2009: A review of the year at Brickset

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2009 has been a fantastic year for Brickset so I thought I'd do a quick recap of the new features added this year, and also what you can look forward to in 2010.

January: During the latter half of 2008 I rewrote the site from scratch and launched it at the very end of 2008. The upgrade added loads of new features but also provided a stable base on which to build more. The Theme Browser was the first new feature of the year which makes it much easier to view all sets in a particular theme, by year or subtheme. Next up was the My Friends page which allows you to mark Brickset users as friends and keep track of their collection and reviews. This was Brickset's first attempt at 'social networking': I think it's been a success and a useful feature so maybe it's an area that can be enhanced in the future.

February: Perhaps the most significant enhancement of the year was the addition of minifig data from BrickLink. As well as showing minifig counts in search results, the actual minifigs themselves are shown when viewing set detail pages. A Minifig Browser was also added to make it easy to see all minfigs in sets from a particular theme, subtheme or year of release.

March: Following on from progress in February, it was a small step to combine minifigs in set data with your set collection to highlight the minifigs you own when viewing minifig lists, and to generate a list of your entire minifig collection grouped by theme. I also added the ability to mark minfigs as wanted and also to record your loose minifig collection.

May: I added an often requested feature: the ability to add notes against sets, both those you own and those you don't.

June: Integration with other sites was the theme in June: Import from Lugnet, Export to Peeron, enhancements to the export of your set list, and the exporting of your minifig wanted list as an XML file for importing to BrickLink. With help from Fly Guy, the Brickset page on Facebook was set up. I also started Tweeting.

August: After adding all those new features I thought I'd take stock and ask you, the site users, what you thought of it, and how it could be improved. I ran a survey which received around 1500 responses and provided some excellent feedback.

September: A common theme in the survey comments was that you thought the site's news was too UK-centric. So I recruited news correspondents from the US, Canada and Australia to improve news coverage in those countries.

October: The last new feature of the year was the addition of BrickLists which allow users to compile lists of otherwise unrelated sets and share them with other users. I think these have been a success, there are over 900 of them now, although there is probably room for improvement still, to help sort the useful ones from the not so useful.

November and December: Traffic increased to ridiculous levels during the run up to the holiday season so I left the site well alone!

So, what's in store for 2010?

  • In the next few weeks I will be adding a feature which I am particularly excited about which will enhance the site's usefulness considerably.
  • Traffic to the site has increased so much that it will shortly be rehosted onto its own dedicated server: this will improve flexibility and also enhance performance. It will cost a lot more, but thanks to the revenue generated when you click through to LEGOshop.com, eBay and Amazon, the site will continue to remain self-financing.
  • We will be adding vastly improved images of 1970s and some 1980s sets. I won't tell you where these are coming from just yet: you'll find out in due course.
  • I'm also planning to give the site a 'lick of paint' and update its design slightly. Don't worry though, it will remain as easy on the eye and easy to use as it is now!

So not only have you some fantastic new LEGO to look forward to in 2010 but also some great enhancements to your favourite LEGO site!

Finally, I'd like to thank the people who make this site what it is:

  • Main database administrators Grahame and Bluemoose
  • Moderators Martin and Dr. Sinister
  • News correspondents Jkool, danjc, MinifigHQ, Shima55, Brickapolis and CrzyLCF
  • Dan at BrickLink for the use of BrickLink's data
  • Eric at Northstar (our web host) who has provided a rock solid web server and database
  • Rene at 1000Steine for hosting the set images
  • Finally, you, for visiting, for writing reviews, comments and BrickLists and generally making this a friendly place and a pleasure to run.

54 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

This site is great and im really looking forward to the repaint and updates great job Huw

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By in United Kingdom,

As quite a new member, the site seems to be going from strength to strength, and long may this continue. I am looking forward to 2010 and the enhancements reported in the news article, my thanks go to Huw and all the web team involved.

Best wishes,

Ian.

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By in United Kingdom,

Keep up the great work, Huw - I'm looking forward to seeing what you have in store for us in 2010 !

Dr. D.

PS. one suggestion - get a new spam filter so that messages from me (and perhaps others....) don't disappear unread into the ether like they have been doing in 2009 !

