Project Swapfig - a Collectable Minifig trading site
In 2010 The LEGO Group introduced a new concept to its product line: Collectable Minifigures in blind packaging[*]. The idea is that the consumer collects all the minifigures in a "series" (there are 16 minifigs in each series), but never knows which one they are getting - leading to duplicates and more purchases! For the first couple of series there were barcodes on the packet that identified the individual minifig inside, leading Lego fans to pass around lists of which barcodes matched which minifigs. Unfortunately, the LEGO Group caught on to this and subsequent series no longer had individual barcodes on the packaging.
Those of us who just wanted a few specific minifigs (or multiples of) had to resort to feeling the packets in an attempt to identify their contents. For me, this just ended in a massive fail of misidentified and duplicate minifigs which I somehow had to swap/trade for minifigs I did want, or sell on to somebody. If only there was a central website where you could upload your unwanted minifigs, make a list of the minifigs you actually want, and then trade/swap the ones you have for the ones you want?
Drew Maughan (aka SilentMode) is developing a site to do just this called Project Swapfig. Unlike other secondary market sites, this is purely for trading/swapping minifigures, not selling and it is easy to match up with people who have what you want and vice versa. There is a demo site available if you want to try it out.
Check out the video below to learn more about Project Swapfig.
Drew has set-up a Kickstarter page for Project Swapfig and seeking a modest goal (you get goodies if you pledge and the site reaches its goal). The really good news is that even if the Kickstarter project doesn't reach its goal, the site will still be launched on May 1st 2013, but the money will help promote and fund the site.
Update: the Kickstarter campaign failed to reach its target, but the site has launched anyway. Now Drew is trying a new crowdfunding campaign.
Blind packaging itself is not a new concept in marketing. See every trading card game ever for examples. [Back]