State of the Site: February 2013

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Hello!

I’m Alasdair, one of the developers of MTGPrice.com. I wanted to give people a quick update of where we expect to be in a month or so since we have so many features planned.

1. Our primary goal is to keep everything running, so bugfixes take top priority. Sorting in the collection view is currently broken and there are a few missing cards in sets we support and we also are missing several foil prices from a few vendors (notably foil Thragtusk). I’ll be working all weekend to get our bug count as close to zero as possible.

2. The “buy list prices” feature is working out very well – these are the prices at the bottom of a car results page. For example, ABU Games is willing to pay $23.27 for a Karn Liberated today. I’d like to add another vendor and generally clean this feature up. This should go out around Tuesday.

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3. We’re adding more vendors! Amazon should also be up by Tuesday and I’d like to see Troll and Toad up by Friday 15th February. After that point, we want to go international and add mtgcardmarket.eu and some other european sites and have a toggle between euro’s and dollars. This is complex and we may need to make some changes to the way we display the graphs to ensure there isn’t information overload.

4. ProTrader is getting some new features, starting with an update to the emails we send out. Our emails will include 3-day and weekly price and inventory changes as well as daily. We’re also going to build an “arbitrage tool” to show all cards where the buylist price of a vendor (the amount they will pay cash to buy a card at) is higher than the price someone is selling the card at elsewhere. If you can get a good deal on shipping, this is essentially free money. Additionally, we’ll add buylist prices to the ProTrader Money Board and send out emails when stores increase their inventory levels significantly. Finally, we will add per-store and aggregate inventory graphs to the card pages for ProTraders.

5. The collection tracking tool is very simple right now. We’re planning on adding a stack of features, the first of which will be better management tools like changing the quantity of a card, adding a filter and import/export. We’ll also have “for trade” lists and wishlists with very basic alerts to tell you if a card on your wishlist is available at the price you want. We have plans for a much bigger suite of tools but realistically this is as far as we’ll get this month.

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6. Huge infrastructure updates. We’d like to start doing full scans of prices on an hourly basis instead of daily to ensure the prices we show are always up to date. We also plan on having a toggle for the graphs to show hourly price changes/ daily/ weekly and have the ability to look at only a sub-set of all the data. The default view will be 6 months worth of daily prices.

Doing hourly scans is going to be costly. We’re buying a pair of dedicated servers to handle the load (and to provide a backup in case one breaks) and we’re making significant improvements in scanning speed to avoid harming the sites we fetch prices from. For the most part, the sites will see little difference as we will only download updated prices instead of all prices as we do now.

Because of the cost involved, we’ve decided to make hourly graphs available only to ProTraders but everyone will have access to the latest prices. For 95% of users, this is all that they care about – moment-by-moment price changes only really matter to speculators and active traders. You will only need to be a ProTrader if you care about how much a card was 4 hours ago rather than 1 day ago.

Getting all of the above done in a month is going to be tough but we think it’s doable. Our ultimate goal is to get to the point where we can hire another developer to build features, something we’d like to have in place by May of this year.

We love feedback! Please let us know if you have any suggestions or comments or bug reports at the following url: http://mtgprice.uservoice.com/

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