Specialize or Diversify?

Pass the twinkies, beer and arctic fur coasters, it's time for the Wow Gold Blogging Carnival! Come one come all, Markco the gold guru with the most commonly misspelled name of all warcraft legends has gathered together quite a collection of wow gold articles from across the Azerothean blogosphere! We have everyone from gold aficionados to common players all mixed together into a smorgasbord of information. Pass the popcorn and enjoy the vast range of topics and cataclysm gold lovin' goodness. Feedback is greatly appreciated and be sure to comment on articles you enjoyed reading. Also let the author know that you found their link via my site to promote collaboration among bloggers. That's the goal of a blogging carnival after all, besides providing excellent content.

Be sure to check out past carnivals and give feedback in the comments on what you'd like the next carnival to be about. If you are a gold blogger and looking for additional ways to generate traffic for your site between carnivals then take a look at Traffic Blogger.

Specialize or Diversify? Control one market or dip your toes into several?

Bangkok Bill's World of Goldcraft:
Specializing tends to be easier; you know your market better; and takes less time; while diversifying takes more time; can lead you to sometimes post things at less than the optimal amount due to lack of knowledge/time; but does help ensure profits in the case of one market drying up. So which should you do?

Break The Bank
Interesting timing for this carnival topic. I just finished writing a series on buyer awareness, at the end of which I proposed a non-traditional take on diversification. The question itself is not easily answered since it doesn’t really come down to choosing one over the other, but rather to knowing when to specialize and when to diversify. I think I’ll begin to answer this question by first of all expanding it from two options to four.

Bank of Wukam
The topic this month is whether it is better to focus on one market, controlling it completely, or to spread yourself over multiple markets, always ensuring you have your hand in something. The obvious and easy answer is, of course, "both!" But obvious and easy answers are rarely much fun. So instead, I'll try to break them down, and figure out which choice is best under what circumstances.

Nerf Faids
I first came into the real community of gold making last fall.  Someone in a community I read had just reached the gold-cap and I wanted to be just like them.  They did it entirely through glyphs back when they were booming in early Wrath and I set forth to do the same.  I did the exact same thing. Glyphs glyphs glyphs 24/7. It's all I sold.  I was on my toon every 20 minutes cancelling and reposting.

Xander's Gold Mine
Well there are many answers to this question if you could choose to do one or the other or even  both. There is really no right answer its what you want to do. Lets take a look at all three possibilities and then at the end I will give you my opinion.

Kaliope's Wow Crafting Blog
The latest Carnival topic from JMTC got me thinking about the idea of whether it's better to specialize or diversify as a new Auction House player. Obviously folks who've been playing the markets for a while have already made their choice on this question, so its the newcomers who generally face this issue. Given my background in tech support, I tend to follow the KISS philosophy when introducing new ideas to people. It's easy for players to get overwhelmed in a game as complex as WoW, so why not start in a small pond and work your way up? This is why I would advocate specializing for the budding auction house dabbler.

Stylish Black Shirt
My general answer is diversification is far better than specialization.  In WoW, markets aren't limited by scarcity in the traditional sense.  The few markets that are limited are thus constrained by drop rates.  Those markets become difficult to control, because savvy players will list those items at prices that reflect the value of the item. You can't necessarily control a market the same way that DeBeers controlled the diamond market for many years.

Player Vs Auction House
If there is ever a question between whether you should specialize or diversify in a particular market or just in general, the correct answer is to specialize in diversity. A lot of AH advice is sort of wishy-washy "do what feels right for you" but this is one of the big, unequivocal no-brainers. Diversify, branch out, get your thumbs in as many pies as you can.

Fat Jack's Wow Gold Rush
Sometimes we find ourselves in a position where we need to reevaluate where we are at, and if we're smart it may be necessary to readjust our direction. For me I've just hit that point in game. I had dropped a lot of gold into leveling some of my professions. I only have a Druid that has made it to 85. And my operating cash (gold) stores had dwindled down. So it was time to readjust my business plan to move back to profitability. To be honest I'm an average guy with a hectic life.

The Gold Queen
An unusual situation is taking shape slowly and surely in World of Warcraft as the market matures, players gain more knowledge, more experience of the AH, of addons, and of items.  The market becomes more saturated with items for sale, and the limiting factor in the number of items you can sell becomes more and more dependent on time, rather than gold. 

Alto's Gold"ish" Advice
How good are you on the AH? Have you hit 10K, 50K, 500K, a Million? Whichever spot you are at, you mos def need to use what you have to get there. Think about that a second.....

Auction House Addict
For me, diversify is my natural habit - I have most profs maxed now (except BS & Eng) & although I am currently spending most time on JC & Inscription, I'm also popping over to my LW'er when a blog post comes up that reminds me of something or to my bank alt mage to do a quick teleport around the capital cities for vendor items.

