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LEGO marketplace BrickLink sold to Nexon

by admin on June 11, 2013

in Community News

The big news this past weekend that got the LEGO community both nervous and excited is that the BrickLink, the Unofficial Online LEGO Marketplace has been sold. As you probably know the founder of BrickLink, Daniel Jezek, passed away 3 years ago (see links at the end of this post), and since then his family has been maintaining the website.

BrickLink - LEGO Marketplace

Dan’s family was able to keep BrickLink running, however it was not within their capacity to continue with necessary updates and upgrades. The site was also hacked several times. Due to all of the above Daniel’s family decided to sell BrickLink. Below is a message from Dan’s mother to the BrickLink LEGO fan community. (See original here.)

Former BrickLink Owners - Daniel Jezek &  Eliska Jezkova

About a week ago I posted a special message to thank all of you for supporting us over the nearly three years since my son Dan died. I thank all those who sent personal messages to me about what BrickLink has meant to them. In my message, I mentioned some progress we made, and also the challenges we faced. Good news remaining is that, despite the challenges, business has been brisk and even impressive. When I took over the website in the name of my son, the representational visitor log (front page of BrickLink) was at about 50 million visitors. Today, it is at nearly 144 million visitors and counting. Nearly two-thirds of all those who visited BrickLink over the 13 years since its inception have arrived here in the short time we’ve run BrickLink.com. Also, we’ve partnered with security experts and have been able to make the website safer than it has ever been. I’m proud of these facts and I again thank all of you for your patience in sticking with us to this day.

But it’s a new era, and much needs to be done to bring BrickLink to a higher level and to become the site whose potential all of you see and we want to reach as well. Thus, I am announcing that I am stepping down as CEO of BrickLink and have handed the website over to the committed and competent hands of a new owner, Jung-Ju “Jay” Kim, founder of Nexon, one of the world’s largest online game companies.

I completely endorse Jay to take the reins of BrickLink. He has the knowledge, resources and capabilities needed for the job. He has a passion, not just for all things LEGO, but also for BrickLink. Like most of you, he has been a member of the community for years. He has tremendous respect for what Dan accomplished while he was alive. He also has a compelling desire to carry forward Dan’s vision and his guiding principles that were laid down more than a decade ago. Jay and his team are ready to work toward “BrickLink 2.0”, as well as continuing hardware architecture and application upgrades.

It’s a bright future for BrickLink, and I intend to be a part of it along with the rest of the BrickLink Community. Larry and I will be staying on in an advisory-consulting role to the new owners. Eric Smith will be staying on as Admin to ensure a smooth, seamless transition with minimal interruption. Part of that transition will include relocation of the BrickLink site to a different data center. Later today you will learn more about that server relocation and the migration schedule, which has been carefully designed to minimize downtime.

It’s been a great three years. I did my best and I am sorry that the hacking incidents waylaid us from doing more, earlier. I am proud of the amazing growth of BrickLink, thanks to all of you. As hard as it was to give up our treasured BrickLink that Dan loved so much, I felt it was the right thing to do, not for me, but for the Community. And, as always, it is that worldwide community that matters to me most, just as it mattered to Dan. That is why I am passing the torch to new leadership. It is what Dan would have wanted me to do.

As I mentioned, I will remain on with BrickLink and will act as an ambassador and link to BrickLink’s lineal past. Please feel free to contact me any time at eliska@bricklink.com. I still want to hear from you. Thank you and let’s all look forward to tomorrow. Best regards, Eliska Jezkova, former CEO of BrickLink.com

And below is a message from Jung-Ju “Jay” Kim, a billionaire from South Korea, founder of the online game company Nexon, and incoming owner of BrickLink.com. (As of June 5th, the Hong Kong-based company Bricklink Limited has acquired the assets of BrickLink.com. Bricklink Limited is a subsidiary of NXMH.) You can read more about Jay at Forbes’ list of billionaires: Jung-Ju Kim Profile

New BrickLink Owner - Jung-Ju Kim

Dear BrickLink Community, I am extremely pleased to be taking over the operations of BrickLink.com. I’ve been a LEGO fan for 40 years and an avid user of BrickLink.com for over a decade. My first plans are to upgrade the website, and do our best to make users happier and more prosperous, while staying true to the original vision of BrickLink.com founder, Daniel Jezek. We will work hard in order to ensure that BrickLink.com becomes stable, secure and as user-friendly as possible.

I want to sincerely thank the family of Daniel Jezek, especially his mother Eliska, as well as the BrickLink.com Community, for the opportunity to upgrade and operate such a beloved website as BrickLink.com. In order to expedite the process of renovating BrickLink.com, I and Bricklink Limited will be asking users to e-mail us with their ideas for the improved functionality of the site, as well as any current issues that need to be addressed in order to provide users with the best possible selling and buying experience. We’ll establish those lines of communication very soon. Thank you for your continued patronage and support of BrickLink.com. Jung-Ju Kim, incoming owner of BrickLink.com

LEGO fan’s reaction to the sale of BrickLink has been mixed. BrickLink is practically the second home of many LEGO fans and they depend on the site for their LEGO projects and displays. On the one hand there is great excitement that finally someone will take over the site who has the knowledge and resources to bring it up-to-date as far as security and also (hopefully) implement much requested new features, and freshen up that outdated look. On the other hand there are concerns that the website has been transferred over to a huge, publicly traded company – which means there is great pressure to focus on increasing revenue, instead of the community aspect of the site. Pretty much what happened to eBay that turned from a community site to a giant corporation with astronomical fees that only benefit shareholders. Anyhow, all we can do is wait and see at this point. The site has already been transferred over to a Hong Kong based server and work on BrickLink 2.0 will begin shortly to replace the old site.

