MattyCollector 2013 Subscriptions: Why I'm Out (UPDATED)
July 27, 2012

You might remember last year I made an appeal, followed by two of my infamous open letters in support of MattyCollector.com’s Club Infinite Earths, which was created to fill the void left by the de facto cancellation of DC Universe Classics at retail. I, of course, did subscribe. I also subscribed to Club Eternia and Club Ecto-1.

I left the Voltron sub alone.

Now, it’s time to subscribe again and I’ve decided against both the DC and Masters of the Universe clubs. My reasons are different for each club. Let’s handle the easy one first.

I’m not going to renew my Club Infinite Earths subscription because there are simply not enough characters I want coming out of it. I kept Jay Garrick. I kept Metron. I’ll keep Poison Ivy and Black Mask. That’s it. Everything else gets eBayed. Looking ahead to next year, there’s no one I want from the figures announced, so that’s pretty much that. I’m not going to subscribe again on the off chance there’s a character I want somewhere in the second half of 2013.

Plus, let’s be honest, the DC sub is as dead as Julius Caesar, so it’s a moot point.

Which brings me to, and ties into, the other Matty sub, the one everyone’s talking about, Club Eternia.

Before we go any further, let’s establish a few things. First, what you’re about to read is based on my experience and my opinion. Second, nothing I’m about to say is meant to harm anyone or anything.

Ok? Here we go.

I subscribed to Club Eternia last year and almost immediately regretted it. I didn’t like many of the characters coming to the sub and, after thinking about it long and hard, I realized what the hell kind of Masters of the Universe fan I am. With that in mind, I’ve eBayed every 2012 Club Eternia figure I’ve received and the only one I intend to keep is Procrustus. That’s not an attack on the line as a whole, it’s me deciding what I like and what I don’t.

That said, there’s more on character selection in a bit.

Looking ahead, the only figure announced for 2013 I want is, no surprise, Ram Mam, but I’m not re-subscribing just to get him.

So, I’m out. I’ll just get Ram Man on day of sale. Simple enough, right?

Well, not at all, as it turns out, and here’s where the real discussion begins.

The 2013 Club Eternia subscription sales are, to date, awful. They are so bad, in fact, we’ve learned this week the line will likely be cancelled outright if the threshold for subscriptions, which, from what I’ve read, needs to reach 2012 level, is not met.

That’s quite a precipitous fall from grace, isn’t it?

Why is this happening? I’ve just told you why I’m not going to renew, but where has everyone else gone?

Here is why I think people are turning away from Club Eternia, and Masters of the Universe Classics in general.

It’s fun if you read these in Plinkett voice, by the way.

But I digress…

1. The Price Increase

Single-carded MOTUC subscription figures are going up from $20 to $25. That’s a big jump, especially given the economic climate and diminishing disposable income. These are, essentially, useless hunks of plastic, after all, and $25 a go is a lot for any one figure. However, as you’ll soon see, I don’t think the price increase itself is driving people away, it’s the price increase in conjunction with every that follows below.

2. Digital River

I’m not going to go bit by bit here, you know what the problems are. Digital River has been an unmitigated disaster since MattyCollector.com opened its virtual doors. Ordering is hard, tracking is hard, shipping is hard, customer service is nonexistent, and Mattel has done just about nothing about any of it since 2008. Digital River, however they handle business elsewhere, has been awful in its marriage with Mattel.

3. Quality Control

He-Man’s shoulders. Roboto’s shoulders. Roboto’s torso. The Goddess’s imploding crotch. Stinkor’s forearms. And if one of your other figures ships with two left legs or an ass when its head should be, don’t bother to ask for a replacement. They’re gone.

4. The Subscription Itself

To me, this is the big one. Club Eternia started as a way for collectors to get every MOTUC figure without wading through the firestorm of ugh that is Digital River. According to Mattel, it is now the only way to get any MOTUC figures at all, and if you’re not willing to commit hundreds of dollars to unknown figures, some of which you quite likely don’t want, you get nothing.

That’s not fair.

