Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What Everyone Should Know About Auctioneer

The fact is, Auctioneer can be wrong.


OK, maybe "wrong" is a little harsh. Misled is probably a better word. It doesn't happen that often. Sometimes it's obvious but most times it's not. When it's not sooo obvious is when it can cost you serious gold because you realize too late that your profit margin is turning into a big loss.

You're probably thinking "so what the h-e-double-[Telaari Polearms] are you talking about, Og? Be specific. Focus. Gimme examples."

I'll give two examples - one using Auctioneer Classic (AC) and one using Auctioneer Advanced (AA). Here's what I pulled up recently when searching for bargains using AC...

[Freshly Baked Bread] is going for how much?!?!? And to think I was wasting all my time in the AH looking for bargains! Um, yeah. So what's up with this?

Well the way the auctioneer suite values an item is by looking back at the historical prices it has, which comes from your dutiful and diligent Auction House (AH) scans (/nag). At some point somebody posted bread at some obscene, crazy price which caused the market value of the item to get skewed big time. Fair market price is a couple of copper, not hundreds of gold.

Why would someone post fresh bread at ridiculous levels?

  1. They're buying gold. After it's bought they post an item up for auction for an amount equal to however much gold they bought. The gold farmers buy it and complete the transaction.
  2. Someone was bored and pricing bread at 80 gold a loaf was the most fun they had all day.
  3. Deliberately trying to artificially inflate the market price long enough so they can drop the price and rake in the profits. Even though the item isn't worth 1/1,000 the price it looks outrageously cheap to suck in the naive, unthinking and sleep deprived.
  4. Someone saw the crazy price as a result of one of the top 3 and tried to see if they could make some easy coin buy doing the same thing.

The second example comes from using AA and BottomScanner. This one looks legit and a good candidate for a flip that can earn over 10 gold (assuming mark down).

Then we look a little closer. Two pieces of information I use from Auctioneer quite often are the:

  • Last X, median BO (ea) - Historically, the median of up to the last 36 (I believe that's the limit) auction prices for this item. Small historical snapshot to Even out what shows up on the next line.
  • Scanned X, median BO (ea) - The number of auctions for this item on last scan and the median price of those items. If you did a scan of the AH before bargain hunting this represents what's going on in the AH right now.

When looking at these numbers this flip would cost me gold. The last 26 items had a median buyout of 19.75 gold. From the most recent scan (which didn't include this set of wristguards) there was one item posted for 252 gold but my guess is it didn't sell for that.

When in doubt, lean on those two pieces of information to guide you. When common sense /shrugs, look at those before you buy.


deltatango said...

The biggest problem with Auctioneer is that it cannot know whether an item has been sold or the order expired. As the interface doesn't provide this data, auctioneer cannot do anything about it. One still has to remember it for that one might not fall for a scam.

Og said...

deltatango - You are dead on there. It would be really, really, really helpful to know what happened to individual auctions. Did it sell? Expire? Get pulled? Sold on bids? Bought outright?

However what you can be pretty sure on is that will items that have high volumes (where the "times seen" count is above 100) that these things sell and sell regularly. People learn quickly what sells and what doesn't so those with high volumes are a good bet because sellers know they'll sell.

That means you know they will sell.

Under 100 times it depends and this is where you need to know something about the items you're thinking of flipping.