BrickLink - Online LEGO MarketPlace

So what do you think? Are you a regular BrickLink user yourself? How do you feel about the sale of BrickLink, and what do you think its future will be like? What features would you like them to implement and which ones do you hope they keep? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below. 😉

And you may also like to check out the following related posts:

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Noahnace10 June 11, 2013 at 10:41 AM

I’m exited to see the new stuff they add! 😛

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Micho June 11, 2013 at 11:17 AM

This is good news as far as updates and a new look for the site. However, I do think that there will be negative ramifications in the future. Just like you mentioned these companies will be worried about increasing revenue, so I do see the seller fees increasing. I hope I am wrong. Since Mr. Kim is so familiar with the site I hope he bought it to keep it going as a community and not make it part of the corporate monster.

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Micho June 11, 2013 at 11:18 AM

The bad part about raising their seller fees is that then the sellers have to raise their fees as well to make up for lost profit margins.

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admin June 11, 2013 at 11:28 AM

Micho, Erick (the current site-admin) said that fees will not change. However he is not the owner and he is likely saying that to keep the community from freaking out. There is really not much we can do but wait and see. I’m excited for getting updates – the site really needed it, especially from the security perspective – but also saddened that BL is no longer a family-owned, or at least privately-owned business. This is not good news for the community aspect of the site, supporting small sellers, buyers, collectors. Just look at eBay; small sellers pretty much disappeared and got replaced by outlets for big companies. The fees no longer make sense for a small reseller. I hope this won’t happen to BL. 🙁

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Fikko3107 June 11, 2013 at 5:01 PM

I had always felt Bricklink needs a more user-friendly interface, but not this way…

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admin June 11, 2013 at 8:10 PM

Fikko, what is it you don’t like about the transfer?

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Fikko3107 June 12, 2013 at 12:38 AM

The fact that it is now potentially a profit-driven company.

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admin June 12, 2013 at 9:20 AM

Yeah, although companies always have to make a profit to stay in business, while for the previous owners a million dollars a year was likely plenty enough, for the new owner it is chunk-change. What worries me more is that BL is now part of a publicly traded company – which must be profit diven to please the share-holders. Not even LEGO ever went public. They know it may mean more money, but it would also kill the spirit and focus of the company. That is worrysome in regards to BL. 😕

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Fire Ninja Jedi June 11, 2013 at 11:23 AM

I’m hoping that it will turn out well. Part of the reason why I never made a BrickLink account is because of the difficulties using the site. Hopefully, the community aspect will still be there and it won’t get like eBay. BrickLink has lower prices just for the reason that there aren’t so many fees. I’m hoping that searching for pieces you don’t know what they are called will be easier to find. Better pictures for tabs and such will also be great. I’m looking forward to the change even though I wasn’t really involved with the old one.

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admin June 11, 2013 at 11:43 AM

Yeah, I remember the first time I visited Bricklink; I poked around a bit but couldn’t figure it out and left the site. I was also put off by the very uninviting color-sceme. I ran into Bricklink two more times and both times the same thing happened; I left the site. And I’m comfortable shopping online. So I know how it feels for new users. 😕

Now Bricklink is prectically my second home and I love the site! It took me a while to figure it out, but it is the most useful LEGO website ever. The Catalog is incredible! And that you can create Wanted Lists based on projects and shop from sellers who have the items on your Wanted List is just a dream come true for a MOC-er like me. That’s why I wrote a guide to shopping on Bricklink. 😉

I hope all of those features will remain but will get more friendly to new users, just like you mentioned, because Bricklink is really a heaven for LEGO fans! 🙂

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ninja of stealth June 11, 2013 at 11:59 AM

wow… I’m sorry about her son passing away… it must have been hard to give that away. I mean her son made it and all. and then yeah. wow. I think that guy will do a good job though. I’ve never been on that website before though. I don’t explore the internet. for obvious reasons…

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admin June 11, 2013 at 3:43 PM

Yeah, very sad, he was only 33, if I remember correctly. Bricklink is a totally safe site, if you ever wish to visit. 🙂

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Andy at www.smallplasticbricks.com June 11, 2013 at 12:24 PM

I love BrickLink so much. I do wonder how much money they make from seller’s fees. For the buyer, it’s a cheap-ish place to get anything you want in large quantities. I’d buy in bulk more often directly from Lego if they were the same price and carried all the old, discontinued pieces and colors. I’ve spent many late nights, spending too much on BrickLink. Adding more fees would drive people away. There will always be someone to fill the void, as the system isn’t really proprietary. The best thing about it is how community-driven it is, and there are no auctions like eBay.

