Today on the Bricklink blog, Bricklink has announced that they will be opening the Bricklink MOC Shop! The purpose of the shop is for builders to create, share, buy and sell their MOCs to other people in the LEGO community. Similar to the LEGO Cuusoo, the community has to like the MOC enough for it to become a candidate for it to be sold. If the design is approved the set will be available for purchase as a Bricklink Original Set. Also a teaser page for the Bricklink MOC Shop is available, so you should check that out. What do you think about this announcement, how does this compare to LEGO Cuusoo?
Official Press Release:
We are thrilled to officially announce the launch of the BrickLink MOC Shop in May. The MOC Shop is a place where members can create, share, collect, purchase, and even sell their own custom-built MOCs. The MOC Shop is being developed as a companion to the familiar parts and sets marketplace of bricklink.com. Get ready to be inspired by the builders and designers that make up the BrickLink Community!
How It Works
Builders will be able to submit images and digital files of a MOC (My Own Creation) and once approved as appropriate and complete, it will be available to the BrickLink community. Members can ‘like it’, comment on it, and if it achieves a certain threshold of recognition from the community, it becomes a candidate. MOCs will be evaluated for parts availability and sourcing by existing BL sellers during the submission process. After it is approved, it will then be available for purchase as a BrickLink Original.
Other important factors to be considered are parts availability and cost. The submission process will include the identification of rare, old, or expensive parts, and the ability to exchange these parts for an alternative. For example, in this bumblebee model, the 4×4 yellow dish is not very common, but the 3×3 dish is. The designer could select this as an option since it doesn’t seriously affect the aesthetics or function of the model.
Another feature will give the designer the option to designate parts where the color is irrelevant because they are not visible. In the bumblebee, the digital model uses orange interior bricks to help make the building instructions more clear, however the color is unimportant as the bricks are completely concealed. The designer can select a part (all 2×2 bricks) or a specific number of a part (2 of the 4 brackets) and designate them as color neutral.
A similar feature will allow parts to be grouped for color changing options. If, for example, you wanted to build a black and white striped bee, the designer could select only those yellow parts that are visible, group them, and identify them as the color changeable parts. The database will then identify other color options based on the types and number of the parts needed.
What happens if no single store has all the parts? Even small models of approximately 150 pieces or less may require parts from 2 stores. The goal is to have it sourced quickly, easily, and efficiently. For sourcing stores, there are a couple options. Stores will be able to tell what MOCs their inventory matches with the most. A seller will be able to see that they only have 94% of the parts required for the bee kit. They can choose to purchase those parts from another store, seek additional sets to part out to acquire that part, or list the item as 94% complete and available in their store. The remaining 6% of the parts could then be purchased from a different store. Stores will be shown with geographic sensitivity, so that if you live in Germany, German stores will be listed first. All stores can be viewed if you want to see all the options available.
Once the model is successfully submitted, approved, and posted, it becomes part of your designer profile. (Your member profile will include many categories, not just buyer and seller, but more on that later.) Depending on their member profile levels, other members may leave comments either in the form of a simple ‘like’ or as text. Once the design has been picked up by the first seller, the parts list can no longer be modified. The designer can still make updates to the description or building instructions. In the bee example, after the bee was initially posted, a new eye piece became available. A different member, or the designer himself, might suggest in the description that the technic ball with the printed eye could be used as an alternative to the dish and dot combination.
When a BrickLink Original is sold, the designer receives a design fee of up to 5% of the base MOC price, which is determined by the cost of the parts. Buyers will see the base MOC price plus the design fee percentage, and when it is added to their cart, shipping and handling will be calculated and included in a new automated checkout process.
A group of several dozen skilled and creative designers have been invited to submit designs for the initial release of the MOC Shop, but eventually any member will be able submit a MOC. Because we are starting with smaller MOCs, we are featuring designers that have already demonstrated a knack for building creative, compact models.
Building Challenge Models
The monthly BL Building Challenges will also tie into the MOC Shop. Winners of the challenges will automatically become candidates for being turned into BrickLink Originals.
The MOC Shop is an important first step in the rejuvenation of BrickLink. It lays the foundation for the new look, new functionality, newly integrated automatic shipping, and is a non-invasive way of re-building BrickLink from the baseplate up.