Magic: The Gathering was once estimated to have 20 million players worldwide. Players can interact with the game at local gaming stores, video game consoles, or on the internet. As the player base has grown, so has MTG-related vendors and websites. Online websites like TCGplayer sell cards across the world. Other sites like MTGGoldfish provide a variety of content for MTG players. While each website is different, they all have hosting fees and other expenses. To operate a business long-term requires revenue to exceed the costs. How does each MTG-related vendor and website produce enough income to cover costs and earn a profit?
Profit is the net gain of money earned after accounting for all expenses. Businesses require a profit to sustain long-term operations. A profit model is "a strategy that addresses all the core elements of the business operating system that make the company viable and profitable." Different profit models exist across a multitude of industries. When it comes to operating an MTG-related website, a few profit models stand out.
Websites focused on selling products follow the eCommerce profit model. TCGplayer has an online platform where individuals and businesses create storefronts for buying and selling MTG products. This straightforward profit model works for business-to-consumer and business-to-business transactions.
Websites can earn a profit through affiliate marketing. Affiliate links navigate visitors to products sold elsewhere. Site owners earn a commission when someone clicks an affiliate link and makes a purchase. Affiliate marketing is associated with product recommendations, sponsorships, or other purposes. TCGplayer has an affiliate program for collectible card game content creators. The program offers monetary incentives through sales commissions. They also provide non-monetary incentives that may include building brand recognition, community growth, partnership opportunities, and the chance to work with people passionate about collectible card games.
Multiple websites offer online learning and coaching for MTG, like Spikes Academy, for example. These websites earn money by providing specialized content and personal lessons from top-performing MTG players. The coaches' and writers' achievements validate the perceived value of the experiences and content. It could be hard to replicate this profit model without achieving success at the highest competitive play levels.
The subscription profit model is commonly associated with gyms and streaming services. However, it's also used by websites to restrict content behind a paywall. Customers pay a monthly fee to access the restricted content. Sites like MTGGoldfish offer subscriptions to access certain content. Patreon is another option for tying MTG related content to a subscription profit model.
Advertising monetization is a profit model that exchanges advertisement exposure for money. Websites offer advertising space to specific businesses or through services like AdSense. Advertising revenue from AdSense correlates to the amount of traffic a website receives. Also, AdSense pays a website owner only when they reach $100 in revenue. MTGGoldfish is an example of MTG-related sites using the advertising monetization profit model.
Savvy website owners can combine different profit models to produce multiple revenue streams. For example, MTGGoldfish uses four profit models: They offer a subscription service and use advertising monetization. When searching for cards on the website, affiliate marketing links appear on the page's right-hand side. Lastly, MTGGoldfish sells themed merchandise in an eCommerce store.
When building an MTG website, site owners should keep profit models in mind. To maximize revenue, website owners may want to try combining multiple profit models. Existing websites have the opportunity to add one or more profit models. Website owners should align profit models with their content and purpose.