Too Many Auctioneers

I'll keep the author for this email annonymous, but I think the question he asks is on the minds of many of you:

Hey its me again, I still don't have my duel monitor thing due to that i think i lost my user's manual but thats ok. Anyways i'm here to request a post or maybe just some help in this particular area. I told you a while ago that I transfered with my guild to a new server. I am now under the belief that around half of the current population uses auctioneer or other addons to similar effect. I was talking in trade just messing around and a bunch of other people joined in. Around 3/4 of them had the word "bank" in their name and i've seen plenty of other level 1 alts sitting in major cities. I've tried finding niches with blacksmithing and my lowbie tailoring but they only seem to work for around 3 days max. What i'm wondering is if you could have a blog post or just email me back with advice on how to make money with several other people using auctioneer or similar strategies of your blog.(ex: stoneguard rings)

I have several things to say in response to this question, but let's start with the first thing I read and found interesting: "They only seem to work for around 3 days max." Why is this? Did someone mass undercut you and ruin the market? Or was it just that time of the week and there was too much competition? Remember that wow runs on a weekly cycle and prices go up and down depending on the number of players on as well as the number wanting your goods at any one time. Don't just give up on a profitable market if you have a bad couple of days, because odds are the prices will come back up the same time the following week.

Now for your main question, yes there is a way to make gold with lots of people in your market, though you will make less obviously than if you were the sole provider. To beat your competition you have to time your selling and work as hard as possible to get your mats cheaper than everyone else. Think walmart: quality + low prices. Get farmers, cut deals, and do whatever it takes to be the cheapest provider of the mats you are fighting over. Next, sell your items when you have the best chance of attracting buyers and in small quantities. Pick prime times, toss up 1-5% of the total items on the ah at that time and resupply if they sell.

Leave your thoughts! There are many other ways to compete, such as collaborating with your competition and striking deals.

14 comments: on "Too Many Auctioneers"

  1. I am not exactly in the same boat as your email writer, but I sometimes feel the same. Often It seems there is little to no room to fit your goods in, but Markco is right about timing. It is pretty common for me to sell a stack of one of my safe bet items, only to log back in, collect my earnings, check the AH and see the same goods now going for less. The prices of goods are so volatile right now, its important to not only understand an item's perceived value, but its range of value.

    For example: I commonly sell stacks of strange dust for anywhere between 7g a stack to 10g a stack, and have been doing so for months. That 3g window is a reflection of real-time market changes, but so far I know that item will always find a buyer with that price range, even if there are under cutters.

    Another tip: understand there are, what I call, 3 types of goods to sell on the AH. 1) your "luckies," these can be the items you anticipated their value rising (glyphs) or simply finding a set of goods drastically under the next closest BO. 2) you "bread and butter." This alludes to Markco's mention of the 80/20 rule, this is the market you are also most knowledgeable in. It may not be the most profitable, but it is consistent and reliable. And 3) your "risk vs reward" goods, this is typically when you are trying to enter new markets, and use different strategies to try and affect the short-term cost of an item by buying out all stock, or simply trying to penetrate a market you have little knowledge of. Of course this segment has higher opportunity, but also can lead to a stinking debt.

    As the vigilant auctioneer, you can never stop trying to find new markets, which is why so many players check these type of blogs everyday! Be patient and look for small gains, because profit is profit.

  2. The only difficulty with competing against too many people who use auctioneer would be that it should be hard to buy good deals.

    Are you running an auction house scan and then by the time it is complete, all of the deals which were flagged have already been purchased?

    Two ways around this:
    1. Use quick scan if the server is currently empty.

    2. In peak times there should be pages and pages of auctions posted every few minutes, there are going to be people on your server who mispost their items. Just hit search on the main screen sort it by 48 hours and then by % and you should have a list of all the items that were just posted with the best deals on top. Look through the first few pages. You will be able to buy out items before your competition's scan finishes.

    Remember to double check a scan of just that one item to make sure there isn't way too much supply (this is especially important with recent fluctuating prices).

  3. Hey, log into WoW, check the achievements tab, click the "Statistics" tab at the bottom of the window, and somewhere in there is your Total Gold Acquired, how much gold have you acquired?

  4. I have some of the same difficulties but I focus a lot on the trade goods and they seem to move fast enough that even if the prices tank they get cleaned out and back to normal within a day rather then the week it might take for an armor to do the same.

