An update on Bricking Around

LEGO has always been known for the phrase “only the best is good enough”, and it has always been framed as a positive. The harsh reality is that it’s also a warning. What happens when you aren’t the best?

In November Bricking Around was “off-boarded” from the LEGO Ambassador Network. This was not because I’d been secretly leaking press releases or some other infringement. It was, to put it bluntly, because I wasn’t good enough.

For those who don’t know, the LEGO Ambassador Network is a collection of LEGO fan communities that are recognised by LEGO and given access and support. There are three categories: Recognised LEGO User Group, Recognised LEGO Online Community and Recognised LEGO Fan Media. Bricking Around was in the 3rd category.

In practical terms being a RLFM meant I got early access to press releases, offers for review product and a small budget I could use to request sets I wanted to review. The only condition to that support was that I had to provide LEGO stats on how many people were reading the content that I produced with the sets that I was given. Those numbers weren’t big enough for LEGO.

I’m not angry about the decision and don’t have anything negative to say about the LEGO employees that run the LAN.

So what does this mean for Bricking Around going forward? I honestly don’t know. Since November I have been been contemplating the question “does the world actually need Bricking Around?” I still don’t know the answer to that.

I do know what it will mean logistically. I no longer get early access to press releases making it harder to report on new sets. But the upside to that is that I can now report on leaks that I couldn’t before.

I will no longer get free sets to review. I can tell from the stats that my reviews never really captured people the way I hoped so I don’t know what it’s going to mean not being able to do them. While some RLFM are able to survive as jet setting full time content creators I don’t make a lot of money from Bricking Around. Possibly because I don’t have 10 google ads on every article. But I’m not going to be able to afford to review $500 sets every week. I don’t know if Bricking Around lives on as a local resource for LEGO fans.

I honestly don’t know what happens next.

33 thoughts on “An update on Bricking Around

  1. Chris Breen Reply

    sorry to hear Richard, I think alot of these ads on google and other stats are and could be AI. I’ve seen it recently with a research project I’ve been involved in. It’s ashamed to hear technology is not truly vetting honesty.
    Have to catch up for a coffee at Brickvention 2024.

  2. Michael Sharp Reply

    Sorry to hear that. I always enjoy reading your take on the sets reviewed. As a small retailer I always worry that the powers that be would make a similar decision to offload the little guys one day in favour of the growing number of certified stores and big box retail.

    All the best whatever your path in 2024.

    • Tim Reply

      Hey mate!
      I’m sure you’d know that Lego have been actively downsizing a lot of the Recognised groups. That certainly doesn’t mean what you do is not worthwhile, needed or of interest. You provide something different that is most certainly valued.
      The number one thing to think about is why you do what you do. If you know and understand what your key motivation is then you will know what your next step is. If you don’t then you need to find that out.
      My advice to you is to know you have your own niche and lean into it, you ARE valued.

  3. Morris Reply

    I’m sad to read about this.
    I’ve been quietly reading your blog ever since I got back into Lego. It’s been great to have an Australian news source for Lego content and sales. Whatever you decide to do, I’ll keep reading.

  4. Erin Reply

    I’m sorry to hear – yours was the first Lego blog I ever found and I check in regularly. I like your reviews and the humor you bring to them. I have also appreciated all the sales notices and have frequently taken advantage of them.

    Good luck with whatever you do going forward & happy New Year!

  5. Lucas Reply

    This is sad, but understandable. I mainly subscribe to Bricking Around for the Australian sale notifications (you’ve been responsible for more than a few wallet emptyings ????), but I also enjoyed the reviews and the high-res press release images. As long as the sale posts keep coming, I’ll still be here reading ????

  6. PU33LED Reply has sat as my always open first window on my phone for years. I appreciate and enjoy reading you reviews and thoughts. Thank you for your efforts and I hope you keep at it.

  7. Jack Reply

    Hey Michael. Whatever direction you want to go, do it knowing you have support from the community. I too like that you don’t bombard your readers with Google ads (it was actually the reason I got pihole as I thought it was ridiculous) for which we know who the biggest culprit is. Each to their own. I always appreciated your heads up with sales and I’m sure others are the same.

