A few weeks ago, PucaTrade added a highly anticipated feature, Promoted Trading. This new feature is meant to supplant the user created bonus system and offer a system within the toolset of the site for receivers to set their own price for a highly wanted card. In the announcement thread, Eric gives this explanation:
We noticed that many people have been using their usernames to advertise the extra bonuses or “bounties” that they’d be willing to give for certain cards. We’ve been thinking about bounties and the role they play on PucaTrade, and we think it’s time to build the tools you need to control the PucaPoints you’re willing to exchange for the cards you want.
This system also is yet another all-important safety valve for the PucaPoint Economy, as it costs receivers a listing fee to promote a trade (15% for Common Members, 12% for Uncommon, and 10% for Rare.) As of the writing of this, the new feature has removed over 825,000 pp from the economy. For users who follow the exact PucaPoint to $$ conversion rate (I still think of 100pp as $1, but not gonna have that argument today) this feature is positive.
I believe that this new feature will actually filter out some of the unhappy user-base while offering a benefit to the community as a whole. If someone is frustrated and upset with the site and truly wants to ‘cash out’, they can do so by putting a large promotion on a card they otherwise wouldn’t get, to zero themselves out. Points are back in the hands of someone who is actively sending cards, and a percentage of points has been removed from the economy. This feature allows for an alternative for someone leaving other than violating the TOS and selling their PP. If this user ever decides to return to the site, they will have to send cards to regain their points.
Promoted Trades also adds additional incentive for owners of the hard to get cards to send out their prized pieces. It is easy to find a user who wants a card, and how much exactly they are willing to pay. I have even heard of situations in the chat rooms, where users were discussing how they are now sending cards they wouldn’t even have considered sending because there is a very high Promoted Trade bonus for the card now.
The flip side of this feature is that there is little or no incentive to send a card that is highly promoted to anyone but the users offering a massive bonus. Although the trading velocity of most cards on the current list of promotable cards was very low pre-feature launch I anticipate it being zero for users unwilling to pay expensive bonuses. If there is no end to the cards added to this list, then this may become the case for every card in the database that is wanted by users. This would be a bad thing. This has the potential to push out the traders who are unwilling to pay for bonuses and possibly alienate members who have stuck with the site through the good times and the bad.
I also have some concerns over the impact this will have on the PucaPoint economy. PucaTrade has worked very hard to remove puca points from the system to try and reverse some of the inflation damage that’s been done over the years. If the value of any given card is no longer in sync with its cash value, the cash value of the Puca Point decreases immensely. This would completely ensure that users will never buy points from PT, as they cost $1 per 100. In order to acquire a card with a base value of 100pp, a user may need up to 200pp to get that card with bonuses. This would effectively mean that the user is spending $2 to acquire points to obtain a $1 card. This new feature has the potential to completely turn the economy on its head, and I don’t think the economy can survive any more negative flux.
Admittedly I do not pretend to believe that even a significant number of the points in the system were purchased. I am merely using the $1 card costing $2 as a possible flaw in widespread bonuses being the norm. I fear that with the bonuses being promoted the value of the points some users have built up diminishes due to users only sending 4,000 point cards to users with a 100% bonus.
I am actually fearful of Promoted Trades on a personal level. As a trader, if promoted trades start to hinder my ability to obtain cards I may become part of the group that feels alienated by Puca’s decisions. As I say all the time on Discord, I know I am the exception and not the rule for most traders. I have a hard time keeping my points in my account as I have actively attempted to help many many users. The unintended benefit for me is that I usually get any card that I actively need. I do not abuse this and only advertise needing cards that I actually need. With that said, I fully understand if a user chooses to take advantage of getting a 100% bonus on a Torrential Gearhulk instead of sending it to me at its regular price. I just chose not to send out bonuses because my incoming and outgoing trade velocity has been increasing over the past few months without using the bonus system. My want list is being filled with cards at their intended value and I find for me paying a bonus is a waste of my points.
In conclusion, despite what I said above, I feel it is a net positive for the community. Anything that can increase activity and trade volume on the site is a good thing. This feature definitely offers many benefits to the community. Until I see this play out, I will still carry fears that unchecked the Promoted Trades feature may completely alienate myself and a handful of power senders that love to Give and Let Give. Anyone who knows me knows I’m for the best interest of the PucaTrade community, and I know deep down that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Even if I am part of the few.
Feel free to leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on this new feature and my opinions of it.
Don’t Forget to be kind,
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Jeremy aka “Strictly Average” is an ‘average’ guy with ‘average’ plans. He is the creator and overboss of Strictly Average Gaming, which includes the Patreon group and StrictlyAverageMTG.com