You can’t take something that was conceived as a convenience, force people into it, and then tell them it’s their lack of commitment putting your product in jeopardy. The subscription was great for people who wanted to be all in, but now Mattel is telling people they have to be all in. Step back for two seconds and think about how absurd that is. While you’re stepped-back, ask yourself why this is the way things are in the first place. The Mattel spin is the subscription is the only way to get upper management to fund MOTUC. The only way.

It’s the only way!

Where was I?

So, you have to pay more to get the same figures, most of which are unknown to you at time of purchase, some of which you almost certainly won’t want, and, if something is wrong with any of your figures, yeah, you’re pretty much boned on a replacement.

Sound good so far?

Expanding on one aspect of the above a bit further; including the 30th Anniversary sub-line, 45% of the single-carded MOTUC figures released so far were never in the vintage Masters of the Universe line.

I think that’s a problem.

So, you’ve got cost feeding into all the technical problems feeding into all the quality control problems and now Mattel is telling you have to eat all that and commit to a full year’s worth of figures, largely unknown, right now if you want any further Masters of the Universe Classics at all.

What else could be bothering you?

5. Scott “Toy Guru” Neitlich

Let me say two things straight away. First, I don’t think Toy Guru would make this list is it wasn’t for the four items above. Second, I don’t know Scott, but he’s always seemed like a nice guy to me and I have no doubt he’s passionate about both Masters of the Universe and the toy industry in general.

But…

I have never felt Scott was the best public advocate for the lines he oversees. His written communication is often fraught with mistakes, he’s been short, intentionally or unintentionally, with people on the MattyCollector message boards and, in times like these, he tends to be the source of a torrential flow of contradictory information. I’m sure the people over his head are not easy to deal with, and I know toy nerds can be impossible to deal with, but, and again, this is my perception, Scott often seems a few steps behind, or a few steps removed, from collectors’ concerns and product deficiencies.

I also think he’s entirely too visible and it’s rubbing people the wrong way.

Scott’s doing videos, he’s on TV, he’s got his face on MattyCollector, he’s got his face on a MOTUC figure, and he’s had a history of taking playful shots at the fanbase via tee-shirt. None of these things are inherently bad but, again, I think when you combine all of the things we’ve talked about above with a video this week in which Scott essentially says, hey, you’re in or you’re out, what can I tell you? I can see people thinking there might be a little more concern with celebrity than with getting any of a number of things right.

So, maybe it’s unfair, but I don’t think this is a complete discussion if Scott isn’t mentioned. I think he is a factor, however small, in this equation.

So, that’s about it. I hope all parties concerned can take something from this, but really I just wanted to share my thoughts with you in case you were struggling with the decision to subscribe. I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t subscribe, but now you know why I didn’t and why I think Masters of the Universe Classics is in the mess it’s currently in.

Gut feeling? The sub fails and Ram Man is put up for pre-order at $45 followed by other previously announced figures if Ram Man succeeds.

But we’ll see.

-JJJ

UPDATE: So, as you know, by now, both my predictions were wrong. The Masters of the Universe Classics and DC Universe Classics subscriptions met their minimums and will proceed into 2013. Enjoy your figures, everyone.

And get ready for the same exact thing to happen again next year.

-JJJ

 

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Jason "JJJason" Chirevas
Jason Chirevas is a toy collector whether he likes it or not (and he often doesn't). This former Would've-Been Action Hero is as interested in the humanity, psychology, and psychosis of collecting as he is in the action figures themselves. Fun guy.
Read other articles by Jason "JJJason" Chirevas.

 

 

 

32 Comments »

  • Lucinda says:

    It’s good that you won’t get a sub. People like you are the ones that aren’t true MOTU fans. I’ve supported the line since the very first figure, King Grayskull, and then Beast Man and He-Man.

    The price increase isn’t that big of a deal. $5 extra a month. Really??!! FIVE whole dollars? If you can’t save more than that a month, something is VERY wrong. I don’t care if you’re the fry cook at Mc Donalds, you can save that. If you can’t, don’t ever trust yourself with money.

