Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
 
Free advertising for gold guides

Read my usual Google Alert on World of Warcraft today, which alerted me to one blog post by a guy named Gitr, titled Gitr hits it big-time. He says "I have finally made an impact somewhere. I got an invitation to review a gold guide by a fellow who saw that I was bragging about how well I do with my auctions and getting gold using my normal methods. I have a reviewer account to give this site’s methods a whirl and see if I see an improvement."

I probably wouldn't even have noticed such an entry, if I hadn't just received probably exactly the same invitation by the same gold guide seller. I wasn't going to take him up on that offer. And seeing that he sent the same flattering words to every WoW blogger out there doesn't make me think any higher of him. :)

You might think I'm strange, but I do think that people selling guides how to earn gold in WoW quickly are worse than people selling that gold directly. That is because the information how to earn gold in World of Warcraft can be learned from lots of free websites. So gathering free information and selling it on seems disreputable to me. Especially since the guy needed to collect the information only once, and can sell it to other people many times. A gold farmer, if he isn't using a bot or dupe, can only sell the gold he farmed once, that is he is selling some sort of "work". A gold guide seller is selling stolen intellectual property. Of course Blizzard would argue that WoW gold is their intellectual property and that a gold farmer is selling stolen intellectual property as well, but that argument never convinced me.

My advice: Don't buy any guides how to earn WoW gold quickly, nor guides how to level quickly. Half an hour of search with Google will probably get you the same information for free. These people do *not* have any secret information for sale which would make you a WoW gold millionaire with little effort. Most of the hints are of the "buy cheap, sell expensively in the AH" type, which are easier said than done. And if there are places where gold can be earned faster than in other places, you can be sure that the gold farmers know about it, and are already camping that spawn, making the information about that place worthless.
Comments:
I have learned a sad lesson from real life that also applies to online games. If a money making scheme is sufficiently well publicised that I get to hear about it then it is already too late to get in on the act. I did make a lot of money on the AH in WOW but there was no get rich quick scheme - it was through dilligently trading for an hour or so every day buying low and selling high. A grind if you like just a different kind of grind.
 
It looks like Gitr has a few things to say about your take on gold guides.

In Reply to Tobold’s Article
 
"So gathering free information and selling it on seems disreputable to me."

Come on Tobold. Your feelings on gold farming and get quick rich schemes aside, this statement is absurd. Almost all guides of any sort, whether for gaming or for whatever, collect information that could be obtained freely. The reason people buy guides is so they don't have to do the work themselves. You may think it a waste of money to buy one (though you were recently posting about luxury servers for those with disposable income), but how can you say it's "disreputable" to make one and sell one?
 
The degree of disreputability of course depends on how exactly the guide is made, advertised and sold. If somebody wrote down a step-by-step leveling or gold-making guide based on his own adventures, and sold it as that, I wouldn't mind that much. But the little I was able to see from commercial gold-guides (I never paid for one) was often just copied and pasted text from free sites, mixed with impracticable advice like "buy low, sell high".

The gold guide I didn't want to advertise is promising on its front page for a time investment "3 hours over two weeks" that you would earn 1000 gold. That is dishonest. You can't possibly in a reliable way make 1000 gold in 3 hours over two weeks in World of Warcraft, unless your server is full of idiots selling epics for far below value, and nobody else on your server has the idea of buying them for resale.

I'm not saying that it can never happen that you buy something cheap and sell it with a profit. And you can make 1000 gold in 30 minutes, if you get extremely lucky and Foror's Compendium of Dragonslaying is dropping for you in Dire Maul. But that doesn't mean that you can reliably earn gold that way every day. You can earn good money on the auction house, but that requires very specific knowledge on the prices on your server, which aren't identical on every server, and can't be communicated by a guide. You'll need a lot of learning work to make deal on the AH, and even then 1000 gold in 3 hours over 2 weeks is not going to happen every 2 weeks.

So the sellers of these guys are already lying in their advertising. If you knew how to make 1000 gold in 3 hours over 2 weeks on one server, you'd be able to make 40000 gold on 40 servers in 2 weeks, working 120 hours, or 60 hours per week. That gold you could sell for $2000 every two weeks, giving you a monthly income of $4000. So why would you forego that monthly income of $4000 in favor of selling the information for $9.95, which would probably lead to your method collapsing after too many people use it and Blizzard nerfs it, or the player economy collapses?

Sold "get rich quick" schemes are always scams, in the virtual world as well as in the real world.
 
Running one of the EQ class websites back in the day we had people moaning about the guides they purchased all the time. One guide someone had purchased for $20 they posted up on our website. Word for word from several Alla's guide, including the links, and, as a nice touch, Alla's copyright info at the bottom. First class laziness there!

There is no get rich quick scheme. Luck, yes.
 
Tobold, I agree. There is no consistent way to make money in the AH, especially as other people find out about your methods, and as the server ages.

For example, one former way of making money was to craft delicate arcanite converters because of the spread between the components and finished product. But as more engineers hit 300, soon everyone could make one, and the AH price dropped to near-mats cost.

Another way was to corner the market on rare-but-needed components like fused wiring and nexus crystals. But when too many people do it, eventually someone unloads it all, and the market crashes.

There are other ways I'm pursuing now but will never tell. Just like mineral node locations, once it's common knowledge, it get mined out, and you have to look for new ones. :) I think I can on average only make about 10-20g / hour or so, so those gold guides must be exaggerating.

AH trading is most exciting as a level-1 character, trying to go from your few starting copper to your first gold piece.
 
This may be a bit off topic, but: what's the google alert you use for searching? Sounds interesting, I'd like to check this out.
 
"The degree of disreputability of course depends on how exactly the guide is made, advertised and sold. If somebody wrote down a step-by-step leveling or gold-making guide based on his own adventures, and sold it as that, I wouldn't mind that much. But the little I was able to see from commercial gold-guides (I never paid for one) was often just copied and pasted text from free sites, mixed with impracticable advice like "buy low, sell high"."

I agree with you there. Plaigerism or using copyrighted material is absolutely disreputable. If most of those guides are doing that, then I would agree in steering clear. On the other hand, if someone put together a decent guide on their own merit, I see no problem there. As usual, I guess it's "buyer beware."
 
This may be a bit off topic, but: what's the google alert you use for searching? Sounds interesting, I'd like to check this out.

http://www.google.com/alerts

You enter a search term, like "World of Warcraft", choose whether you want just to search the web, blogs, news, or everything ("comprehensive"), and finally choose how often you want to be alerted, for example once per day. Then Google will do that search for you every day, and send you an e-mail with all the *new* search results on that search term.
 
For some people, half the fun is figuring out how to level up faster themselves.
 
I have guild mates that have thousands of gold pieces. They say its easy to do, yet when you talk to them about how, it ends up taking some effort.

It reminds me of this get-rich-quick "scheme". Set your alarm. Wake up. Drive to work. Work. Repeat for next 40 years.
 
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