TCGPlayer sellers have been given only a weeks warning that comic books will no longer be able to be sold on the platform effective June 15, as ex-eBay Canada GM Rob Bigler is settling in to his new CEO role and working to integrate the business into eBay's operations.
To the TCGplayer Community:
TCGplayer was founded with the goal of connecting trading card game (TCG) enthusiasts with local game stores, ensuring brick-and-mortar stores remained at the center of the gaming industry. As the industry evolved, so did TCGplayer. We brought more sellers online, launched the TCGplayer Marketplace, and expanded the platform and its offerings — making it easier than ever to buy and sell cards.
Our Commitment to You Now, we are sharpening TCGplayer’s commitment to our sellers, and sharing some strategic decisions based on your feedback. Moving ahead, TCGplayer will channel our resources and expertise toward improving our core trading card game business and, in particular, doing more to help your TCG business succeed.
We have already taken steps to advance this focus, including:
Forming a dedicated Seller Experience team. This new team is composed of cross-functional leaders from our Customer Experience, Seller Growth and Success, and Marketing teams. Together, they will focus on addressing the needs and challenges of our sellers, including driving capability improvements, and enhancing the value we deliver.
Suspending our efforts to expand the Marketplace into adjacent categories. As we dedicate resources to our core TCG business, we will no longer prioritize expanding the TCGplayer Marketplace into adjacent categories. Therefore, the trading of comic books will no longer be supported on the Marketplace, as of June 15, 2023.
Unlocking the potential of a combined eBay + TCGplayer for our customers. A blended team with representatives from TCGplayer and eBay will find new ways to deliver on the power of our combined marketplaces. This team will concentrate on providing value to our customers and delighting collectibles enthusiasts everywhere.
I am confident that this strategic prioritization, coupled with our enhanced focus on sellers, will enable us to better serve you in the months and years to come. If you have any questions about this announcement and what it means for you, please contact email@example.com.
On behalf of TCGplayer, I want to thank you for being a part of our community. We value your support and trust, and cannot wait to share the enhanced experience and benefits that lie ahead.
Rob Bigler CEO of TCGplayer
TCGPlayer's foray into the comic books category began in October 2022, just as the eBay acquisition deal was being completed, but it appears it never really got off the ground and eBay does not see comics as a vertical worth investing in for the TCGPlayer brand - though of course that does not mean there may not be future plans to focus on comics more broadly within eBay's main operations.
Sellers discussing the changes on reddit were not surprised at the announcement, with many believing TCGPlayer's decision to add comics was ill fated from the beginning.
Opinions about eBay's takeover of the company are somewhat more varied.
Looks like comics failed badly (no surprise) and maybe we get ebay mailing system in future. Seems like a lot of PR speak to say we failed and are going to do nothing but cancel comics asap (only a few more days) so we can save on sever space.
Ebay is a destroyer of eCommerce sites. TCGplayer is a lot of what half.com was. They will try to squeeze out more profits before people jump ship(Maybe 3-5 yrs). Ebay's failures gave rise to Amazon and more recently Etsy.
You can compare Ebay/Etsy revenue to see that their time has passed.
TCGPlayer was making a lot of bad business decisions prior to their acquisition by eBay last year, I'm not sure why you're blaming eBay for this. Their comic section did not work out, there's just not an audience for them. They also made some very questionable acquisitions. ChannelFireball/CardShopLive was failing, and making a lot of questionable business decisions of their own, and TCGPlayer bought them out. That likely didn't pay off. With the looming threat of a recession, or other economic downturns, TCGPlayer needed to make a choice. Continue expanding, or take a step back focus on their strengths.
eBay acquiring TCGPlayer is probably one of the best things that could have happened for TCGPlayer's customers, if there's the chance of the eBay Standard Shipping program being available to TCGPlayer users.
Wow, the comics area is diffusing and it’s been less than a year right? I feel bad for the sellers that possibly wasted hundreds of hours to list their inventory.
As part of the ongoing post-acquisition integration process, TCGPlayer also bid farewell to CFO Jerome Kapelus this week.
Kapelus announced his departure on LinkedIn yesterday:
Yesterday, I said farewell to my brilliantly talented, humble and fiercely passionate TCGplayer team members. The past four years were the most exhilarating and fulfilling of my career. We opened up the world of collectible card games to hundreds of thousands of new hobbyists and sellers, created almost 500 new jobs, supported our Authentication Center team members through a difficult COVID shutdown, and quadrupled the size of our business.
I have tremendous confidence and excitement for your future, and I know that in partnership with the eBay team, you will be unstoppable!
I will be taking a bit of a breather this summer as I think about my next role. However, I will always be immensely grateful for the privilege I was given to work with such a special group of people. Thank you!
The integration is going less smoothly with those Authentication Center team members Kapelus mentioned as TCGPlayer and eBay management continue to fight against a winning union vote and refuse to come to the table to bargain with TCGUnion-CWA on a contract.
The unionization efforts have shaken up both TCGPlayer and eBay, raising concerns about eBay's other labor-centric operations and questions about the due diligence process in the TCGPlayer acquisition.
Recent eBay job openings in Mergers and Acquisitions strategy, operations and people roles indicate they are looking for new blood and fresh perspectives to help with due diligence, employee integration, planning and execution for future M&A targets as well as a specific focus on TCGPlayer.
If you sell on TCGPlayer, we'd love to hear about your experience and what you hope eBay will bring to the marketplace! Leave a comment below or contact VAR.