    Yes, Digital River isn’t the best. It’s all we have at the moment. I’ve never had a problem with them, but I realize other people have.

    And the whole thing about not knowing what figures are coming. It’s been that way since the subscriptions began. You already know that you’ll get every vintage figure from MOTU, PoP and NA by the end of 2014, so I don’t see what the big deal is.

    I hope the real fans pull through for this line!

    • Mark says:

      I am a true fan. I will not get a subscription again. After the mistreatment of the line (creating figures you conceived when you were a kid and putting them into a Master’s package) and horrible customer service the subscription service has proved it is incapable of actually being a vialble business. And now the mass appeals from artist and owner alike. It is not a charity. And no matter how much they say it costs they are making money. You aren’t a “true fan” just because you have enough money to donate to this cause. You just see the product being worth more than they themselves put into it. And nothing is dying here. Some great figures were made and around to be enjoyed. Eventually the property will emerge again and true fans will be reminded about why it made them happy to begin with instead of a line on life support.

  • Dave says:

    Lucinda, that’s a shockingly judgmental reaction. JJJ made his case and tried very hard not to make it personal. You make in personal with him in the first two sentences. And if he decides he’s going to save that 5 (or 25) dollars, it’s his decision. If you want to blame someone, blame Mattel for not giving customers more of a reason to spend their money.

    • Ray says:

      i’ve also foud their quality a bit “droopy” within the last couple years. maybe it’s just cause their spewing out too much too fast and just want more money as well as recognition or whatever. but i also think true fan also has true logic like JJJ does. good review.

      • RobertakaTOXINVENOM says:

        I completely agree with this review. Wasn’t biased and spoke the truth. I just ordered 5 figures on the 10/15 sale and pre-ordered grayskull. The figures came in, 2 had warped legs and there was a gap in the knee joints, and Skeletor’s face paint which I was looking forward to was half painted, 3 figures of second grade quality. Called and emailed customer service, no response on email. Also, they charged the wrong card causing me to bounce an account. I called Digital River, found out they are in the phillipines by asking the rep, was on phone with the rep who was no help, asked for manager, was put on hold 10 minutes, then transferred to a Manager who proceeded to waste another 10 minutes of my time, all she gave me was excuses and repeated herself, offering no solutions, just complete bs. If it wasn’t for the fact I like 50% of the figures, I would never order from this company again.

  • BookPimp (@The_BookPimp) says:

    I agree with Dave, JJJ’s Case is his own personal feelings but has nothing to do whether he’s a “True Fan” or not. The fact that he’s supported the line in the past means he’s a Fan pure and simple. Just because he doesn’t want to Own every single figure that Matty puts out has nothing to do with anything. That’s his business and he shouldn’t be judged poorly for that. You don’t know him. You don’t know what’s in his Heart so stop the attacks. That’s the real problem with this whole fiasco. More than the Sub issue or MOTUC dying. It’s the Fans turning on one another. We’re all fans or else we wouldn’t be so upset. So Lucinda, show a little respect to others.

  • Lucinda says:

    Sorry, but people aren’t really fans if they cannot commit to a sub. I understand that there could be circumstances like family, bills, etc. But the excuses that the price increase is part of the reason for not subscribing is just terrible. If you’ve been subscribing for the past 3 years, an extra five dollars a month is chump change.

    It’s pathetic that people are going to let this line die right as we are getting to some great figures. But, oh well. “IF” MOTU does see the light of day I hope that real fans embrace the line, even with flaws. Sideshow, Hot Toys, NECA, etc. all have their flaws and cost many times over what these figures cost. It’s just pathetic to see the reveals at SDCC and realize that we may never get them.

    Good going, fans, good going!

    • Demon_seed_22 says:

      Supporting a company that treats us, the customer, like fools makes us fools.
      Two simple terms. Quality Control and Customer Support.
      I’d be loyal if they were loyal to the paying customers.
      My wish is Mattel and Matty lose the licenses and someone who cares and someone who can handle the responsibility gets it.

