BrickLink sold to Jung-Ju “Jay” Kim, founder of game company Nexon

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In a somewhat surprising turn of events, BrickLink has been sold to businessman and AFOL, Jung-Ju “Jay” Kim. An announcement has been posted on the site.

Here's hoping that this brings an end to the recent problems it's been experiencing and helps unify the community there for the benefit of the wider AFOL community.

61 comments on this article

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By in Germany,

Yeah, did not see that coming.

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By in United States,

Wow, that is sudden. If Jung Ju Kim can give the site the redesign it needs then maybe I will start using Bricklink!

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By in Hong Kong,

Kim Jung-Ju is a South Korean Businessman, not from Hong Kong.

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By in United States,

i'm guessing the fees would have to remain below what ebay charges

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By in Germany,

I hope he aquired the site not just to make money...

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By in Sweden,

I'm hopefull that this will be a good thing for Bricklink. And hopefulley it means that the site will get that update that so many of us crave.

@legowomen1980p: According to a post by admin in the Forums the fees will remain unchanged.

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By in Hong Kong,

The boss is a Korean, and the acquisition was actually done through a Hong Kong company whose parent is a Korean company headquartered and listed in Japan - Nexon.

For sure, as a listed company, it is for profit...

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By in United States,

Wow, for a minute there I couldn't read it right and thought it was saying that BrickSET was sold to a Hong Kong businessman. That was more of a headscratcher. OTOH, maybe Huw wouldn't mind cashing out. ;)

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By in United Kingdom,

That white-on-green writing give me a headache, aside from that i find bricklink very useable and always have, are the more commented on issues on the sellers side?

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By in United Kingdom,

Wow, that might be great news! I have been using the site for several years and have constantly been frustrated by the appearance of the site which is incredibly dated of course, although functionality wise it has performed satisfactorily for me as a buyer. I await changes...

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By in United States,

If this is the same Nexon that turns their games into blatantly cash-hungry P2W greed factories, I don't have much hope for BL.

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By in United States,

Hopefully the cost minimization program written by @atxdad will continue to work. That or a built in tool is provided.

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By in United States,

I wonder how the new look will be. I hope that this was a good transaction!

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By in United States,

Huh, interesting.
Agreed. . .

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By in United Kingdom,

Hopefully this will mean it won't take so long to order- once it took 1 and a half hours just to order four hinge parts! Still Bricklink is a great site with good parts. I hope it is successful!

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By in United States,

I hope the changes aren't too drastic. I don't mind an update that increases the capacity or use of the website, but I hate when they move all the shortcuts and tabs around so you can't find anything!!

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By in United States,

I truly enjoy Bricklink as much as a resource, as a marketplace I just hope it remains useable in that regard

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By in United States,

Morgan19 - It is the same Nexon which I think makes a lot of people wary of fee increases in the near future.

They would def. not be very wise to raise it to match eBay or they might see a mass exodus as exposure and brand recognition is much higher on the 'auction' site and arguably justifies the higher fees.

Hopefully the new owners are more competent when it comes to deploying a new site instead of just talking about it for years but I predict (contrary to the admin's reassurances) an increase in fees will coincide when it finally happens. I really really want to be wrong though!

edit: here is a slightly dated article but still doesn't sound great lol:
http://consumerist.com/2010/03/24/nexon-isnt-the-worst-company-in-america-but-that-doesnt-make-it-good/

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By in United Kingdom,

Thanks everyone for the correction, I assumed he was from HK given the company he founded is based there. He's certainly not short of a bob or two, is he? I wonder if he'd like Brickset, too? :-)

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By in United States,

This is wonderful news! My two favorite LEGO resource sites are Brickset and BrickLink. I hope the new owners of BL can make the ordering bit of the site so much easier and that they give it a much needed upgraded look. I still look forward to buying on BL.

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By in Canada,

I hope this change in ownership does not drive up cost of parts too much. I am in the process of building several armies and mini figure collections.

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By in United States,

I hate to be nitpicky here, but does the headline REALLY need to report that it is an Asian Businessman?
Can't it just say business man?

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By in United Kingdom,

Excellent news! I might actually start selling on BL now I can be sure that the security issues will actually be fixed.

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By in United Kingdom,

Never had a problem with Bricklink, I have bought loads of stuff without any gliches what so ever. I hope the sites doesnt change too much, only to make it better.