    Also look into leveling some professions and enter the secondary markets, If you have alts able to disenchant/mill/prospect you can tap into auctions that people without those professions can’t take advantage of, that should help you whittle down the number of people bidding against you.

    Lastly value add, Ship some eternals you gain while playing on your main to an alt with 450 mining, buy some cheap titanium ore/bars and sell the titiansteel bar for a tidy profit. Or if some armor you have won’t sell use your enchanter to use up some of those disenchant mats to throw on a cheap ‘chant to make it more desirable then other items of the same price.

  5. So here is where I have to say... There are a lot of zombies using auctioneer... "Brains... Brains...."

    Anyhow, a tool is good, but still only as good as the user who is implementing it.

    Undercut is a bi-directional function in Auctioneer. I like to set my max markup to about 35% and max undercut to the same.

    The idea is that you want to make sure to inflate the price up a little (but not so high to trigger "Outlier" filters) so that people can happily undercut you by the 1% default in auctioneer... "Brains... Brains...."

    Also... do you see 20 bazillion posts of stacks of _fill_in_the_blank all valuations of 25%? Don't want to fight with their price? Don't. Auctioneer is funny with its sorting. Go sort by percent price. go on, try it.... OK, so what do you see ? the lower count stacks are STILL in the first page, and the lower priced stacks of 20 are on the second or 3rd page....

    What do the zombie masses do? "Brains... Brains...." they buy out the top listing on the first page - cause it is cheaper, right? WRONG. it is not the cheapest. Profit on their lack of investigation.

    If I see 20 stacks of infinite dust flooding the market down to 17% valuation.... I will post my infinite dusts individually - WITHOUT UNDERCUTTING... and they will sell.

    Does this always work? nope. There's not always a market. Thats just life.

    So... why do I restrict my undercut to only 35%? because buyers will eventually get to me. I don't need to undercut 45% like the noob before me. if he gets a fast sale - so be it. It will sell while I am sleeping. Do I care if I get it in 2 hours or 10 hours? Not really... its going to take an hour in the mail anyhow to deliver - so whats the rush?

    So the thing is - 2 things drive the market... the number of buyers and the number of people undercutting each other. Instant gratification requirements help to alleviate the cost prohibition.

    If there isn't a target, set one... if the target is too low - put it at your own target, and in due time someone will buy. Just remember to keep it within the confines of the Outlier percentages.

    The moral is - read the masses - pounce on opportunities where the number of items listed are 0: and mark up reasonably.

    Do not undercut the undercutters. undercut in a smart way. Know the "features" (read bugs) of the popular software used.

    Don't be in a hurry. Diversify. If one thing isn't selling, another is.

    OK - I have rambled on enough about this. I just wanted to add my two copper.

  6. Love it Roy, absolutely love it :)

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.
  8. @Markco
    Those under cutter do not bother me much. As stated by Roy, Diversify. I got people flooding on couples of markets I am selling everyday. They come, and they go.

    They normally don't stay long.
    And I am trading product where my bag space allow
    (my bank alts had each bag slot a different good to sell)
    So I am selling 40+ type of goods at the same time.

    If one of the market price is flooded.
    I just wait for another day.
    Also my profit margin is very high,
    e.g. I only take goods in <40% price.
    so even if I under-cut 60% (But I never do more than 20%), the thing I'll lose is the time and gold locked up.

    I like you define of the three type of goods.
    In my case, I mainly earn form my "bread and butter", the low-end trade leveling market.
    I start looking into my luckies on mini-pet, and take risk on high-end materials (and got crushed by 3.1, Oops)

    Nice post about the under cutter and how to due with it,
    I always hesitate when under cutters are flooding the market, and they do come and go in a week. They don't stay long though.

    But I got to situation such as I had too many stockpile, and cannot get rid of them really fast.

    Which pose a question to myself,
    should I get rid of them and move on, or wait the market to stabilize. (if it ever will be)

    I would worry that will my decision of staying is just trying to avoid another mistake
    (after stockpile too much)

    I guess, knowing when to stay and and when to go, is the hardest part in trading.

  9. Well Markco,

    It took WoWInsider just 3 days to rip off another JMTC/Zekta post post.

    Your post on guild bank space: 19th April linking Zekta's post about guild bank tabs -

    Time is Money's guild bank post: 22nd April


  10. @Zekta, when it comes to an overabundance of goods, I hear ya. The market for Strange Dust has been a pretty consistent one for a long time, but recently, my bags are full of it.

