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Monday, September 21, 2015

So what happened to the Hot Wheels Collectors Website?


This is not a piece of investigative journalism, nor do I know anything about what is going on.  All I know is that the update that hotwheelscollectors.com went through a few weeks ago has been a hot topic of conversation.

Truly, I haven't paid too much attention.  I am an RLC member, and do check the site a few times a week, and all I have really noticed is that new topics don't seem to pop up as frequently as they used to.  It seems a little less crowded.

But that has been happening for awhile.  A few years ago, forums were the place to get your diecast information and engage in diecast chat, and HWC was the premiere place.  Variation discussions, RAOK posts, store finds, complaints about Kdays, it was all there.  But in the last couple of years, collectors have discovered social media.  Newer, younger collectors from all over the world already had a grasp of Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and especially Instagram, and now the older collectors are catching on.  Instagram especially has exploded with diecast content, and communities are naturally forming all over the web.  These social media options have caused a mass exodus from most forums, and while I don't know numbers, I am sure that is the same with HWC.

But the folks at Mattel know that, and have been dealing with it.  Hot Wheels and Matchbox have both expanded their presence on social media, and collectors are embracing it.  And they were smart to revamp HWC to incorporate more social media aspects, including the Hot Wheels Twitter and Instagram feeds on the front page.  If they still can't direct traffic to the site, the RLC club and RLC models could be in danger, as less collectors are there see the offerings.

So the site update was definitely the right thing to do.  The problem is it hasn't gone too smoothly.  From what I have heard from collectors, the mobile platform didn't work, the forum is awkward, and most importantly, the HWC shop and Tuesday sales haven't gone as planned.  Even today the much-anticipated (understatement alert) Candy Striper '55 Chevy Gasser was supposed to go on sale, but it was cancelled due to fears the website was not ready for the onslaught.

Since I started hearing about this, I have jumped on the forums to try and get an idea of what is going on.  Lots of talk about a Waiting Room that was built to keep the site from crashing during popular sales, and some pretty angry comments about it.

I don't know if I have a specific take on what is happening.  From a collector perspective, I most certainly hope I have an equal chance at the upcoming RLC models, including the Gasser, Toyota 2000GT, Gulf Camaro and Porsche, and so on.  I don't want to have everything right on my end, only to be kicked off because of a volatile website and lose out on buying the model.

But I also can appreciate that Mattel won't put these popular models on sale until they know things are working the way they should be.  We have already waited long enough for the Gasser to go on sale, and a few more weeks to ensure everyone has an equal chance is not a bad thing.

But then again, why was this not considered prior to launch?  It seems that not all aspects of the site were considered, and the launch was a bit hasty, to say the least.  It really is a shame, because the launch of this new site was really an important thing for Mattel and collectors.  There really is no excuse for how bad the launch has been.

I am willing to give Mattel a break, but I know many of you are not.  Of course that is your prerogative, but based on some of the comments I have seen there might be TOO much frustration.  I think this will all be figured out, and all those who wanted to race their pink Gassers down the track will soon be able to.

I feel for many of those guys over at Mattel.  This 2013-2014-2015 run of bad luck in the Redline Club is extraordinary, and not in a good way.  The multitude of delays and mistakes and bad product and frustration has been epic.  I have to think there are many Mattel employees, and collectors alike, who just want to see this membership run end, and move on to a possible new 2016 membership year.

We just need to end this disastrous year, and maybe finish it off with a special model for all those that endured it.  Maybe a gold plated Datsun Wagon personally signed with a motivational message from the Mattel CEO himself.  Oh, and a box of chocolates.


