Free stuff

12 10 2008

The big hubbub of the sports cards blog world this weekend has been Wax Heaven’s announcement that he’ll soon be getting free boxes from Upper Deck to bust, which he will, in turn, give away after opening in a raffle style contest.

So Mario gets:  the joy of busting a box of cards, the cost of postage to mail out contents of said box

His readers get:  a review of said box of cards, a chance to win the contents of the box for free

I think it’s clear that Mario’s not winning much here, but his readers are.

Now the big problem for some of Mario’s readers is that they think his review will be biased, either out of necessity (he needs to be nice to get more stuff) or simply because he’s getting free stuff.  Now, I don’t know Mario.  I’ve never emailed or chatted with him online.  I’ve never even exchanged cards with the guy.  I’ve left a couple comments on his blog, and I think I may have a couple from him in the past.  So I’m not able to say Mario is this kind of guy or Mario doesn’t seem like that type.

For people who frequent Wax Heaven, though, it should be obvious that Mario loves card collecting, and those readers should have a pretty clear idea of what to expect from him as this undertaking unfolds.  And if those reader’s ideals of Mario aren’t met with these breaks, well, they’ll leave comments saying as much.  And if they still perceive a change, they’ll go find a different blog to fall in love with.

And if people think Mario is getting loaded boxes, they can watch for that, too.  But I would hope everyone knows that just because some guy on the internet can pull a 1 of 1 of a retired legend and a 16 swatched autographed card of the top 10 home run hitters of all time from his box of Upper Deck Megaultrasupercool 5000, it doesn’t mean that all boxes of Megaultrasupercool are going to have those kinds of pulls.   Anyone who’s opened a box of anything should realize that it’s all hit or miss.

And again, the ultimate winner of a stuffed box?  Mario’s viewers, who will get a chance to win all the stuffing inside.

I’m not saying I don’t have concerns, but I’ll keep these in mind as I watch the breaks.  First, how do you judge the value of a box if you don’t pay for it.  Anytime I’ve gotten free things in the mail, I think, even if it sucks, ‘oh well, at least I didn’t pay for it.’  But without paying $50 for the box, how do you tell if that’s what it’s worth?  You can certainly guess at it, but that won’t be the same, I don’t think, as laying down the cash first and going from there.

Second:  There is a human tendency to want to like things that come from people you like, and it’s hard not to like people who send you free stuff.  It’s why record companies call radio stations to set up a rapport.  They want you to like their guy, and by extension, the product he has to offer.  So you want his things to do well, because you want him to like you, too.

In the end, though, I can offer two bits of advice to Mario before he begins, assuming he reads this blog:

1)  Make sure people know that Upper Deck sent the box for free.  Make sure that people also know everything associated with this agreement (free ads, sponsorships, what have you).  That way, no one can accuse you of trying to be sneaky or unethical.

2) Make sure every knows that the box you are about to break may not represent all boxes.  This seems like an obvious thing to me, but now you’re making sure everyone knows that just because your box is filled with the complete Andrew Miller collection, it doesn’t mean that all boxes will be.

So good luck with the breaks Mario, and I hope it takes you where you want the blog to go.

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One response

13 10 2008
Mario A.

Actually, you are one of the maybe 20 blogs on my RSS feeder so yes, I do read.

All I will get from Upper Deck is the box. The postable and bubble mailers, etc. will all be on me.

In the end, people will see how well it works out. 🙂

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