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By in United States,

Great news! (I don't understand why it had to be pointed out in the subject line that the new owner is "Asian," though.)
But, Jay Kim (and especially the company he founded, Nexon) is a very high-profile CEO and one of the best recognized names in Korea. He is also known to be an avid Lego fan, who has amassed quite a large Lego collection. His love of Lego and its fan communities is very well documented and I think we can rest assured that he'll do some great things with Bricklink. As a computer science major (at the most prestigious university in Korea) and a CEO of one of the most successful IT and entertainment companies in Korea, he understands web technology on a personal level and should be well capable of (not to mention well-funded) transforming Bricklink into a more modern and much more usable website.

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By in Pakistan,

Wow, this is a sudden but great news. Reading a announcement previously from the owner I was a tad worried but I guess BL has a brighter future IF the fee structure remains decent, and they add something like @atxdad have been working on so hard to help all the LEGO fans out there. Can't wait to test out Bricklink 2.0 :)

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By in United States,

Maybe now the dying dinosaur can be put out of its misery. Hello brick link, welcome to the 21st century. As much as I like bricklink, seeing it become more user friendly would be a benefit to all. They could easily make changes that would increase traffic and makeup for the increase cost of updating the software.

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By in United Kingdom,

If we refer to Bricklink as BL on Brickset, what do they refer to Brickset as on Bricklink? ;)

Loving that the new owner is a Lego lover, and as with everyone else I like Bricklink but think it's a long way overdue for an update.

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By in United States,

Do those of you who don't like Bricklink because of its looks realize how shallow and insipid you sound?

I hope BL 2.0 is as usable and searchable as it is now. If I have to waste time looking for parts just because you morons want pretty graphics I'm going to be exceedingly upset.

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By in United States,

Some people are saying that Bricklink looks outdated and I agree, but I hope they don't change it too much.

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By in United States,

Had I not known that it's currently June, I would have sworn this was an April Fool's Day joke.

Hopefully this move will serve everyone's best interests.

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By in Germany,

I'd take fast and outdated over slow and "pretty" anytime.
Let's hope they don't mess up the functionality and manage to keep it fast and functional.

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By in United States,

Honestly, I never had a problem with how BL looked. It met my needs for finding inventories, developing and ordering from want lists and finding parts. Granted, the forum is a headache, but, I get my real news over here at BS anyways. There are some functionalities that would be great to see on a revamped BL, but, the look is secondary.

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By in United States,

@peterlmorris

Wow, someone from Lawrence with a false sense of superiority who feels the need to put down others based on their opinion, there's a shocker...

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By in France,

Yesterday (near) everyone was complaining about how BL was outdated and not functional, and today, as the news say BL was sold to a businessman, so many people hope BL won't change too much ...

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By in United States,

^^cycoduck - agree with you 100%. I'm quite happy with BL, does everything I need it to do and I've always found watch I was looking for. Never used the forums - so can't speak for those, but not the deal killer for me even if I did use them.

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By in United States,

@peterlmorris

It's one thing to be a bit out dated or not look the best, it's another to look like some amateur site a web design student created for their first project ever. Honestly, when I first went to BL I almost completely passed it up because I thought it was just some rinky dick site some guy threw up in his spare time. I had no idea it was a huge Lego site for buying and selling.

Would you go to a local brick and mortar store if the windows were all broken and walls had holes in them and were crumbling? The design says a lot about the site, and being "pretty" helps attract more potential buyers and sellers.

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By in Denmark,

Gr8!! Looking forward to see Bricklink 2.0 as stated!

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By in United Kingdom,

I have to say I did a double take too! Let's just hope that we end up with a better site without any compromises such as increased fees

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By in Netherlands,

It will probably be good for bricklink to have some new leadership behind it. The site provides most of the needs in functionality but the technique and design are so outdated that it screams to be upgraded. The potential of bricklink could be so much more, especially now when smartphones and tablets being used more and more. I hope this news will give the site new direction.

I'm also very curious about what bricklink is worth (what it's sold for). I hope they publish the numbers.

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By in United States,

It's not just the looks of the site that are the problem, it's the interface. Those who defend it have probably been using it long enough that they forget the steep learning curve they had to go through to figure it out. I can usually do what I want to do on Bricklink, but I still get annoyed more often than I should when it doesn't behave intuitively.

Contrast that with Brickset, a site which never ceases to amaze me with new features that I never knew I needed. Since set inventories were added here, I find myself using Bricklink's catalog less and less as a reference. Why? Because Bricket's is easier to use and the pictures are nice and standardized - unlike on Bricklink where some pictures are taken on a baseplate, some on a white background, some on a different color background, some zoomed in, some not... it's all over the board and hard to visually scan through.

That's the problem with Bricklink, instead of amazing their users, the interface annoys the users. Honestly, if it wasn't the only game in town I doubt they'd still be in business.

