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Author Topic: ShelfLifex.com Launch: Join The Beta Test!  (Read 1862 times)

FaustX

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ShelfLifex.com Launch: Join The Beta Test!
« on: March 31, 2012, 07:59:08 PM »

So What's ShelfLife?


ShelfLife is a new and innovative collection management and e-commerce platform for collectors.  With the current functionality, you can record your collections, make want lists, get your inventory set up for our upcoming marketplace and help build out our data and earn commissions by curating catalogs and helping us accelerate our support for Star Wars collectibles.

The current site functionality is just the tip of a very exciting iceberg. Following the successful launches of our curation and collection management tools we will be following up with our e-commerce launch late April 2012.

Read on for the full story.

Of, if you're ready to check it out just head over to www.shelflifex.com.


The Full Story:

As some of you already know, I've been working with partners and curators for the better part of a year on a very exciting project. From November to March we held an invite-only Beta for ShelfLife. The Beta was only open only to Cybertron.ca members and select industry types.

Tons of work has been completed and we’re finally ready to peel back the curtain to let you all in on what will be an exciting moment for SnowTroopers.ca as a community and for collectors generally worldwide. As of March 1st the site is now open to all collectors worldwide for collection management, toy research and further testing.

I present to you, ShelfLife: The Future of Collecting.


Why should you care?

Put simply, ShelfLife is designed to solve many of the problems we encounter as collectors. Basically, ShelfLife is a hybrid of Wikipedia and eBay for collectors...but it will end up much more than that.

At present, the site has two major functionality sets: Collection Management and Curation.

Collection Management allows you to review the details of your favourite Star Wars (and other collectibles) catalogs and record what you have, where you bought things, how much you paid, and when. Our detailed parts tracking system allows you to get incredibly granular about what you have and the condition of each toy. You can also denote that you want something, the details of that desire, and how much you're willing to pay for it. You're definitely going to want to do this, because what comes next is going to be pretty great.

Once the Beta is complete and we're satisfied that we’ve worked the kinks out of the core collecting and curation tools, we’ll be launching our e-commerce functionality and enabling the ability to buy and sell collectibles with an efficiency and precision never before seen. With a database full of Beta Wants and Haves, we'll automatically match buyers and sellers and notify you accordingly...all without you having to wait on auctions, check endless online lists, or waste gas checking a dozen retail stores. Monthly budgeting features and different levels of purchase commitment will enable unparalleled flexibility in your collecting habits.

If you're widely travelled in the online collecting world, you'll notice similarities between pieces of our site and many other sites. Don’t let this fool you. The long term plan for ShelfLife is quite unique, and I can personally guarantee you that this is a community you will want to be in on the ground floor with.


Beta Tester Duties



As a member of the Open Beta test, your main responsibility is to use the site as much as you possibly can.

Generally, we think you'll see that the site is pretty cool, but we're still young and evolving all the time as the collectors we aim to serve provide feedback on how to improve the user experience. There're bound to be bugs, and we're very interested in your perspectives on how to take the site from cool to indispensable. We're chasing the dream of making the perfect collecting platform first, and profits are a distant second, so tell us what you want and you might just get it.

In summary, we need you guys to do the following during the Beta:

1) Tell us what’s in your collection using the Have buttons on every catalog and product page. You can also use the H shaped Mass Have button to add an entire catalogue all at once!

2) Tell us which toys you want and how much you’d pay for them with the Want buttons.

3) Contribute missing product details and photos so that we can get closer to completing our insane goal of documenting every collectible on the planet.

Many of us have tons of photos lying around that we’ve used to sell our toys in the past. Donating these en masse to ShelfLife is one of the biggest things you can do to help the community. If you have a pile of photos that you’re too lazy to upload into ShelfLife, send'em to us zipped up via everyone@shelflifex.com, or request Dropbox access, and we’ll make it easy for you to help make the catalogues look their best.

4) Tell us of features you need, what's confusing, and what doesn't work as expected. You can send us feedback here, via the emails below, or using the Feedback button on ShelfLife.

5) Customize your main navigation in the left column of ShelfLife by clicking the pink Subscribe button in the top-right corner of catalog, product, and search pages.

6) If you're feeling ambitious or want to play a more important role in the community, apply to be a curator. Details are a bit lower down.

