Tuesday 1 November 2016

On the Impending Death of Zistle and the Current State of My Collecting

I you are a reader of this blog you have undoubtedly seen multiple mentions of www.zistle.com, and if you are familiar with zistle, you know that there is mass speculation surrounding a very long state of silence from the admins, very little to no website support, the lawsuit from Beckett and the little info that is out there leading most to believe that zistle has been sold to Beckett and will probably be shut down or just simply un-maintained to death.

This is crushing news to me as my finding zistle really lead to me getting back into the hobby to the level I am now. The hardest thing, probably with any collection, is knowing what you have and what you are looking to add.

I remember going through Beckett's organize, and this was the previous version which I found superior to the current rendition, and finding little things, cards missing images, cards with wrong images or bad scans, cards with the wrong team listed, cards I had that were not listed. All very minor things for a database of that size, but soon found that little was done to fix these. This among other things lead me to zistle, there I could add cards, add images and flags on errors were quickly dealt with, the people running the site seemed eager to help and interact, and with the base of the site being user submitted data, a person felt they were helping making the catalog better, more complete, more correct, actually contributing to something.

It was fun, it must have been, part of getting a new card was scanning it, posting it here and adding it to zistle. In the six plus years I used it I added 123,741 cards to the database, 22,611 images and had 45,253 flags accepted, it had to be fun to spend that much time on something.

Then we get to trades, and that is really why most of us blog isn't it. It's not just to show off what we got, it to interact as a part of a community. I completed 68 trades on zistle, that is a large percentage of the trading I do. Part of what lead me back into buy packs was for trade bait. It was so easy, enter a card as trade-able and check for people that wanted it, and you could go through and check want-list and trade-list, and see the cards, a little more stimulating that scrolling through a spreadsheet.

I will continue to use zistle until, one day, probably, it is just not there. Hopefully my spreadsheets are up to date at that point. I will continue to buy, but probably in smaller amounts, and probably mostly singles. I have tried other sites, most people seem to be migrating towards tradingcarddb, while it is an adequate site, I find it hard on the eyes, full of adds and hard to use. Being on that site feeling like driving a new car that runs fine, but isn't as nice as the one your previous had, the one you were used to and loved. And there is zero chance I will use Beckett, the name tastes like bile in my mount.

Speaking of Beckett, it is very disappointing that the biggest non-card producing name in the hobby is carrying itself the way it is. Their Organize feature is a joke compared to zistle, and instead of making themselves better, the just bully a small site, and with it a small community, out of existence. Zistle was free, but I paid for zistle gold just because I wanted to support the site, that's how things should work isn't it, you give a company money because you want to, not because you have too.

The frustrating part right now is not knowing, is zistle owned by beckett? Is it getting shut down? Maybe Beckett will realize the ill-will they creating and keep it up, assigning admins to keep it alive. Maybe something better will come along, who knows, as for now, I will wait, in a sort of limbo, buying here and there, but not nearly as much, maybe finding the odd trade, but not nearly as much, and still enjoy collecting, but not nearly as much.


  1. If Beckett did indeed buy Zistle out, I am 99.8% sure they will just let it die as soon as they feel they can. I am leaning toward Trading Card DB, but I also find it harder to navigate than Zistle and I worry about whether they will be Beckett's next target now that Zistle has been dealt with.

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  3. Have you tried the Trading Card Database? www.tradingcarddb.com

  4. On Josh's LinkedIn account he has it listed that he ran Zistle until it was bought out by Beckett. The Whois has the domain marked as changing hands on August 24th. I just wished Beckett would say something but like you I will remain until the site closes.

  5. I have used both Trading Card DB and Zistle. Each has its positives and negatives. The best thing that could come out of Beckett's hostile takeover of Zistle through litigation is if Beckett would turn Zistle into a mobile app. To me, that is the next frontier in baseball card collecting -- to have a mobile app where people can identify their want lists easy on the go so that it is easier to find whether you have a card or not.

    I've pretty much run away from Zistle at this point, and I'm trying to update my Trading Card DB account to reflect only my Brewer collection. It's a chore.

  6. I've mentioned on the Zistle forums that I also use TradingCardDB and I agree with the new car analogy. I have preferred the Zistle gallery view display of things over the TCDB single column list view, but do like the databases front/back side-by-side viewing.

    Discovering TCDB a few years after having been with Zistle for several, I often tried to sync my collection or rather the part of my collection I had cataloged online so far between the two. That is not quite possible. Sometimes the multi-sport sets are in sections you don't expect. Many times I'd be able to catalog a card on one of the sites but not the other. Then I would "wait" for that card to be added eventually, but naturally I've forgotten which cards are not in one of the sites. Another difference I've seen is the Database is better at being on top of non-sort issues. Now with the slowness of any updates at Zistle due to the whole Beckett takeover, TCDB is better at cataloging newer and 2016 products sport or non-sport.

    About a week ago I "exported" my Zistle collection to my computer, but have soo many cards even there converting it to a usable spreadsheet will take time. Plus I'm more of a visual person so some of the brief descriptions of cards I wouldn't know how to distinguish the minutia of the variants (intended and unintended). Add to that my collection is all over my "dinning room" area of my apartment. So yeah I'm still more unorganized than organized.

  7. The lack of any communication from Zistle is the most disappointing thing.

    One major sting of losing Zistle is that you cannot export the team name that is associated with a card. So if I export, I can see which Year/Set/Player/Card#, but I can no longer search that data by "Royals" or "Spurs" or any team name because that is not part of the export, even though it was part of the Zistle database.

    So what I am having to do is limit my exports to just Royals, and then I can match those cards up in Excel later.

    Losing the trading will hurt, too. I have slowed-down in my trading this year, but still have about 50-60 Zistle trades, and was able to get lots of stuff that I never would have had the initiative or patience to seek out on my own.

  8. I am saddened by the downfall of Zistle. I like the functionality much better than The Trading Card Database. I will also miss the trading I have done on Zistle, even though I haven't been able to trade as much as I would like to.

  9. Why not build a better mouse trap? Beckett buying Zistle opens the door for someone to build something better. I happen to own a software dev company and love the hobby. If anyone is interested in sharing their experience and thoughts as part of my research please let me know.

    1. Zistle seems to have died today. :(

    2. Dead?
      Website is up at the moment, so perhaps you mean theoretically?
      I am just getting back into collecting and trading from a 20yr absence. Besides Zistle and TCDB any other recommendations? I've started registering some of my PSA graded cards through their portal.
      I registered for an online beckett account and immediately was hounded by a Beckett phone salesman and emails urging me to get cards graded. Desperate? I grabbed a Baseball PG and was blown away that at $10 the content and pricing depth was shallow and tepid at best. :-(
      Considering that interaction and apparently their pathetic actions while I was gone, I'd like to support a business OTHER than Beckett.

  10. Adios, Zistle!

    And screw you, Beckett!