We love our Squad Members and as we all know, hobbyDB and PPG could never be done without them. Over the years, there have been more than 2,500 great people that have helped get us to where we are. These folks live all around the world, and I’m thankful that quite a few of them have become friends. Many of them are also shareholders and I see myself working for them.
I’m pleased to say that over the years, only 8 Squad members have not been “friend” material. Some because they were not willing to follow the rules that the Squad agreed on (even after having repeatedly asked), others because they got caught manipulating prices in order to make profits. Every one of them has left in shame and was generally not heard from again (and that is why we did not post about them).
But of course, there is always a first! While we like to keep our community a positive one, we thought it was important to also be transparent with everyone and share what has happened with our most recent volunteer who had to be removed.
Patrick “Pat” Aquino is a former Volunteer Squad member who collects anime-related Pops and used to be a Contributor and Creator on the Squad. He had a history of being extremely negative in the Squad group, with loud complaints about things he disagreed with even when the matter had been settled. He also frequently made unfounded accusations of price manipulation when legitimate Price Points raised the value of an Anime Pop (and we had quite a lot of that recently as Funko prices are trending up strongly this year).
In the end, he was doing more harm than good to the Squad, so for the benefit of all of our Volunteers, we decided to kick him out. Sadly, after being removed from the Squad, he started to spread his accusations and false claims all across Facebook and Reddit. Now he claims to be a Whistleblower on price manipulations, which is obviously the furthest thing to the truth.
Somehow his statements on various Social Media just do not add up, here are some of his many recent ones –
Luckily we have a number of systems in place to identify what he was doing in terms of rampant price manipulation and we were able to quickly kick him out. Our systems work best when we have many Squad Members (for example Funko) and less so where we do not (we could use help cleaning up Nenderoids on hobbyDB now). Keep in mind that if you join the Squad with the same intent to manipulate, you will be removed and we will tell the community about you.
Thanks to the fantastic 99.7% of our Volunteers and we love working for you. We really couldn’t do it without you.
Christian (after talking to the team)
9 thoughts on “Price Manipulators Not Welcome Here (and yes, we are calling them out by name!)”
Sad to see this…always saw his negativity in the groups…as a avid collector of not only Funko but many of other toys..I would love to help and join the team..I hang custom window treatments and do design work almost full time but still have allot of downtime I would love to fill and honestly I couldn’t think of anything better then something I love
How can i become apart of the “Squad Members” talked about in a recent article. My name is Spencer Quinn and i am buying my way into ownership of a local comic book store. Its called Kellys Comics and its in Great Falls Montana. We just started buying from Entertainment Earth this year as well as having ordered from Diamond, but Pops! are becoming a serious part of our overall sales and I want to become more involved with the community. I have pushed Pops Figs at our location against the will of the old school owner of the store… even against his best wishes, we have with the help of Entertainment Earth started to sell more Pops! and they have become a staple at our store doing almost 10% of our sales in just the 1st year, even while the owner doesn’t want them at all. I see them as future success for the store and support them, so im interested in joining this “Squad” to help them grow without being a Negative Nancey or shit talker of a fantastic product. In Montana your word is worth more than gold, because you can’t go back on what you’ve said, you can only prove it with action and i stand by that statement. So if there is room for more on this squad, id love to join and become part of this Pops! Squad
We will be in touch. For others, please just use the Contact Us button, we love to hear from you!
So I do have more questions. one thing that went to most people know about me is that whatever I chose to invest my time into ,receives a lot of my time ,and I’m very passionate about it.
First of all why are the attention on me? I’m not offended but there are many people in the room (it appeared to me at least 90%) that spoke up against the PPG. Did they all get detailed responses like me?
And here’s the funny thing,and nobody asked .I don’t agree with what most of them are saying, I believe the exact opposite I believe the PPG underprices items and makes it much more difficult for a seller and frustrating for a buyer that they can’t find this prices. I was looking around yesterday and found the perfect example the HR puff and stuff pop. If you go to the PPG it , claims that the average selling price is $65 and also shows the history of one being sold for that price. So what I would love is where someone could show me that I could buy another one for $65 ?Because unless it was an auction or damaged I didn’t see anything for less than 75 and the average going price appeared to be about 85. The other thing that confused me after reading more, is that I hear several times that the staffing is on a volunteer basis however it sounds like there are corporate systems in place and as they mentioned it also leads me to believe that there are executives ( which could be only a board of directors) so the question is , that no is this entire organization runs strictly on a volunteer basis?