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By in United States,

I use Bricklink a lot but it is in need of a serious upgrade.

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By in United States,

@meyerc13. Bingo!
It's not very friendly to new users who often struggle to figure out how to navigate the system. Ive seen many complain about its wonky nature.. And some users seem to not care and/or admonish those who seek help figuring it out. Thus it keeps those who are less dedicated away which I get the feeling makes some people happy.
BL is great but it could be 100% better.

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By in United States,

I don't understand how new users can't figure out how to use BL. With all the tech savvy youth these days, makes no sense especially sense BL is anything but a challenge to navigate, sell and buy.

The NEWBs crying remind me of of my mom on day 1 with her first cell phone, insert head explosion picture here.

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By in United Kingdom,

^ not everyone who uses it is 'tech savvy youth'. I've got used to it's idiosyncracies, but my mum buys spare Lego too... from Lego.com. She looked at BL but just couldn't use it.

It actually IS a challenge to buy stuff on BL, we just forget because we've used it for so long. When you finally get to a part that you want to buy from a certain seller (after searching through dozens of part categories, then finding the specific part, then selecting a colour, then changing the county, etc etc.), there are about 6 or 7 links you can click on each specific part. Only one (IIRC) actually takes you to a page where you can buy the item. The rest take you elsewhere on the site. It's not easy for first-timers.

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By in United States,

Well, I've already gotten screwed over by this. I spent hours finding sellers and pieces at the right prices. Then I get the message,

"We are moving to a new data center.

The site will be down from 03:00-06:00 EST on 07/06/2013

To see updates, please follow us on Twitter."

I'm almost guaranteed that my carts will be lost. Holy cow what a waste of time. They couldn't have given me a heads up????

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By in United Kingdom,

They did post a tweet saying that it will be down to be fair.

This seems like positive news, hopefully something can be done to improve the sites interface and add new features, without drastically effecting the existing sellers and buyers.

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By in Australia,

Would have cost millions so the new owner will need to make money. Facelift would be nice more cost. I only just wrote down the prices of my sets, hope all the data info will be ok.

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By in United Kingdom,

I'm not really sure what the problem was with saying "Asian" businessmen. At the end of the day different cultures have different attitudes towards companies and take overs and the origin of the person taking over is relevant in this regard.

For starters it informs readers from Asia that there may now be a potential for support for some asian languages for example which say, a Western business person may be less likely to care about.

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By in United States,

@Gordy - how nice of them to post on Twitter. I have never used Twitter and don't intend to start. I didn't know checking Twitter was a new requirement of using BrickLink. Pffft. I am not happy about this change.

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By in Hong Kong,

I have a lot of respect for Jay Kim and to be honest no-one who is not an AFOL would have heard of Bricklink, let alone bought it, so I hope he treats it with affection. It has great functionality but could certainly add a lot more. Is this a personal buy or through Nexon?

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By in United States,

I agree with Xefan, what's the big deal using "Asian" to describe the businessman. He's from Asia, so why can't that term be used? I'm not surprised to see the two people that take issue with this are Americans; we have become so sensitive here about race and ethnicity that one must walk on eggshells. Its pretty sad.

If I bought BL and the article said "middle aged Midwestern American buys BrickLink" I wouldn't have any problem at all; that's what I am.

I'm also in the camp that hopes BL gets a nice facelift. I'm about 18 months out of my dark ages and while I was able to figure out the site there are definitely better ways of having the interface.

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By in United States,

I will have to wait and see what happens, before I have a strong view on this.
The company, most likely, has the skill set to fix the security and other "bug" related issues.
This is far more important than the site look (which is fine).

Sites don't need a lot of extra visuals, bells and whistles. They need to perform the intended function efficiently and without issues.

I can't get onto the site, despite having attempted from multiple browsers, and even from a computer that I had not previously used to access bricklink. So it must be a DNS setting somewhere, that I have to wait for.

I am sure the carts I filled last night are gone, but I did have warning that the site was migrating this morning, as this was posted on bricklink.

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By in United States,

OK. All of my carts are intact. Please accept my apologies for previous outbursts. Well done team!

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By in United States,

@Xefan @Chills I would have had no problem with "BrickLink sold to a Korean Businessman" or even "BrickLink sold to middle-aged Korean Businessman." What @Chills seems to be neglecting here is that "American" is a designation of his nationality and not a racial group. (I fully realize that the concept of "race" is amorphous, arbitrary, and artificial. But in today's society, many people and organizations use these racial groupings to "classify" people and unfortunately provide basis for attaching unnecessary and unsavory stereotypes to each minority group.)