  8. Anon Reply

    Stick to what you love, LEGO fatigue is a real thing, and there are certainly some that abuse the ‘power’ of the status.
    You don’t need to be the best at what you do, you just need to love what you do!

  9. John Reply

    Having an Australian source of news and best prices is excellent – I think that’s a niche your site continues to fill.

    I strongly hope it will continue into the future, but completely understand if you don’t.

  10. Jackie Reply

    It is such a shame to read this, as you always come across with such passion in your blogs. I must be honest, in that I don’t always read your product reviews, as I purchase builds on their end look, not necessarily the build process. I do however find all your links to sales, and what’s about to hit the market invaluable. You are also the only Lego blog I subscribe to.

    I am glad you have found a silver lining in that you are now able to talk about leaks. I like that idea, and I am sure other’s will too. Maybe your reviews will just be less frequent.

    All the best in whichever direction you choose to go, and thank you. ????

  11. Steve the bus driver Reply

    What ever course you take thank you for being one of my go-to lego sites.
    I also value the heads up for sales and discounts.
    Hope you stick at it – and there are loads of other sites that do reviews – so Bricking Around could become our ‘LEAKS’ go-to page 😉

  12. Suesan Reply

    I have always enjoyed your articles. Maybe just take some time to enjoy building the sets.

  13. Andrew Reply

    I’m the same as Erin, yours was probably the first Australian content I found in Lego coming out of my dark ages
    I love the humour and honesty you bring to reviews, and often Bricking around is the first place I hear of specials
    If you keep writing, I’ll keep reading

  14. Graham Reply

    Like most of the other comments, Michael you blog was the first one I found when I started collecting lego again. I enjoy the reviews and have taken advantage many times when you notify us of specials. Whatever the decision, I want to say a big thanks for the last couple of years and good luck with whatever you decide to do.

  15. Joanne Reply

    Awww I really enjoy reading your reviews. I like having an Australian point of view, I like being able to ask you questions and having updates on sales in Australia. If I’m unsure about a set, I check here to see if you’ve reviewed it before deciding. What a shame!!

  16. Rebecca Butterworth Reply

    Sorry to hear this! Your site was, and still is been my go to for Aussie lego sales info. I have always enjoyed your reviews too.

  17. Hector Reply

    I enjoy your website, especially your deal alerts. I actually wish there was a way to subscribe to the blog so I get a notification when you do post. That might help increase traffic?

  18. Lana Reply

    I’m really sorry to hear this. A Canadian site that I follow also is no longer a RLFM. It’s really sad that these smaller sites are being ‘cut off’ for lack of a better term. I don’t want to follow the people who are solely into for the clicks and the likes and the visits. Best of luck to you, no matter what you choice you make going forward.

  19. Lachy Reply

    Sorry to hear that! Totally your decision what you want to do with Bricking Around, but just wanted to say I appreciate having an Australian Lego site.

    Random idea that’s probably more work than it’s worth – I wonder if you could report on Australian Lego events around the country? The LUG from Wollongong came to my town earlier this year, it’d be great to know when and where all those sorts of events are happening

    Anyways happy new year ????

  20. Magmafrost13 Reply

    Im sorry you lost your recognised status and the perks that come with it. But I think this could be an opportunity to take this blog in an even better direction, at least from my point of view as a reader. I think where this blog truly shines as an invaluable resource is in tracking and reporting on sales at various retailers. I think shifting focus to that, as well as what Lachy suggested of reporting on lego events around the country, this blog could pivot to being a really great resource for Australian lego fans in finding sales and events and such.

    I personally didnt visit this blog for set reviews, I honestly dont find them that useful. I think barring extreme outliers, any information I’d want to know about a set before buying is easy to glean from product photos and just being familiar with lego as a product, since its so consistent quality-wise. And, frankly, there’s no shortage of reviews out there for any given set, and its not like we need Australia-specific reviews since the product is the same everywhere in the world.

