Saturday Superstar: People who bought my ice cold milk

| Saturday, December 19, 2009
Call me crazy, but it might not be crazy to buy milk off the AH. Let's run the numbers.

Out of curiosity, I posted some for 25s each. This was a huge undercut from the next guy selling for 50s. I was wondering, do people actually buy it? Sure, Gevlon has his screenshots, but I'd not have been surprised if he was using alts on a second account to make those. After all, if you're going to ignore most of reality, you might as well fake the stuff you don't.

Winter's Veil started and Santa needs a glass of milk.

Buying off the AH saves time. You don't have to run to the vendor and buy it, saving maybe 10-15 seconds. You also don't have the 4 extra which have to be disposed of in some way to free up bag space. If you destroy them, you're taking another second or two. If you sell them, you get back a few copper but spend the time to go to the vendor (if you're not already vendoring something else). These numbers may be low if your bags are poorly organized. So let's be generous and say that buying off the AH saves 20 seconds.

The price increase is 23.75 silver or 0.2375g. Can you make .2375g in 20 seconds? That's .7125g per minute or a mere 42.75g per hour. Considering dailies would make much more than that, the time saved is worth it.

This does rely on a few assumptions though. The time must have actually gone to a profitable activity. So if you're just waiting around in lfg chatting in trade, you're not actually saving any gold-time because you weren't making anything in that time anyway.

There are two types of people who would truly benefit: those who are perfectly efficient and those who have barely any time at all, so saving 20 seconds is a big deal. In other words, crazies and casuals, in that order.

But does it make sense for me to sell it? The markup is 25c each to 25s, minus the AH cut for a net profit of 23.5s per milk. While it takes time to buy and post the milk, there is less time spent per milk than those who actually use it. The 10 seconds of travel is constant. Only the clicking of the milk increases and that's maybe a tenth of a second per additional stack, once the half-second has been invested to position the mouse over the milk. So to buy 40 milk and get to the AH is perhaps a one minute process if we're slow. 23.5s is .235g so selling 40 is 9.4g yielding an hourly rate of 564g. The 40s postings take time, but I can be afk during that, so what's the loss? Further gains can be made by buying more than 40, eliminating travel time. The limit of 40 is due to the AH only allowing that many single stacks.

Admittedly I am not actually making 564g/hour because I don't sell out every minute, but if I were to delay all trips from Orgrimmar by one minute to sell milk, that would be worth the delay. If I'm just waiting around for the raid to start, then it's closer to being free money. It's not truly free since I would normally be flying around mining and pulling motes, but it's still a minute well-spent.

So there we have it, folks. You can make significant profits from selling milk and you're not actually screwing people over because the small extra cost is offset by the tiny bit of saved time. Unless they waste all their time anyway, in which case, you're at least taking gold from useless people and putting it to a good cause: making yourself rich. I'm assuming that's a good cause because you read my blog and are therefore awesome.

So go forth and win-win, or at least win-lose to your benefit.

P.S. Since I originally wrote this earlier in the week, there's been a bidding war on ice cold milk. Prices have crashed to a mere 5 silver. I still post milk while I go afk to read blogs.


Anonymous said...

While I agree such low markup is okay, I have sold milk for 14g, and am selling it for 5g right now. Made ~500g between two factions.

Klepsacovic said...

@ungulant: I have a theory that some servers are inhabited by complete idiots, unlike mine. First off,it's stupid to buy milk for 15g. Second, why do you not have competition driving down prices? I suspect many of the so-called goblins who think they are so brilliant are actually of mediocre intelligence but massive ego, in a school for the mentally retarded.

Anonymous said...

The price was ~15g for a few hours until noon on the first day of the event, then it started going down until into the 50s area. I guess a lot of people stopped selling then, because this morning, I am now the only one selling it again, for 15g (got 3 buyers already). This is on the less populated faction on my realm, which isn't overly populated in itself, on my 'main' faction, prices are at 1g50s, but with ~20 on the AH which I was considering buying out, but am just going to leave be (with my postings at 15g :-))

Kiryn said...

Why do you have to take time to get to a vendor to sell the milk? How did you get it in the first place? I mean, sure the time it takes to shift-click the stack of 5 to separate it is non-trivial when we're already counting things in seconds, but I was just confused at this assumption.

Are you assuming that people would buy the stack of 5, turn in the quest, and then try to find a vendor to sell the excess?

Personally, I'd be more likely to spend a little more time to have the best of both worlds: buy a stack of 5, use one of them, then post the other four on the AH =)

Klepsacovic said...

@Kiryn: TBH, I mostly made them up, rough estimates. A person would not be shift-clicking to break stacks. They turn in the one to Great-Father and then they have the four extra. So yes, that is my assumption.

The AH would take a longer than a vendor. Unless you value your time very little, how can you compete with the pure milk sellers? The reality is that very few people can do this. 20% is the most, and it is less if there are people selling more, since otherwise you end up with massive oversupply, crashed prices, and then it's not worth it anymore.

Unless of course your server is inhabited by complete idiots.

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