Timing Market Entry and Knowing When to Walk Away

This was the post prepped for this last Tuesday.  I hope you have taken the time to look into another person’s situation and learned some things.

Here’s some strategy for those of you wondering how to keep from spending all of your evenings grinding out the wins like some Blackjack junkie convinced you’ll eventually hit a run.

If you look at what I sell, it’s basically a list of everything in the game.  Of course, I could tell anyone to make X, post X, and pray they make a decent return.  I’ll leave that for the people dispensing bad advice and the crowds of people thrilled they’ve got 10k gold in their pockets for the first time ever.  I deal in millions, not thousands; my time is worth more than to sit around playing leap frog with people who haven’t got the slightest clue what modeling a well run virtual business is about, and worse have no concept of efficiency and time management.  These are your competitors, and hopefully since you’re reading this stuff – not you.

If you’ve ever sold anything a day in your life, the first thing you learn is “who is my market?” and “why would they buy?”  In WoW gold making, your life is merely a series of 7 day events that go from Tuesday through the following Monday, and in between you monitor your activity.  At least you should be.  Without telling you exactly what I post on certain days, I think it’s MOST important that you have the frame of mind during the week.  You should know what is going on each day of the week, and make market entries and market retreats based on this information.  That’s if you want to maximize your efficiency and go do other things besides hang out at the AH all day.

I like to think of it as “having my server clocked”.  I know what’s popular on each and every single day, and who I should be appealing to.  Each server is different, but they all tend to have similar life cycles.  So think critically…  What should I be selling?  Who is my market?

Tuesday – This is the reset day for US servers.  If you’re playing EU, just add a day here.  On Tuesday, everyone’s valor is reset, LFRs/Raid IDs reset, and people can begin collecting more Conquest points.  This is generally always my biggest profit day of the week since demand on this day skyrockets to what will be the all time high for the week.  You should be monitoring exactly what guilds are progressing on, what new items will be available with respect to their slots.  Macroeconomics day.  On this day, you want to focus on what will enhance the pieces people will be retaining.  PvPers especially go hogwild on Tuesdays, since they generally will hit their cap for the week and make a purchase decision on this day, especially those saving for weapons.

Wednesday – Or Tuesday Lite, as I sometimes refer to it.  You should still see heavy action like Tuesday, as most progression guilds begin hitting their progression fights.  Generally those doing LFR hit the last half of their grind tonight.  When it comes to gear collection, the first two days of the week are always going to be mains, and people spend the most gold on mains.

Thursday – Now the week starts to peter off.  Raiding guilds start hitting bosses they can’t down yet, PvPers are still active but not so much in the buying side (they’re usually going for rating before the weekend and not so much for points), and those not raiding begin playing their alts again.  Prices drastically start to return to earth on everything enchanting or gem related and it’s probably time I retreat from this market.

Friday through Monday – Alts.  Thousands of alts awaken from their weekday slumber to start looking for minor upgrades.  They’re looking to level easier, or they’ve just hit 90 and want to look into getting into LFR as fast as possible.  Or they want to begin grinding honor points in battlegrounds and aren’t interested in being the typical baddie getting 2 shot by rogues.  Many casual guilds finish their progression raiding for the week.  Some are even looking to improve the pieces that they’ve retained, but I wouldn’t go overboard and post for a measly 5% profit.  Close price analysis and setting your mods accordingly will prevent you from taking losses at this time.

Does any of this look foreign to you?  I hope it doesn’t, it’s common sense. But like I told a coworker of mine this last week – Common sense is actually uncommon.  Sometimes a person needs to have the obvious pointed out to them.

During the week, I have certain price points for all of my pieces of gear.  Some items I post every single day of the week, some I only post one or two days.  It really depends on profit opportunity.  BOEs tend to sell better on some days, so I don’t have those set up in any group and post using Auctioneer.  Many items I specifically place on different banks that are weekend specific posters.  During the weekdays, they never get logged into.

Here’s a good example:  Gems.  I hate the hell out of having to cut and post these things, some people do it every single day of the week and I wonder how they can stand it.  What generally happens is the demand for them is enormous on Tuesday and Wednesday, and you’ll sell through your entire stock at heavy premiums.  Other days, you get back 90% of them.  Why?  Because the demand isn’t there.  As demand is lower, prices start falling down as people fall over themselves to undercut each other.  Meanwhile, if you stay in this market, you 1) spend money on deposits and 2) sell them at reduced profits and 3) cost yourself more money if you play the undercutting game thus contributing to the problem.  Of course, I still post a few during the week, but I also renegotiate my floor prices.  If I’m not getting at least Wednesday prices on a cut, it’s not going up and it stays in the bag for next week.

