up with local event organizers, how do you support such an event and how large would one be? I think another article about this topic would be appropriate :)

Schlaubi(09.09.2022 20:23)

I would highly appreciate a dark mode on the site.
My girlfriend hates it when I’m on shopping tour at my desktop PC because I enlighten the whole living room when I open cardmarket.
A Dark Mode is the „state of the art“ for every successful website in 2022, so please do it! :)

ThisNameIsBanned(10.09.2022 02:27)

Schlaubi Some browsers like Firefox have plugins to enable Dark mode (Dark Reader is free, works fairly well with cardmarket).

So you can get it already , try it out.

Of course a website can potentially offer a Darkmode themselves, but till then, you can help yourself and your girlfriend ;)

kadafs(09.09.2022 14:56)

We really could use an iPhone Cardmarket app :)

TheChronoG(09.09.2022 13:53)

To me CardMarket looks way better than anything the yankees have in the US. I am very glad to be an user of your platform :)

ThisNameIsBanned(10.09.2022 02:28)

TheChronoG Especially because its "slim", you get features that matter and no random advertisment or annoying extras.

People use it all the time to check card prices and buy stuff they need quickly, basically any US webstore is filled with annoying crap.

Red-Demon(09.09.2022 12:50)

It's fine that you delay the release of the new API. The problem is that the current one is not available for most users right now. Considering the delay, could you please open its usage to all users?

nelion(09.09.2022 12:29)

Im on this Platform since 2014 and its always been my go to for singles and sometimes for packaged products. For FAB or MTG.
Sadly i need to say i feel like the shopping wizzard got a bit worse over time. When i found out about this feature at the beginning must be around 2015 or so, it felt great and even tho i double checked it was always the best way to get my cards. Nowadays when i double check or use it with the same settings multiple times it changes, gets better or worse even tho nothing changed. This feels pretty weird cause i use this feature for a long time and was and am really happy with it.
I wished i could have attended the cardmarket series, it was always sth i wanted to try go but hadnt the resources for it and now when i could sadly it wont exist for now. I really hope tournament magic will be resurrected and especially the cardmarket series will return in the future. I enjoyed watching it and for me it had the same standpoint as GPs.
Also i wanted to say your Youtube team and your sponsored creators are doing wonderful content. I really enjoy your youtube videos and also your sponsored streamers like HarryMTG and so on. Keep up the great work on your video series and streamers.
In the end i wanna thank you guys for your transparency and your great work with this marketplace which gives us the opportunity for fair prices and a good customer service.

jack(09.09.2022 13:44)

Nelion Part of the issue with the shopping wizard is the growing number of products and offers, I assume. Cross-checking things apparently is an absurdly difficult task ('travelling salesman problem') to automate.

sweldrazi(09.09.2022 21:13)

Jack, this is not a traveling salesman problem, It is just mixed-integer optimization. It's fine if this is not really a priority to make this better but it's not that complicated so just tell us that it isn't a priority.

Northstar1978(09.09.2022 12:06)

Thanks for the insight into the coming months. I've only been on Cardmarket for 2 years and I'm a small fish among the sellers and buyers. Still, I was so hyped for the features and open market that has been missing for a long time.

You can't really feel most of the providers, but through your friendly YouTube team, I build up a kind of relationship with your portal and I'm also interested in the fact that the company and the employees are doing well.

Improvement Notes:
- I am convinced beforehand that the purchase assistant does not always create the packages in my favor and that I often get away cheaper with a manual shopping list.

- The postage costs sometimes don't cover my costs to send the cards anymore due to the rising prices. I pay for the letter, the protective material for the card, the padding or the cardboard. This often makes the card weigh more and therefore cost more. I think an adjustment would be necessary in 2023.

Thanks for the great marketplace. I would really like to get to know your Youtube team at a tournament.

AenimaD(09.09.2022 12:06)

Thanks for the insight!

Ddave182(09.09.2022 11:43)

Great read! Looking forward to cardmarket's future!

Gamera-zgubljen(09.09.2022 11:38)

Regarding the updates on the card stock, could you please be faster with updating the card databases? DBS had a problem a month back, and now with the whole new block releasing and all, we as sellers could really use your help with providing the new cards so we can sell them at the right time, not getting them from facebook groups. I adore your service and your platform is the best way of being secure when making transactions.

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