ShelfLife can easily become the best thing that ever happened to collectors online, but we need your help to really live the dream. We won’t have time to chase you all down, so please do your best to put some time aside and really get to know the site and send feedback.

Contests

ShelfLife will be running contests concurrently for most of the year. Typically all you will need to do to participate is use the site as most contest entries will be achived by using site tools, buying and selling and contributing content. For example, sell 3 things, buy 5 things, contribute 8 photos and you earn 16 prize tickets. Tickets are cumulative, so the more you use the site the more you'll have a shot at prizes, discounts, etc. At the end of the contest, we'll randomly enter your name into a draw, once for each of your tickets, and name the winner(s).

Marketplace Plans

Generally speaking, one of our biggest goals is to make collecting as inexpensive, hassle-free, and fun as possible. Part of how we will support this goal is by making ShelfLife free for collectors, even past the Beta period. Sound good? Here’s how it'll work:

-   Buying is always free.
-   Selling is free for your first 2 sales/month, or your first 10/year.
-   Beyond that, selling is planned at 8%, 2% of which will go to the curator of the catalog in question.
-   Want to sell your product somewhere else and record that sale on ShelfLife to update your collection? No problem.

Better eBay + Better Wikipedia + No Cost. Not a bad deal, eh?

All Beta participants will also get a ShelfLife Beta Tester badge in their accounts. What’s this badge do? I can’t reveal that just yet, but you’ll be bragging about it soon enough.

Curators

Wait, so what’s a curator?

Curators are very much like forum mods or Wikipedia editors. Curators build catalogs within ShelfLife. They fill in product and part details, upload photos, and write descriptions and comments for their catalogs. In return, they gain the right to charge relevant sellers a 2% levy when a product they curated is sold within ShelfLife.

Catalogs can take anywhere from 20min to a few hours to build, depending on your level of knowledge and the availability of photos. I’ve been doing it for months, and it’s pretty easy if you know the products and turn on the TV while you plug away.

You can curate from within ShelfLife using our super-detailed curation tools, or fill in a custom spreadsheet that we’ll provide if you prefer your data entry in big chunks. Curators are assigned one catalogue at a time. If you want to stake out some huge territory for yourself, you just need to move fast and get one done. We’re focusing on getting the most of the major action figure lines done for now, but if you want to do something else, let us know and we’ll get you set up.

You can learn more about curation here: http://www.cybertron.ca/boards/showthread.php?t=36653

And see a video about How To Be A ShelfLife Curator here: http://vimeo.com/shelflife/how-to-be-a-shelflife-curator


What Catalogues Do You Have So Far?

The ShelfLife Beta includes dozens of catalogues from:

Transformers
Marvel Universe
Star Wars
GIJOE
Masters of the Universe
Lego
Gobots
Rocklords
Designer Vinyl
Kidrobot
Barbie (Not that you guys care, LOL)


By the end of the Beta, we aim to have all of the Transformers catalogs completed, most of the Star Wars universe and another 150 catalogs in place of other types. Within 3 months, we aim to have over 200 additional catalogs. The more catalogs there are in ShelfLife, the better it gets, so do your part: become a curator and help out!

Who's Behind ShelfLife?

My name is James Chillcott (aka FaustX).

I’ve spent the last 10 years running Advoca, an interactive agency with clients on 5 continents. In short, I know a ton about what makes web sites great. I also happen to be a very prolific collector of Transformers, Star Wars, GIJOE, Japanese Kaiju, Designer Vinyl, Skateboards and Rock Art. eBay pisses me off, and I think we deserve a better playground. ShelfLife is designed to be the solution.

My partners are Nick Hoffman (CTO & Ruby Guru) and Hilary Gillespie (Design/HTML). They are serious collectors in their own right and experts in their respective fields.

In case you care, ShelfLife is being self-funded by our team at present, but we are also seeking external investment through participation in the MaRS Discovery District here in Toronto. If we line up further funding in the next few months, things will explode. If we don’t, the project will continue to grow and improve, but at a more measured pace. No matter what, we’re in this for the long haul. This is a passion project as much as a business and we won’t rest until it's perfect.

Spread the word!

ShelfLife is currently working out partnerships with dozens of fan sites, customizers, manufacturers and media teams. To really amp things up we need your help to spread the word.

