As we discussed recently, the first round of the BrickLink Designer Program took place on July 1st. You can read more about the program in the original announcement here: BrickLink Designer Program Details Revealed and the update here: BrickLink Designer Program – First Round Funding. To recap, the BrickLink Designer Program gave a second chance to a select number of LEGO Ideas projects that achieved 10,000 votes but weren’t chosen to become official LEGO sets, and were opened up for crowdfunding. The program received overwhelmingly positive response, and in fact the first round went a little too well, exceeding all expectations. Projects met their funding goals and sold out so fast that many LEGO fans never had the chance to participate. This created a lot of disappointment in the LEGO fan community, so much so that LEGO decided to release an official response, which you can read below.
Bricklink’s Response To Feedback Regarding Bricklink Designer Program Round 1 Crowdfunding
Thank you for the incredible interest you showed in the BrickLink Designer Program. We have been blown away by the response. As with any new endeavor, some things went well, and others didn’t go as planned.
Based on our first round of crowdfunding, we believe the BrickLink Designer Program has strong potential. Your interest exceeds all our expectations. The portfolio of products is strong, and the designers are a joy to work with. We are looking forward to preparing for Rounds 2 and 3. However, there are a few things we need to address urgently with Round 1.
What Needs To Be Improved
Thanks to everyone who shared comments and feedback with us over the past week. While we understand many of you are frustrated, we are grateful for your quick and clear input. There are four areas we want to address:
- Site performance
- Limited production of 5,000 units of each set & ordering glitch
- Order limits of five sets per customer
- Shipping limited to countries serviced by the Online LEGO Shop
Site Performance & Server Capacity
When the crowdfunding went live on Thursday July 1, the traffic to the site overloaded BrickLink’s servers. This meant some users couldn’t place their orders in time and for many, the site grounded to a halt. We apologize for any disappointment this caused. We are currently reviewing server capacity.
Limited Production & Ordering Glitch
The limit of 5,000 units per set was based on the AFOL Designer Program run in 2019. For that release, we produced 2,500 sets, which didn’t all sell out. We obviously underestimated the appeal of the BrickLink Designer Program sets and because of that, we will double the limit for future releases.
The high level of demand was compounded by the site performance issues. An ordering glitch meant that people were able to pre-order 5,000 additional Castle in the Forest sets, which means we’ve received orders for 10,000 sets. We have talked to many of you in the community about how to address this and have decided on the following actions:
- Produce 10,000 of the Castle in the Forest sets so we can deliver to everyone who ordered.
- Re-opening pre-ordering for round 1 on August 3rd to allow the four projects – Kakapo, Great Fishing Boat, Sheriff’s Safe and Pursuit of Flight – to also sell up to 10,000 sets.
- Increase production for crowdfunding rounds 2 and 3 to 10,000 each to meet demand.
We appreciate that this approach may not satisfy everyone, but we had to balance meeting users’ expectations with offering a fair outcome, so all designers had the chance to sell the same number of sets and the potential to dilute some of the exclusivity that comes with doubling the number of sets available. We hope you understand.
Increasing production will delay shipping and future rounds of crowdfunding. Since we are doubling the production run, the additional 5,000 sets for Round 1 will be shipped in June 2022, as opposed to January 2022. This will also delay the release of Rounds 2 & 3. The final plan for this will be communicated at a later stage. If, because of these changes, you wish to cancel the sets you’ve pre-ordered, please contact LEGO Customer Service.
Order Limits of Five Per Customer
We initially set the maximum order quantity at five per customer. Unfortunately, we saw a very small number of opportunistic customers hoarding sets and re-selling them for inflated prices. We’re disappointed by this as it wasn’t our intention to enable such behavior. We want everyone to have an opportunity to get a hold of a set, so going forward, we will set a maximum order limit of 1 set per customer. This will apply from when we re-open Round 1 to additional orders and to future crowdfunding rounds. It’s important to point out that 75% of orders for Castle in the Forest were for one set – so we’d like to thank you for being considerate of other fans.
Shipping Limited to Online LEGO Shop Countries
We have decided to sell BrickLink Designer Program sets through the Online LEGO Shop to give you a smooth shipping and support process. Unfortunately, this also limits the countries to which we can ship. For now, we plan to continue to use the Online LEGO Shop and not offer additional shipping destinations.
- For Round 1, we will increase the number of sets available from 5,000 to 10,000. Castle in the Forest has already reached this amount. The four other sets will re-open to additional pre-ordering on August 3rd , but it will not be possible to pre-order additional Castle in the Forest sets. The additional production run will delay shipping and release dates for crowdfunding rounds 2 and 3.
- All future pre-orders will have a quantity limit of 1.
