Wednesday, July 15, 2009

CoinArchives.com to become a pay site

The great research tool, CoinArchives.com has removed 93% of it's content. A new pay site, CoinArchives Pro, will offer the old content. The new site has a $600/year subscription fee.

$600/year is a lot to host other peoples images and offer text searching over other people's text. I hope that the new venture is so successful that it inspires many imitators to offer better content at lower prices. (Meaning I lack the ability to explain to my wife where $600 goes every year, but maybe someone else will sell me access to old catalogs for $30/year).

CoinArchives Pro access might be worth this kind of money. We are talking 750,000 coin records. Compare to a full set of BMC Greek that costs $3000 and has only about 30,000 coins. I'm not saying CoinArchives Pro isn't worth $6000 for a decade of access, just that it will be tight budget-wise for me to find the money.

I wonder if the glossy catalog dealers, who produce catalogs at a loss for their customers, will see a jump in subscriptions because of this move?

6 comments:

Scott M. Head said...

One might think CoinArchives has been mesmerized by archaeologists...heh...

$600 a year for a subscription is institutional sized money.

lwht said...

CoinArchives has simply moved to a commercial footing following a subscription free start up phase which established its utility and application. This is pretty much the standard internet business development model practice and approach.

It probably reflects the entrepreneur in the site's principal, Mr A J Gatlin....good on him! I wish him well in his efforts to establish a new business. It is just what the economy needs following the fiasco of value destruction promoted by the financial sector's masters of the universe on Wall Street. It is great to see a real business emerge that involves a genuine service and a real product, rather than simply the transferring wealth. The matter of pricing of the service is subjective and time will tell whether it is correct. However, I suspect it is correct given its stated target market of professional numismatists and dealers, which I have little doubt were canvassed at length by Mr. Gatlin.

That said I'll miss the free service that he provided for several years during the development phase.

Cultural Property Observer said...

I will really miss the free service, though I can understand why AJ Galitan would want to recover something for all his efforts. Overall, while the service is very useful for tracking a coin's appearance in more recent auctions and its price levels over time, I'm not sure its really worth the price charged for me personally and most other collectors. On the other hand, I suspect the price will be worth it for dealers and very wealthy collectors, mainly for purposes of pricing the coins they sell.

One also wonders if the auction houses that have contributed to the effort are demanding their own fees, which need to be passed along. Anyway, we will see if this price structure will hold up or will drop to a level more consistent with subscriptions to magazines like the Celator or Coin World.

Best regards,

Peter Tompa

Ed Snible said...

Peter, if the main utility of CoinArchives Pro for dealers is pricing, perhaps one day an inexpensive version that doesn't reveal Price Realized will be offered to non-dealers at a discount.

I recall a "rule of thumb" that ancients collectors should spend 10-30% of their budget on books. Perhaps a modern version of that is that collectors should spend 5-10% of their budget on databases and 5-25% on books. Thus the CoinArchives Pro price is 'right' for collectors budgeting $6000-$12000 year on coins (and a bit low for those spending more).

berserkrro said...

750,000 coin records but a lot of duplicates (similar coins). In BMC you'll find distinct types and some variants but not the same. Just as an observation.

Kevin said...

Seems like a bold move to charge for access to somebody else's copyright material/IP.

I am sympthetic to wanting to be paid for your efforts but this looks like a stupid move to me. Why not move to the google model of maiking your money off of ads and sponsorships? Leaving access free increases usage. Such a high access fee is likely to only lead to your downfall by encouraging most people to look for another sight.