Mentioning ShelfLife and linking to our home page (www.shelflifex.com), then reporting it to us at everyone@shelflifex.com is worth a sweet 25 prize tickets towards our contests (see above) so please spread the word, tell all your friends and start discussion threads across the web to help us grow.

Otherwise, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and sign up for our newsletter when you register on the site to keep informed.




What if I’m a vendor?

We really want to talk to you. We have huge plans for making inventory management within ShelfLife your ultimate tracking system. If you want to have a hand in shaping that, you need to join the Vendor Beta Program separately. Email us at vendors@shelflifex.com , and we’ll be in touch ASAP.

Providing Feedback

During the Beta, you'll be able to report problems on specific pages within the site, or simply email us at everyone@shelflifex.com

For the duration of the Beta, I'll also be making my phone (416-423-9265) and Skype (faustx06) available for anyone who wants to chat about the project and provide feedback first hand. This is your chance to influence the future of collecting online, so make sure you use it before we the gates open to the world in January!

We're working very hard to get ready for the marketplace launch in April, but feel free to post your questions, comments, or concerns in this thread before and during the Beta. We’ll be checking daily and providing insight and assistance wherever we can. We're building this for all of us.


Still have questions?

No problem. Ask them here or from our on-site feedback buttons, and we’ll do our best to answer them promptly.


James & Team ShelfLife
« Last Edit: April 02, 2012, 12:54:58 AM by FaustX »
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jjreason

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Re: ShelfLifex.com Launch: Join The Beta Test!
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2012, 12:25:28 AM »

Looks fantastic, good luck James!
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richd

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Re: ShelfLifex.com Launch: Join The Beta Test!
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2012, 11:48:50 AM »

Best of luck with this project; it has a "go big or go home" sense to it.

Maybe we'll see you on Dragons' Den some time soon?  :rockon:

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Wedge1021

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Re: ShelfLifex.com Launch: Join The Beta Test!
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2012, 01:09:30 PM »

Sounds great! BTW, those links for curator info don't seem to work...? Being someone who loves to make lists and catalogs, it might be something of interest - if I could only make some time!
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FaustX

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Re: ShelfLifex.com Launch: Join The Beta Test!
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2012, 12:57:32 AM »

Best of luck with this project; it has a "go big or go home" sense to it.

Maybe we'll see you on Dragons' Den some time soon?  :rockon:



Yep, we're definitely aiming high, but really, collectors have deserved a better playground for far too long. Ebay still looks and works pretty much the same as it did 8 years ago. For shame!

As for investment, we're in the hunt, but our main focus is building a fantastic site you all adore...the rest will come naturally once we get it right, so get all up in our business and help us shape this thing in your collective image!

James
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FaustX

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Re: ShelfLifex.com Launch: Join The Beta Test!
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2012, 12:58:51 AM »

Sounds great! BTW, those links for curator info don't seem to work...? Being someone who loves to make lists and catalogs, it might be something of interest - if I could only make some time!

Links fixed, thanks! If you decide to curate, feel free to pick a small catalogue to start with. The regular curators are killing small catalogues in less than an hour these days. No big thing but it will have tons of benefits tied to it as we progress this year.

J
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FaustX

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Re: ShelfLifex.com Launch: Join The Beta Test!
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2012, 01:50:52 PM »

So which Star Wars catalogues would you guys like to see built out next?

James
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Wedge1021

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Re: ShelfLifex.com Launch: Join The Beta Test!
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2012, 02:07:50 PM »

Hey everyone, I'm the curator for The Vintage Collection (and The Clone Wars).
I'm trying to decide how to catalog all the variant cardbacks for TVC. Maybe some of you could give some ideas & preferences? Here are the 2 main choices:
- treat variant cardbacks as separate items, even though the figure is identical. There'd be a unique entry for each cardback (for instance, the 2 Senate Guards, 2 Yodas, all the silver foils, etc)
- include variant packaging as an optional item/accessory contained within the entry for that figure (ex: VC20 Yoda would be a single entry. One of it's items would be the ROTJ variant cardback, which could be selected if that is the version that is in your collection)
Thanks!
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FaustX

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Re: ShelfLifex.com Launch: Join The Beta Test!
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2012, 12:25:16 PM »

Hey Wedge,

Thanks for kicking ass on all the SW catalogs brother!

Still a few more to go to get the site up to speed on SW figs...anyone else down to join the fun?

James
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