Barbie for big girls.

Barbie Fan Club

BFMC Blush and Gold Arrives

This morning the Barbie Collector website was updated to release images of this new addition to the Silkstone BFMC 2017 collection.  Now..here is where I would say “BFC members were given a sneak peak of this one a month ago” but…I can’t say that as there is no official Barbie Fan Club as of the posting of this blog report.  Let’s face the facts folks…the BFC may not be coming back.  This makes me sad but I can’t pretend I and many others didn’t see the writing on the wall a long time ago.  With all the troubles on their website, crazy no win treasure hunts, questionable business practices ( {cough}, camel coat, {cough}) the demise of the BFC doesn’t surprise me at all.  Oh and there is also this little factoid.  Mattel stock fell off a cliff a couple weeks ago due to abysmal earnings.  Way worse than what was expected…never a good thing for a publically traded stock. 

©2017 MSN Money

This is just me speculating here but..all of these bits and pieces point to  bad news for the Barbie Fan Club and the future of Barbie Collector.  How much longer before the current Barbie Collection website is rolled into the new Mattel website?  Bye Bye collector forums.

So, with that “Debbie Downer” opener, lets talk about the latest release Mattel DID in fact give collectors today.

Blush & Gold Cocktail Dress Barbie® Doll

Gold Label®

Designer: Robert Best

Release Date: 5/08/2017

Retail: $100.00  !!! yes, you saw it correctly

©2017 Mattel Inc. - BFMC Blush and Gold Arrives

©2017 Mattel Inc. - BFMC Blush and Gold Arrives

©2017 Mattel Inc. - BFMC Blush and Gold Arrives

©2017 Mattel Inc. - BFMC Blush and Gold Arrives

That is one hefty price tag for a shorter dress and basic accessories ( no jewelry folks and a plastic purse).  I am also not wowed by the facial screening in these images.  I do realize however that she may look a lot better IRL so there is always that hope.  But..as they say….a picture tells a thousand words.  Do these images sell a $100 dollar doll?  Not too sure about that.  I think more than anything, my question for Mattel’s Barbie Collector BFMC personnel is “ Does your lack of communication, perks for your customers(BFC), and general disorganized product roll out encourage collectors to want to buy?”

Debbie Downer out….


2016 BFC Membership Renewal Open to Current Members…

…and I am honestly conflicted about it.  I went ahead and purchased a membership ( and had difficulties doing it see story below) but I am conflicted as to whether this is something I would really recommend to a new or even seasoned collector at this point. 

©2016 Mattel, Inc.

©2016 Mattel, Inc.

Here is what I am liking about this years club.

1) AA Silkstone in a blue suit looks scrumptious!!  She will be a BFC exclusive so only available to the club.  This may be worth the $25 alone and is perhaps the main reason I signed back up this year.  Mr. Best, you get my vote…your tech department does not.

2)  Soda Shop Barbie ( part of the Willows, WI  line) is ADORABLE.  Love the poodle skirt and love where Bill Greening has taken and seems to be taking this line.  Well done Mr. Greening.

3) The Free gift is a chair!  And it seems to be the same pattern as the gilt chairs in the dioramas we all love so much from BFMC.  But…it’s black and not gold or gilt.  Hmmmmm… see more on this below.

 

Here is what I am not liking about this years club:

1) The chair is black and not gilt or gold.  I mean we can spray paint…no problem … but there is some work involved with that one.  You need to make sure it’s the right gold…and does that white seat cover come off?  Is it cloth or is it plastic?  It’s totally doable…just wish they had sprung the extra buck and had them sprayed gold is all.  I was kind of primed for the gold based on what was said in the promotional video about the articulated silkstone’s.  But…free is free so guess I really can’t complain.  Will take it and say “Thank you!”

2) The free gift doesn’t come until March?  Why the three month delay?  Yes, I say three months because I suspect this puppy won’t be mailed until late March.  Oh and read the fine print people…in order to get said chair, you need to have signed up by 03/31/16.

3) NOT liking the troubles I experienced on the “improved” website.  I had to sign in multiple times to get my account to recognize me as a BFC member and therefore allowed to purchase a membership today.  Once that hurdle was jumped,  I experienced the “waiting room” and once I made it out of the waiting room and had the item in my cart, I attempted to actually pay for my membership.  Here is what I got

BFC 2016 2

What!!  My response to the screen was “ You have got to be kidding me!  This was supposed to be the “improved system”.  Do you want my business and money or not Mattel?!!