Quick Rant:  People do this because they’re told the shuffle makes you gold no matter what and just by cutting gems.  The shuffle however is in a bastardized form today because most people doing it don’t realize that the shuffle was created originally as a means to making enchanting highly profitable, provided your server has a demand for enchanting, and not to make all of the the profits in gems.  I wonder why people got this strange idea and bought into this bizarre fallacy.  Who could possibly have told them it was all gems?  Hmmm.  People do half the shuffle, overload the AH with cheap gems, and then sit on the green gems or something.  Maybe they’re vendoring them.  Either way, bad form.  Moving on.

I demonstrated for you the idea and rationale behind why you should have a spreadsheet in place and further, why you should be in the habit of stockpiling in lieu of going Just In Time.  The people that roll JIT are buying on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and then trying to squeeze a profit out.  Meanwhile, they’re doing nothing the other days of the week.  Conversely, there are people that sell no matter the prices.  There’s no reason to sell your stockpile for the sake of selling your stockpile.

Retaining well priced materials is an art, and it’s not always easy to get certain things for below market value and it’s not always easy to replenish your stock.  Story time!  It reminds me of a time I wanted to sell something to a customer when I was just starting out in my sales career and a young buck know-nothing 24 year old.  We were making a whole 8% profit margin off the item (and my paycheck would look better), but we were coming into the busy time of the year and to replace the item in our inventory had a lead time of 3 months.  But, after a begging and pleading session with my boss, I had to turn the person away.  You know, having to do that and tell a buyer they’re too freaking cheap is never fun.  The good news was, I located a buyer at 17% just 2 months later and scored twice the commission.  If I had sold the item initially, I would not have had the inventory to sell to the customer and would have had to wait a month, and the company would have lost out on future opportunity should my deal not arrived.  When a buyer is hot, you don’t ask them to wait, you deliver immediately, unless you are not in a position to immediately sell off your inventory.  This was a lesson that I learned early on, think long term and don’t sell just to sell.

Selling mats off at 10% margins when you could sell them at 100% makes very little sense, but people are happy beating their heads against the keyboard to do it.  If you understood what I was talking about in my earlier posts on this blog, then what I’ve explained here will be absolutely second nature.

As prices ebb and flow during the week, your buying and posting patterns should directly mimic them.  I’m fairly certain that if you were to look at the prices on your server, and then weighed them against the events of the week, you would see that supply and demand essentially flip upside down during the week at some point.  This is a simple market phenomenon, and makes the difference between someone who posts everything during the week and hopes it sells (a sale is a sale, right?) and someone that calculates their moves and makes more profits with less effort.  Think of it like having spring sales and winter sales.  As the seasons change, you always rotate your stock around and sell certain things at higher pricing during the year.  Except our “years” are merely 7 days long.

So my keys for successful profitability and less camping:

1) Know your server’s week with respect to demand
2) Sell high on proper days
3) Buy low during the week
4) Don’t sell just to sell, think.

Margin Call, Week of April 7, 2013

It was quite the struggle this week, I honestly am finding myself hitting that most horrible of horrible walls.  Ever wonder why prices sometimes go off the charts or strange things happen in your AH?  It’s probably because one of the leaders dropped out of the market.  For me this week I was far more motivated to play D3 than to even bother logging in to Warcraft (although I did, habits are hard to break).  Most people on my friend list, or more specifically my Battletag list, are not even bothering right now.  I didn’t grab a screenshot of it, but this last week snagged a measly 343,000g in revenues.

A tip for your week – Consider your actions before posting, you directly affect pricing.

Thanks for stopping in!

It’s Their Community, Not The Community

This last week Twitter users got to see a battle royale, and frankly I stayed out of it even though it was right up my alley.  Instead I chose to take it to my blog, where I can have my say in more than 140 characters, because god knows I need more than 14000.

Cold and Rez took off on it on their podcast, and they nailed it.  The discussion is at exactly 1 hour in.

So without further ado, and more fuel for people to find a reason to hate me…

What Irks Me

Consider me irked.

The following question makes me wince whenever it gets asked:  What difference does it make to you what some other person is doing?  Frankly, it makes a lot of difference.  People mind too much of their own business today while allowing bad public behavior to surround them and passively allow themselves to be influenced by that group.  Doing nothing, or saying nothing, is tantamount to agreeing with the behavior.  Sure people will disagree with you for saying something, but I’m not writing this blog to attract anyone, in fact I started it on a dare.  Point being, stand up for what you believe in and to hell with the consequences.  You won’t please everyone with your opinions.

