Sunday, March 24, 2013

Conquering Conniving Cutters

Pen/ink drawing I did back in 2008
"T'was several moons ago when my eyes fell upon the abomination for the first time. It scrawled across the grassy fields tearing up the fog and illuminating the dark with a baneful glow.  It had no name and blankly stared forward with its many eyes. Unbiased to that which it tormented, nothing was safe and anything crossing its path ended up just a mere dream in a nightmare of lost descendents" ~Profitz

So my fellow gold-making lad, you tell me you've been undercut aye?  Does it not seem as if you've been betrayed?  Sometimes, sadly this is the case.  It seems as if you've been betrayed by a close friend when you list all your items and do a quick validation search and low and behold, just moments after listing, a dirty conniving undercutter has tromped all over your listings (probably laughing at you right now in a little dark corner of the AH watching your reaction).  I know...first reaction is to unsheath your sword and gut the varmint like a fish watching their insides spill out and adorn the floorboards...hell maybe people's boots coming in will make that squeaky new shoes sound while splashing and spattering the freshly spewed insides here and there...but hold off on that for now... *chuckles*

Then again, the thought probably doesn't leave your mind for minutes after it's been're still  mumbling under your breath, "...that dirty little, no good for nothing, pond scum licking, murloc kissing, galleon sleeping, filth talking, loin cloth wearing, trash smelling, slithering, conniving, inbred, AHer!!"  ok..maybe not that bad...but here's how you can deal with those peeps.

Rest assured, this is a part of the overall process of working the AH and having gone through this,will make you even better.  There will also be those types of people who need a quick return and will get it at anyone's expense.  But don't are a few ways I manage to Conquer these Conniving Cutters.

Knowing is half the battle...
1:  GO-ZONEIf you have their name, that's half the battle.  Skip on over to The Undermine Journal and pull them up.  This little tactic will help you identify their posting patterns and give you a few options:

     A:  Post outside their posting times.  Look for the gaps in their existing schedule and take advantage of those.  This works pretty nice especially if they're direct competitors of yours in the same market(s).

     B:  Post when they're on and these people are typically the ones watching the AH like a hawk.  In   fact, I like to even stand right next to them in line and watch them frantically run back and forth between mailbox and AH from seeing their own auctions get undercut.  If there was only a /trip command... *tee hee hee*

     C:  Hold your auctions.  This is by no doubt the least profitable path in the short term but in the long term, by holding auctions and knowing when to buy, sell, and relist, you can make some nice coin.  (Plays Kenny Rogers' - Gambler song here....'you gotta know when to hold them...know when to fold them...*snaps out of it* ok ok..I don't like country but this is a cool song *skips into the shadows*)

2:  LIPSTICK ON THE PIG: Can you bring me my chapstick? (plays Napoleon Dynamite clip here).  Sometimes, you have to understand and befriend your competition..yes, even these folks.  Even though you'll never understand why they do things the way they do, you can still make bank by learning and talking with them and possibly even persuading them to change a little to increase their profits.  Yes, increase their profits and by doing so, you'll increase your own.  Think about that last isn't a race.  There is plenty of gold in circulation.  Everyone wants to make gold when they sell items.  That's why they're listing them to begin with.  Put some lipstick on the pig and show it a new oink here and oink there...  wait, what?  Never mind.

Conniver Albert Gallatin - bogus compensation
3:  CONNIVE THE CONNIVER Carrots anyone?  In a recent blog post I made about Gold PvP'n and staying competitive, I received a question from one of my readers Bostfrolt(thanks for asking this by the way).  The question revolved completely about how to handle undercutters and if he should keep canceling and listing cheaper.  My response was this:

"In regards to your question, there is nothing wrong with playing a little cat-n-mouse game with them. Let me explain. What I like to do when someone keeps drastically undercutting is to bring them down to the level where I typically buy from and then buy their item(s) out. Most of the time you can't really get them that low unless they completely don't know what they're doing (which is possible in many markets). You can do this by simply 'baiting' them with a lower uncut of their item drastically in return.

