Thursday, July 12, 2012

You didn't ask, but...: too many tips and tricks: scanning and COMC

Having now run this blog for something like a year and a half (much less than the vast majority of you) I've picked up a few tricks that I wanted to share with all of you, even if you didn't ask, because not only do I think a few of you will find them helpful, but I hope doing this will inspire you guys to either leave comments with extremely useful stuff you've found or even write up your own posts.  I'm 100% positive many of us who haven't been doing this for very long can benefit from your experience and personal skill sets.

The last time I did something like this, I dug into my IT skills toolbox to explain a few different methods of backing up files because of a couple bloggers who had some issues with lost files.  Lots of us keep invaluable stuff like PC scans and inventory or wantlists on our computers, so I thought that might be relevant to some of you, and thanks to my day job it was something I could bring to you.

Today I'm going to be more card specific and discuss a few items relating to two main topics with which I have a large amount of experience:  scanning/posting images of your collections, and getting the most out of CheckOutMyCards.  Before I get to those, I'd like to reiterate that I'd love to get your comments on the tips I'm posting here (because I'm sure I'll only scratch the surface) and anything else you might suggest, though I also encourage you to share your wisdom in your own posts as well.  Now then, on with the knowledge:

Scanning and posting cards:

Since I'm big into posting all of my various PCs, I do a lot of scanning/cropping/optimizing/uploading, and here's a couple of tips I've noticed:

1.  Crop your photos:
This is something I see a lot more when it comes to forums and eBay, but no matter where I see it, it annoys me:  if you're going to post an image of a single card or even a few, crop it!  Tell me, what looks better?:
Or this?
It takes a little longer, but it really is worth it.  For my own use, I generally go with Microsoft Office's Photo Manager, which lets me crop, rotate and "optimize" scans reasonably quickly, but if you don't want to throw down the cash for Office, MSPaint can handle basic cropping, or you can upgrade to something like or the GIMP, which are totally free.

2.  Running out of space in your Picasa Web Album/Photobucket, or just sick of your scans taking up so much space?Depending on the quality at which you scan or take pictures, the files can get fairly large.  Also, there are times when you might just want to quickly resize a bunch of files for some other reason.  This leads to one of my absolute favorite Windows add-ons, the Windows Image Resizer tool.  With it, you can browse to your folder of photos, select whichever ones you want, right click them and choose to resize them:
...and then select from a few different presets or choose a custom resolution:
The biggest caveat is that you might accidentally resize the original version of that image (by checking that last box) and not mean to.  You also don't want to be resizing the same image multiple times as the quality will degrade.  I recommend this as a speedy way to get image files set to a resolution that will fit within Blogger's confines (I use the 1920x1080 most of the time) while also lowering the overall file size of each picture in the event that a high scan quality gives it an enormous resolution.  Try it and see what you think!

Getting the most out of COMC:

I'll spare you the common sense items like bundling up cards into offers to get better prices, but I have discovered a few cool features:

1.  Ads:
I'll be honest--I'd been using COMC for quite a while before I realized what the classified ads are all about, but now I've learned to check them every day!  I've found two main reasons to be interested:  port sales and promotions/auto-accepts.

A port sale, if you didn't know, is where a seller puts his entire COMC portfolio up for sale to whomever makes the best offer.  The minimum bid is either 10% of the book value or 20% of the seller's total asking price for the individual cards, though you'll generally need to offer a bit more; fortunately, some sellers think to throw out an "OBO" price to get you started.  This is a potentially good way to build up a nice sized port to try to flip some stuff, or if you're really lucky, buy up a bunch of stuff for your PC.

Even more useful in my opinion is the promotion/auto-accept ad.  In this type of classified, the seller states that some or all of their port's cards can be had for up to 50% off, usually with a specific percentage.  Certain members with upgraded memberships can automatically have COMC accept offers for them, but regular users must monitor all incoming offers and manually approve them, so keep that in mind.  This is simply an outstanding way to pick up some great PC cards.  Often I have quite a few cards I'm eyeballing, and once I find a seller I really like who has a bunch of stuff, I scan through their whole port for all of my PC players and then patiently wait to see if they offer a port sale.  That tends to be the case with many of the larger sellers, such as SwagCards, one of my favorites.  Seriously, what's better than picking up a ton of awesome cards for 1/2 off already fairly low prices (usually)?  You suckers can throw down your $20 on a blaster of 2012 Topps SameOldCrap--I'll take $80-$100 worth of PC hits any day!

Besides buying, keep in mind you can use these ads yourself, and for a fairly cheap cost at that:  $2 for the approval fee, then $1 per day you want your ad(s) listed.  You need to make sure to get them in before the weekend as they're only approved at the beginning and end of each business day, but can schedule them however you'd like.  If you've got a ton of stuff on COMC just sitting there unsold and want to cash out or not have to worry about paying storage fees, consider an auto-accept or port sale.

2.  Amazon:
Here's another feature everyone might not be aware of:  you can allow your COMC cards to be sold through Amazon.  You do take a 20% ding on the price to cover fees, so it's not for everyone, but it at least potentially gets more eyes on your items.  To activate the feature, go to your COMC dashboard, then "My Profile and Options."
Now click the radio button next to "Yes..." under the "Synch with Amazon" option, keeping in mind the notices below the option.
I enabled this a few days ago and haven't had any bites yet, but it's a free and easy way to try to bring in a few more sales.

3.  Watch list:You may notice a trend here, but I definitely wasn't aware of this until recently:  you can "watch" any cards you like on COMC in an easy-to-access list.  It's not quite as robust as, say, eBay's, but it can still be pretty useful.  At a glance you can see if a card's asking price fits within your budget or even if it's been sold.

To add any card to your list, search for it, then hover your mouse over it, like you would if you wanted to get the html code to borrow the image for your blog.
Then just click the "Watch this item" link.  Once you've added some cards, you can get to the list through your dashboard:

 and then see exactly what you're watching, 10 cards at a time:
This is much more useful than my previous method for myself:  using my Singles and players wantlist image links to open each card up one at a time.  Unfortunately this watch list currently doesn't display the seller's ID so you could sort by that, but I still consider it immensely useful.

That's all I have for this time, but I feel like I covered a lot.  Please shoot me some comments telling me what you thought, if any of this was useful, if you have any scanning or COMC tips of your own, or if there's anything you'd like me to cover in the future.


  1. All good tips! I also check the Blowout Forum's sales section because a lot of people mention COMC deals there too.

    And I agree about cropping! It's so easy to do yet so many people don't do it!

  2. Thanks! Good call on checking the "Spam your COMC..." forum on Blowout since people can list sales there for free, which I'll be doing shortly as I'm doing a 50% off/port sale as we speak.

    And yeah, what's the deal with not cropping? It looks ridiculous!

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks! I'd also like to add another tip: keep A&G posts to a minimum.

  4. The only thing I wish COMC had was a search by team button for when these guys have a % off sale so I wouldn't have to type in individual names which can become pretty extensive & time consuming.

    1. I'm 100% with you--the search could be a whole lot better. In the end, I have to do the same thing you do. Somebody could make some good money fixing the lackluster searching on COMC, SportLots, et al.