BrickLink.com sold, will be getting security upgrade & facelift [News]

BrickLink logoThe long-term future of the online LEGO sales site BrickLink.com has been uncertain ever since its founder Daniel Jezek passed away two and a half years ago. Today, Daniel’s family announced that they have sold BrickLink.com to a company that promises to upgrade and maintain the site.

Here’s the full announcement from Eliska Jezkova, Daniel’s mother and until recently the CEO of BrickLink:

About a week ago I posted a special message to thank all of you for supporting us over the nearly three years since my son Dan died. I thank all those who sent personal messages to me about what BrickLink has meant to them. In my message, I mentioned some progress we made, and also the challenges we faced. Good news remaining is that, despite the challenges, business has been brisk and even impressive. When I took over the website in the name of my son, the representational visitor log (front page of BrickLink) was at about 50 million visitors. Today, it is at nearly 144 million visitors and counting. Nearly two-thirds of all those who visited BrickLink over the 13 years since its inception have arrived here in the short time we’ve run BrickLink.com. Also, we’ve partnered with security experts and have been able to make the website safer than it has ever been. I’m proud of these facts and I again thank all of you for your patience in sticking with us to this day.

But it’s a new era, and much needs to be done to bring BrickLink to a higher level and to become the site whose potential all of you see and we want to reach as well.

Thus, I am announcing that I am stepping down as CEO of BrickLink and have handed the website over to the committed and competent hands of a new owner, Jung-Ju “Jay” Kim, founder of Nexon, one of the world’s largest online game companies.

I completely endorse Jay to take the reins of BrickLink. He has the knowledge, resources and capabilities needed for the job. He has a passion, not just for all things LEGO, but also for BrickLink. Like most of you, he has been a member of the community for years. He has tremendous respect for what Dan accomplished while he was alive. He also has a compelling desire to carry forward Dan’s vision and his guiding principles that were laid down more than a decade ago. Jay and his team are ready to work toward “BrickLink 2.0”, as well as continuing hardware architecture and application upgrades.

It’s a bright future for BrickLink, and I intend to be a part of it along with the rest of the BrickLink Community. Larry and I will be staying on in an advisory-consulting role to the new owners. Eric Smith will be staying on as Admin to ensure a smooth, seamless transition with minimal interruption.

Part of that transition will include relocation of the BrickLink site to a different data center. Later today you will learn more about that server relocation and the migration schedule, which has been carefully designed to minimize downtime.

It’s been a great three years. I did my best and I am sorry that the hacking incidents waylaid us from doing more, earlier. I am proud of the amazing growth of BrickLink, thanks to all of you.

As hard as it was to give up our treasured BrickLink that Dan loved so much, I felt it was the right thing to do, not for me, but for the Community. And, as always, it is that worldwide community that matters to me most, just as it mattered to Dan. That is why I am passing the torch to new leadership. It is what Dan would have wanted me to do.

As I mentioned, I will remain on with BrickLink and will act as an ambassador and link to BrickLink’s lineal past. Please feel free to contact me any time at [email protected] I still want to hear from you.

Thank you and let’s all look forward to tomorrow.

Best regards,

Eliska Jezkova, former CEO of BrickLink.com

In addition, here’s the text of the message from Jung-Ju “Jay” Kim, founder of the online game company Nexon:

Dear BrickLink Community,

I am extremely pleased to be taking over the operations of BrickLink.com. I’ve been a LEGO fan for 40 years and an avid user of BrickLink.com for over a decade. My first plans are to upgrade the website, and do our best to make users happier and more prosperous, while staying true to the original vision of BrickLink.com founder, Daniel Jezek. We will work hard in order to ensure that BrickLink.com becomes stable, secure and as user-friendly as possible.

I want to sincerely thank the family of Daniel Jezek, especially his mother Eliska, as well as the BrickLink.com Community, for the opportunity to upgrade and operate such a beloved website as BrickLink.com. In order to expedite the process of renovating BrickLink.com, I and Bricklink Limited will be asking users to e-mail us with their ideas for the improved functionality of the site, as well as any current issues that need to be addressed in order to provide users with the best possible selling and buying experience. We’ll establish those lines of communication very soon.

Thank you for your continued patronage and support of BrickLink.com

Jung-Ju Kim, incoming owner of BrickLink.com

It remains to be seen what changes all of this will mean for those of us who use BrickLink regularly. Stay tuned to TBB for more details as we learn them.

22 comments on “BrickLink.com sold, will be getting security upgrade & facelift [News]

  1. AK_brickster

    Wow! That is big news!

