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10 Auction House Rules (or The AH Is Mine!!!)

I started to respond to a comment in yesterday’s post, but I think it deserves it’s own post.

Jack said:

why do you believe that the AH is only for you to make gold and no one else

Jack, I want you to go back and read through my post. Please point out the place where I stated or even indicated that the AH is only for me. I’ll wait.

Can’t find it, eh?

I believe what Jack was really trying to get at is why am I being greedy and not allowing anyone else to make gold on the AH?

First, let me point out that I don’t believe the AH is only for me and no one else. If I did, I sure as hell wouldn’t be sharing my experiences and strategies with any of you! This all started out as an experiment to see whether or not people like Gevlon were full of crap. Gevlon’s claimed hundreds of times that anyone can make money using only the AH. I’ve tried a few times in the past, but was never successful so I gave up. A couple of months ago I was becoming very tired of the game in general and I was looking for new things to do. So I started my Auction House Experiment. Turns out Gevlon’s right. Anyone can make gold on the AH, you just have to do a little up front research.

So back to Jack’s point or my assumption as to what his real point was. Why don’t I allow anyone else to make gold on the AH?

I’ll be honest with you. I could care less if anyone else on my server makes gold or not. I don’t know them. That isn’t to say I harbor negative feelings towards them, I just don’t care one way or the other. It would be different if this was real life and my competitor were poor and penniless with the AH being his only means of income to feed 16 starving kids. But that isn’t the case.

So all you would-be or current AH players, I give you my 10 Auction House Rules that I follow:

    1 – Keep your cool. If you find you get upset about being undercut, get out of the AH now! You’ll only find misery regardless of how much gold you might make. Remember, this is a game and if it isn’t fun, why play?
    2 – Research. Just as any other part of the game, effectively playing the AH requires research. Think you can just make whatever you want and post them? With glyphs maybe, but lots of other items you’ll find you lose your ass on if you aren’t careful.
    3 – Diversify. Selling glyphs is great, but you’ll only sell so many each day due to demand and constantly getting undercut. Want to break that barrier? Find another product.4 – Volume. Selling only the 10 most expensive glyphs can only net you so much gold. Sure each one sells for 50g/ea which is a huge profit, but would you rather sell 10 glyphs at 50g/ea or 300 glyphs at 3g/ea? I’m serious, I can sell 300 glyphs on a slow to average day.

    5 – Know your costs. I’ve posted several times about what the cost of glyphs are on my server, but due to my own needs and wants I’ve changed the way I look at it now which lowers the cost of glyphs significantly. Two months ago I wouldn’t have touched a glyph for under 10g, then a month ago it was more like 6g, now I don’t really care much unless it starts getting under 2g. Am I daft or am I still making a killing? Do your research, I’m not going to do all the math for you.

    6 – Limit your auctions. There’s a guy on my server that evidently hates me according to one of my competitors because I undercut him constantly. That part actually makes me laugh (see #1 above). Another part of me feels sorry for him though because he keeps shooting himself in the foot, but then again he keeps doing something I think is pretty stupid so it’s hard to have sympathy. Let’s assume he posts 50 different types of glyphs to keep math simple because he does post a lot. What does he do? He posts about a dozen of each. /facepalm. DON’T OVER POST*!!! He knows he’s going to get undercut, does he really think he will sell 12 glyphs before I undercut him? Evidently. Always find the optimum number to post. This’ll be different for everyone, but I usually go with a number of realistic sales plus 2-3 just in case. Let’s assume our guy sells 2 glyphs before he’s undercut which is probably pretty standard especially considering the current level of competition on my server. This means he posted 10 glyphs x 50 types or 500 glyphs he now has to cancel. Oh big deal! It’s only 60c for each one. Chump change!!! Um…500 x 60c is 30g! Now let me undercut you 5 times in one day! Would any of you like to lose 150g every day for no good reason other than you overposted? Tell you what, why don’t you just give me a 100g instead and save yourself 50g.

    7 – Adapt. If you can’t adapt to changing market conditions, you’re going to fail. Last weekend I averaged roughly 5,000 gold each day on the AH. Come Tuesday I was lucky to make 700 gold. Although 5,000 gold/day is quite high even for me I wasn’t comfortable seeing such a large drop. My goal is to make 3,000 gold each day. If I make 2,000 I’m pretty happy. I had to adapt. My strategy of posting 3 glyphs while undercutting by 1c wasn’t cutting it. Six fairly serious competitors were watching me and undercutting me within 30 minutes. What to do? You can’t always do the exact same thing all the time unless you control the market.

    8 – Put in your time. You can’t make something from nothing. You have to invest time to research, setup, level professions, farm, grind, or whatever. Be prepared to spend some time making your business work. It might be 20 hours/week or it could be 30 min/day. Just remember that you still have to put in your time. Although somewhat dependent on strategy, the amount of time you put in should have a direct impact on your return.

    9 – Set goals. I’m not talking about hitting the gold cap in two months. I’m talking little goals, realistic goals, goals you can achieve. I want to make 3,000 gold every day. Not something I was capable of doing 2 months ago where my goal was more along the lines of 500 gold each day. Set a goal to not spend more than 1 hour every day working on it or whatever else you can come up with. Just make them realistic and make it fun.