- Unfortunately, in the current Online LEGO Shop setup we are not able to ship to additional countries.
Again, we apologize for any disappointment and hope that the steps outlined above go some way to address the concerns raised. Thank you for your patience, feedback and support for the BrickLink Designer Program. We look forward to building a better experience moving forward.
Sincerely, The BrickLink Team
What do you think? Did you participate in Round 1 of the BrickLink Designer Program? Were you able to order the projects you wanted? And what do you think about the LEGO’s response to the issues that came up during Round 1? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below!
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So… a server glitch caused the order cap for the Forest Castle set to be 10k instead of 5k and it STILL sold out on the first day? Does Lego still not see the issue here?
“the potential to dilute some of the exclusivity”
Are there any toy fans that like exclusivity? I mean, it’s nice to get a toy that wouldn’t otherwise be made because it’s getting a smaller-than-mass-market production run as an exclusive, but I think we only barely tolerate the corresponding inflated prices and the very common occurrence of the thing selling out in a flash so that we can’t even buy one from the primary source at the original price.
Also, that’s mainly for exclusive toys produced ahead of the sales event. For a produced-to-order toy, there’s no excuse for this. The exclusivity should be in the preorder cut-off date, not an arbitrary quantity cut-off. We like toys, Lego likes money, they should make as many as people offer to buy.
I don’t understand why things crowdfunded on the major crowdfunding sites have no problem meeting whatever the demand turns out to be, yet the major manufacturer collectable toy market, which operates almost entirely on pre-orders at this point, apparently isn’t smart enough to increase production numbers when something turns out to be extremely popular.
“opportunistic customers hoarding sets and re-selling them for inflated prices. We’re disappointed by this as it wasn’t our intention to enable such behavior.”
Do they even live in [current year]? Of course this was going to happen. If something is exclusive/limited, a huge portion of the sales is going to be solely for the purpose of aftermarket resale. The only thing I’ve ever seen kill the aftermarket grifting is when the “exclusive” toy was produced in an amount exceeding demand, and the remaining stock is made more widely available after the event. When the opposite happens, when the exclusive toy sells out during the event, then the aftermarket price increases. The faster it sold out, the higher the price spikes. Economics 101 supply and demand. Duh!
There’s this concept of ‘artificial scarcity’, where companies produce “limited releases” to boost demand, although they easily have the production capacity for a magnitude a thousand times bigger.
(I’m not entirely sure on the source, but the examples stated sounded pretty legit.)
Sure, I get artificial scarcity. That’s fine if it’s supposed to be some kind of investment. Alternate comic book covers are dumb, but at least you can get the normal cover and still read the story. These are toys. A lot of us just want to play with them. Artificial scarcity only feeds motivation to the horders that resell them on the secondary market.
Lego has, for instance, done some extremely limited comic book hero minifig releases. Like, not just a ComicCon exclusive but you had to win a raffle at ComicCon to get one. That’s artificial scarcity. Don’t like that either, but ok, they’re just minifigures. A lot of convention toys from other lines are merely redecos of existing mass-released toys, making them only marginally different and not a new toy experience. These BrickLink Designer set are entire UNIQUE sets, that people worked hard on to submit to Ideas, which was never intended for artificial scarcity. So it just seems odd that Lego thinks artificial scarcity adds value here.
Again, produced to order. If you’re bringing toys to a convention, you want boosted demand to make sure you sell them all. Even then, it’s clear missed opportunity if you sell out too quickly. Produced to order means you meet that higher demand if it’s there. The forest castle set is obviously well-loved beyond what artificial scarcity is capable of. So you just end up with a lot of sad fans.
So much agree with everything you said. I would also like to point out that in normal crowdfunding, there is no limit. Once the original goal is met, there are usually stretch goals to reach even higher numbers, or by adding on other perks. Anyway, it looks like they really underestimated demand.
10k should have been the minimum to begin with. After all, all of these projects got that many votes on ideas. They should have never had a maximum of 5 units per person. All of those extra sets went to scalpels that are already listing them on ebay.
Well, that was a mess, but it looks like they learned their lesson and are trying to rectify the situation. It seems that they weren’t expecting such a huge response.
I don’t understand why Lego refuses to accept that people want real castle sets. I mean, how many more times they have to be told, demonstrated, evidenced, reminded?
Thos year, we’ve seen the releases of both Ideas 21325 Medieval Blacksmith and Creator 31120 Medieval Castle. Lego has just stated they won’t produce a full Castle theme.
It seems that they have been focusing more and more on Branded sets. They have to pay royalties for these so not releasing a new Castle or Space line of their own is unfathomable. Your goal is to make money and those two lines would be like printing all the money you wanted, as long as you didn;t do something stupid i.e. Galidor or Jack Stone.