March 7, 2009

The Hidden Costs of Goozex...and How to Avoid Them

Mike Beacom Says: If you're visiting this site, you probably use Goozex, or you're considering it. It's a great service that lets you trade games you've already played, no longer want, or for games you don't have. The Goozex system is simple, nicely automated, and it saves you money compared to the retail purchase of used games. But, if you don't pay attention, it can be very expensive.

If you're new to Goozex, you might be thinking to yourself, "But Goozex is a free service." Well, you're right. And you're wrong. Here's the thing, Goozex IS free [ed note: except for the $1 per trade costs]. Unfortunately, shipping your game to another Goozex user is not. Normally that's fine, but in some cases, shipping costs can really sneak up on you. If you trade game for game, shipping is not an issue. You send out a game and pay shipping while someone else sends you a game and they pay shipping. This is fair and evens out nicely and everyone is happy. The potential for problems starts when you decide to clean out your old game collection to increase your point score.

I'm sure we've all done it. Early in our Goozex experience, we dig through our dusty games looking for the ones we don't mind getting rid of in hopes of squeezing a few extra points into our queue; getting us that much closer to that new 1000 point release. The older games sit in the queue for a while but eventually start generating some points. You start shipping games (for me this is about $3.20 each), and before you know it, you've shipped a bunch of games and gained some Goozex points.

Ok, so let's do some math. Let's say you get rid of five 100 point games, two 150 point games, and one 200 point game. You've shipped 8 games and gained 1000 points. Viola, you just sold some used, old games and got a new one in return. Sounds great doesn't it? But wait a second. If you shipped 8 games at $3.20 each, you just spent $25.60 to get 1000 points. What basically just happened is that you've cut the already low value of your used game in half. And, you've likely waited weeks or even a couple months to get that new game. A better idea is to buy 1000 Goozex points for $50.00. This allows you to get that new game sooner because you don't have to wait for all your old games to be requested. If you get the new game sooner, you'll have a better chance to trade it again while the point value is still high.

Now you're probably asking, "But what about my old games? I want to get something for them." If you want to trade your old games, that's great, there are a lot of people who still want them. What you need to do to minimize the negative cumulative shipping costs is simple. Make sure you have some older games in your request queue. If you request some low point games, you can make your shipping costs go further, because for each game you send, you also receive one. The shipping costs only start to hurt you when you send out a large number of games, but only get one or two in return.

So, make sure your queue is full of a variety of games and game values. There are probably lots of older or more common games you missed that are worth playing. That's part of what makes Goozex great, and something I'll be writting about in future articles. This not only allows you to get more games sooner, but takes some pain out of paying shipping costs on eight games only to receive one.

Editor's Note: I couldn't disagree more with this. Taking Beacom's example of trading 8 games, gaining 1000 points, and spending $25.50 in shipping is an awesome deal. Not only did you get rid of eight games that you no longer play, but you also earned enough points for a new game, which would cost you $60 at retail. You have to think of it this way, you didn't spend $26 in shipping, you saved $30 on a new game.

Purchasing points is something I did one time to get the ball rolling when I first started Goozex and now I wouldn't dream of purchasing points. If I run low on points, I'd much rather spend my money on a used game rather than points. That way, not only do I have a new game to play, but I can eventually sell it back on Goozex for points, and usually at a profit.