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  1. #1

    Cornering a market

    Anyone ever do it?

    What I mean is to buy out a specific item just to jack the price up.

    I have been sorely tempted several times but always back out because I feel like I will do it and then someone will just come along and undercut me.

    So have you done it? What was successful about doing it? Have you ever gotten burned doing it?

  2. #2
    An easy one to play with is wildvine if you want to just dabble for fun. It is generally an ignored market so it has random prices. from 50s to 25g. It used to be sort of required to level some professions but blizz has worked it out for the most part. It is used for some blue items that people like to craft or get crafted for leveling.

    You have to be careful when doing this because some will see the spike and move into the market. Move the market up slowly overtime while accumulating product below your intended price point.

  3. #3
    I think that a lot of this depends on the market. Suppose you try to take over a small-volume market (like wildvine). You will have less trouble maintaining control of the market because there will be much less competition. It is a small market, however, because sales are pretty sparse. So, you will not make a ton of sales, but you will make all the sales in that market. As the size of the market increases, it will be more and more difficult to maintain control of the market but you will make more sales during those times you are in control. If you were to try to control something like frostweave, there would be too much competition to keep up and people would be undercutting by such a small amount that you would have to either take a loss buying their stuff or by holding on to it to repost at a higher price.

    If you are just looking to buy out something that has slowly crept down in value to something unusually low, you can definitely make a good amount by resetting the market to a higher price. Even if you can't sell everything before the undercuts start, you can sell enough to make a profit.

  4. #4
    Ahdude's Avatar
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    I have been trying to do with . I buy the low ones (under 100g) and then repost one for 250g and wait for undercutters. I will then respond with my undercuts and eventually we get back sub 100g range. There are times when I dont bother buying up all the GPs in the 100g range and just undercut and wait for the lot of them to expire and then reprice when there are less listed. I am probably losing money on the venture since I start with probably 6-7 GPs and now have 19 and havent sold many in the 200+ range.

  5. #5
    Mornia's Avatar
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    What Calianna says is spot on. If you buy all of an item and repost it at a higher price, this encourages people to farm the item as they see the high AH price and it's more profitable to do so. More of the item will hit the market and you'll have to keep buying them out at increasingly higher prices to maintain dominance. Despite this, the strategy can work on valuable items. I've been doing it with a particular recipe and making good money, but profession mats are difficult markets to control.

  6. #6
    Zerohour's Avatar
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    Cornering, or monopolizing, is very difficult to do. It takes a concerted effort to pull off because you must maintain the market or else it will correct itself quickly. Additionally, you can't really pull it off if the item is easily obtained. Monopolies work best on relevant content items. That being, reagents that are only available through raiding.

    Here's an example. Back in Vanilla one reagent that was heavily desired were Large Obsidian Shards. These were used in crafting T2.5 quality items. On one server I heard about, the top guild on the server made a power play to prevent everyone from obtaining them, including competing guilds. This item was only obtained by mining in AQ20 and 40, and was only commonly mined off 4 mob drops past Princess Huhu in AQ40 and rarely mined off other mobs.

    As a guild, they bought out all posted shards and posted at extremely high prices. Others followed suit and undercut, but they handled this by undercutting only by coppers below the undercutters, and even removing all postings to create shortages. In the end they controlled the supply of the item for six months but it required a guild to make that happen.

    As of right now, the more common the item the more difficult a monopoly would be. I can't think of any item in the game at this point that could offer you the ability to monopolize since everything is widely available or easily farmed up. Primordial Saronites were the last item that had such an opportunity that would allow limited supply with high profit potential.

    The new Darkmoon decks will offer this opportunity at the beginning of Cata. You don't have to sell the decks, but you can easily maintain the rarity of certain cards. I've discussed this one before, but I knew of one person that insured certain cards were extremely rare. He would sell completed decks at enormous markups while at the same time buying up particular suits of cards. He would rotate these cards to insure that anyone that attempted to profit off his idea would lose tons of gold. So one faire it would be 7 of Nobles and 3 of Undeath. The following Faire he would flood the market with these cards but for some reason 8 of Nobles and the 2 of Undeath would be the rare ones. In between, he was selling completed decks at 8-10k per and snapping up the more common cards.

  7. #7
    The other thing to keep in mind is the size of your market. I would never hope to control the Alliance market on Windrunner. There is just too much competition. The Horde side is much smaller and has been completely dead recently.

  8. #8
    fade's Avatar
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    I've personally never heard of anyone making consistent money off of a market grab scheme. Its high risk with varible reward. I prefer to do it more as a hobby than a serious endeavor. No major investments other than a little time...and I'm going on past experience.