    • davy says:

      “Sorry, but people aren’t really fans if they cannot commit to a sub” that’s a pretty silly thing to say. i’ve been into motu since the 80’s. i loved the show and had a ton of figures.
      when the 200x show and toyline came out i embraced them both. my snake armor he-man figure is one of my all time favorite toys. and i usually watch season 1 and 2 of the 200x series on dvd at least once a year.
      on the classics line..i love it and i have so far:
      1. he-man
      2. battle armor he-man
      3. teela
      4. man-at-arms
      5. stratos
      6. sy-klone
      7. buzz-off
      8. roboto
      9. palace guard set
      10. orko
      11. prince adam
      12. king randor
      13. bow
      14. she-ra
      15. skeletor
      16. keldor
      17. beastman
      18. merman
      19. faceless one
      20. evil-lyn
      21. webstor
      22. hordak
      23. trap-jaw
      24. tri-klops
      25. faker
      26. comic pack he-man
      27. mossman
      28. zodak
      29. zodac
      30. king hiss
      31. battlecat

      but according to you since i’ve never bought a subscription i’m not a true fan.

    • Dean says:

      Lucinda did you ever saw Marvel Select figures sculpt,weight,texture and paint on them they cost max to 22$,plzz dont defend Mattel for doing poor job there are enough of toy makers to rejuvenate this line and give toys to all of us not just to selected few

  • Shellhead says:

    I was with you JJJ until you started to bash (or, okay, critize) Scott. I think he’s probably the best friend a toy collector could ask for at Mattel. His love for the line practically OOZES from his pores.

    You are completely correct on your other points, however.

  • jzachery says:

    I understand the points above. And while I think you’re a fan, you’re not a junkie. That’s good.
    Is the $5 price hike a big deal? Overall, I think no. The unknown product? Not so big a deal, the problem is, MOTUC is built of so many mini factions, they’re all at war. No faction feels they are getting enough attention. If you like all of them, and the entire mythos, you’re all good. IF you’re only in it for POP, or only for Vintage, you’re screwed.
    I think the cherry pickers should be allowed to cherry pick. I think we need both subs and cherry pickers. Every single figure put on mattycollector sold out. Some took days. some minutes. But they all sold. Even if they have one or two bum figures a year, they’ll still sell something, and the others selling out should even that out. Having DOS stock, especially if it sells out, creates buzz. Which this line needs.
    DR. I understand the problems, I haven’t had any. But they’re adequate. But I wouldn’t not collect MOTUC over them. Which brings me to my point…
    If someone isn’t collecting because they can’t afford it. Fine. If not collecting because of lack of interest. Fine. If not collecting because of some kind of principle, then I think that’s wrong. The principle is lost. On Mattel, on your fellow collectors, and the line. One thing toy fans are good at, is getting on a soapbox.
    I got my sub. I got one, I’m not getting two. I don’t need two. Just because the subs are low, DOES NOT MEAN DEMAND FOR THE FIGURES ARE LOW (THIS is me screaming at Mattel!).
    I don’t know where I’m going with this.

  • demoncat says:

    i agree with jj over some of his reasons why he has decided to not re up his sub. the big ones being the mess that is digital river. plus other then fearless photag who was part of the line originaly till it got cancled. made up characters being stuck into the line like dark spectre. plus haveing some screw ups with some of the parts of the figure and no qc. as for toy guru one has to give him some slack for he has proven to be willing to at least fight for characters that might never have seen the light of day like the metal men and metron for dcu or palace guards or even fearless photag getting a second chance in plastic

  • Eric Qel-Droma says:

    I love the charged language so many of us use when we start looking at people whose opinions are different from our own: “True fan”? What in the heck is a “true fan”?

    Is it:

    1) Someone who’s been with a property from the beginning? That person might just be old.

    2) Someone who’s spent a ton of time and money tracking down every possible piece of merchandise? That person might just be ridiculously wealthy. I’m a Spider-Man fan, but I don’t own every piece of Spider-Man merch that has ever been made! Why? Because I don’t live in a warehouse, that’s why!