Imagine if you’re a new player, or an existing player wanting to know more.  You go to Google or Bing, and query “How to make gold in warcraft”.  You’re hit immediately with paid for guides, some websites, and other SEO positioned sites out there.  Worse, you end up getting pitched ads for gold buying.  So the people go visit these sites, and after about 30 minutes of trying to get a straight answer they end up buying some lame guide or being talked into buying something, or they just flat out buy the gold.  Now, someone like me has an ad-free blog dedicated to the finer and higher points of making gold, and I have nothing to sell, except for the occasional “why the following people are all D-Bags” rants where I attempt to convince you to STOP paying attention to these people. Before long, this new guy/gal is going to be completely turned off because they start seeing “insert credit card here” signs everywhere, and realize that this entire “community” is loaded with hustling assholes.  As a member of the upper echelon in the gold grind, I want to be known as an asshole for other reasons, not that I’m just another jerk out to hock a book or sell gold.

Meanwhile, they attempt to mask themselves as a fine and upstanding member of “the community”.  Even more amusing, they reference “the community” all the time, mostly when they’re trying to curry some favor.  These people aren’t community members, they’re on par with cult leaders, dirty politicians, and snake oil salesmen who will come to you as your friend, and then ask for money.  Or to sign up for something.  Or to sell some soap for them so they don’t have to work for a living and can sit at the house watching shows.  Or convince you to send them to Blizzcon, sign up for their sites to get more information, buy a guide, or tell all your friends to watch their streams via social media contact managers.  It’s “Their” community, not ours.

Here we go with my list – Why these sites are so wrong
* It gives all of us a bad reputation that attempt to help those trying to find their way
* People who run these sites are in it purely for the money, and not the love of the passtime.  Money isn’t bad, but it is very corrupting.
* It’s an online demonstration of a waste of valuable resources (cash, time)
* They copy from the larger sites, and then they present the information as their own, even in reworded format
* The people who follow them are enablers of bad behavior because they give them money and feed the problem
* They are cult like and creepy, almost like a televangelist putting on a TV show where you phone in your pledge to send them and their mistress on his new yacht to the Bahamas
* They are generally dedicated to the financial efforts of one individual and not the collective
* They tend to engage in shunning or censorship, placing themselves on a pedestal as the better person and disparaging the community that doesn’t subscribe or agree with them
* Eventually they will abuse their community, soliciting them for more “donations” or purchases for personal gain, or organized fund raisers for personal gain

My desire is to protect the vulnerable, weak and uninformed from these predators, and ultimately to see them run straight out of the legitimate gold making community on a rail.  These people are NOT a part of the community, they are Gold Bleggars owning and operating their community.

Everytime I open random blogs anymore, or hear about streams, I feel like I’m seeing a guy on the corner with a sign.  A sign not unlike….

You can laugh at my handwriting now.

What’s a Bleggar?  Well it’s not a term I came up with, although I did Google it before proclaiming superman status.  Basically, it’s any blog formed to beg for money through “donations”, and the term has been around for years.  Gold Bleggars… I’m gonna see if this passes muster so let’s coin it now.  Of all the different types of blogs out there, it’s far more prevalent in the WoW “community” than any other.

If you’re running a blog, you do it for fun or a hobby.  You get the opportunity to add in AdSense, which will pay you a few coins a week to display ads.  Now, Daily Puppy, that’s all me, and to date I think I’m the only gold related blog with pictures of cute puppies on a daily basis, but that’s me, I’m a big fan of animals.  But that’s not an ad and I make nothing for it.  Further, Blogger is free, so I donate my time to the actual community, as it should be.  Much like Warcraft, it’s a diversion.

Paypal links, Amazon links, Cafepress, Pay-for Gold Guides, Raffles, etc, wouldn’t you say that goes a bit further than donating your time?  Are you doing this for a hobby or an income?  At this point, I would bet you are doing the latter.  Never in the history of Gold Blegging have you ever seen a charitable act.  If you find one, please link it to me.

The next phase is quitting your job or dropping out of school to do it full time, and now we have a problem.  This means within no time you’ll be sponging off people and coming up with bizarre schemes to bring in more money at your first opportunity.  Worse, you will exploit your cadre of numbskulls to pay for stupid shit you want.  “Send me to Blizzcon” comes to mind (Elvine and others, seriously).  Asking your readers to give you money to buy software or hardware.  Shameless promotion of your crap will soon invade Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, RSS Feeds, Twitch, and even the other blogs.  All while proclaiming “I’m a longstanding upstanding crusader of the community and everyone else just wants to cause drama”.