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By in Australia,

Always look forward to visiting this site everyday, keep up the great work!

Is it too much to ask that these much improved pictures of some 70's and 80's sets is because of a "classics series" re-release from Lego?? Yeah, I thought so... :P

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By in Germany,

Great year indeed! I also joined this year! Great site! Can't wait for this new feature!

P.S. One suggestion: How about a "donate" button? You know, just to help financing the site? This site must NEVER die!

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By in Canada,

@Alemas -- nice thought, but there's no need to donate: as long as people continue to use the eBay, Amazon and LEGOshop.com links the site's future is assured.

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By in United Kingdom,

I've been a member since 2007 so I'd just like to say a big thankyou to Huw, Bluemoose, Grahame and everyone else for this fantastic website, which I know serves a vital role in the Lego community.
And I'm very interested in this new feature...

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By in Germany,

@Huw: Ah, ok! This site makes me think of a charity!:) Wait, how does the eBay/Amazon/LEGOShop thing work to "give" you money? Is it some kind of agreement? I'm curious...

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By in United States,

Hooray for Brickset!

@Alemas: I think it works kinda like Adsense on Google. When someone clicks on, say, the LEGOShop link, Lego gives Brickset a little money, maybe a little more than a dollar, because whoever clicked there might buy something. Same with Amazon and eBay.

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By in Germany,

@BionicleBOOM: Ah! So TLC itself gives money to Brickset! How kind!:)

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By in Canada,

@BionicleBOOM, yes, that's exactly it. It's called affiliate marketing: I promote products, you buy, I get a small cut, Most LEGO sites do it. It's great way of filtering profits down from the big players to help support the Internet eco system below.

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By in United States,

I can't wait for 2010!

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By in United Kingdom,

go brickset! :)

one suggestion: would it be possible to tick sets you have reviewed like you do with those you own or want?

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By in Canada,

;o)

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By in Finland,

@michaelvader, I agree with you.

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By in United States,

Yay! This site is awesome, I check it every day. Keep up the good work!

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By in United States,

Thank you Huw and the team for providing us Lego freaks with such a fun and useful website.
It's such a great tool for quickly tracking down a specific set by year or theme or keyword.
And it's even better for allowing users to browse through multiple sets visually!
So much nicer than Lugnet. :D
Keep up the awesome work!

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By in United States,

Is Dan's bricklink user name PBM?

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By in Netherlands,

Congratulations brickset!
this is an awesome site, and i'll visite it every day!
Go forward!!

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By in United States,

Congrats Huw! I love this site, great job on making it so great!
I can't believe the mini-fig thing was added last February. It seems just like yesturday.
Sev

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By in United States,

Thats amazing, i never knew the site was something different back then...in fact i dont remember when i discivered this place!

and speaking of adding US correspondents, I notice that there's not enough news on the latest TRU, Target etc. sales here. I get the sunday paper and check the sites often though.

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By in United States,

This is a great website. Are you going to ever promote it. By promoting I mean advertising on other websites.

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By in United States,

Thanks, Huw!

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By in United States,

Wow! Thanks Huw.I really look forward for 2010! =)

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By in United States,

Thanks for making a great site Huw! I have 1 suggestion to make. How about a tick box to mark whether you like or dislike a profile page?

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By in Finland,

I also have 1 suggestion to make.
How about a calculator in your profile?
Like, how many peoples have view your profile.

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By in Sweden,

This website is truly appreciated by us, the LEGO Fans. I am sure the updates will make this place even better. Here's to a new year, surrounded by multicolored plastic goodness!

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By in Australia,

Hey Huw. I noticed you were wondering how to improve the BrickLists and sort the useful from the not-so-useful. How about a little drop-down box on each page where we can "rate" the list out of 5 stars or something? Anyway, have been able to use it as much recently, but still love this site Huw. Keep it up.

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By in Canada,

@Mr.Dunlop, you can mark lists as favourites and that is currently how the popular BrickLists page, http://www.brickset.com/bricklists/popular/, is generated by aggregating everyone's favourites. Perhaps a rating system would be useful too.