The Vayaz
The first problem we come across is the one I mentioned at the beginning: Time. At the first glance, specialising in certain markets seems like the idea to go, because the maximum level of diversification (i.e., presence in every market) will basically eat all your time.

That's all for this month folks! An excellent set of submissions from the blogosphere, be sure to drop by and leave a comment or two on their blogs! Also be sure to check out the past JMTC Blogging Carnivals for even more great stuff to read!

12 comments: on "Specialize or Diversify?"

  1. I suppose I win the "post not included" prize once again. Well, it's been only the third time now.

    My contribution:

    If you do not read your emails or receive too many, perhaps another way to contact you especially for this purpose (i.e., Blogging Carnival) would be useful.

  2. My take:
    In the real world, practically every major “diversified” company started out specializing in something before diversifying. GE did electrics and appliances before capital management, jet engines, and entertainment; Microsoft did DOS before expanding into Office, entertainment, and online; Harry & David did pears before plums, oranges, and mangoes; etc. It seems like specialization is necessary to build up the capital to diversify.

    I think it’s the same in WoW: Diversifying by investing in a tradeskill takes a lot of time and money, so it’s probably optimal to milk one market you know well first before dipping into others.

    The real world still has a lot of huge companies that are very specialized, like Intel and Google, who make hand-over-fist profits doing essentially the same thing they’ve always done, but that’s because they do what they do better than most others; that is, their product is superior and the barriers to entry are high.

    But there’s no real analogy to that in WoW, as far as I can see. Anyone can get into a tradeskill without too much investment, and once they’re in, their products are exactly the same as yours – to a buyer, the Scroll of Earthen Vitality that I put on the AH is identical to yours in every respect, except for the price.

    So it seems to me that the only way to ensure long-term profitability is really to diversify. Of course, the tricky part is figuring out where and when…

  3. Really sorry about that Vayaz, I've added you now. I'll talk to Markco about making another way to submit blogging carnival posts and we'll see what we can come up with.

  4. Mageshadow may I suggest an update and larger link to
    http://www.justmytwocopper.org/p/contact.html ?

  5. Hey Mage. Could you please add an "l" to the end of the link to my blog. The "l" in html is missing and the link doesn't work. Thanks! :)

  6. I'm a little surprised that pretty much every blog in this carnival leans strongly towards diversification. For experts and die-hards, yeah I agree. For the average AH'er, for anyone not experienced with the WoW economy, and for those who want to do more than the AH, I don't think diversification is as wise as it's made out to be here.

    I know on my server, the AH is so competitive that in order to be successful across multiple markets, you really have to put in the time. I agree with the concepts and philosophies in most of the blogs listed here, but not the reality of them. To 'successfully' diversify, playing the AH is really all you're doing. If you want to level alts, run heroics with the guild, raid occasionally, and so on, you either are a rare expert economist, and/or you are spending, percentage-wise, a huge chunk of your life playing WoW. (This is if we're talking about diversifying in more than two or three markets. There are of course, ways to diversify more simply, but I am speaking in general terms.)

    Finally, I think everyone's situation is different. Something this blog community does really well is to present ideas and knowledge, without coming out and declaring a right and wrong way to do something. This allows each reader to absorb the information and make the decisions that are right for his situation, realm, preference, and goals. Ultimately, those four things are far more of an important factor than what is mathematically most profitable.

    For me personally, I've hit the 7-figure cap doing almost nothing but glyphs, with a bit of gems and vanity pets very casually. And I still get to enjoy most other aspects of WoW. Across my alts I've maxed all other professions, except LW, but I still don't spend the time to master their markets, mostly because I haven't needed to. Perhaps this makes my perspective a bit biased, but... there it is.

  7. Hi my site should be included i often post reviews and very oftenly post news and good content for WoW

    I also play wow level 80 pally ;)


    matt :D

  8. I also send my contribution to Carnival,but i was a little bit late, so i do not think it will get posted.
    But good read all this post you guys work hard and expressed really well you opinion on this subject.

  9. Alberthus, send us your post and we will try to make it a guest post.

  10. Hi Markco and MAgeShadow ,already send the E-mail,if it does not arrive please let me know,best regards

  11. Just wanted to say thanks for having me at the carnival - my subscribers doubled yesterday, so this is a greatly appreciated service for up-and-coming bloggers.

    As far as the submissions, what about creating a separate email address just for the carnival - that way you would only need to check it once a month, and you wouldn't miss any submissions in what I'm sure is a very busy inbox for your primary email

  12. I say specialize in diversity. I have 200 different items @ ah all the time. Its fairly easy with the use of APM, Postal, Inventorium, Altoholic. Auto restocking at vendors, auto relisting at AH, auto open mail to collect gold. Minimum investement(lets say 10s at a vendor), potentially 90000% profit or more.

    People are lazy. Take advantage ;)

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