Nev had a wonderful first rant.  I wouldn’t call her post a rant, I would call it a precise observation.  There’s no reason for her to have any regrets, because I swear she’s on my side.  I believe 110% that what I do in the “community” is provide my wit and insight and how to make extreme amounts of gold without spending large amounts of time.  For this, I ask you to maybe consider donating to my favorite charity which I actually contribute to myself in time and cold hard cash.  So I’ve got a double edged sword here, I promote positive income gold making philosophies for you, and I also want people to be aware that there are doggies and kitties that need loving homes and there are organizations EVERYWHERE that need funds.  I don’t require it, and I’m not throwing it in your face, it’s in my passion page which few really even open.  Nev promoted breast cancer awareness, and she’s pointing out the needs of Richard Harlow, and her site is very much like mine – completely non-monetized because we love doing it for fun.  Even though some of you probably hate me because I call it like I see it and like to throw nukes across the blogosphere, I would expect that you would agree that cats and dogs, breast cancer, and possibly restoring another human being’s sight is a far better endeavor to throw your hard earned money at than to throw dollar bills to the panhandlers of the internet.  Am I right?

Everything many of them do from Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, to Reddit and Blogger is dedicated to gathering a flock to follow them.

1) Establish a presence
2) Establish a big following
3) Establish a position of “authority”
4) Encourage others to share your site with friends
5) Link back everything to your site where they can give you cash

What’s disgusting to me is that they are laser focused on profiting off the ignorance of others rather than be a part of the community as a whole, while dismissing their critics as trying to beat up on their friendly neighborhood Gold Blegging hobo.  I’m a long-time member of The Consortium, which was started with the mission of being ad-free and non-profit.  It is still non-profit, as the traffic on that site (and Sterling has shown us the bills) is insane.  Everything there is meant to be able to sustain the on-going efforts.  The site however is a real community.  I’ve never gotten 1 penny for my efforts on the site, nor do I want one.  The others like me don’t ask for any compensation, either.  We’re sharing our ideas with the community at large because it is fun for us, and we like to see others develop.  Those that assist in the funding of the site get more access to more things, which is a nice tradeoff – the site gets to stay up and they get additional assistance, because without them the site would disappear.  This is a community, and I assure you that after the breakup of JMTC, the people in charge of this site are nowhere near interested in your cash, only promoting the best possible habits and organizing the best possible talent in a family friendly environment that walks a person completely through all of the various processes.

Many of you probably think I’m beating the flux gong again.  Not the case, he’s really not the only one I’m talking about, in fact I’ve seen him as less chaotic evil anymore in comparison to the opportunities that others have explored.  I do like Jim Younkin in one big respect, so a tip of the hat here.  He is far and away better than his competitors for one reason:  He OPENLY tells you he’s in it for profit.  He has metatags on the site: Monetization.  This points you to his efforts, and he doesn’t cover up the fact he’s trying to make money.  He sort of reminds me of the guy of founded Craigslist – peace, love, and always for profit.  While I roasted his ass as the first order of business and STILL disagree with his tactics and that he’s trying to profit off the largest playerbase in the world, at least he’s not pulling a fast one and it’s firmly understood that the tin can is out.  While he went off on some goofy rant against yours truly last month without naming me and while calling himself the better person, we all know that fell on deaf ears, except for his disciples, so don’t think I’ve changed my mind.  I told one of his competitors who was all happy about my roast of him, don’t hate the man, hate the tactics, never make it personal.

I know these guys won’t clean up their act.  All of them are incorrigible, because once you’ve tasted the sweet nectar of money off the foolish, it’s a really hard addiction to break.  The only answer to it is for people not to pay attention.  And Gold Bleggars, please get a job.  I hold down two, want one?

Jay Wilson’s 15 Minutes Live On

I loved this IGN article regarding the hindsight of Diablo 3.  In a nutshell:  Something about the RMAH was not implemented properly, and Blizzard should remove it, but they won’t.

I’m going to go more into this later in the week, I wrote something on it but I’m not happy with it.  For the time being, I just felt it was the laugh of the week.

Margin Call – Week of March 24th

I took the week off from actually playing Warcraft, and will probably continue to do so for the time being.  I didn’t take the week off from printing gold however.  I spent my week playing around in Diablo 3 of all things.  Friends of mine helped me out, and brought me back up to speed as to what’s going on in the game.  I know for a fact however I’ll probably never locate an item I can actually use in the game, but I enjoy other facets of the game more.

Sometime here I’m going to review buying in bulk.  I think you guys and gals should know how I do it.  I was afk smashing demons yet still managed to part with 215k in mat purchases.  Honestly, I reinvested a ton into the Sha Crystal market, so don’t get too impressed.  I’ll probably have that gold back by tomorrow or Wednesday.

It’s nice when you have a system in place that completely allows you to spend a few minutes at the AH per day, pull terrific numbers, and go do something else.  This also needs reviewed sometime, too.  Lots of post ideas as I wind it down.

Also, 1 day left on the poll here, if it’s not closed already.  At the moment, I’m not surprised by the current results.  Little backstory on this poll – I was chatting with Bart39 (one of the TSM devs) and one thing led to another, and I guess I sort of said, “well we’ll see about that”.  I’m about to eat my words I think.  Help Bart along and vote in the poll, just to give him something to rib me about later.