    3) Someone who sticks with a property through good times and awful times? That person might just have NO STANDARDS.

    4) Someone who advocates for the property and discusses it night and day online and forces it into conversations with friends and family? That person might just have no life. Or they might be me.

    I’d argue against the use of phrases like “true fan” because it’s ultimately a meaningless and completely subjective term that serves only to create an artificial “us” and “them” among the fan-base. MOTUC has been badly handled and mismanaged for years, and many fans are saying “enough.” Mattel deserves to have the fans turn away at this point, and it should learn from its mistakes.

    • John Cage says:

      Right on. Lucinda (and I’m not trying to start a thing, I swear) is the worst kind of fan — one who questions another’s “fandom” when they refuse to toe the line.

      I’m a huge fan of the JLU line. When they stopped selling the figures in Canada I started making regular trips to Niagara Falls NY to go by the regular Target stores. When they announced that the remaining six three figure packs were going up on Matty Collector for 50 bucks I realized I wouldn’t be able to get them all. Not because I didn’t want to, but because 60 bucks for 2 or even 1 new figure was too much. Not that I didn’t want to support the line, but because it was an absurd amount of money to pay for an action figure. Thankfully they got it down to 30 (or 40, with shipping), so I’ll be able to get them all and not feel like a goob, or at least like much of one.

      Does my refusal to pay 60 bucks for a Mongul or Guy Gardner mean I’m not a true fan? Hell no. All said, I probably have about 300 non-action figure/DVD/comic pieces in my JLU/DCAU collection, including signed stuff, original artwork, cels, etc. But even if I didn’t and were just passionate about the show and figures and all that I’d be every bit a true fan as the next guy.

      Anyway, when I saw Lucinda calling out Jason for not subscribing, then saying it was good he wasn’t anyway because he wasn’t a true fan, then “congratulating” folks for letting the line down… meh… it just cheesed me off. I mean, it’s not like the guy needs some random fanboys backing up his fandom, but just because he’s not supporting something he doesn’t dig doesn’t mean he’s not a true fan.

      Right then. Feel free to tear me to shreds and all that. Or whatever. For what it’s worth, I do hope the figures see the light of day, regardless of what happens to the line. It’s immensely frustrating to be held over a barrel like that, but these things do have a way of working out in the end.

      Have a good day.
      John Cage

  • Rich says:

    A lot of the above posts take a very US-centric view of things.
    International shipping has added more than a $5 increase to the cost for buyers outside the US. That, and videos that accuse us of being crooks if we choose the cheapest shipping option, and then face DR screw-ups like lost or damaged toys… we are not even allowed basic customer service anymore. Follow that logic for a moment: I support the lines, yet I moved in 2011, and despite all the calls I made to change my address in a dozen places, DR *still* couldn’t find a way to get two of my subscription figures to me, in two different months. In the 2012 model, I’m now branded a “thief” who’s spoiling international shipping options for others, and establishing a class system where those who pay the cost of the figure twice are entitled to return (at their own expense, mind you) a defective figure, but those who choose a (only-slightly) more affordable option have no rights. At all. You can’t demonize your customers this way, and expect them to come back for more. Certainly the international fanbase has contributed to the sub numbers in years past. And anyone who’s been mistreated by a company in the past would be downright foolish to sign up for more of the same with no promises of a better experience. From what I’m reading and seeing, they’re actually promising to treat me worse this year.
    Please start calling me names now. I really like how you tear into folks on anonymous boards…

  • George says:

    I think all of JJJ’s points are valid. I’m not too keen with what has been offered for the DCUC 2013 sub, and not exactly thrilled with the price increase (along with the shipping increase — which is being forgotten), but subscribed again anyway. If it doesn’t happen, I can live with it.

    • Rjackson says:

      Yep. You said it for me. This is exactly how I feel. I am not overwhelmed by the reveals for the 2013 subscription (nor was I really for the line-up for 2012), but there’s enough that I like, that it’s worth it for me. The price/shipping increases are pretty crappy, but this year I will only be getting the DC subs and not weighed down by the Voltron sub, so in a way I am “saving” money, lol.