Example: You list a piece of armor for like 300g. Your competitor comes in and lists the same item for 150g. (I still don't understand why they just don't undercut by 1 copper but hey, maybe they're in dire need of gold quickly to support the new cow on their farm LOL). If you have the exact same item in back stock (in your bank, stockpile, etc), then you can under list that person with the same piece down to 75g. (keep in mind, you've bought this item for sub-40g so you're still almost doubling your profit if someone comes in during all of this and buys your item). If they in turn drop their item even further, then it's time to buy that item and post another one. I NEVER post more than 2-3 of the same item at any giving time, especially with gear/armor or rares. 9 times out of 10, for those people who are doing this, they're also camping the AH and canceling their auctions often (yes, they're losing gold hand over fist). So bait them to drop their prices into your buying range and happy buying/flipping. The key is NEVER lose should hold that item rather than relisting.

Another example that happened to me recently was with a rare blue item that was of course common because there were 7 of that item listed. Eventually after going back and forth everyone dropped their pricing (this was over a period of 3-4 days) to around 100g when the item should be selling for 1500g. I bought them all up, relisted my item and started selling them all back at full pricing laughing at each sale."

The point to this response is if they're constantly doing it, most of the time they won't change and they're not paying attention to real costs for maximum profit.  So play their game and win.

4:  CAUTIOUSLY CANCEL:  Remember, every time you cancel an auction, it'll cost gold to relist the item(s) which is digging into your overall profit.  I typically cancel at least once a day across all my auctions.  I do this mostly in the morning through TSM (TradeSkillMaster).  By doing this, you're refreshing your item list on the AH and making your items show up first in the listings (of course based upon your settings for you would never want to sell something so low just to make that sale or have it appear first  Know your price ranges and sell back values for everything you buy).

Decoy alts - toon watchers from above. :>
5:  DUCK, DUCK, DECOY:  This one also came in from the same blog post but from Tandyn about dealing with constant undercutting not by a large margin but by that beautiful one copper.  I talked about setting up some decoy alts and also adding the undercutter(s) to your friend's list.  This will allow you to instantly know when they're on and most likely posting.

Know the suppliers - buy before competition does

Also, if they're farmers, it will show you where they are and how you can take advantage of getting to some prime resources before they do.  Cut off their supplies or talk directly to their suppliers and buy before they do.  People are motivated by gold and very few have values to remain loyal.  Yes, truly sad but it can work to your advantage.  All of this would be done on alts by the way.  Don't do investigative reporting (plays channel 3 news theme here) on your main toons, especially ones that are in guilds.  Some people take this the wrong way and can get aggressive and start slamming your guild or causing issues.  Play smart.  Play with honor.  Mostly importantly, play with a smile.

I hope this helps you all some and gives you more ideas to stay on top of your game and continue to enjoy this golden world.

“When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.” ~Dale Carnegie - How to Win Friends and Influence People

Be well.



  1. You missed a way. Get an agreement to whitelist. It does work.

    As to cautiously cancel? It really depends on the market. Enchanting and glyph business the cost of cancelling is so small compared to the profit (on my server anyway) I will definitely cancel and repost a couple of times a night. Even the jc market where costs are higher cancelling and doing a repost late at night with more posted seems to pay off these days. I dont deal with crafted equipment which is where the cancel costs definitely add up.

    1. Good points Brent. There are a lot of ways to handle high competition markets. In fact I know some (including myself) that won't cancel the glyph market they'll let the ones there were undercut right and they'll just craft n post more to maximize all profits. Either way works as long as you're making gold and your profit is there. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  2. I sometimes just let them sell what they posted, it keeps them happy and I don't mind taking a break every now and then to let them clear out stock. I usually have way more than them and I don't want to rob them of a few sales.

    1. Very honorable of you and I can appreciate this approach. Indeed this is a viable option and probably less stressful too. Thanks for commenting!


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