    The prices of Strange Dust have tanked to as low as 3-4g per stack of 20, when it was previously around 7-9g per stack. I bought a lot out hoping it was just weekday lack-o-demand, but we will see if prices recover this weekend. If they don't I will be considering selling my stock on the cheap, it has just turned into a waiting game.

    I attribute the flooding of strange dust to be on the changes to some of the lower mat requirements. Many players may have decided "its time to level tailoring!" and DE'd their goods as they went.

    I did win on the Silver Bar waiting game however. Right after 3.1 dropped prices were as low as 1-1.5g a bar, I bought out about 120 bars for that price and have sold about 50% of that stock at 3g per bar. Glad to see some prices have stabilized.

    Overall, great tips everyone!

  11. @Glinda
    Thanks mate,
    Thank's for noticing

    I saw that myself too...
    and had mailed wowinsider editor for it
    (filling the form thing etc)
    and ask for an explanation.

    I hope Markco won't mind if I mentioned him too much
    (And @Markco check ur mail for the copy)

    Anyway, I am waiting for their reply.
    if they ignore my mail / give us some irresponsible reply, I'll consider publish it along with their reply

    I am pretty unhappy that my first work on the topic had been "coincidently" happens there.
    Since I did do a quick google to look for any similar work have done before.
    I don't want to make up another guide if a better one exist.

    Anyway, thanks for the notice
    or others may just ignore the whole thing

  12. Heh, undercutting^^

    I love undercutters who post entire stacks of an item and undercut it. Especially when it's a common trade item (metal bars such as saronite, truesilver ore for smelting bonuses), I truly love, love seeing them b/c they're gold waiting to happen. Slowly, yes, but it's easy gold.

    Not everybody wants to mass produce items. DK's who want to blur past as much of their lowbie trade levels as quickly as possible will often pay more for a small quantity of an item. Truesilver, for example, will let you ding mining for a few levels simply by smelting it as opposed to the buyer going out, finding several ore veins and mining them until they ding. So if you're only going to need 3-6 ores, why buy 20 at 80% price? Or even at 50% price if you're just going to drop the excess? These aren't fellow traders who buy auctions and resale them. They simply want to level a skill or bang out a few items and they move on. And they have gold which I want. So there's a market for smaller lots. And vendors who like to sell lots of 2 cheaply. Buy what you think you'll sell in a few days or weeks or whatever and just keep feeding the market. Every market has it's weekly fluctuations, some days down, sometimes days on end down. But it comes back up, and I'm back to overcutting the undercutters at 100%+ and still moving my merchandise. All hail the undercut. Even my competition can help me make gold :D

  13. @ Glinda

    Oct. 7th 2008 Bank Alts: Guild Bank vs. Personal Storage (

    Guild bank vs. personal storage articles have been done before. The point is that the same aspects of WoW are covered by many people. I don't believe that these people are intentionally ripping off anyone (but I could be wrong), they just happen to be writing about the same topic, but with their own commentary and thoughts on it. Now if it was a pure copy and paste, then yes this would be stealing content. However, I don't believe there is anything wrong with getting ideas from the blogsphere. I actually appreciate the resurfacing of topics like bank storage with updated information/prices as well as the different opinions on it. Now if someone did get their idea directly from someone else, a link or source should be noted.

  14. I got to be the most aggressive here. I have so much to manage that I usually do not have enough time, so I need to monitor. I started playing the AH again after sometime since... I got pretty bored.

    Usually if I see something cheap.. way below my usual selling rate. I just buy them out. Just yest I bought out close to 30 over stacks of arcane dusts at around 1.5g to 2g per dust. Then I resold everything in stacks of 5 and 20, some individually at around 2.4g ea. I even used my main and alt to do the selling together so as to not make it seem too obvious. Most of the small stacks of 5 are sold already.

    I usually just repeat the same. Cheap = I will buy. Probably I dont have to sell now, but I can sell later. I have sufficient holding power.

    My market is almost the worse kind to have as a businessman to exploit. It is a high pop server with H to A ratio at 5:1. I am on horde. You can imagine the amount of competition I have. My main bread and butter is JC. Check up the prices. Cut like 2-3 each and undercut the last guy by 1s. I will make like 5-10g ea gem. If I get undercut on the way after my raid and back. I just buy more gems, cut them and undercut them again. So long there is profit, I am fine. The only problem is time. Running to and fro the mailbox is tiring. I dont play alot. Since I have to raid and I pretty much log off after raid.

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