24 Sep 2010

Becoming a Better Barker

I’m probably what you’d call a semi-casual auctioneer. I have a dedicated bank alt and a clutch of addons to help me sell stuff. I tend to avoid risk though – I deal in raw materials, BoE blue gear and items that I can flip easily. I don’t spend much time on it, but likewise I don’t make big profits from it.

Over the last few days I’ve been hit hard from firesales. People are converting the last few badges they have to gems or Primordial Saronite to sell for whatever they can. Prices (and profits) on most materials are plunging as supply far outstrips demand.

Craftables are also a source of anxiety. Get it right and you’re in the money. Get it wrong and you’ve wasted time, effort and materials on something that won’t sell. And right now, it feels like most markets are seizing up. While the smart players are cleaning out their bucket lists and putting down plans, there’s a lot of “wait and see” stagnation.

Right now, the real growth area for me is in barking. By that I don’t mean barking at the moon, I mean having a little advert for my crafting skills that I can paste in the trade channel when I’m not doing anything. Depending on the time of day, it can net me a few hundred gold an hour of pure profit. There are some great secrets to barking that I’ve learned in order to get the best results.

  • Build a Barker Macro – you can link your tradeskill to a macro window just like you can to a chat channel. Use this to build a /2 macro, allowing you to advertise your wares with a single click.
  • Tailor your Bark – if you have rare ICC recipes, say so in your advert. If you have enchanting formulae that would be great on heirlooms then mention it. Try and keep it upbeat, interesting or amusing so that it sticks in the reader’s mind.
  • Know Your Market – if you play on a PvP realm, take that into account when focusing on what you can make for them. If you’re on a roleplay realm, mention your exclusive range of unique items to enhance their outfit.
  • Know Your Product – try and use your expertise to help the person buying your services. Inspect their gear and see if there’s anything else you can do for them. Make sure that they’re buying the right thing and advise them if there’s something more suitable you can offer. Good service means repeat business!
  • Do The Double Whammy – load up raw materials on the auctionhouse first from your bank alt, then relog to your crafter and start barking. With any luck, customers will buy your items off the AH and bring them to you to turn into their goods.
  • Give Good Service – a good crafter will earn repeat business from their customers, meaning that you have to bark less to earn a crust. Build a reputation on the server and try to become the “go-to” guy for a particular tradeskill. Even if you can’t help everyone, giving service with a smile will always pay dividends.

I generally tend to bark when I’m waiting for something else to happen. This could be in the time before a guild raid or while I’m waiting for a PuG raid to the weekly to fill. It can also be while I’m waiting for the LfD tool to pop. Either way, turning the dead time into something more useful always helps.

Why is barking working? Some are looking to get the best start they can to Cataclysm by tweaking the last few bits on their gear. Others are pushing the last of their alts through to 80 before the expansion hits. A few are prepping up heirlooms and gear for their future worgen or goblins. I’ve even helped out roleplay guilds that are looking to get started in Cataclysm and want to have a cool set of uniforms ready for their members.

This little niche is my contribution to the Just My Two Copper Blogging Carnival. Check the Carnival out on October 2nd for more gold making niches.

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