Welcome back Puca Fam! Today I want to catch up on our platform statistics over the last year. I don't think that these numbers tell a particularly "new" story, but it's always good to see where we are at for transparency's sake and make a bunch of this information available. Let's start with the stats that I always open up these articles with:
Total Points in the System
Total Registered Members
Owners of Available Points
I've talked at length about what these numbers mean in previous articles, but I'll give a couple of sentences for the uninitiated. If you want more depth, feel free to dig back in the previous installments of this series. The Total Points in the System is pretty self-explanatory; the important thing about the number at this stage in PucaTrade's life-cycle is that it should be going down. And it is! We are about 11 million points less than when we started this series a year ago—this is important for fighting inflation. Total Registered Members is just like it sounds: All the accounts that are registered with PucaTrade. This number does not reflect the number of active members, but it does show two things: The reach of our platform and the growth over time. This number has grown by 3,700 members since last year. The last two numbers go together: Available Points is the number of points "available" to be claimed on PucaTrade and the Owners are the number of members who own those points. This is important because it's a more accurate representation of our economy.
Refining the Numbers
Something that I've left out of previous installments of this series is that there are two very large (and very active) point holders. Between both Devon Endres and Ori, there is a hold on 17.6 million of those 66 million points! That means that there are even fewer points (48 million) available in the system for people to acquire. This is something that currently helps raise the value of PucaPoints overall, but there's still a lot of work to be done. There's a theory that our trade activity would increase dramatically if the per capita point balance was at a certain range.
The theory goes like this: If you only have enough points to acquire a $10 card, that might inspire you to send some more cards and build up your balance a little bit so that you won't have to wait on points to keep the cards coming in. There are probably some simulations we can run on our data to figure what the per capita should be in a more scientific way, but I don't think it's necessary to seek that information out at the time because we're not close enough to fine tune it. If you take the 48 million above and evenly distribute it over the 5,024 members then you get a per capita of around 9,600 points per member. Again, this is not super scientific, but it gives us a feeling about where we are at. At the current promotion rates, 9,600 points is about $65 in cards, which means we have some ways to go before members are feeling the squeeze universally to send cards. This doesn't mean cards are not being sent, because as I said above the loose per capita calculation is based on an even spread of the points, which is not the case. Let's zoom into some of that trade activity:
Number of Trades Per Month
As you can see from the graph, our number of trades are down from this time last year, but they are the highest they've been since July. We released a new feature set at the end of December, so the increase in trade could have been partly due to that. The other common cause for an increase in trade in January is just because holidays are winding down and people are returning to their hobbies and normal routines. I don't have much more commentary on the trade trends beyond that.
When we look at the sender trends, we'll see why we have lower traffic than this time last year. Before we jump into that I want to provide a link to the image for the points per month graph. This data is interesting, but we do have to add a level of translation to this data to properly understand it. What I mean by that is that the value of a PucaPoint has been rising. We can see that in two things: The overall drop in bonus percentages needed to get cards, and the price of MTGO tickets. With the deflation of the PucaPoint, fewer points are required to make trades (because they are more valuable). This means that even though there were fewer points traded, it still could mean that more value in cards was traded overall! I don't want to make too much out of this distinction because the trend of trades is down and so are the senders, so even if more value was traded, I think the priority rests on looking at the trends of member base contraction and evaluate that.
Unique Senders and Receivers
In this graph, we see a bounce back in January just like in the trade trends. Quite simply what we see here is that the member base continues to contract. There have been less unique senders over time and the number is trending downward. As I've noted in a previous installment, those who are sending are really doing work, with the number of unique receivers staying around and above the 1,200 mark. This trend doesn't surprise me, but it's definitely something that needs to be reversed sooner than later. So, what's the plan?
Reversing the Trend
As you may have read in our "Looking Forward" article, the plan is to put focus into increasing our level of trade. Ambitiously we want to double it. The primary way that we want to approach this is through features that make the site simpler and easier to use. Features that help members to both make good offers and find good offers will increase trade volume. This work will also enable us to start reaching out and inviting others to try PucaTrade again. If we have safeguards in place to help new and returning members to find the best offers and make good trades, then this will start a positive feedback loop that will increase trading across the board. I will be talking about these changes and features in the next development update. For now, if you want a peek at what we're working on and you have Uncommon or Rare account, you can see some of our progress in Flux!
Paperwork and Closing
I couldn't find a good spot to show you the point destruction stats for January, so I want to slide it in here and take a moment to address something. Here are the numbers:
You may notice something missing there: Sweepstakes. That's right, we have not been doing sweepstakes. I don't want to say that we killed sweepstakes, but we definitely put them on the bench for a bit. The reason that we did this is that the last three sweepstakes that we did were not as successful in terms of destroying points. My guess is that as the value of points rose, the desire to do sweepstakes waned. This is an area that I'd like to hear from you, please sound off in our Discord server. Would you like to see sweepstakes return? Are there changes that you'd like to see? Please let us know.
I hope this article has been informative to you. It's great to look over these numbers and see where we are at. It also helps us see our baseline since we now have the goal to ramp up our trade numbers. I know I have some plans to hit 3 million points sent this year, so I hope that I personally get to put cards into your mailboxes. I will talk to you soon with a development update. Thank you for reading.
Give and Let Give.
|Jonathan Medina (@Medina_MTG) is a casual Magic player and lover of people. He has a long history of writing for various Magic sites. He's currently the Director of PucaTrade, and a semi-regular writer at GatheringMagic.com. You can find him on Twitter at @Medina_MTG|