After about 4 minutes, I went back in and was able  to re-enter all my payment info and successfully complete my transaction but for 4 minutes I contemplated whether or not it was worth it.  This BC website is seriously affecting my love of Barbie and my collecting mojo.  I am just not feeling the love from Mattel when stuff like this happens and the more it happens, it makes me question why I am giving my money to them.  I hate to say it but there it is.  Just expressing my concern and sadness.    Oh and the graphic you see above…the nice one with the pictures and explanation of the club…it’s only visible if you sign out of your membership account and are looking at the BC site as a non -member.  What?!!  So members were not able to actually see the free gift chair on the product page when they paid for their membership but people who are thinking about signing up for the first time can see it?  Can someone please, please explain this one to me?!! 

So…here I am….conflicted because I am in essence advertising the Barbie Fan Club and including links in this blog post for people if they are interested and yet…I am really disappointed at how the roll out of this club has played out.  Is this a harbinger for tough times ahead?  Will I continually have problems purchasing?  Will I have to log in and out of the website to see content that I am interested in?  Will I ever be able to search the BC website and find what I am looking for?  I remain hopeful but guarded.  Mattel, are you hearing any of this?

I guess what I will leave potential buyers with is a big fat CAVEAT EMPTOR .

                                       Caveat Emptor – let the buyer beware

If you are a current BFC member, you can sign up for the club now.  If you are a new member, you can start signing up a week from now on 1/19/2016. 


Blush Beauty Making Her Entrance

The Barbie Fan Club announced a Silkstone exclusive being offered up to members next Wednesday, October 7th.  We saw sketches of her back in February and Rogier of Dutch Barbie Word shared a photo a couple weeks ago of a production doll that Mattel auctioned off for Charity.  Mattel is finally sharing the promo shots and I think she is a winner.

©2015 Mattel

©2015 Mattel

©2015 Mattel

©2015 Mattel

©2015 Mattel

I love the silver surprise under the coat!!  I was wondering why they were not showing the dress under the coat in the sketch.  I am thrilled with the silver topped sheath underneath the pale pink coat.  I also adore the brunette ponytail with braid.  I believe this one will redress well but am not sure how quickly I will change out this fabulous pink outfit.  Let’s hope Mattel has fixed their irregular eyeliner issue from Boucle Beauty or there will be more unhappy campers on this one.  Also, The Barbie Collection has announced that they are instituting the “Waiting Room” for this sale.  There are instructions about the “waiting room” and what you can do to ensure a smoother purchase here.  The starting gates will open to BFC members only at 9:00AM PST on Wednesday, October 7th.  They are allowing 2 dolls per membership and ,according to Mattel, they are producing 4,400.

After trying to do research on this doll for the article, I am left with absolute bewilderment over this new Barbie Collection website.   This new site is SLOW to respond, it has so many broken links and dead ends that I am honestly scared to click on pretty much anything because I am never sure where it will take me.  I get sent to the login screen with alarming regularity.  I am recognized as a logged in member one moment and when I advance to a new screen, all of the sudden, I am no longer recognized….and am asked to login AGAIN!!  If this website were a person, I would be sending it to therapy and hoping there were some antipsychotic meds available.   Here is my story today…at the time of this post, I went to the Barbie Collection website to grab the link for their waiting room protocol.  You can’t get to the product page but you can get to a “waiting room” page complete with countdown clock.  How did I get to the waiting room page you ask?  Well…not through clicking the active link on the BC Buzz page.  Here is the Buzz page.  I have highlighted the Blush Beauty active link that you would click on. 

©2015 ITFDS

  If you click on that product link, you will find quickly enough that it is a broken link.

©2015 ITFDS

This is the message I got when I tried to click on the link.  Notice the highlighted error message…”make sure the web address http://http is correct.  Well…I have limited programing experience but I can tell you that is not appropriate protocol for a link.  Somebody didn’t check the link for errors before putting it on the website.  This is programming 101 people.  If this were a class in high school or college, you just missed an easy one on the test.  The CORRECT link is here.  Your best bet to find the sales page right now is to Bing or Google it LOL…you won’t find it on the actual site until they fix the link.   I hope Mattel ends up with happy collectors feeling the first blush of love with this new Silkstone.  I hope they don’t experience the heated blush of embarrassment over a poorly functioning website on sale day.


