- Manufacturer collusion is a serious breach of business practice and free trade.
- Non disclosure of said possible collusion is a serious ethical breach of media integrity.
These are the issues I have with the shennanigans at Beckett HQ regarding the Topps Tribute fiasco. Last night on Twitter, Steven Judd (former trading card brand manager) made the following statements:
"So Beckett got a loaded box, big deal. I "packed" quite a few of them over the years. Get over it. It's part of the business. Geez..... When the Beckett boards were more dominant. I would make a special "case" (I'd give the packout vendor a specific list of auto/mem hits to put in each box), have it sent to a buddy of mine a week prior to the release date, have him break the scan and scan all of the auto/mem cards and then post a box-by-box break on the Beckett boards around midnight on the night before the release date in order to get people excited about the product.
I like to call it guerilla marketing. Just to be clear, Beckett or the folks who work there have nothing to do with the "loaded" boxes they receive. It's the PDT/marketing people at the card companies that plot and scheme to jerrymander the box/boxes.
I think everybody takes some of this a bit too seriously. That's just me. Maybe I'm the jackass here, but it's just a box of cards. Again, I'm pretty sure Beckett Media, or any of its employees, is not responsible for all of the ills of this industry...good gracious can't you all at least think of something different to bitch about? Same song, same verse, different day."
Whoa. WTF is that!?!!
Ok, so we now know from an industry insider the facts, thus validating all of the "paranoid conspiracy theories" (as my arguements have been called by Beckett employees).
1. Manufacturers are capable of knowing what goes into a particular box and case.
2. Beckett Media is aware of these practices.
3. Loaded marketing boxes sent to Beckett do in fact exist.
The big problem here then is the lack of complete disclosure on the part of Beckett Media. However it goes beyond that. The desperate attempt to down play this practice with posts regarding the prevalence of 1 of 1's in the marketplace as reasoning for the box hits (see Chris Olds' blog post yesterday) only adds fuel to the fire and screams desperation.
Apparently I am not alone with these concerns as evidence by this thread on the Blowout forums, and this conversation regarding the potential legal ramifications with major case breaker and attorney I Am Joe Collector and fellow blogger, Box Busters, here.