      As for MOTUC, I used to get a lot of the figures. I am a definite cherry-picker on the line. I grew up with it, had tons as a kid and really only care about the vintage figures and even then, not all of them. If that somehow doesn’t make me a real fan, so be it. Sucks that I might not be able to get a few figures that I am interested in, but I am not committing well over $600 for the privilege of being called a “real fan.”

  • Demon_seed_22 says:

    MattyCollector needs to lean what quality control (maybe its Mattel w/ voltron classic) and customer support mean.

  • Erik superfriend says:

    I like the distinction someone made above about a fan vs a “junkie”. I am a comic and toy fan, but I am a Justice League junkie. And a very opinionated one. I like DCU toys, but I do not want all of them. I only want to build a very small subsection of the DCU. So no sub for me.

    • Erik superfriend says:

      Justice League comic book junkie, just in case anyone thought I was talking about the JL Animated series which is only just one take on this great team which has been around since 1959-1960.

  • Robbi says:

    I would like to hear more about these shipping options – or lack thereof. Are you saying you are not allowed to return defective product? Is DR an eBay seller? How is no returns even an option for a reputable company?

    I also love the revisionist history of why the club even exits. Maybe Mattel was playing fans from the start. Matty made the figures hard to get so that people would get behind the idea of a club. Now the club is the only way to get the toys.

    If Mattel already has a year’s worth of your money, what incentive do they have to make the toys any good? Why would they listen to fan complaints about a prototype? They already have your money.

    What a terrible system.

  • Brainlock says:

    My thoughts:
    DC re-upped. the main drawback is the over-sized figures of “Red Rocket” in his shortest known/used armor at 9″+, when (AGAIN) the Freeze/Lex armors could have been easily modified to give a Classic Brigade armor. Now we get Darkseid BAF Lead to finish off the robots of Metal Men, when the DCSH mold would have worked fine. I’m not exactly holding my breath for Doc Magnus, but of the few figures I don’t want, Black Mask is getting his head swapped to Lex Luthor. Do I want them to use the Kilowog/Arkillo BAF base for Doomsday? Not really, but some are still demanding it.

    Several of the other figures were obviously bumped from the cancelled retail of DCUC, or whatever they were/are changing it to, like Larfleeze and probably Saint Walker, among others.

    Most of my interest in DC has cooled since the nu52 went into effect, and Johns bungled Blackest Night finale into whatever is going on now in the untouched GL titles.

    Would I like more “unique” characters like August General in Iron or CLASSIC Amanda Waller or QC Clark and Bruce and Diana? or my personal choice: a black/red costume WILL PAYTON STARMAN?? Hell yeah, but things being what they are, I’m glad we’re getting SOMETHING.

    Watchmen: Do I think this is a bit of a waste of time/plastic/tooling when the movie figures didn’t move with few exceptions? Yep. Is this getting greenlit while DCIE is still in question? You know it. Most likely because it’s a six figure run and done, like Voltron was five and done. (Yet people are still demanding a second wave???)

    That said, I still have yet to open a single DC sub figure besides checking the box inside the mailer. Yes, that includes Jay. and Thom.

    MOTUC-
    to be honest, i put off this line for the longest time, only finally jumping on board last winter’s massive clearance sale. Even then, I only got the more “barbaric” characters, opting not to pick up the lizards or robots or what have you. Maybe I was influenced by GRRM’s Game of Thrones, maybe not. I just wanted to build a group that wasn’t as fantastical as MOTU was. Heck, I don’t think I even have that doofy looking He-Man, and Orko never came out of his package, but Adam did. I did get the horse, but more to repaint for Marvel’s Black Knight and DC’s Shining Knight; and the Griffin, because it’s ten pounds of awesome.

    Out of what is still coming, my wants are few and mostly end this year. I was semi-stoked by Rammy, but if those bubbly legs are the ones he is coming with, and I’ve seen pics of him with more “human”/basic legs, then it’s a pass.

