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"How has the Internet Changed Collecting?" the AFB Podcast E25 Discussion Topic

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Scotty
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« on: August 09, 2012, 09:44:37 pm »

This weekend we are recording our 25th Episode (no, really!) and we are going to be looking back at the evolution of toy collecting that has come about as a result of the Internet age.

From your perspective, how has the World Wide Web changed our hobby? In what ways is the hobby better off for the 'Net, and what have we lost as a result?

Also, as we celebrate our 25th Ep, we'd love to hear what it is that you are enjoying about the show!

Thanks!

Scott
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« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2012, 09:01:16 am »

Well, the 'net basically throws down geographical concerns as to availability of products. Sure, shipping charges do add to the amount of money spent in collectibles and generally, a credit account is required to do bussiness abroad, but if I want to acquire obscure anime characters or stuff that has not been in stores for over a decade, the internet is the way to go.

What we lose in exchange is that we no longer can be surprised by what we find in stores, as most products get leaked onto the web months in advance of them shipping to retail. I cannot recall when was the last time I walked into a Walmart and found something I didn't had advance knowledge of.
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« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2012, 10:19:32 pm »

Agree with Errex that we've got more access, and less surprise. The counter point (at least as an Australian) is that we also now know what a small fraction of the available lines we actually see in stores which does reduce the likelihood of actually going to a toy store.
We also get some sense of community via sites like this site right here, which I doubt we really had as much of before the internet.

And much as we dislike some parts of Mattel's way of doing business, let's be honest and say that giving collectors a "direct line" to some of the toy companies also means we can get things that in the past would never have been made.

There's also the knock on impact to smaller collectible speciality stores that are probably struggling a little more than they would have before.
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« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2012, 11:25:05 am »

For me, it hasn't really changed much.  I used to collect a bunch of Marvel and Image comics in the early - mid 90s, only being aware of future releases through magazines like Wizard and scuttlebutt at the comic shops.  Ahh . . . the good old days when there were 4 shops in town . . .  Anyway, when I joined the Navy in mid-94 I quit buying until I got stationed in Japan a year later.  I picked up a few Marvel titles, eventually dropped Spawn to end my Image buying, and picked up the occassional DC title and Wizard.  Selection was really limited at the on-base book store.  There were Marvel and DC trades available at an Army base 90 minutes away, so that was a monthly destination.  Still no internet access for me, until I got out in mid-98.  Once I was home, I bought a computer and a one-year sub to the Prodigy (DIAL-UP, baby!) ISP.  Still, I tended to not go to places that spoiled months-worth of storylines, only looking for Wizard-type of previews without all the pandering.  I'm still pretty much that way now, even though the only book I still get regularly is Walking Dead.

I didn't get into action figure collecting until the summer of 2003, after I was well-versed on the internet.  I picked up the Marvel Legends Hulk at a Gamestop (thought it was a great price at $10) and eventually got curious about other hero figures that I could pose fighting him on my desk, so the internet was a great tool for information.  As I slowly added to my ML collection and started buying a few DCDs from the comic shop, I spent more time finding toy sights which led me to forums like Fwoosh and AFI when I started getting into figure trading.  Unlike comics, where I stay away from spoilers, I try to stay up on the latest toy news.  I want to know what's coming out a year from now.  The internet helps me out as far as current toys hitting retail/online stores.  I like seeing that _____ wave of figures is hitting ______ stores a few states over.  I get excited by it and run out of the house to do some hunting.  I wasn't collecting figures before the internet, so the 'net hasn't changed my habits, but it has shaped the collector I became from the start.
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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2012, 01:17:47 am »

Great points.

For me, it means freedom of choice. I can now hunt down whatever I want online and choose from several available options.
The downside is what I experienced in Sydney recently, and that is more and more stores closing down because they can't compete. It means I can't hold something in my hands anymore before buying it.
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