8 comments:

  1. The backorder issue really started in 2011, it just became more of a problem as things kept getting pushed back.

    Another thing that is getting on collectors' nerves was that this new "mirrorized" spectraflame process that was implemented in 2013 is not going over as well as I am sure Mattel wanted. Back orders were BAD that year, and delays from that extended into delaying the 2014 (now 2015) cars. On top of that, we were told that the cars were supposed to be cheaper now that they didn't have to go to an outside vendor to plate and polish the cars. In 2013, that was the case for most of the releases, that they were $10 with a few exceptions (both sElections cars and the HW Racing deco VW T-1 bus are the only ones I can think of right now). But now we are getting these other special edition cars this year, the 2014 Corvette and HW Racing deco COPO Camaro, and for some reason they are right back up to $20, no explanation given as to why. When the BRE 240Z went on sale for $15, we all figured that maybe BRE raised their licensing fee. Then the Corvette and Camaro came at us for $20. Yea, both sold out, but that is besides the point. The '55 Chevy gasser was listed at $20 in the preliminary shop page before they decided to delay that sale. It's defeating the purpose of this whole "mirrorized" spectraflame process, at least from what we were told.

    Production quantities are another hot button issue, especially after the 2013 year.

    The next sale that has been mentioned is the Shelby Toyota 2000GT, and it is apparently on for next week. It is unknown what the price of this one will be at, my guess is $15 like the 240 back in April. Another interesting bombshell was that they will apparently limit buyers to 1 each instead of 2 like it has been for a few years.


    It will be interesting to see what happens...

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  2. The author is being too kind too Mattel. In Mattel's case "membership DOESN'T have its privileges". Mattel has jerked RLC members around for several years now with continually delayed back orders, lack of product, and empty explanations. They have reneged on pretty much everything they originally sold the RLC club to be. Break time is over! Mattel is a multi-billion dollar company; in this day and age they should be able to have a website that doesn't crash when they "feel" they are ready for a sale.

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  3. Thank god we have Lamley as I can't seem to find sneak peaks anymore!

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    1. Yeah I've not been able to search on-line for anymore 2015 sneak peeks as well but however there could still be unpacking on more up to date Hot Wheels products on you tube.

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  4. If they were smart, the club would start its own Instagram page and Twitter feed. Appoint someone to be the club's social media czar and really engage a much larger diecast community.

    Things are messed up there for sure. It appears they didn't beta-test the new site on all platforms. They've taken a site that was streamlined enough to function okay and made it enormously more convoluted to navigate.

    The waiting room sounds terrible in theory but in reality is just a redirect template that functions no differently than before when people simply couldn't get the site to move forward to the shop. All that said, the majority of long-tenured RLC members there need to step back and realize none of it is personal. It's just one big epic fail. (Where's Charlie Sheen when you need him?)

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  5. Man, I remember when I first joined back in 2005. You picked front page discussions to comment on, and by the time you were done, the topics would have fallen to the second or third pages already because of the number of hot discussions going on at the same time. Hitting f5 to see new or bumped discussions was a constant. That lasted about until 2008, if I remember correctly, then things started slowing down. By 2010, I'd all but left because of the constant complaints about treasure hunts...

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  6. As the article author stated: he hasn't been on the new, revamped HWC website very much. Therefore his comments are muted compared to many of us who HAVE been trying to deal with it. In short: it's an absolute disaster.

    On the very first day I saw that it was terrible. It has not improved appreciably since the release. Many of us have posted about the awfulness of their alternate grey-on-light-grey font/background, which is unnecessary & extremely annoying. The discussion boards have ground almost to a halt.

    Many of us long-time RLC members (myself since 2001) will not be renewing RLC membership next year unless Mattel performs a near miracle beforehand. I now spend less-than 10 minutes on the site daily instead of up to an hour before the re-do. By all appearances the Mattel RLC is dying, and it's 100% Mattel's fault.

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  7. It's better than the Matchbox site - in fact a 404 site is better than Matchbox's

    I, like others miss the sneak peeks bit, part of my Friday evening internet surf.

    I've never been exactly sure why they have the members only bit - surely a website such as this is to publicise ones wares? To help sell stuff? I'm unlikely to buy what stuff I don't know about.

    Strange.

    They might do well to look at the Oxford Diecast website and look at the MD's appearances on Facebook with q+a sessions. Whilst their market may be different this friendly approach may help them and give collectors a sense of ownership.

    Chris

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