I absolutely love my pop collection. one might even go as far as to say that I’m obsessed. However owat the end of the day it’s the cutest they are and as much personality as they have they are still
inanimate objects . Peculiar that people have gievn so many man hours on price verifications?
Oddly enough, I rarely speak in public forums I don’t even know how I became a part of this one to tell you the truth. However I felt the need to speak up with my frustrations and concerns .coming from a long and successful retail background into being a novice collector (for hobby not for profit), to a seller at first just to eliminate excess stock and have more funds freed up to support my hobby.
I don’t know what your retail background is but for us a PPG is normally a planogram if you don’t know what that is it’s basically a map or a guide for setting up inventory and a display. when someone first mentioned the PPG and very confusingly asked what it was and I explained it sounds like a great concept and a great reference source. as I mentioned when I went to look at it as a buyer and a seller the data was extremely discouraging it did not seem to be realistic.
As a buyer for example I’m looking at an item that says I can buy it for $2 according to the PPG but I paid $10 for mine. That kind of stings. But then as my knowledge of the hobby grows ,I look at it from a seller’s point of view I’m negotiating prices with customers and they’re seeing also that they can buy that pop for two dollars according to the PPG and I think that I’m crazy or possibly unethical for asking 10 for mine?. I do extensive research daily and I have not seen that pop for sale for less than $8 anywhere.?
So that’s what I was trying to express and as I mentioned my concerns were that you do only use two sources mainly for verification which obviously skew the results. Pardon me if I repeat myself I had written a lengthy letter and I feel like I got lost but are you taking it to consideration shipping? Because eBay is notorious for that. A seller will sell an item for a dollar but then charge $16 for shipping when it actually only costs $4 to ship it. Are re you taking into consideration damaged items, that are sold at a discounted price ?Are you taking into consideration adjustments that are given due to products being refunded for being damaged that’s one of the worst travesties that I see is that so many beautiful pops damaged
in shipment thousands of dollars must be lost yet tributors even as large as Amazon don’t educate people on how to properly ship them so if they’re not doing it I guess I can’t really expect the general public and an amateur seller to have any idea. so, also I might not be an expert in pop culture I am rather well versed in pop culture trends pricing market value and how data can be manipulated or skewed.
let me leave you with one final thought on that ” Data
e numbers for men are much higher and could be much more proportional but because of our culture men don’t report and therefore are not taking into consideration and the data provided.
I mean no insensitivity to the domestic violence cñ
as I mentioned earlier the data that’s collective and published could be highly inaccurate especially coming from such a small pool as two platforms for its resources. thank you for answering some of my questions and taking the time to listen !
Short answer here as I find your comment difficult to read.
– We do not report what items are offered for sale, only what they have been sold for (I have no idea of why anybody would want to report what people as for items, check out the Lady Di Beanie Baby that is offered for up to $1m but generally sells for less than $50 on eBay, if it sells at all).
– For the rest, it is mostly not how we do things, please inform yourself before making judgment calls that are just wrong – please read our help, is all explained here.
I also have no idea of why you feel we draw attention to you (“First of all why are the attention on me”)? As far as I can see you are a member with no collection and no Squad activities
Sad to see this. Unfortunately, it was bound to happen. I’ve been running across these Monthlypops Gold Series 1 of 1 customs in some Facebook groups where they are happy they couldn’t believe they grabbed this “Grail”. You can go into HobbyDB to find these (surprisingly don’t pop up on ppg version of the site) and can see Monthlypops themselves have added these into the database. With no sales data, these are mysteriously showing they are worth hundreds of dollars. Maybe someone can look into these? I have a gut feeling people on facebook are seeing these on hobbydb and being mislead. Anyone can paint a pop gold and slap a sticker on them.
A few comments here. Every Price Point shows who added it and what it is. Here there is one that is a Member Estimate by the Customizer himself (please always check the Graph and at the least the last few Price Points). Member Estimates are there to fill a gap if we have no 3rd Party Market Price (here is more on that https://help.hobbydb.com/support/solutions/articles/36000263096-when-why-to-add-a-member-estimate) and will disappear and not used for Estimated Value calculations after we get a market sale (hobbyDB, eBay, Mercari etc).
We have added a Rule that Customizers cannot add Member Estimates on their own items, so this will not happen going forward.
Why do you rely on volunteers instead of paid staff?
Namely two reasons –
1. PPG’s Price Guide is a free service and I think very few people would pay for it like say businesses pay for Bloomberg
2. It would be hard to impossible to find the expertise required
Plus you would still need to build tools to avoid price manipulation and now you need to do it for folks on the inside that know your system much better. Just talk to a HW Collector and why you rarely find a Super Chase in a Target or Walmart.