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Brad Pitt

The history of backpack.tf

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Brad Pitt

This is me trying to reconstruct the history of backpack.tf and how we came to life. Everything you read here is true. Dates are approximated based on information found at the time, if anyone has better information or additional details to add, please feel free to comment.

 

Born from a suggestion

 

Being a TF2WH power-user, I found it really annoying that I couldn't tell how much my backpack was worth. I put that suggestion on the TF2WH forum but they had a lot of stuff on their hands and it never got done, so I decided to give it a shot.

 

3c810c3bf8.png

 

Bringing a suggestion to life

 

After a few hours of intense coding, on November 9 2011 I made the the site's URL public. At the time it was "tf2wh.teamfortress.org" (I've owned the teamfortress.org domain for many years prior to this!) -- It was named TF2WH Backpack Pricing. It used TF2WH's look and feel, fonts and backgrounds. It was terrible but a fun little project. The only thing on the page was an input box to put your steam ID in, and it would show you your backpack contents with value based on TF2WH credits. We averaged 13,000 page views a month.

 

Let's do some stats!

 

Sometime around March 2012, I changed the url to "backpack.teamfortress.org". That's when I started saving backpack contents to a database. I started adding prices manually for 'odd' items or items that TF2WH did not have a price for. Around that time, I added a bunch of stuff like automated unusual pricing but as you can expect, that didn't really work amazingly. So I added manual pricing for unusual hats. Most of the original unusual hat prices were added by some popular known Russian scammer. At that time, I didn't know SteamRep Existed. The guy just seemed very nice and was happy to do all this manual work. So he did. That was our first load of unusual prices ever. Oops.

 

Flying with our own wings

 

Fast forward to May 2012, I registered our domain backpack.tf. We started our brand new friendlier look and feel. TF2WH prices were 3 weeks behind and nobody was updating them. This became frustrating as I could not see a reliable total value of my own backpack. It was time to let go the TF2WH credits and all our prices were now in TF2 currency. Mattie's backpack was worth 802 buds. We had 50 million items indexed in our database. 1.9 million profiles had been put through our backpack explorer. We now had a pricelist page.

 

Community Voting

 

We introduced community price voting on May 15, 2012. This was a very simple voting system, with no comments and just yes/no votes from users. All votes were moderated by me and only me. It goes without saying that this became extremely hard to manage as a single person, this was pretty much a full time job even without the site being very popular at the time. 250 users took the time to create price suggestions and vote on prices. In June 2012, we added the "reputation" scores. Gaining rep for posting a valid suggestion or voting accurately was born to recognize the people who participated on the site. We also added a few badges on user profiles. We started adding price bonuses on painted items and craft numbered items. We hit 275,000 page views. In July, it was finally possible to post a comment when creating a suggestion. In mid-August, we had 1300 users vote on suggestions. And because all our data was community-created, we decided that sharing the data was a must. The first version of our price APIs appeared. Near the end of August, TF2 Spreadsheet scandal happened.

 

Exploding in popularity

 

A lot of community members were disappointed by the TF2 spreadsheet and started spreading the word about backpack.tf. In September 2012, Doctor McKay created his !pc plugin around backpack.tf's API. This was one of the first projects using our API. In October, we added classifieds. I hired a few people to help because well, I couldn't do this all alone anymore. This is when Puddinghead (aka Puddington now), Smitty (aka Bucket now), Vincent and Chief joined the team. We hit 4.3 million page views.

 

To be continued...

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puddingkip

It should be worth noting that smity is currently known as bucket and puddinghead is puddington. And great writeup, although I know none of this as it is all well before my time

 

 

I'd love to see more, I'm a bit of a newbie myself  :P

"a bit"

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Charity

This is so cool to finally get the chance to read about. 

 

I've been visiting the site since late 2012 and have been a daily user since. Can't wait to read more about how this site came about! :) 

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The Oddball

Very interesting and informative read. I've never known this. Brad you've really put a lot of hard work into this site, and we all appreciate it. You've turned a simple idea into one of the best tf2 trading sites there is to date. Keep up the good work

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♫ MoPcKo cBuH4e :d

This is really interesting. I am not visiting the forums much but this caught my attention. I know that proofless suggestion were accepted in the past but now we need proof and that's the fun part of the suggestion: gathering the proof. At least for me that is. I have seen some more inexperienced users following backpack.tf's price strictly. I am not saying that the prices aren't accurate but they were when I was selling some strange parts. And you can't always "trust" these prices because sometimes stuff is outdated and it can't be updated. But it's good to know how much things are worth and how much your backpack is worth total. To be honest I like this site much more than Outpost. :D I don't even play "Team Fortress 2" anymore yet I am still here, doing suggestions, trying to update the prices so people can sell their items at a reasonable price. Think that's why I am still here. The feel when you "help" the community is really nice. I had some bad experience with unpriced items. When a robo hat came out and it had no price. But it's good memories. I remember buying an All Father for 1,5 keys (the price was about 2 keys then) and crafting the strangifier for about 3 ref (0,5 keys back then) and sold it for ~5 keys in items. My first big profit. :D Later it got priced at 6 keys and that was close to what I sold it for. I also remember how I started voting on suggestions, had some crappy score then learned how suggestions work and started suggesting myself. And I remember working on my 5th suggestion about 1 hour till about 01:30 am. Ah, good memories. Even when Woifi banned me for a day for undercutting the users by listing an awper for 2,3 ref (price was 2,33 ref back then) it was a good experience. After that I stopped doing it.