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admin June 11, 2013 at 3:50 PM

Andy, yeah, I love BL too. It’s pretty much my second home. According to the hacker (who is a BL user himself) BL makes over 1,000,000 in seller fees per year, which makes a lot of sense looking at the sales volume and avarage seller fees. Of course there are expenses like hosting and having a site-admin, but it is still a great chunk of change. 😉

The sad part is that Dan’s family are really not LEGO fans, nor are they programmers/web-designers, etc., so they had really no idea how to run maintain the site, not to speak of keeping it updated for the future. I think it is for the best that it went to the hands of a LEGO fan who has the knowledge, resources and money to fix up the site. My only concern is that now it is part of a huge publicly traded company. We shall see how that will turn out…

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Tom June 11, 2013 at 1:39 PM

Agree with the above comments. I use ebay purely for bulk buys and selling old misc lots but the fees mean I break even.

Bricklink is a godsend for the wishlist shopping function and the ability to buy 900 of the grass stems for 1/5 of lego/ebay prices. ..

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Bently June 11, 2013 at 2:18 PM

I order on Bricklink from time to time but its always been I bit frustrating, so I’m glad to see some changes coming.

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Chris of Yoda Archives June 11, 2013 at 3:00 PM

I’m glad for the upcoming upgrades. I’ve really not had many problems with the site itself. But I’m a buyer, not a seller. I was browsing the other night trying to id a torso, and the site went offline for maintenance.
I’m glad a LEGO fan is still owner. I hope brick link keeps it community feel.

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admin June 11, 2013 at 3:57 PM

Chris, BL does go down for maintenance every night at midnight. Part of the old system. Hopefully that will change with BL 2.0 with more modern coding and maintenance features.

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Chris of Yoda Archives June 12, 2013 at 8:17 PM

Yep 11 central. I looked at the time and remembered. It’s happened before.

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Fluttershy June 11, 2013 at 5:28 PM

Interesting news. I hope to see what changes are made and how the website goes now.

Oh and My birthday is in 2 days (June 13)

I am currently creating some custom lego robots and figures

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Micho June 11, 2013 at 7:31 PM

Anna, have you seen this? http://www.comicvine.com/articles/marvel-announces-lego-r-variant-covers/1100-146703/ … Marvel Comics will have some LEGO covers. Pretty nice!

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admin June 11, 2013 at 8:10 PM

Micho, no I haven’t. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing! Looks awesome! 😀

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CD's Lego Blog June 11, 2013 at 8:38 PM

If anybody could help me, that would be great. I have been starting to want to use brick link but there are some things I don’t understand. First, when you buy parts, are they new parts or are they already owned/used parts? Next, I don’t get all the stores section. Why are there all the countries? Do you have to buy pieces from your own country?

If someone could explain the whole basics of brick link that would be great. Thanks in advance for your help!

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admin June 11, 2013 at 9:45 PM

Please read the guide I put together for shopping on eBay. All your questions are answered there: http://thebrickblogger.com/2011/02/shopping-on-bricklink/

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gid617 June 12, 2013 at 8:20 AM

My two cents:
While it is something of a shame to see the site go from being run by a family to a more of a business, I am glad that it will likely be updated in terms of look and whatnot. I kind of doubt though that the sellers fee will go up too much higher at least. After all, though it would take several years for another site to build up to Bricklink’s size, it certainly isn’t impossible and if the demand is there it will happen.
I personally never had much trouble navigating the site. That is, I found the look a bit outdated and whatnot, but I was used to working on, well, one of those hulking old monitors with Windows 90 something (yeah the kind of thing that should go in a museum), so anything on the newer one was an upgrade for me! But I can understand why it isn’t too attractive to most first time visitors. I think that just updating the sites design would make it so much more inviting that raising the seller fees would be totally unnecessary. But who knows, of course.

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Meneldur son of Garamar June 12, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Here’s a useless fact but I’m from South Korea. Never heard of Nexon though.

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admin June 12, 2013 at 10:36 AM

That is interesting. Of course I don’t know about all of the big companies in my country either. 😉

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BrickFreeman June 14, 2013 at 12:28 PM

I am less concerned with Jay taking over the site, than if a small business owner type was taking it over. Typically, the super-rich are less greedy, not because of their wealth, but just because of their outlook on life and money.

Hopefully, his personal attachment to the LEGO community will keep him involved in the site and its pricing structure. If he steps away completely and leaves it in the hands of someone to manage, then I will become more concerned. Only time will tell.

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admin June 14, 2013 at 4:49 PM

Yes, your point is well appreciated. The concern is not so much about Jay, but that Briclink is now part of a publicly traded company. For Jay another million here and there is just chunk-change he can most likely make while sleeping, but for a publicly traded company they do have to show results – meaning increasing profits. That’s my only concern. Thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts! 🙂

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Ike June 15, 2013 at 8:52 PM

If I were a billionaire…

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admin June 16, 2013 at 8:45 AM

Yeah, I thought about that too…

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