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faustx 11-24-2011 11:04 PM

ShelfLife Beta Test Announcement: Very Exciting Stuff
So What's ShelfLife? (Yes, Beta is still open.)

[B]ShelfLife is a new and innovative collection management and e-commerce platform for collectors. And we need your help. ShelfLife is running an exclusive Beta launch from Nov-Feb 2012, open only to members. Join the beta test and you can record your collections, make want lists, and help build out our data by curating catalogs.

We're offering sweet prizes for our Beta Testers, and participation will carry permanent bonuses throughout 2012 and beyond!

The current site functionality is just the tip of a very exciting iceberg. The North American launch of the site will be Feb 2012, with our e-commerce launch in spring 2012.

ShelfLife is the creation of member FaustX/James Chillcott and his partners.

Read on for the full story.

Of, if you're ready to sign up go to

The Full Story:

As many of you already know, I've been working with partners and curators for the better part of a year on a very exciting project. It’s been intense, but we’re finally ready to peel back the curtain to let you all in on what will be an exciting moment for as a community, and soon, for collectors worldwide.

I present to you, ShelfLife: The Ultimate Collector's Platform.

From November 28th at 10am until February 20th, 2012 we held an invite-only Beta for ShelfLife. The Beta was only open only to members and select industry types. As of Feb 12/2012 however the site is now open to all collectors worldwide for further beta testing!

Why should you care?

Quite simply, ShelfLife is designed to solve many of the problems we encounter as collectors. The elevator pitch is that ShelfLife is a hybrid of Wikipedia and eBay for collectors...but it's actually much more than that.

For the Beta, the site has two major functionality sets: Collection Management and Curation.

Collection Management allows you to review the details of your favourite Transformers (and other collectibles) catalogs and record what you have, where you bought things, how much you paid, and when. Our detailed parts tracking system allows you to get incredibly granular about what you have and the condition of each toy. You can also denote that you want something, the details of that desire, and how much you're willing to pay for it. You're definitely going to want to do this, because what comes next is going to be pretty great.

Once the Beta is complete and we're satisfied that we’ve worked the kinks out of the core collecting and curation tools, we’ll be launching our e-commerce functionality and enabling the ability to buy and sell collectibles with an efficiency and precision never before seen. With a database full of Beta Wants and Haves, we'll automatically match buyers and sellers and notify you accordingly...all without you having to wait on auctions, check endless online lists, or waste gas checking a dozen retail stores. Monthly budgeting features and different levels of purchase commitment will enable unparalleled flexibility in your collecting habits.

If you're widely travelled in the online collecting world, you'll notice similarities between pieces of our site and many other sites. Don’t let this fool you. The long term plan for ShelfLife is quite unique, and I can personally guarantee you that this is a community you will want to be in on the ground floor with.

Beta Tester Duties

As a member of the Open Beta test, your main responsibility is to use the site as much as you possibly can.

Generally, we think you'll see that the site is pretty cool, but we're still young and evolving all the time as the collectors we aim to serve provide feedback on how to improve the user experience. There're bound to be bugs, and we're very interested in your perspectives on how to take it from cool to indispensible. We're chasing the dream of making the perfect collecting platform first, and profits are a distant second, so tell us what you want and you just might get it.

In summary, we need you guys to do the following during the Beta:

1) Tell us what’s in your collection using the Have buttons on every catalog and product page. You can also use the H shaped Mass Have button to add an entire catalogue all at once!

2) Tell us which toys you want and how much you’d pay for them with the Want buttons.

3) Contribute missing product details and photos so that we can get closer to completing our insane goal of documenting every collectible on the planet.

Many of us have tons of photos lying around that we’ve used to sell our toys in the past. Donating these en masse to ShelfLife is one of the biggest things you can do to help the community. If you have a pile of photos that you’re too lazy to upload into ShelfLife, send'em to us zipped up, or request Dropbox access, and we’ll make it easy for you to help make the catalogues look their best.