    (sorry if this got posted a bunch of times, I kept getting errors)

  21. Andrew Reply

    Sorry to hear this mate, as other posters have said perhaps it’s an opportunity to branch out into info and updates that can’t be found elsewhere. My first visits to your site were to discover specials and sales, and your pages are much easier to read than some other sites which are just pasted with ads.

    Your reviews are entertaining but they’re not your cornerstone. I like your “should I buy it” tagline, perhaps use that for opinion pieces rather than full on reviews.

    You could even seek contributions from posters.

    Anyway, whatever happens, thanks for all your content and may your future be rewarding.

  22. Jojie Delos Santos Reply

    I was surprised and sad to hear the unsavoury decision from LEGO Group. I think that’s not fair. I know people changed the way they find information since COVID. Yes, I’m looking at you Tik Tok! And probably bricking around got hit badly. As an AFOL since 2012 Bricking Around is me & my friends fav website for Lego news, reviews, upcoming releases and current sales.
    Whatever your decision mate I’ll continue reading and visiting your website. You’re the OG.

  23. Robert Reply

    What a bummer, your information about When and Who has Sales is enormously Important to me because without it I wouldn’t be able to purchase the number of sets that I do each year. Your site will be greatly missed by myself and I expect a lot of people if it ends.

    Best Wishes for the future

  24. Ken Reply

    Like others, yours was the first lego website I found when I came out of the Dark Ages and is one of the first I check when I’m looking for information on current sales, specials, etc. Hope you keep it up!

  25. Taylor Connell Reply

    I’ve always been really grateful for the help that Bricking Around provides to me and other Australian AFOLs. It’s really disappointing to hear that LEGO doesn’t see the value here. Whatever you do next, even if you close down the site, you have my full support and well-wishes.

  26. Phil Reply

    This is the dark side of Lego that I hate to see.
    Your contribution and work is unmatched in Aus for originality and reaching AFOL, like me who don’t like the fluffy stuff. Keep it up!

  27. Bruce Reply

    Well I enjoy reading what you post. This is my top LEGO site and I look at it every few days.
    Sadly my kids are growing up and I don’t buy much LEGO anymore, but I still enjoy reading the articles and looking at what is coming out, what is good etc.

  28. Jonathan Wilson Reply

    As interesting as it was to see news and press releases and reviews and things, the notices about sales are the biggest thing that makes this site good.

  29. Duplo-is-king Reply

    You’re my fave Lego blog and the only one I read regularly (often via your emails). Thank you for everything you’ve done!

    I don’t buy based on reviews but always enjoyed your reviews and the humour in them. More than once I’d laugh out loud and share the links with friends for the humour, not the set. I think your set reviews are the only blog ones I read from any blog – because of your humour!

    Your sales tips are always useful too.

    But whatever you do, you’ve been the best Lego blog I’ve read (just maybe not the biggest). And I’m sad Lego can’t continue to support that. But whatever you choose to do next (continue, pivot, take a break) do it for YOU. We’ll be here if you continue, and appreciate what you’ve already done if you don’t, and wait if that’s what’s required.

    Good luck

  30. I prefer to stay anonymous Reply

    Hey Bricking Around, there’s more in life than LEGO !
    A lot of independent retailers around the world are also treated like sh*t by the Danish brand.
    There are rising official brands like COBI in Europe that produce even better quality items than the Danish manufacturer does ( where Danish is more to be interpreted as made in China, Mexico, Hungary, CZ and Denmark) with boxes that contain no stickers.
    So : continue as a multibrand source of information. And why do you need official press-releases… everything is leaked long before the press release.

  31. MJO Reply

    Bricking Around is my No. 1 site for Lego sales (in Australia) and news relating to the Australia market. I don’t read the reviews posted here – I go to YouTube for that. If Bricking Around posted leak news, it would set it apart from the other “recognised” sites so I would support you going down this path.

  32. Nej Reply

    Hi there, I’ve never posted but have been using your website for years. Honestly, for what it’s worth, I have always found the ‘current sales’ the most valuable and helpful thing that kept me coming back. I have pretty much never used any other section of the site, and didn’t even know you did reviews. I usually just stick to JANG or other youtube reviewers I like. I hope you keep the site up at least for the current sales. It’s been great. Take care and all the best.

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