Whatnot's logoWhatnot is an online marketplace where sales are primarily made over live-streamed video auctions. We are currently doing a small pilot project to test the feasibility of adding live auction sales from Whatnot to the hobbyDB Price Guide, and we are also looking into the possibility of adding the results of Buy It Now sales from sellers' profile pages.

Since we started this Whatnot pilot project we've heard from many community members, some in favor of adding Price Points from Whatnot, and some who are strongly against it. This article explains our reasoning for using Whatnot, details how we're approaching and implementing it, and outlines our plans moving forward.


Why use Whatnot sales as Price Points?

Part of hobbyDB's mission is to provide the best Price Guide out there for everything collectible.

To do so, we believe that it’s important to constantly add to our sources for Price Points so we can capture an accurate picture of each collectible's market value. Market conditions can be different depending on the venue, but they all affect the overall value of an item so the more sources we can include, the more accurate the Price Guide will be.

As Whatnot has grown and emerged as a central marketplace for many different types of collectibles we're receiving more and more requests to add Whatnot sales to the Price Guide, and we decided it's time to address those requests.

Do Whatnot sales accurately reflect an item's value?

In short, yes. Each item's value at any particular moment is determined by an agreement between a seller and a serious buyer. This applies no matter the venue of the sale. The Estimated Values in hobbyDB's Price Guide are calculated based solely on the completed sales; they are not a prediction of future sales. 

Two of the most common arguments we've heard against recording Price Points from Whatnot are opinions that 1) items frequently sell for higher than the current Estimated Value reported by hobbyDB, and 2) items frequently sell for lower than our current Estimated Value. We don't have hard data to confirm either opinion, but it's likely that each can be true for different transactions, and that's okay!

It is natural for the secondary market prices of collectibles to fluctuate up and down. These fluctuations can be caused by many factors, both directly and indirectly related to the collectible itself. Again, the hobbyDB Price Guide is a record of completed sales, not a guarantee of the price for future sales, so an item being sold above or below our Estimated Value doesn't mean that the sale wasn't valid. We are a neutral party to the valuation of collectibles, so we do not arbitrarily pick and choose which sales to include in the Price Guide. 

As long as the item meets our Price Point Quality Standards and we can be reasonably certain that the transaction happened as reported, we include it in the Price Guide without prejudice.

How do you know if the sales are legitimate and aren't market manipulation?  

Whatnot requires potential buyers to have a payment method on file before they bid on a live auction and they are charged for their winning bids when the auction closes. Auction attendees can see if the payment goes through or not, and if the payment doesn't go through we simply don't add it to the Price Guide. 

In addition, the names of winning bidders are shown publicly, which makes it much more difficult for shill bidding to go undetected than on other platforms, like eBay, where bidders' names are kept private.

These and other safeguards in place on Whatnot give us high confidence in the legitimacy of the sales reported.

What are the criteria for using a Whatnot sale as a Price Point?

  • The seller must be pre-approved by the hobbyDB team. Currently, the only seller whose sales are being recorded in the Price Guide during our Whatnot pilot program is _savagepops, who we selected because they are a reputable seller of items that we need Price Points for (higher-end Funko POP!s in this case). If additional Whatnot sellers are approved in the future, they will have to meet these criteria:
    • Well-established on Whatnot with high reviews and ratings

    • Does regular live auctions with substantial viewership

    • Consistently shows all sides of the item to confirm the condition

    • Is trusted to only sell genuine items and deliver items as advertised.

  • The item sold must meet our Price Point Quality Standards, just like all Price Points from other sources:
    • The item and its packaging must be at near-mint or better (small flaws and shelf wear are acceptable, major damage is not).

    • The item must be sold individually (not as part of a bundle or lot). If a "freebie" or other bonus is included with the item it will be considered as a bundle and won't be added to the Price Guide.

    • The item must be genuine.

    • See here for the full Price Point Quality Standards.
  • We also need dedicated, reputable Squad members who are willing to keep up with the seller’s live auctions. We are in discussions with Whatnot about making the process easier, but as of right now, it takes quite a bit of time and commitment to stay on top of even a single seller's auctions.

How are Whatnot sales added to hobbyDB?

The hobbyDB team selects trusted Volunteer Squad members to monitor live auctions run by approved sellers, and they record the selling prices of items that qualify to be added as Price Points. Within a few days after the auction ends, the Squad member adds the results to the Price Guide with a screenshot showing that Whatnot confirmed the completion of the sale.

How can I verify for myself that a Whatnot Price Point meets the Quality Standards?

We have full confidence in the Squad members who are currently working on this project to be objective and unbiased in their judgment of the items' condition and eligibility for the Price Guide. Even so, to allow for greater transparency we are planning to implement functionality to allow them to upload multiple images for each Price Point to show the sale confirmation and photos of the item itself. 

If you are aware of issues with a specific Whatnot Price Point, such as damage that might disqualify it from the Price Guide, you may flag the Price Point. Be aware, though, that the burden of proof for removing a Whatnot Price Point added by authorized Squad members is very high—if you do flag a Whatnot Price Point, please add as much detail as possible and be prepared to answer follow-up questions from the hobbyDB team.

Additionally, Whatnot offers a condition & authenticity guarantee for every item sold on their platform to give buyers confidence in their purchases. If the item arrives and is found to not be in the same condition as advertised or isn't authentic, Whatnot will refund the purchase. Even if that happens, we still consider the Price Point to be valid since the buyer demonstrated their intention to purchase a near-mint, authentic item for their winning bid.

I have more questions!

If your questions haven't been answered here, please feel free to reach out using the green Contact hobbyDB button at the top of this page.