    10 – Have fun. Remember this is still a game in the big scheme of things. The AH can be a game within the game. It is for me and I’m having a great time. Gold can be like keeping score and it’s a fun score to weigh in, but I also like keeping score of how many items I sell. I love hitting the Open All button and seeing that I have 50 gold mails to open knowing there’s probably more.

I don’t own the AH. I don’t think I deserve to make more gold than the next guy. But I also don’t think I should have to sit on the sidelines and let someone else make the gold either. I want to make gold. So I’ll do everything I can to make as much as I can until I’m bored of that and move on. I’ll even share my strategy with you which some might consider stupid, but in reality it shouldn’t affect me at all.

I’m undercutting glyphs by about 30% or more to frustrate and discourage some of the current glyph players. I hope to eventually get it to a point where they no longer feel it’s worth it and leave the market. I have no intentions of trying to dominate the market, I just feel there are too many players currently. Now announcing that strategy may backfire because knowing that my competitors may decide to just stick it out for the long haul and hope in turn that I will get discouraged and give up. However, my backup strategy is that I’m still making a killing and actually making more gold with this strategy than when I was undercutting by 1c. I’m not 100% sure of all the reasons, but I think it’s due to a number of different ones. The thing is, I have basically found a way for me to sell glyphs at 2-3g/ea and still come out on top. So I can keep this up for a very long time.

I’d rather post less often and even only undercut by 1c, but there’s too much competition right now and I make no money by being undercut by at least one competitor every hour.

So Jack, if you still feel that I believe in some self-entitlement over the AH, then all I can say is…


Who’s got the Diamond-tipped Cane?!

*OK, you want to post 12 of a glyph without getting undercut? You have to drive out the competition and/or get the glyph low enough that no one will bother to undercut.

11 Responses

  1. I don’t personally follow your guide, but I linked it to a friend. Said friend used to buy WoW gold until he got banned for it once upon a time. He learned his lesson but bemoaned that he never had gold. I realized he had Inscription and linked him your guide.

    While hes going at a more sedate pace than you are, he was overjoyed the other day when he whispered me with ‘OMG! I have 6000 gold!”

    I just wanted to tell you that your guide is very appreciated, even by people who don’t always surf World of Warcraft Blogs.

    By the way, how goes playing other healers besides your Paladin lately? I recall that you were enjoying your Shaman for a change of pace =D

    I played my Shaman in BC restoration specced and found her quite enjoyable. My favorite healer played at the moment by far has got to be a Druid though…which is amusing because I was so disdainful of the treeform, and worried that the slow pace of the hots would deter me.

    I weaseled my way out of not having my Paladin Prot/Holy just recently as my guild found it rather nightmarish to heal Ulduar with a Pally/Pally/Priest combo.

    And now I’ve rambled too long, but again, thank you for the post =)

  2. I’ve never understood people who are so offended when people use hardball tactics on the AH. “The auction house is PvP” as they say. Sure, it is annoying when some guy logs in every 10 minutes to undercut you, but you just can’t compete with somebody who is willing to sit on the AH all day. I found the glyph market to be far too tedious on my server. There are 2 or 3 such people who will undercut you immediately.

  3. The original postings of your experiment inspired me to take another shot at a WoW business. Is true. I took a very different approach, much more casual, but the result have been quite satisfying.

    I decided I was tired of using my “professions” to whip up a flask every now and then, or selling excess herbs on the auction house occasionally. It’s a profession. I should be professional about it.

    Now I spend about 15-20 minutes a day in the AH buying and selling, and two 30-minute””shifts” a week gathering mats to make potions, elixirs and flasks.

    And now I’m bring in about 2000g a week. Not huge of course, but more than what I need! And way more than I was getting running a few dailies every day. And I still do that as well. It’s not gonna make me a “WoW millionaire” but…

    It’s enough to buy the pretty white bird I want, AND I’m actually having fun with my professions for the first time in a loooooong time. Now I’m dabbling in Glyphs and Leathers and it’s a blast. Fun with golds! 🙂

    So, yah the way you play the AH isn’t for me. But your posts certainly inspired me to get back in and have fun with the WoW economy again. TY!

    A wee testimonial for ya. 🙂

    * Probably shouldn’t post this here but, for casual/occasional AH players, your biggest secret weapon is… you’re casual. You can afford to wait. Let the hardcore players drive up the market price of an item or segment, for example. Then pounce, clean up, and move on. Cheap? Yah. Effective? Oh yah. Hardcore AH players have the same market vulnerabilities as real world traders. In WoW, the market is just simpler. That makes it easier to manipulate, but it also makes it easier to take advantage when someone IS manipulating the market. Hardcore AH players don’t and can’t own a market… at least not forever. You just have to understand the timing of how a player works a certain segment of the AH to increase their short and long term profits. Gaining that understand is the real value (and service) of these posts. Hmmm… This is getting too long and I feel a blog entry coming on. 🙂

  4. @Kisli – I certainly hope it helps him, I’m no professional. And thanks for the support! 🙂 As for shammy healing, I’ve neglected it. I started priest healing for our Ulduar 10 groups. We already have a killer pally healer so mine isn’t as needed, but we definitely needed a raid healer so I went that route. I will be picking up the shaman healing though as I’d like to get him into Ulduar as well.