For that reason, @Chillis's comparison is not apt here. The better equivalent would be "BrickLink sold to a white businessman," "BrickLink sold to an African American businessman," or "BrickLink sold to a Latino businessman." Can you see the absurdity of this practice now?

I also realize that the term, Asian, could also signify the geographical region (as opposed to one's racial background) from which the person originates. But, if you really wanted to highlight and inform of the person's geographical background, why not just say "Korean" instead of being more vague and non-specific by saying "Asian"? (When asked where you're from, you wouldn't say you're from North America when you could just say that you're from the United States or that you're from Canada, would you?) If the author of the title honestly couldn't tell that he was Korean from the fact that his name is "Jung-Ju Kim" or didn't want to bother to look up which country Nexon is from, then I'd be okay with that. If the author genuinely wanted to include his geographical background but just simply didn't know any better, then I would have issues with it. (That might be considered ignorance or sloppiness, which is altogether a different issue. Also, I understand that the author might have been in a hurry just to get this big news out and settled for an easy title.) But, if this was not the case, then yes, I might have an issue with it.

Also bear in mind that the original title chosen by BrickSet didn't even mention his name. Just "Asian businessman." Is the new owner's "Asianness" the most prominent feature of the person or this story? As if his decision to buy the website or how he will conduct business in the future is or will be somehow affected by the fact that he is Asian or that he is from Asia? If so, did you anticipate more positive or more negative impact based on the fact that he is Asian. Do you think an average reader of this article would react more positively or more negatively towards this news when the title emphasizes the fact that he is Asian? Would you think it would have completely neutral effect on the reader's reaction? You have to admit that it kinda makes you scratch your head at least a little bit.

I'll give you another example. What if the person who bought BrickLink was a woman, and the title of the article just simply read, "BrickLink sold to a woman"? How do you think a reader (male or female) would have reacted to this title, especially if he or she saw just that title by itself on BrickSet's homepage without the accompanying text? Do you think the inclusion of the word "woman" would have absolutely neutral impact on the reader's perception of the news? If not, would it be more likely to be a positive impact or a negative one? I know this example is a little bit different, but that was exactly the type of head-scratching that was induced by the original title of the article when I first read it.

It was never my intention to ruffle feathers here just for the sake of it. I was just merely pointing out the fact that the title of the article, as it was originally drafted ("BrickLink sold to Asian Businessman") sounded very odd and made me wonder if the title was chosen (either consciously or subconsciously) to imply some message.

I appreciate BrickSet for changing the title (hopefully triggered by its realization of the oddity of the choice of language).

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By in United States,

Correction from my previous post: "If the author genuinely wanted to include the buyer's geographical background but just simply didn't know any better, then I would have NO issues with it."

And on a more substantive side, I have no doubt that Kim has bought BrickLink out of his personal interest and passion, and not for strict business purposes. The cost of buying a personally owned website like BrickLink would have been a chump change (no offense) to him or his company (just off the top of my head, my guess would be around $300,000-$500,000, if even that), and if he really is a savvy business person (which I believe many will agree that he is), he must have realized that BrickLink is not and will probably never be a huge moneymaker. I mean, let's be honest, BrickLink is not an Ebay. It's a fairly obscure website that is only known in the Lego superfan communities.

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By in United Kingdom,

^^ the title was originally 'sold to Hong Kong businessman' which I assumed because the company is based in HK. I hurriedly changed it and I whilst admit Asian was the wrong word, it was correct and no racial connotations were intended. Sorry if anyone took offence.

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By in United States,

The current site was functional, but probably in need of some practical modernizing. The Nexon website may provide some clues about their philosophy on web design. Who knows, they might even develop an app and/or webpages that adjust for mobile devices for BrickLink.

I hope the low profile, casual atmosphere continues. By that I mean, I hope that we don't start receiving daily marketing emails from BrickLink and affiliates.

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By in United States,

@Huw. No offense taken, and thank you for your candid response. I didn't see the whole title changes unfold and just saw "Asian businessman" when I first read the article. I don't expect everyone to be able to tell "which Asian are you" and I don't mind honest mistakes being made at all, even when it comes to racial or ethnic issues. I do tend to take issues with singling out or calling out on a minority group when doing so is not warranted or done with malice, but as you've clarified, that was clearly not the case here. Again, I apologize if I blew things out of proportion. I initially wanted to gently point it out without intending to escalate the matter. I love BrickSet and really appreciate what you do to maintain the website.

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By in United States,

Well then. What a surprise.

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