Greedy Bastards, the Tumbling Fight, and the Cleanup Crew
Riffing off PaulC’s secret desire to be a Greedy Bastard (what goblin doesn’t?), I thought I’d dedicate today’s post to a technique I use often, particularly while selling glyphs. First, some definitions.
Greedy Bastards. Goblins take good opportunities to sell high. You know how to seize a Greedy Bastard opportunity when you see one. Fess up, you’ve done it before. You see a single item listing too cheaply, buy it, and triple the listing price. Or an item you make isn’t listed at all, so you make one and post it sky-high. Or, finding someone has listed something ridiculously high, you ride GeeBee’s coattails and undercut by a copper.
The Tumbling Fight. This is the phenomenon in fast moving markets where listings (e.g., for glyphs, scrolls, gems) all tumble in a clump, often a narrow price cluster. As people undercut each other, the priciest listings fall off as they expire or are cancelled to be relisted a sliver under the lowest price. At some point, an equilibrium of sorts can be reached, with bottom prices so cheap you have buyers and flippers feeding at the bottom, with sellers replenishing the low-priced goods.
However, because of this struggle, situations can arise where ALL of the items are listed cheaply, i.e., no one bothers putting up any more modest/expensive units, or there is a clear gap between the super cheap and the pricey. This creates an opportunity.
The Cleanup Crew. Sometimes, you’ll find such a clump – could be half a dozen of an item, two dozen, or more even, but ALL of them are relatively cheap, compared to their typical price. In some cases, the items are also being sold well below the cost of mats. This is one of the sweetest opportunities for making gold. A goblin can swoop in, buy everything on firesale, and reset the market by putting up some of the snatched items at above-market prices.
Sometimes, the next people to hit the AH will simply pay your ransom. You just bought 15 units and made back your money three times over with one sale? Congratulations! More frequently, perhaps, someone will make you ride coattails by undercutting you before your little piggy makes it to market. No matter: you paid so little, you are pretty much guaranteed to make a profit. The kicker is that you have grabbed up a bunch of inventory, so now some of those competitors will probably be out of inventory (they can’t cancel and re-list, they sold to you!), and they may be loath to craft more of the item at 20g a pop when you just cleaned them out at 2g a pop. Doh!
Where to use this technique:
I use it most in the glyph market.
[Stede’s comment yesterday got me thinking about this. I’m pretty sheepish that I’m so un-automated; however, this whole process is one of the reasons I don’t mind posting manually. My larger glyph rivals clearly tend to automate (sticking to simple or limit-based underucutting), which leaves me room to wiggle, cherry pick, and play cleanup crew.]
Herbs are so “expensive” nowadays (35g+ / stack for wrath herbs, and 60g+ per stack for BC herbs), that my glyph mat stores are pretty limp. I rely on other sellers to provide me with cheap glyphs, and am probably getting 20%-30% (or more!) of my glyphs that way.
I don’t try this technique unless a) I can buy out all the “lower priced” glyphs relatively cheaply, and b) the margin difference between what I’m buying and where I can price is huge.
For example, twice in the past couple of weeks, I’ve bought out the absurdly competitive Glyph of Cleaving market (perhaps 20 glyphs for a total of 40g), then promptly listed a pair at high prices. One time I listed at 198g and got a sale; the second time, I listed at 99g and got a sale.
Yeah, I think I have 5 stacks of that glyph by now, but I’ve made my money back many times over, and over the long run, should make another 500g or more off the inventory I bought for peanuts.
After all, I can also make money by selling them in the Tumbling Fight.