    $20 was hard enough to manage on these, and why Matty refuses to allow these distribution at retail is obfuscating, when they keep claiming nearly every figure is a sell out. Now that they want $25 a pop on top of exorbitant shipping, for figures they are beginning to scrape the bottom of the barrel with, it’s a definite pass.

    and I still would like to know why they charge you a full week ahead of time, send shipping notices in the wee hours of Sunday morning (even PST), and force you to pay extra shipping if you want to order single extra figure(s) on the day of sale. I’m not sure this “early bird for subs” thing is going to work, esp if they think EVERYTHING is going to sell out early, which will only drive cherry pickers away.

    Then again, Nutlich doesn’t seem to even like the cherries. it’s all or nothing subs with him. and I do agree with you on all points concerning his attitude and passive/aggressive reactions to fans who want simple answers, esp when they aren’t buying his FAVORITEST TOY LINE EVAR!!!!

  • red Ricky says:

    I’ve kept silent with regards to this issue because, well… I have no dog in this fight. Plus, you never know when the shoe will be on the other foot and I’ll be the one asking people to sign up for a sub I care deeply about. But in all honesty, I can’t help wonder if all this has grown into Mattel’s way of shifting the burden of marketing their various Subs away from them and unto us. I mean, everybody knows that consumers change their preferences all the time. But rather than work all year long to win/bring new customers in (so as to replace those that have left); The-Powers-that-Be at Mattycollector seem to rest on their Laurels and then… at the last possible second… leave the heavy lifting of selling the subs, to the fans. And after watching history repeat itself two years in a row… I can’t help wonder if threatening the cancelation of a line (that somehow managed to survive without a sub in its inception), has now become “Standard Operating Procedure.” After all, nothing sprouts sales like a smidge of fearmongering. You know… ‘cause otherwise… the Terrorists Win.

  • SJM says:

    I was on the fence about renewing my DC sub based on the nightmare experiences that I encountered this year with Digital River. And I agree with JJ on many of the figures offered this year. Metron & Rocket Red are being offloaded. I wanted Jay & Starman for my JSA lineup. Never even got Cherry skittle Lantern guy as DR simply never sent him.

    The 2013 line up is a little better & at least I’m finally getting a proper Wally West (MY Flash) figure. However, moving forward Mattel HAS TO sever ties with Digital River & they also need to address QC issues.

  • Ghost06 says:

    I can’t help but feel that JJJ calls out Scott for his snarkiness, but doles it out in equal measure himself…his closing, “Enjoy your figures everyone…and get ready for the same thing next year.” just sounds like he is so mad that the subscription went through despite his scathing editorial just sounds like sour grapes. Regardless of his valid points, it feels slightly vindictive. Just my two cents.

    • Jason JJJason says:

      I want everyone to get the toys they want.

      However, I do think fans have ensured this history will repeat itself next year by paying Matty off on their tactics this year.

      Scott has already backtracked on the promise to concentrate exclusively on undone vintage characters in the 2014 MOTUC line because, even at 137%, 2013 sub sales were only a fraction of 2012 levels. Scott says this means the 2014 line may have as few as six slots. You’ll certainly recall part of the 2013 pitch was subscribe and Matty will take care of all the holes in your collection in 2014. That can’t happen with six slots and this information only came out after the 2013 sub push ended. Odd, isn’t it? Odder, it seems only a few on the Matty message boards have realized the bait-and-switch, or the putting the cart before the horse, however you choose to couch it.

      Also, it seems Ghostbusters fans aren’t happy their Ecto-Goggles are going to be offered first to people who subscribed to MOTUC and DC. This fear comes, of course, from Scott and Matty promo material suggesting Early Access items would sell out before reaching gen pop, so you better subscribe to make sure you have access. What if you like Ghostbusters, but you don’t like He-Men or DC? Now Scott hints the allotment of Ecto-Goggles may be adjusted, but he doesn’t state that will be the case. I can see why GB fans are nervous and a bit angry, particularly since their club was summarily executed last year without so much as a thermometer or rah-rah video.

