We decided to kick off this conversation with redemption cards. The dreaded pieces of white filler-board that has a lottery scratch off to find a code that will at some point hopefully turn into a card for your collection. As always, there has been much chatter about redemption cards all over Twitter and Facebook. But, it seems this topic has been more talked about recently as fellow hobbyists have been all over companies, especially Topps about it. I have a few ideas that might help with the situation of redemptions.
Upper Deck has started to take one of the ideas that I had and is pushing off releases in order to get all of the autograph content for it first. This idea is great because it will guarantee no redemptions, but on the other hand collectors will have to wait longer for a product. I guess you can't win both ways. But this is a start.
Another idea, is to have contract that the companies sign with the athletes state to have the signed cards returned in a decent time frame. None of this two or three year stuff where collectors are calling and stalking companies. 4-6 months is a better time frame. Yes, I understand that athletes are always busy in the off-season working out and so on, but if you are signing on to a company to earn some bonus bucks, you gotta do your work in a decent time frame. You can't just show up for a game on game day, you gotta work through training camps. That's what your paid to do. Just like with redemption cards, you can't sign a contract, get paid and never signing your cards to return to the companies.
A final idea that I have comes from what I do with all of my redemptions. I get them replaced. But instead of having to wait 4-12 months to be able to choose this option let us do it the second we get the redemption. If I get a redemption for player X and I know I don't really care about owning player X's autograph, replace it for me with something of equal value. Why make me wait when I know in 4 months I am going to ask you to replace it anyways? You might as well skip this step. However, if I do want this autograph, I will wait but only up to a certain point. When that point reaches, replace the card BUT with the same players autograph from a different product.
I know that these ideas come at more of a cost for the companies, but if they want to keep collectors happy, which is where their money comes in the first place, they have got to either use these ideas or find other ways to fix the redemption card problems. If not, collectors now and of future might turn away from collecting because of this and the hobby we all love could fizzle out.