Huge price increase for Beckett Online Price Guide subscription

Beckett LogoMy subscription to the Beckett Hockey Online Price Guide (OPG) has grown to become a valuable asset to both my collecting and to my writing. As a guy who blogs about hockey cards, it is great to be able to easily find out how many cards were issued of an obscure hockey player, or what the most valuable cards are in a set, or when a certain player’s rookie card was issued. It is especially helpful when I find some random card and have no idea what it is; I would just go to Beckett’s Online Price Guide, type in the player’s name, the card number, and the OPG would help me figure out what set the card is from.

Yes, the OPG is a great tool for collectors, but Beckett increased the yearly subscription rate from $54 to $81 and that pisses me off. Mind you, this is the yearly subscription rate for just their Hockey OPG, and not the price for “Total Access.”

That’s 50% price increase for what is basically a product that costs Beckett zero in printing and postage because it is a website and not a magazine.Yes, websites cost money to create and maintain–but jacking up the price 50% is some shit that we expect the oil companies to pull.

Or drug dealers. I remember when Beckett started “pushing” the OPG on us pretty hard a few years ago, trying to sell us a virtual price guide subscription while practically killing off their own printed magazine business.

Back then, the OPG was slow and unreliable. The site would be down for hours or even days sometimes. Often it was actually faster to look up card prices in the annual Beckett Hockey Price Guide book than search a computerized database. Go figure.

Like many other OPG subscribers, I was annoyed that I paid for something that didn’t work very well most of the time. I was going to bail out after subscribing to the OPG for a year, but Beckett Media auto-renewed my subscription (which is their default action for the Online Price Guide subscriptions), and would not allow me to cancel for a refund.

Beckett then had the OPG redesigned, but that made things worse, and not better like you would expect when a company redesigns a website. One thing the OPG did back then was use Flash to display checklists or search results–perhaps so you could not copy and paste text from the site.

This also meant that you could not right-click and open a link in a new tab/window. That is a functionality that most website visitors use regularly. It sucked to have to always view the site in the same tab, clicking on a link, determining it wasn’t the set you were looking for, clicking the back button, watching the “Loading” message for 20 seconds while your search results reappeared, then clicking on another link, rinse, repeat.

Subscribers continued to complain that the OPG was slow and hard to use. Beckett redesigned their website a second time–including the OPG–and finally got things right. For the past year or so, the Online Price Guide has been fast, reliable and intuitive to use. Qualities that paying customers would expect. Oh, and it supports multiple tabs and is easy to cut-and-paste from (so as to add to my want list).

It had its ups and downs, but I grew to love the Online Price Guide. Now that love costs me $27 more per year.

QUESTION: Do you use Beckett’s Online Price Guide for any sport? Please post a comment below and let me know your thoughts.

Also, contest coming on Saturday (if I can get it together in time…)


Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

7 thoughts on “Huge price increase for Beckett Online Price Guide subscription”

  1. I don’t use Beckett for anything other than news. Sometimes I watch the Box Buster videos but the staff butchering the names of hockey players turns me off. That hike in the price is a total rip. I don’t blame you for being pissed off at all. Sounds like a cable company scam.

  2. Don’t use the OPG–can’t see spending the money on information that I can probably find somewhere out in the interweblogosphere–that’s just me–it seems like you have set up so you can use it the way you want—contest time—yay

  3. I don’t use the Beckett OPG and I don’t go on the Beckett site. Has anyone asked the powers that be at Beckett why the dramatic increase in the annual fee, or have they communicated the reason for the increase to their subscribers? The least they could do for good customer relations is to explain the reason for the fee increase especially before they implemented it.

  4. If you really care about the pricing/”book value” then I guess sticking with Beckett is the way to go, but if you’re more interested in using the resource to figure out what a particular card is (as well as electronically tracking/cataloging your collection), then I can’t recommend Zistle enough. Totally free and the site is in the hands of the users to populate/correct, etc.

  5. Haven’t used their OPG and just looked at magazine for the first time in years because Dave and Adams threw one in on one of my orders. Then again I don’t spend a lot of time looking up prices or researching sets.

    It sucks that they jacked the price up that much, I would be interested to see what their response would be for the dramatic change.

  6. I only go there when I can’t find something I know should exist. Other than that…I am a believer in the power of ZISTLE!! It is basically user driven, user friendly, and has a community of collectors, not pretentious douche bags.

  7. Never started using the service and still enjoy the price guides in paper form. Usually I do my own research online or at local shops and establish prices for cards I am interested in on a more averaged basis of what is available. I collect more for the enjoyment and for the hobby, so this approach has worked really well for me.

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