The Upper Deck lawsuits have brought a lot of attention to the hobby, some good, a lot bad. Oddly enough, with all of the bad press, there sure have been a lot of people who have started poking around on here. Ill give you an example. Since the lawsuits have broken on ESPN and other news outlets, SCU has gotten close to 1,000 visits per day. That is 35% more than I would normally get in a day, and I had not broken 1K before without a link from Deadspin. Although some blogs are fighting to drive up traffic with days devoted to giveaways, SCU has greatly benefitted from people looking to actually find out about the lawsuits and other hobby info. In addtion to that, many of them have returned multiple times for both updates and other articles and posts. At least 2 people in the Ultimate break came to the site as a result of hearing about the lawsuit coverage from a news source other than a shop or a hobby site.
In fact, since the Upper Deck lawsuit posts have run on SCU, I have received about 10-15 emails a day asking both about the lawsuit, or about the lawsuit and how the hobby has changed over the years. One person, Jeremy, wanted to start collecting cards after he heard that autographs and game jerseys were packed out in boxes now. That, my friends, is the great audience that baseball cards have. Although a few of these people have never collected cards, they have heard they exist, and now want to start as a result of info gleaned from the lawsuit publicity. Whoever said that any publicity is good publicity is right, because there are more new faces on this site than ever.
What is even better is that instead of going to a place like Beckett, they are turning elsewhere. Instead of getting bombarded with fluff and regurgitated crap about how book value is still relevant in this world, they are coming to SCU and other blogs. Because of these sites, they get the real meat of what to expect when joining or rejoining the collector ranks, instead of unrealistic expectations. Im not saying that Beckett wont get traffic as a result of giving away 2 dollar jersey cards, but at least there are that many more people who are now seeing how to function in this hobby without a price guide at their eye level. So far this week, posts from SCU’s almost two year existence have gotten more clicks than ever, especially ones about the evils of Beckett’s grasp on the uniformed part of the hobby.
Personally, I think its kind of funny that this kind of stuff is growing the number of people who buy cards, as you would expect it to be the opposite. Even the local shop I visit has had increased traffic over the last few weeks. That is crazy, especially when you consider the nature of what is going on. I will say this, products like Ultimate may be in Topps’ best interest to stick around, because it has really been a LONG FUCKING TIME since something good has come out, and they can definitely benefit from its success.
In all seriousness, I am just happy that SCU is reaching a broader audience than it ever has, especially in covering fakes and scams. Although I may have “appointed [myself] a guardian of the hobby,” I fail to see why that is bad. More people are wising up, and even more people are starting to realize why Beckett is no longer the number one source anymore, thanks to the card blogger network and message boards. Remember, two years ago, there was only a minority of people who had lost faith in the hobby media’s attention to the important parts of the industry. Now, it’s an expected outcome with every informed collector, and I credit the number of people who do their fucking homework. Now that sites like this are coming up at the top of google seaches rather than the same old bullshit, you are starting to see a lot of differences in the way people function. That fact is all because of how a voice is all that is needed to make waves, and I encourage all of you to speak up to make it more turbulent in these waters. Even if we don’t agree, informed commentary is always a better thing than posting news releases and official statements 24/7. That way, the future of the hobby is what WE make of it, not some disconnected curmudgeons who have no clue of what is going on.