Dominion Grading Service is now closed. After David Lawrence Rare Coins purchased the remnants of PCI from a bankruptcy auction, relocated the service to Virginia Beach, and began to accept grading submissions in May 2008. DGS offered two new services to collectors: AuthtiVIEW, a free imaging service for coins valued over $100; and the Visual Population Report. Both services made use of technology to bring new services to their customers.
But this was not enough. Over the last two years, DGS has stagnated. There have been no new services, no new innovations, and nothing to excite their potential customers. At shows, while DLRC’s booth is a bit sedate compared to other auction companies, DLRC did little to improve and promote DGS. DGS acknowledge their stagnation noting that “both PCGS and NGC have made great strides and improvements to their grading technologies and practices and we no longer feel that our services are needed.”
In a previous post, I discussed that the long term health and existence of other grading services matter. It is important for other grading services to exist because competition is good. Competition makes every service better. Competition forces grading services to innovate to try to distinguish themselves from the others in their field. This is good for the consumer who will get a better value for their fees.
There was a lot DGS could have done to distinguish themselves from the other services with only expenses in technology. Yes, I know the economy is not doing well. I also know that most MBA programs teach that building the infrastructure will pay dividends in the future. It takes a little imagination and marketing to break through the crowd and distinguish themselves from other serves. John Feigenbaum, president of DLRC and DGS whose biography says that he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing Management from Virginia Tech (not a slouch school!), should have known better rather than let the service stagnate until it withered away almost unnoticed.