    @Moo – Well I can understand the frustrations that go along with getting undercut, but I don’t understand those who don’t get that as frustrated as they are with getting undercut, they’re frustrating someone else just as much undercutting them.

    @Friday – I’m glad it inspired you to try it out. That’s all my experiment was about was to first to see if it could be done and then to show others. I never expected to get into the AH as much as I have, but it’s a lot of fun…for now. Eventually I’m sure I’ll get bored and move on to something else and as such my posts are reflecting what I’m currently doing. Glad it’s fun for you! 🙂

  5. I go by the same philosophy more or less. I have a few undercutters to deal with which really hurtrs my profit. I still pull in around 1-2k a day though.

  6. First, I want to say I have been following your site for several months now, and I think we see pretty much eye-to-eye. I’ve noticed several of my AH methods are similar to yours, although glyphs aren’t my thing.

    I applaud your efforts in the AH. I think that spending 2 to 3 hours in the AH is a tough thing to do, but alot of gold can be made if you put time into it. I think most of my AH rounds last about 15 to 30 minutes.

    Due to the WoW economy being down across the board, I’ve relaxed a little bit and am waiting for 3.2 to start heavy on the gold making again.

    I’m curious though, minus costs, what are you pulling in day-to-day? I’m sitting at anywhere from 500g-1000g per day, which is down from my usual 1500g-2000g per day.

    And finally, I am an undercutting whore myself, so I say those that can’t keep up the pace with your aggressive pricing should adapt and try to find a new way to beat yourstrategies. That’s half the fun!

  7. It’s a shame that the tradeskills I’ve levling so far aren’t big gold-makers. Tailoring and LWing both offer leg patches, but the really good leg patches are not something I can produce in any great quantity. The leather and coth markets are not very high, either.

    The only exception is my warrior, the herbie/alchy. Her I’ll have to do some AH playing with if I want to get her epic flying!

  8. @Darraxus – I’m still pulling in just over 1k/day, but I’m having to sell alot more than before. I am however starting to see that the others are posting less as I’ve gotten a good majority of the glyphs under 10g/ea now. It sucks, but posting glyphs for an average 20-30g/ea and not selling because of undercuts was netting me less in the long run.

    So I guess I tanked the market. 😛

    @Khor – Two weekends ago I saw a spike where I was averaging 5k/day, but that’s when the others started getting very aggressive and posting more often. Last Tuesday I pulled in 700g. That was unacceptable to me, so I started undercutting everything by 30%. That’s when the price war started and upset competitors started whispering me. I’ve since backed off to 20% and now 10%.

    Ironically one of my competitors started giving me advice on how I could make more by selling at higher prices and told me he had made 200g that day when I asked. At that point I was already at 1800g so I’m not sure what he means…

    Anyway, I’m averaging between 1500-2000g right now it seems. I’m not sure of my actual current profit as I haven’t had to buy too many herbs although I spent 1600g on Saturday.

    @Ambrosyne – Tailoring and Leatherworking may provide some good items for DE’ing. The bonus thing about mats is there is no posting cost so if they don’t sell you’ve only lost time. And if you’re Alchy is an Elixir Master you can definitely make some gold selling flasks, if you’re transmute you can make gold selling gems. (Actually, I might need to think of switching to transmute again for the epic gems that are coming…)

  9. I miss the point about the diamond tipped cane? That’s a random fishing reward. Show me where you bought the Haris Pilton $3k gold eternium band just for kicks, and maybe then I’ll be impressed. 😉

  10. @haris pilton – The diamond tipped cane was a joke. I had it once on Ky, but vendor’d it come Wrath. I had to buy another one for my bank toon. It only cost 7g.

    As for the band? Nah. I bought the repair mount months ago. In our somewhat fail Ulduar10 run last night, it was commented that I didn’t have my mount on my priest and joked that I should buy another. 🙂

  11. There is another level to the overpost analysis – risk vs reward. Say you are taking 3g worth of herbs/parchment, making a glyph and trying to sell it for 50g (not on my server where prices seem to be 2-10 for most). If you post 3 glyphs instead of 2 then it always costs you an additional 60c. If 1% of the time, you sell the third glyph when you wouldn’t have with two posted, then you spent 0.6 (100* .006) g to make 47 (50-3)g. If you are selling it for 4 gold so profit of 1 versus 47 gold, then it changes.

    Posting 12 sure seems wrong. Unless he is trying to send a message to competitors to “stay away – these will be here till they sell”. Except most market players will not pick up on that.

    The other reason for lots of glyphs is vacation – you are not going to be around for an entire 48h cycle. So if you dump your stack of 20 glyphs on the AH at low prices, then it will keep prices down while you are not there to profit and some might sell. You would price things differently if you knew you werent going to be there to defend the undercuts. And people not as noble and altuistic as we, might say if I can’t profit why should my competitors.

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