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3.27.2011

Middlecutting in the Glyph Market



As a former glyph rockstar turned jaded glyph dropout I thought I'd share a bit of my most recent attempt at glyph catharsis: middlecutting.

I talked a bit about this on this last Friday's JMTC weekly meeting I thought I'd take some time to further explain the idea. I recommend it to anyone with any built up glyph-rage.

The Realization
While re-listing my glyphs for what seemed like the billionth time it dawned on me. Why am I mindlessly trying to sell glyphs for 200g when 98% of the time I'm getting undercut over and over again?

Why am I playing their game? Perhaps it is time for them to play MY game.

The Plot
The general idea behind "middlecutting" is to price glyphs low enough to annoy big sellers but high enough to continue to make some sort of profit.

If it was on a scale middle cutting would happen about here:

Mat Cost (9g?) [----------X---------------------] Highest price (220g?)

The middlecut price is low enough to be irritating to the seller but high enough to still make profit. Profit is actually secondary to the the pain and annoyance. A side bonus.

Good candidates for middlecutting.
An example of a typical middle cut is when I see all of one particular glyph where all are listed for 220g each. This can happen quite often if the other glyph sellers are actively controlling the market.

I'll list my glyph for 77 gold. If the glyph is selling for 76 gold I'll middlecut to 37 gold. I continue this cycle until the glyph price is driven into the ground completely.

I don't do this to ALL glyphs. I only middle cut about 10 or so at a time. Once they sell I leave a particular glyph alone. It needs time for the seller to work the price back up.

When I start a new round of middlecutting I pick the top 5-7 priced glyphs and start middle cutting them. I always want to be keeping the glyph seller on their toes. I want them to have to work.

If done correctly I think I could continue this for weeks and never middle cut the same glyph twice.

Middlecut engaged!


The Results
Once I do my middlecut one of three things are likely to happen.

1) They will cancel their glyphs and automatically under cut my 77 gold glyph.
2) They will buy my glyph out and try to flip it for 220g to maintain their high price.
3) Someone regular player will buy out my glyph for use on their character.

Locked and loaded.
In scenario 1 I've gained 0 gold but they have lost 143 gold in potential profit. The annoyance factor for them may be 0 if they aren't paying attention to their prices.

In scenario 2 I've gained 77 gold as well as annoyed them. They now know they need to watch for other middlecuts. This may cause them to check their other auctions and buy out my other middlecuts as well.

Annoyance factor for this scenario rates quite high if they are trying to keep the price so high.

In scenario 3 I've earned 77 gold and made someone a happy customer for not having to pay high prices. The annoyance factor for this one may be low if the glyph seller never knew it was up. I've made profit though which is a good thing in today's cut-throat glyph market.

The Satisfaction
I want to say this again, middlecutting is not strategy for pure profit. It is an annoyance strategy wherein you get a bit or revenge on those who are able to watch the AH like a hawk.

That said I have been having success selling glyphs this way. The profit margins may be smaller but the number of sales per day is higher. Selling a glyph for 77 gold that I made for 9 gold is still a good money maker.

I'f you've been frustrated by the saturation of the glyph market on your server and would like a fun game to play with some of your spare time then give middlecutting a try. You may be surprised at the results.

Talking Points
  • Do you ever engage in "auction house PVP"?
  • Have you ever been on the receiving end of "middlecutting"?
  • What is your favorite way to annoy other sellers?


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12 comments:

  1. Interesting flux, very interesting....

    I really don't see the great profitability in this, as you are just killing potential profits by just undercutting by say, 1g in the first place...

    I guess my take is: If someone needs that glyph, they don't care if it's 200g or 77g. They will pay the lowest price. If you undercut to 199g instead of 77g, they will buy yours. Either way. It's not that you are seeing more sales from glyphs, they would have sold either way..You are just the lowest seller, so it's deceiving...

    Although this is a good post, and I want to agree, my experience tells me not to. I can see one situation where it is feasable: if you want to sell three times the glyphs to reach the profit of selling one. The problem is, there is only X amount of glyph sales a day, and not XXX.

    This is not making more people buy glyphs by lowering the price, it's just dropping the overall "value". Right?

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Altolycus This isn't about profit. It's about pissing the other guy off. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  3. @Altolycus To explain a bit further you are correct on all counts. This isn't a regular glyph profit making strategy.

    This is an attempt to see at least some sales in a market saturated with higly motivated and dedicated competition.

