The Short Life of PucaPoints.com

On December 22nd, PucaPoints.com, my second attempt at building a useful service for PucaTrade users, was shut down after less than 24 hours of existence.

What is PucaTrade.com?

PucaTrade is a website that allows users to trade Magic: The Gathering cards with each other. You mail a card to someone across the country or even the world and in return you get PucaPoints which you can then use to receive cards from other users. That's the gist of it.

The Problem

Users sometimes accrue more PucaPoints than they want to spend. These users are probably sending more cards than they receive. They may not want any more cards or they may be getting out of Magic: The Gathering entirely.

Currently, PucaTrade offers no way to "cash out". The only option is to spend your PucaPoints on valuable cards and then sell those cards elsewhere, like a card shop or some other online retailer, usually at 50% value because that's what these shops and retailers pay.

Users want a way to sell their PucaPoints if they choose.

How Users Exchanged PucaPoints Before PucaPoints.com

  • By changing their PucaTrade display name to "Points 4 Sale" or something along those lines.
  • By adding a note to their PucaTrade profile like "Willing to sell 10,000 PP at 70 cents per 100". These are often missed by other users because there's rarely a reason to view a users profile.
  • There is a pinned thread on the /r/pucatrade subreddit where users can post how many PucaPoints they're buying or selling and the rate they want. Scrolling through a mega-thread is inadequate.
  • Posting on Twitter, Facebook, or other forums. This is also inadequate.
  • By buying PucaPoints directly from PucaTrade at $1 per 100 PucaPoints.
  • PS: The average rate is between $0.65 and $0.70 per 100 PucaPoints on the secondary market.

The Solution

PucaPoints.com was an idea thought up and polished by my partner on the project, Peter, and coded by me. The site's goal was to provide a single website where users could list the PucaPoints they wanted to sell or buy and the rate they were willing to receive or pay. Here are some screenshots to give you an idea of how it worked.

Viewing PucaPoints for sale:
Viewing PucaPoints for sale

Initiating a purchase:
Initiating a purchase

Immediately after purchase, Tara has marked the transaction as Payment Sent and Tom received an email:
Immediately after purchase

It was up to the users to communicate and exchange money and PucaPoints, but we provided them state checkboxes along the way which would trigger emails to their partner:

Payment sent

Once the transaction was finished, it showed up in Your Completed Transactions:

Completed transaction

Users could also share a direct link to their profile on social sites to advertise their PucaPoints for sale:

Profile

When we released PucaPoints.com in this BETA state, most of the work was left to the users to complete transactions. PucaPoints.com simply connected users and gave them a process to follow and sent them email notifications along the way. We had larger plans to make this even easier for users.

Day One Results

The site was launched at 6pm on December 21st and shut down around 10pm on December 22nd.

  • 41 users signed up
  • 70,500 PucaPoints were exchanged
  • A single user sold 27,000 of those PucaPoints
  • $467.15 dollars were exchanged
  • 0 failed or disputed transactions

The Shut Down

The next day PucaTrade told us to shut it down or be banned.

PucaPoints.com threatened PucaTrade.com's revenue by inhibiting their ability to sell PucaPoints to users.

I understand this.

Reaction

We tried to reach any compromise we could to keep the site running, but were unable to do so. My partner, Peter, removed himself from the project to avoid any repercussions.

I was so excited by our day one results, that it was hard for me to give up. So I chose not to and was banned from PucaTrade.

I moved the site to a new domain and kept it running for about 4 hours before regretting my actions, shutting it down, and complying with PucaTrade's wishes and pulling down the site.

Redemption

PucaTrade has been gracious and patient with me and has unbanned me so that I can continue trading. I am tremendously appreciative of this second (well actually third, but that's another story) chance from PucaTrade and intend to explicitly clear any future ideas with them.

The purpose of this post was to tell the story of a creation I was very proud of.

Tom

Show Comments