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Collectibles Site Steps to Bat With Online Sports Auctions

Timed to coincide with the beginning of the baseball season, collectibles site WizardWorld.com has debuted a sports-card service that allows collectors and dealers to buy and sell items online.

The site will feature 175,000 baseball, football, basketball and hockey cards.

WizardWorld, New York, said the site, which features other collectibles such as comic books and action figures, allows participants to list items for free. There is a charge for transactions, however. The fees are 10 percent on transactions up to $25, 2.5 percent on items from $25 to $1,000 and 1.25 percent on purchases of more than $1,000.

The new service also features an online portfolio, which allows participants to organize and record their collectibles.

“It's very important for them to be able to manage their collections, what they have, what they're missing, what they have multiples of,” said Gareb Shamus, CEO of WizardWorld. “If they don't know, it's very difficult to keep track of everything. It's an incredibly cumbersome process.”

The portfolio service, he said, automatically updates changes in a participant's portfolio value, for example.

WizardWorld plans to debut an e-mail notification service next month, Shamus said. The service would notify collectors and dealers when an item that matches their price becomes available and when a person's portfolio changes in value, he said.

The company currently communicates with its 150,000 registered members through an e-mail newsletter. The newsletter serves as a marketing vehicle for WizardWorld and eventually will serve as an advertising platform for marketers trying to reach that demographic, Shamus said.

WizardWorld's audience is mostly males in their teens to mid-20s whose families have annual household incomes of $60,000, Shamus said.

Though WizardWorld does not reveal any personal information, Shamus said the company provides marketers of collectible items with aggregate data on how popular certain items are with collectors, he said.

Shamus said marketers were just weeks away from being able to market via the e-mail newsletter, which would provide manufacturers' product offerings and links to their sites.

The company plans to promote the new service by advertising in offline magazines and through viral marketing, such as holding contests and requiring participants to refer a friend for entry, Shamus said.

WizardWorld also sells products on its Web site to generate revenue, Shamus said. It has deals with manufacturers to sell exclusive product offerings that allow WizardWorld to sell those products without having to compete on price, he said.

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