One of the most rewarding aspects of becoming a blogger is creating a blog from scratch and watching it develop over time, gain followers, build relationships and grow. I have met some really nice people, made some great trades. It's been pretty cool and I look forward to doing this for a really long time.
I have always respected Bill Waterson, creator of "Calvin and Hobbes" for his intregrity in his product. He never sold out and mass created his creation into mugs, tshirts, Garfield-esque window suckers...whatevers. I have never really considered adding advertising banners, plugging Blogger, or linking up to a commercial baseball card collecting site. Doing so would probably increase my traffic, and its always fun to see the hits go up and read comments, but I would rather see that happen based on having good material (okay, so there is the occasional flop :), building good relationships, and completing a good, honest trade.
So why all of the buildup? Well, if you look to your right you will see a, GASP!! Banner for Zistle.com. Is JD rolling over in his crib? I don't think so, though he has learned to sit up in his cell and wait to be paroled each morning!
I learned about Zistle a few weeks back when I read some postings regarding the pricing differences between Zistle and Beckett. I had no idea that an alternative actually existed at all, and jumped in to check it out.
What I learned is that Zistle is created by two collectors (Josh and Ashley) with a love of sports and collecting. This is a community-driven site that invites collectors to log-in and archive their collection online, join forums, make trades, etc etc.
As I mentioned in previous posts, I subscribe to Beckett online. I pay the $5.99 a month!! because I want access to products lists so I am able to figure out what I have in my hand. Being a new collector, it can get a little confusing with all of the parallels and insert sets. I have never really thought much about the pricing, and really any new product does not even have a price for several weeks or months anyways, plus there are RARELY any card images to view. I basically use it as a database.
Zistle, on the other hand, is community-driven site that is working hard to not only make it easier to log your collection, but also show images of those cards as well. One of the beauties of the site is that you can search for cards based on tags. For example, in my own collection I can type in "rookie" and ALL of my rookie cards will pop up, images and all, within seconds. This same function is available in the community library where a convenient +/- sign will allow you to quickly add (or subtract) a card from your collection in seconds.
Zistle is not perfect. It is young, and therefore there are gaps in uploaded cards, many of which are lacking scans. But the concept is phenomenal which is why I have thrown my hat in the ring to try to help the site reach its potential by promoting and helping fill some of the card gaps. Did I mention that this site is FREE?
Some will say "what about the pricing discrepancy between Beckett and Zistle". Pricing a product is always going to be controversial no matter who you ask, but as collectors, we all know enough about the hobby to know that a card is worth what somebody is willing to pay for it. Zistle does have pricing methods in place. More accurate? Depends on who you ask.
No matter your stance on pricing, Zistle is one amazing concept, and the best part is that it is all made possible by collectors like us. The more collectors who join and contribute, the better the site becomes. It is truly a site for collectors.
So I am not going to spend blog after blog preaching the benefits of Zistle. The best way for you to see what I am talking about is to simply take a few minutes and play around in there. If you like what you see, then give it a go and let others know to take it for test drive. The more members, the more collections. the more collections, the stronger the database. Everybody wins!