Sneak Peeks: A Right or a Privilege?

Here we are again folks…about to enter the sticky wicket of debate over Barbie Fan Club (BFC) copyright infringement.

Rant beginning….again.

As we begin a brand new year in the Barbie Fan Club, I want to bring up the issue of sneak peeks.  This is something that is currently being discussed in a few doll forums and I have been talking to fellow collectors and bloggers about it.  Here is the specific issue….we have not seen as many sneak peeks in the last year as in previous years and it is concerning BFC members.  The question is, why the decline?  For those who are not a part of the BFC, and may not be aware of what a “sneak peek” is, let me explain.  A BFC sneak peek is a first look at an upcoming product at Mattel.  These sneak peeks are protected under the rules of the BFC and should not be shared outside of the BFC.  You can recognize these sneak peeks by the huge BARBIE COLLECTOR water mark that runs through the middle of them.  I would show you what I mean but then I would be in violation of that copyright I am talking about.  You can’t miss them though.  If a picture has “Barbie Collector” splashed all over it, IT IS A SNEAK PEEK. 

The rules of the BFC are very, very clear.  When you sign up for the BFC, you agree not to distribute BFC watermarked photos outside the BFC.  This is protected content that people in the BFC have paid extra for.  If you want access to the content,  PAY THE FEE.  Here is where the question of “right vs. privilege” comes in.  It would appear that some members feel that once they pay that fee, they now have the “right” to post these photos wherever they want.  Every time a sneak peek  is released …every time…we see these Barbie Collector watermarked photos show up on Facebook, Pinterest and even on some blogs.  Once it is out there it is like a virus and proliferates.…especially if it shows up on a blog that is viewed by a sizable collector population.  I have a particular problem with bloggers who post these photos.  In my opinion, they are disrespecting the fee-paying, rule-following members of a community they claim to represent.  They are biting the hand that feeds them!  Yes they are providing content but at what price?  They have essentially stolen money from these members by posting images that were intended for members only.  If you are a member of the BFC and are copying and sending these “sneak peek” photos to people outside of the club….STOP!  You are  stealing from your fellow members.  You just reached into the purse of the BFC member next to you and took a buck or two out of their wallet.  Ewwww!

In my mind and that of many others, these sneak peeks are a privilege of membership.  They are a privilege we paid extra money for.  I don’t know about you but I usually like to get the full value out of something I buy.  When these watermarked photos show up outside of the BFC, they devalue the membership and ultimately the club.  Let’s say you just went to a movie and paid the exorbitant $15 bucks they charge for first run movie tickets these days.  Now let’s say someone sits down next to you, pulls out their fantastically enabled camera recording cell phone and proceeds to videotape the entire movie.  You just paid $15 bucks for something many others are going to enjoy for free as soon as rude cell phone recorder gets home and uploads.  It is totally against the law to do this.   Do you report it?  Do you hold that person accountable?  If you just let it go without action, are you not becoming part of the problem?  Not judging…just asking the question.

So…lets get back to the original question….we are not seeing as many sneak peeks.  Why not?  Well, isn’t it conceivable that this is Mattel’s way of dealing with the problem of the sneak peek copyright infringement issue?  They simply won’t release as many or any sneak peeks in advance of product availability.  This could be the direct result of the few who choose, against the rules and the integrity of the club, to post these photos outside of the BFC.  Now all the members who choose to follow the rules and respect the integrity of the club get less because of the actions of a select few.  How do we feel about that?  I don’t know about you but as you have no doubt guessed by now… I feel like I just got royally ripped off. 

So,  if you are a member of the BFC, do you enjoy the privilege of these “sneak peeks” that are a part of your paid membership?  Do you want to try to increase the frequency of, and protect the integrity of, these sneak peeks?  If so, I suggest a call to action.  If you see a watermarked sneak peek on the internet, report it.  Call them out.  Make it public that this is protected content and should not be posted.  When I have done this, I have been told by some of these copyright violators that because I am not a Mattel lawyer, I have no right to tell them what to do.  My response:  ”As a paying member of the club you just ripped off by posting these photos, I have every right to tell you to remove it.”

Okay….rant over.

{And if your guess of how many times I used the phrase “sneak peek” in this post was 16….you get a cookie!}

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