      So, you can see it as sour grapes on my part, if you like, but it’s actually frustration. Maybe we’ll meet back here next year and see how Matty handles their business then. I think they’ll go with what they know works.

      -JJJ

  • gl666 says:

    Its funny how almost all of these points could be applied to ANY line Mattel does, including Hot Wheels, one of their big money-makers. While I have never seen Scott’s resume, I work with several people in the IT world that exhibit the same behaviors, and for the most part, they are in the wrong positions for their experience/skills. As for Digital River, they also handle Logitech and they have screwed that up also (not applying discounts on sales days, having to call CS and getting nowhere, etc). And Lucinda? Dayum, you trippin’. Put down that crack pipe!

  • Tim says:

    A respondent above mentioned that sell-outs can be good because they create buzz.

    I like to console myself that every buzz is a lost dollar in sales to Mattycollector. I’m a DC Universe collector who for budget reasons focuses on the women characters and for sanity reasons (avoids the day-of-sales server crush (I also don’t like being forced to participate in internet rushes–odds are too high I won’t break through, and will have wasted all that time and stress).

    That being said, MattyCollector’s fast sellouts force me to turn to scalpers or internet retailers (who look trustworthy–but you never really know, do you?)

    The same math tells me it is rational to pay a scalper / e-tailer a $10 premium (I can only hope the premium is just $10) to wade through the system for me.

    But…

    That’s when I remind myself that I’m dealing with Mattel, a major corporation. If it can’t keep its products stocked and at some level relies on scalpers / informal retailers to be its frontmen…

    It should at least work out a system in which it recommends “trusted” retailers so we know who else to buy the product from. On ebay, you’re always taking a chance that your order will come from Chinese factory surplus (or outright low quality knockoff).

    At some level, it just doesn’t seem professional that Mattel can’t sort out some system where, if it’s going to sell out in minutes to informal retailers buying quantities of 10, that it just work out a retailing arrangement with one or more “trusted retailers” to stock its products.

    I just don’t understand how the scalper system / unknown e-tailer system is good for the MattyCollector brand image.

  • Pitt says:

    As I was trying to place my order for the 10/15 sale, I couldn’t read the stupid squiggly words at the bottom of the screen that are supposed to be retyped and – presto! – byt the time I got one I could read, my items were sold out. THEY YANKED THEM OUT OF MY CART AS I WAS TRYING TO PAY! All this and I was on at the stroke of 12 when the sale started.

    I sent a complaint and received a form letter about how all customers should get the items they want and we’re sorry. Yeah right.

    I’m not going to let a company treat me like this and I feel sorry for the people that will continue with them.

  • Brandon says:

    Well Digital River really screwed me over this month! They cancelled all my orders for October…that includes 2 MotUC subs (2-Frosta; 2-Rattlor), 2 DCIE subs (2-Poison Ivy; 2-Elastigirl), 1-Voltron (1-Black Lion) and 1 MotU 30th (1-Cy-Chop). I’ve had to call their dumbass customer service 7 times over the last 2 weeks to get things straightened out. They finally sent me my MotUC and Voltron subs…separately (and double charged on shipping). I now have a hold on my bank account for 2 Poison Ivys and 1 Cy-Chop, so I guess that will ship in another week (and spend 2 weeks in Sparks, NV. Still no word on my 2 Elastigirls.

    You can bet your sweet ass I cut back on my 2013 subs. Just 1 MotUC and 2 DCIE for me. I am so sick of Matty thinking we are made of money. They also released those 4 DC figures (52 Superman & Batman, Red Robin & Superboy Prime) so my total this month was nearly $400!!! That is ridiculous. And can’t they announce all the sales maybwe a little more than a few days before the actual sale date???

    Toyguru makes me sick. And I will not be buying that Castle Greyskull. $250+s/h only to have Digital River make a mistake and double or triple charge me (as they have done in the past)? NO THANK YOU!

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