    I moved out of the high volume glyph market but cant help but continue to experiment and poke around in it. More as a learning experience than a hardcore competition.

    Who knows maybe I should just jump back in swinging. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Since I started using TSM, I have dived deeper than ever into the glyph market - your strategy wouldn't really annoy me initially because I have my minimum prices set & I just cancel & relist blindly within those parameters - I wouldn't even see your individual glyphs.

    Having said that, if you went below my minimums, I would be left with a bag full of unposted glyphs (my TSM is set to not post below my min) then I would look at them - that's where my post came from last Friday :) So I guess it might take me a little longer to notice but hopefully, you'd have sold your cheap glyphs & moved on! lol

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've recently leveled inscription to 525 because of the outrageous glyph prices on my server. Since I did the work to get to 525, I figured I'd get into the glyph market to see if I could make some extra gold. I'm not a gold guru by any stretch of the imagination (consistently sit around 120k)and do fairly well peddling gems, belt buckles, and enchanting mats.

    I like the annoyance factor involved with your plot. However, on my server, not too sure if it would be effective. Undercutting is fierce and many times doesn't have any rhyme or reason.

    I will, however, give this a shot. Thanks for a great article.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I can't see how that's profitable, but I do understand that you want to annoy your competition.

    However, glyphs are possibly one of the worst markets to do that, since people are dragging prices "to the ground" all the time even when there's nobody helping them. :P

    ReplyDelete
  7. Most of my comment got eaten by blogger :(

    Summary - If you aren't doing it for profit, don;t bother. From my own experience as a "big time" glyph seller on my own server, I wouldn't even notice what you are doing, by the sound of things. You would need to really increase the scale in order to make any significant impact, and that would take way more time that it would be worth, imo.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I actually did this on my server, driving prices down from 700somethings to 75-100, and inscription has since become one of the main profit sources for me as opposed to a non sales profession.

    I don't really know why this works. At the beginning I just did it out of spite for my competitors, but it seems to keep working. Probably some people are not willing to undercut me too much, or not all of them, or not everyone was willing to buy a glyph that costed 700g

    ReplyDelete
  9. I took a chance on this, since I'm a small-time glyph seller unable to beat the competition when trying to sell at market rates. So, for those glyphs price 40g or higher (some up to 300g), I simply listed them at 50% of the going rate. Most of them have sold within the last day, giving me the gold I wouldn't otherwise get from them (only 1k; like I said, I'm small-time), and still making me a decent profit.

    As it is, I am considering giving up relying on the Inscription market for gold making, there's just too much dedicated competition and I'm not rich enough to start competing with them.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Flux,

    "Who knows maybe I should just jump back in swinging."

    You said it better than I could have. There is too much profit in glyphs no matter if you are a novice or a pro.

    I think it was Nev that hit on it, TSM for glyphs is sooo easy. I was very hesitant at first, but after I finially set it up (thanks in part to her) I saw that it auto deletes any glyph you were undercut on and leaves the ones with no competition. I have saved so much time since then, I wish I would have started earlier.

    Here is my post with links to both Nev and Zoxy's "how to's":

    TSM and Alto- Friends at last

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hahahahahahahahaha, I had this exact same idea a month or so ago! It's fun to see bloggers think alike. I was so fed up with constantly being undercut and having to cancel/repost 4 times a day just to make any profit that I went in to TSM and made about 2 of every glyph posted above 200g, and relisted at 100g. I honestly just wanted to get some hate-mail. I don't think it had much effect though, as I just got blindly undercut, as Nev pointed out. I did see a nice spike in sales though, and actually made a decent amount from this tactic. Whether this was due specifically to people seeing "cheap" glyphs and buying them, or whether it was just because I may have been selling the more popular glyphs is a mystery to me. But it was still a moderately enjoyable experience, and I might try it out on a grander scale some time in the future.

    Like you said though, this tactic isn't about profit, it's about fun and striking back at a rather infuriating market. Granted, you're still probably making profit, though not as much. And you might end up making this profitable if you can annoy your competition so much they drop out, allowing you to retake the glyph market!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I actually like doing this. I don't sell in volumes and spend lots of times on the AH so I don't have time to cancel/undercut battle.

    I find that some items I will relist several times and relisting ends up spending some G on auction fees each time for no sale.
    As a result I find if you severely cut the price you may not make as big a profit as if you had waited and relisted for a while. But you don't eat X amount of posting fees and you usually sell within 24h.

    Better sell for cheaper profit than not sell at all.

    ReplyDelete