4) Tell us of features you need, what's confusing, and what doesn't work as expected. You can send us feedback here, via the emails below, or using the Feedback button on ShelfLife.

5) Customize your main navigation in the left column of ShelfLife by clicking the pink Subscribe button in the top-right corner of catalog, product, and search pages.

6) If you're feeling ambitious or want to play a more important role in the community, apply be a curator. Details are a bit lower down.

ShelfLife can easily become the best thing that ever happened to collectors online, but we need your help to really live the dream. We won’t have time to chase you all down, so please do your best to put some time aside and really get to know the site and send feedback.


Our current contest is called King of Customs and you can learn all about it over here:

To summarize, TF customizers are competing to make the best version of our character Ghost Circuit, and the fans are competing to win the best custom!

Participation is pretty simple and happens automatically when you use ShelfLife and do things to support the site. Every time you do something useful within ShelfLife, you earn tickets. At the end of the contest, we'll randomly enter your name into a draw, once for each of your tickets, and name the winner(s).

Generally speaking, one of our biggest goals is to make collecting as inexpensive, hassle-free, and fun as possible. Part of how we will support this goal is by making ShelfLife free for collectors, even past the Beta period. Sound good? Here’s how it'll work:

- Buying is always free. You'll never pay a hidden 10% buyers fee again!
- Selling is free for your first 2 sales/month, or your first 10/year.
- Beyond that, selling is planned at 8%, 2% of which will go to the curator of the catalog in question.
- Want to sell your product somewhere else and record that sale on ShelfLife to update your collection? No problem.

Better eBay + Better Wikipedia + No Cost. Not a bad deal, eh?

All Beta participants will also get a ShelfLife Beta Tester badge in their accounts. What’s this badge do? I can’t reveal that just yet, but you’ll be bragging about it soon.


Wait, so what’s a curator?

Curators are very much like forum mods or Wikipedia editors. Curators build catalogs within ShelfLife. They fill in product and part details, upload photos, and write descriptions and comments for their catalogs. In return, they gain the right to charge relevant sellers a 2% levy when a product they curated is sold within ShelfLife.

Catalogs can take anywhere from 20min to a few hours to build, depending on your level of knowledge and the availability of photos. I’ve been doing it for months, and it’s pretty easy if you know the products and turn on the TV while you plug away.

You can curate from within ShelfLife using our super-detailed curation tools, or fill in a custom spreadsheet that we’ll provide if you prefer your data entry in big chunks. Curators are assigned one catalogue at a time. If you want to stake out some huge territory for yourself, you just need to move fast and get one done. We’re focusing on getting the Transformers stuff done for now, but if you want to do something else, let us know and we’ll get you set up.

You can learn more about curation here:

And see a video about How To Be A ShelfLife Curator here:

What Catalogues Do You Have So Far?

The ShelfLife Beta includes dozens of catalogues from:

Marvel UNiverse
Star Wars
Masters of the Universe
Designer Vinyl
Barbie (Not that you guys care, LOL)

By the end of the Beta, we aim to have all of the Transformers catalogs completed, and another 150 catalogs in place of other types. Within 3 months, we aim to have over 200 additional catalogs. The more catalogs there are in ShelfLife, the better it gets, so do your part: become a curator and earn some coin towards your future grails!

As an extra bonus for the Beta, the most active curator will receive a custom mounted G1 Insecticon, as shown here. If they really blow us away, we might upgrade that to a mounted G1 Megatron.

And yes, curators will be included in the prizes mentioned earlier, and their curation activities will get them twice as many tickets!

Who's Behind ShelfLife?

My name is James Chillcott (aka FaustX).

I’ve spent the last 10 years running Advoca, an interactive agency with clients on 5 continents. In short, I know a ton about what makes web sites great.

I also happen to be a very prolific collector of Transformers, Star Wars, GIJOE, Japanese Kaiju, Designer Vinyl, Skateboards and Rock Art. eBay pisses me off, and I think we deserve a better playground. ShelfLife is designed to be the solution.