    I hope they add some sort of feature where you can search to see which stores carry multiple “wish list” items, instead of having to search for one item and then manually check to see if they have any of your other wish list ones.

  2. BoboMunkee

    They already have that. Wanted->By Shop will show how many lots they have that are in your Wanted List. With several sorting options, including Lots(unique) which will sort the stores that have most different wishlist items up top.

  3. legonoitall

    This is big news! i hope the facelift isn’t too major… don’t want to have to get used to another major change to a favorite website…

  4. 4estFeller

    So when they do the facelift can everyone please not just freak out like they did on Flickr?

  5. bruce n h

    Big news indeed. Just the other day I was watching Hillel’s BrickCon keynote from a couple of years ago where he notes that Bricklink deserves the best user interface award from 1991 – he’s right, an update would be nice.
    I’m glad it sounds as if Dan’s legacy is in good hands. Forbes notes that Jung-Ju Kim is one of the richest people in South Korea. I hope that means that he doesn’t need to drain money off of Bricklink, but instead will simply invest in it as a part of the community. Does anyone know anything about his community activity (e.g. is he on any forums? does he have a Flickr account?). There’s a Jung-ju Kim that posted a video of the LEGO Carousel set on YouTube, no clue if it’s the same guy.

  6. wyldjedi

    I hope the changes do not include a price hike in seller fees. The interface seems to work fine for me. Now that I am really looking at it, I do see a bit of improvement is needed.

  7. Andrew Post author

    Thanks for the pointer to Forbes, Bruce. I’ve added that as the link on Jung-ju’s name in the post body. What’s rather (very) notable is that Jung-ju is a billionaire AFOL, and this appears to be a personal acquisition, not something he’s adding to the Nexon portfolio. My suspicion is that he does indeed genuinely care about BrickLink — otherwise, why buy something as “piddly” as BrickLink compared to his other properties? — and that we can expect genuine investment to improve the experience rather than an opportunity to siphon off funds. Good stuff, I think!

  8. Blake Baer

    From what you guys are saying, it really sounds like Jung-Ju Kim has selfless, community centered interests in mind. If this is the case, I applaud the new acquisition, and I look forward to the long overdue face-lift.

    I really appreciated the graciousness of both sides. I think this transition really highlights a typical AFOL mentality. Its about the people, not the LEGO. I am excited to see what this change brings with it!

  9. JimmytheJ

    He’s a billionaire? Wow! I find myself hoping he isn’t going to clear out all the stores :P If I was that rich, I’d put an end to my eternal lack of bley tiles and technic beams.

  10. AK_brickster

    It would be nice if it went to an advertising-based site and they got rid of the fees entirely! :D

    Oh, and thanks for the tip, Bobo. I imagine there are quite a few features of the site that I am unaware of still.

  11. crgennaro

    I have to say I wish they would leave the site exactly the way it is. I do some rather complex searching on Bricklink and find it to be one of the most user friendly sites out there.

  12. skypirate

    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 device for BrickLink.

  13. AK_brickster

    MOBILE CrackLink?? Dude…. as if I don’t blow enough money on that site already!

  14. gambort

    @Blake Baer

    I wouldn’t go that far. You don’t become a billionaire by being selfless and I’m sure he hopes to make money on it. It just strikes me that it’s probably more of a hobby acquisition than a straight out money making venture.

  15. jkim0222

    Ya, Nexon was the company I was running, LEGO has been my lifetime hobby. Still don’t know how to start, but I can promise you that we’ll do everything slowly smoothly step by step carefully listening to you guys.

  16. jkim0222

    Somebody mentioned about my community activity, I have accounts on those sites, but not been actively participating. But the carousel video on YouTube, I shoot it a while ago, and uploaded myself just to see how YouTube works. I’ll try to be more social.

  17. Andrew Post author

    ^ Thanks very much for replying to this thread, Jung-Ju. I suspect many people who aren’t directly active in the BrickLink forums (like a lot of the readers here on The Brothers Brick) have questions. Would you be interested in doing an interview with us, once you’re ready?

  18. Jungju Kim

    We just set up the site in a new location, and it’s been just a day checking its performance indexes. I’ll be more than happy to do an interview with you but at this moment stabilizing the server is our utmost priority. I hope I can see you soon.

  19. Brengineer

    It could definitely use a “facelift.” I admit I haven’t used it nearly as much as any of y’all, but it seems user-friendly as far as I can tell. I’ve just always felt it would really hit the spot with improved visual design and updated graphics. That’s the kind of thing I always like to see, so I’m excited for the new site!

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