and I'm probably the last one here to realize it. I just have never submitted cards to them, but have recently been reading their message board and searching on certain cards to cross over in recent weeks.
They force you to pay $99 to submit cards to them, and you have to do it ON A YEARLY BASIS! They market it as a "Gold Collectors Club Membership". I figured you must get some pretty good stuff for $99 that would more than make up for this large fee.
Here' a breakdown of what you get (listed on their web site) and my comments below each one:
1. Direct Submission Privileges to All PSA Grading Services for One Year
--- as opposed to no privelage to do business with them...
2. 6 Submissions - 7 Business Day Turnaround Guaranteed $105 Value
--- No value TO ME in whether I get my cards in 7 days or 45. However, this may be the strongest value within the list.
3. 1-Year Subscription to the Sports Market Report (SMR) $49.00 Value
--- No value to me as I can gague this on ebay or check Beckett or SGC for free
4. 1 Copy of The Top 200 Sportscards in the Hobby $24.95 Value
--- No value to me. I perceive as having to pay for their over printing book costs.
5. 1-Year subscription to the PSA Population Report and SMR Online $39.50 Value
--- This is free at SGC and Beckett. GAI's population report has been under construction forever along with their message board. SCD says that there's is now available online, but the link doesn't work. Zero value here when dealing with 2 main competitors.
6. Monthly Grading Specials
--- The one running now is for $6 per card on 1950-1959 Football or Basketball with get this...A 25 CARD MINIMUM! Wow, what a wonderful deal this is --- You think they'd give you grading card certificates for joining like GAI does or Beckett does. The value is there if you're a dealer or collector with deep pockets, as it is a way to make a dent in the $99 you have to pay. Value isn't justified for someone like me.
7. PSA Bi-Weekly eZine
--- I can only guess what this is, because it doesn't say. A newsletter? Once again, no value proposition for me. Beckett & SCD have a free newsletter. I don't believe SGC or GAI have this, but it isn't something that you charge for anyway...rather it should be used as a promotional opportunity to generate revenue...good gosh!
8. Participation in the PSA Set Registry
--- Free at SGC. Beckett doesn't have one. SCD appears not to have one. GAI isn't available yet. I guess you have to pay $99 a year just to display your set. Once again, good gosh!
9. Online Submission Status Check
--- In the age of the internet this is STANDARD BUSINESS. However, when you have to substantiate a list of non-value items to create a perceived set of value, why not throw in more B.S. Good gosh!
10. Participation on the PSA Message Boards *
--- I guess the * means it really is free for everyone, but they just needed to have their list at a nice round number.
I'm trying to think of other businesses outside of Sam's Club & Costco whereby you have to pay just to purchase from them. I can't, outside of perhaps a strip club or busy bar on a weekend night (now there can be a lot of value in that).
Combine all of this with their announcement to raise prices. I guess I didn't realize what a poor business model that they've built. I mean it is really ridiculous. SGC would do well to better position themselves against PSA's stupidity or perceived instability.
This doesn't bode well for them to generate revenue streams from a new customer base or from the collectors out there who aren't tied to one company holder. Rather, it just appears to be a way to further lock-in their established customer base and tag them for $99 each year. Sticking it to your established customers like this seems rather odd.
Common business sense seems to be lacking at PSA.
For some this may be perceived as to harsh or a debate that has been beaten like a dead horse. To those offended, oh well. To me, it is the type of dialogue that needs to be brought out in the open and debated with civility. Perhaps someone with PSA experience could better articulate the $99 membership benefits, because their web site sure doesn't do it very well.
Enjoy Your Collection & SKOL VIKINGS!