My partners are Nick Hoffman (CTO & Ruby Guru) and Hilary Gillespie (Design/HTML). They are serious collectors in their own right and experts in their fields.

In case you care, ShelfLife is being self-funded by our team at present, but we are also seeking external investment through participation in the MaRS Discovery District here in Toronto. If we line up further funding in the next few months, things will explode. If we don’t, the project will continue to grow and improve, but at a more measured pace. No matter what, we’re in this for the long haul. This is a passion project as much as a business and we won’t rest until it's perfect.

Spread the word!

ShelfLife is currently working out partnerships with dozens of fan sites, customizers, manufacturers and media teams. To really amp things up we need your help to spread the word.

Mentioning ShelfLife and linking to our home page ( is worth 100 entries in whatever our current contest is so please spread the word, tell all your friends and start discussion threads across the web to help us grow.

Otherwise, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and sign up for our newsletter when you register on the site to keep informed.

What if I’m a vendor?

We really want to talk to you. We have huge plans for making inventory management within ShelfLife your ultimate tracking system. If you want to have a hand in shaping that, you need to join the Vendor Beta Program separately. Email us at , and we’ll be in touch ASAP.

Providing Feedback

During the Beta, you'll be able to report problems on specific pages within the site, or simply email us at

For the duration of the Beta, I'll also be making my phone (416-423-9265) and Skype (faustx06) available for anyone who wants to chat about the project and provide feedback first hand. This is your chance to influence the future of collecting online, so make sure you use it before we the gates open to the world in January!

We're working very hard to get ready for launch, but feel free to post your questions, comments, or concerns in this thread before and during the Beta. We’ll be checking daily and providing insight and assistance wherever we can. We're building this for all of us.

Still have questions?

No problem. Ask them here or from our on-site feedback buttons, and we’ll do our best to answer them promptly.

FaustX & Team ShelfLife

hardreturn 11-24-2011 11:11 PM

Re: ShelfLife Beta Test Announcement: Very Exciting Stuff
I'm down


I'd love to get shadow scyther set or a shattered glass prime.

faustx 11-24-2011 11:16 PM

Re: ShelfLife Beta Test Announcement: Very Exciting Stuff
You my friend will be user #1, and that is going to be a good place to be in 2012....

The Ark 11-24-2011 11:20 PM

Re: ShelfLife Beta Test Announcement: Very Exciting Stuff
Sign me up!
#2, I guess. (that sounds so wrong)

I'd love a Henkei Wildrider.

trizeo 11-24-2011 11:24 PM

Re: ShelfLife Beta Test Announcement: Very Exciting Stuff

I'd love to get a Grand Maximus

hardreturn 11-24-2011 11:25 PM

Re: ShelfLife Beta Test Announcement: Very Exciting Stuff
Looking forward to trying it out!

Question for you, can a regular user be a curator, or add to a collection library without becoming a curator? Just wondering. :)

faustx 11-24-2011 11:36 PM

Re: ShelfLife Beta Test Announcement: Very Exciting Stuff

Originally Posted by hardreturn (Post 388462)
Looking forward to trying it out!

Question for you, can a regular user be a curator, or add to a collection library without becoming a curator? Just wondering. :)

At present regular users can flag problems on product pages and make suggestions to curators. They can also donate photos. To take control of a product or catalogue you need to sign up as a curator, but it doesn't need to be a big catalogue.

faustx 11-24-2011 11:49 PM

Re: ShelfLife Beta Test Announcement: Very Exciting Stuff
After claiming your beta tester slot don't forget to send us your emails guys so we can set up your accounts and send them back to you for monday.


nickh 11-24-2011 11:50 PM

Re: ShelfLife Beta Test Announcement: Very Exciting Stuff
It's starting, guys! faustx and I can't wait to open up ShelfLife to you.

crimbot 11-24-2011 11:51 PM

Re: ShelfLife Beta Test Announcement: Very Exciting Stuff

Grail item: Prototype Armada Hotshot Painted as Smokescreen

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