 

PS. Didn't know Teeny Tiny Cat is also a mod.

PS.2. What happened to that guy Shenigans I think he/she was called? He/she was a mod.

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NICK THE THIRD
Posted · Hidden by λngelღмander, December 15, 2015 - Useless and derogatory post
Hidden by λngelღмander, December 15, 2015 - Useless and derogatory post

Because I totally thought to myself...

Hey! I wonder how they made backpack.tf and how much it has made TF2 trading even worse than it was before.

Thanks. I totally needed this wall of text in my life.

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Zapperzz

Wow!  I've always wondered about this kind of stuff, thanks for making this Brad c:

 

Now I kind of want to see a general trading history story topic.  Stuff from the earliest moments of trading including the becoming of buds as a currency, the spreadsheet scandle, and all the other interesting things that happened back when most of us weren't around.

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~shenanigans

Oooo I got a mention lol.

 

As for what happened to me:

"You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself turn into a casual"

 

Well... I'm not dead yet

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✡Redino✡

Heh. back in the day everybody used the TF2 spreadsheet.  I'm not even sure if the site is still up.  It was literally a google docs or something like that with prices managed by 1 person.  Nobody relied on backpack.tf; people had never even heard of it.  A few months before the scandal people were beginning to talk about how backpack.tf was a better pricing site because it had community voting instead of 1 person managing it.  Still, majority of users refused to stop relying on the spreadsheet.  Even after the scandal some tried to stick with the spreadsheet and it took awhile for everyone to migrate.

 

Thanks for the read mate.

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Vrakos Anthrakir

I wonder if we can also summon Vincent by mentioning him here :v

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Shamefurr Dispray

https://web.archive.org/web/*/backpack.tf

 

https://web.archive.org/web/20121001203953/http://backpack.tf/- 2012

https://web.archive.org/web/20130730000747/http://backpack.tf/?- 2013

 

Heh. back in the day everybody used the TF2 spreadsheet.  I'm not even sure if the site is still up.  It was literally a google docs or something like that with prices managed by 1 person.  Nobody relied on backpack.tf; people had never even heard of it.  A few months before the scandal people were beginning to talk about how backpack.tf was a better pricing site because it had community voting instead of 1 person managing it.  Still, majority of users refused to stop relying on the spreadsheet.  Even after the scandal some tried to stick with the spreadsheet and it took awhile for everyone to migrate.

 

Thanks for the read mate.

http://www.tf2pricecheck.net/ might be a graveyard now but it was once a viable alternative

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Chief D

So nice to see the community is growing and improving! Thanks for linking me to the post, Woifi. I also remember the conspiracy theory era, when people said we controlled the market because we were all rich and greedy, lol. Damn sometimes I actually wish they were right after looking at my bank account hahaha. Jet fuel can't melt refined metal.

 

Saludos a todos desde Perú :)

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Captain Caboose

I remember using bp.tf in late November 2012, and I remember looking up how much keys were and how much a Team Captain was. and when you're a noob its euphoric to play with new stuff so it was good fun.

 

aye thanks for the lore bread putt

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Cobalt

Thanks for the read Brad, makes me feel old that I still remember all that happening years ago :P

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KoDoRiN

In retrospect, I'm glad I was part of backpack.tf's history. If I were to be mentioned (lol, probably not), I would find it weird that I'm just simply a nostalgia, especially for something that's not a big part of my life anymore.

 

To say, good luck to backpack.tf's future!

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JayTuut

I always remember using that like blogspot site to price before backpack.tf actually had good pricing (like no one had heard of it, then a bit later after, like a year or something then people were talking about using this and stuff but it didnt have the good voting and i liked this spreadsheet site, then i finally moved to backpack.tf when this site went a little inactive and i saw the backpack.tf community was doing some good pricing, then i joined the forums a year or 2 later after joining the main site)

 

This is cool, especially being from in tf2 since 2008, even tho i did like when there were no prices, so you could trade for what u looked nice instead of for profit or anything haha

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OverduePixels

Oh, the good'ol days of Tf2 spreedsheet . I am so glad to see Backpack have come so far and showing no sign of stopping! Its been great being able to be a part of this huge community. 

 

Very nice to see how its growing over the years and its rapid improvement. Thank you for creating such a good community. I hope Backpack can expand more into csgo in the foreseeable future!

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