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By in Netherlands,

Thanks a lot to all of the staff, for continuously making this great site even better!

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By in Canada,

Thanks for making this site better than what Lego could do with 1,000,000,000,000p. Thanks Huw for making this site the best for all Lego Fans, for all ages!

P.S: I'm in Canada.

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By in United States,

I think a piece search would be nice, people could find a certain brick and the tool would find all the sets with it.

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By in United States,

So, if I just click on the Ebay link, you get some money? Or do I have to buy something?

But anyway, I'm glad I found this site! (I don't even remember how! :P)

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By in Canada,

@jonbuddy -- no. eBay has a very spohisticated algorithm for determining the value of traffic sent to them and just clicking through doesn't count for anything, you need to bid and buy things.

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By in United States,

^Does the same thing work for lego.com? Does brickset get money for using the LEGO.com link at the top?

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By in Canada,

@GameOn99, yes, it wouldn't be there otherwise :-)

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By in Germany,

@Huw: Hey, if you buy something at LEGOShop.com via Brickset and spend, say, £100, how much money do you get?

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By in United Kingdom,

@Alemas, I think LEGOShop.com pays 5% commission, so Brickset would get £5 if they spend £100. This is an incredibly common way for sites like Brickset to fund themselves.

I only found my way to Brickset halfway through the year, it's fantastic, I love it and can't imagine a LEGO world without it!

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By in United States,

That's a neat way to do it! (the commission) Can't wait for '10 WAY to go Brickset! I LOVE IT. REAL lego fans and a ton of fun!
ps. The Christmas season finally knocked my Bionicle # up to exactly 130! :D

Kevin30

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By in Germany,

@atkinsar: £5 per £100 purchase? That's... little! Anyways, what are the commission rates for eBay and Amazon? The same at 5%?

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By in United States,

Some of my local TRU's prices on legos are anywhere from $2-$5 more than Lego's list price, and on Woody's Roundup is $10 more, so I clicked through today and used my Christmas money to order some Toy Story sets and the Cave Crusher, while it was on sale. I wonder what the new feature is -- sounds fun.

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By in United Kingdom,

@Alemas, last time I checked ebay commission was 60% of the revenue of the listing, which is not the same as (unfortunately) 60% of the final price the item is sold for. So it'll be 60% of the listing price + final value fees, this probably works out to be less than LEGOShop.com pay in most cases I would imagine. Not so sure about Amazon, I think it may be between 5 and 7%.

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By in Germany,

No 2009 LEGO review this year? You did one in 2008! Just... 4 hours and 15 minutes to go until 2010!

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By in Germany,

Hang on... are there ONLY those two Space Police sets for 2010? Can't be! There must be some more SP III sets for January!

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By in United States,

@brickmatt: just so you know, I am not trying to be a jerk or a smart-allek or anything but all TRU do that. I always go there before the new ones are released and subtract a reasonable ammont to get the price. They always do that.

@Alemas: well of course, they cannot just put those few and try to pass them off as a continuation to an awesome theme, it aint right.

I think the new thing with SPIII sets is that they are robots. just look at the names.

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By in United States,

Congrats to Brickset! I also joined this year, and love this site. Its the perfect place for someone like me...

A suggestion - could we have Minifig Bricklists? You know, so people can make lists like "Top 10 Minifigs of 2009" or whatever.

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By in Germany,

5 minutes to 2010! No 2009 LEGO review then? I liked the 2008 one!

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By in Germany,

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! No 2009 LEGO review though...

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By in United States,

Not new year here, I'm still stuck to 09, compared to you guys in 2010, lame. IMMA GONNA LIGHT UP MA DRIVEWAY WITH FIREWORKS. jk, I'm gonna kick back like a regular night with my now finished fire brigade, the last of the Christmas LEGOs.

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By in United States,

The Imperial Flagship is available online now!!!!!!!

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By in United States,

Happy new year everyone! Hope everyone as another great year of lego building!

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By in Finland,

Happy New Year from Finland!

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By in United States,

All of the new Lego sets besides the 2 powerminers are available in the USA on s@H! a VERY happy new year it is!

I'm grabbing the imperial flagship!

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