    Important things to consider when going for market control:

    Is market XX relatively small or midsized, i.e. not Infinite Dust? Yes? Check.
    Am I ok with a large surplus stock of item XX. Yes? Check.
    Can I slowly siphon off item XX for profit if my market grab fails? Yes? Check.
    Is the market in need of a reset/resettable? (bidding war, large gap between marketprice and current price) Yes? Check.

    Once, during BC, I decided out of the blue one day I was going to corner the market on Felweed. I relatively new to playing the AH then and willing to try it out for the experience alone. I saw Felweed taking a major sag in the market, down to about 5g/stack, so I bought all of it, filling my bank, guild bank and bags with Felweed. Exploding with Felweed, I then relisted around 20 stacks at 20g/stack. Predictably the undercutters came and I couldn't undercut fast enough. I would buy up the Felweed under 10g/stack and keep the price high, but it was just too much to contain and eventually the tidal wave of Felweed smothered my empire until WotLK hit and I milled it all and made around 15k in glyph sales my first day - I felt better.

    Since then, I've dabbled here are there. I like low level Glyphs, believe it or not. Its less of market control and more of resetting a price. I find Glyphs listed for 2-5g, buy them up and relist them at 15g. Even if I end up with an overstock, I figure when cata hits I'll be able to sell at LEAST one or two of these Glyphs and make my money back + some.

    The other thing I like to buy up is Mithril Ore. High demand, low supply, prices jump wildly anywhere from 30g/stack to 100g/stack depending on the day. Usually you'll find a nice spread between where you can buy up all the ore under a certain price then relist at an undercut.

  9. #9
    Lofty's Avatar
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    Warning, Long post!!!

    My only experience with this would warn you to have a LOT of capital, and even more space available.
    It's much more plausible on a small market.

    Without revealing too much, a large chunk of my gold came from "controlling" leg enchants the last 6 months or so.
    This entailed a daily grind of controlling Leg enchants, Borean Leathers, Arctic furs and somewhat Frozen Orbs.

    In order to be successful at this, I had to actively monitor and manipulate EVERY material for the final product.
    As a result, I would log on... see postings of borean leather, and be forced to buy 500 stacks, meaning 10,000 borean leathers.
    Now, having removed all the low borean leather off the market, the supply was being kept in check.

    Next step, I would buy out all the Heavy Borean Leather below my threshold. Another gold expenditure.
    Moving to Arctic fur, I would have to soak up all the cheap arctic furs, preventing the easy crafting of leg armors.

    Having spent 15-20k gold, I have successfully made it impossible to buy leg armor materials for less than 180g. (that day)

    I ran a search for the leg armors, ended up finding a bunch of them below my 180 price target.
    I had to buy all those out. Otherwise people could simply buy those.
    Luckily, there weren't too many listed, so I could buy them all out, and shrink the supply.

    Finally, I started to list leg armors, for 250g each. All the armors below 250g sold, making mine the cheapest.
    They started selling, at 250g each, making me a HEFTY profit.

    Of course, I'm getting undercut, and having to constantly re-list and repost. But I'm making 100-140g profit per each item.
    And I'm selling 20-30 items per day.

    Quick Summary of Day 1.
    Borean Leather x 10,000 ~8000g
    Heavy Borean Leather x 200 ~1000g
    Arctic Furs x 300 ~12000g
    Leg armors buyout x 100 ~15000g

    Total Gold Spent 36,000g VS Day 1 profits 4000g

    I woke up the next morning, and saw another 100 stacks of leather got posted overnight, which I had to buy. (bye bye 1600g)

    That's just to give you a realistic idea on how this works.
    LOTS of work, LOTS of capital, LOTS of storage. And all i was controlling, was 3 items. 3

    This was profitable, very much so, because there was very little competition.
    However, there were a couple of "hiccups" during which the market would naturally correct itself.

    I would refuse to buy up 30,000g worth of materials someone flooded the market with, and as a result, for 3-4 days the average price hovered around 160g, WAY below my artificial price. At the time, I didn't have the capital to control the market at ALL times.
    Last edited by Lofty; November 17th, 2010 at 05:41 PM. Reason: formatting

  10. #10
    Mornia's Avatar
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    These kind of techniques are almost dead in my opinion. In fact, AH PVP like this is almost dead, especially on medium to high population servers. There was a time when you could control markets, drive people out of markets and manipulate the supply of mats for craftable goods. In the past I've had players whisper me and tell me that they are bored competing and that they'd like to get out of the market and sell me all of their remaining stock. Now there are just too many players with a decent amount of money and auctioneering 'secrets' are available everywhere.

    If I saw somebody trying to control a market like this, I'd see it as an opportunity for me to exploit it and make some money out of them.

    Take golden pearls for example. i have about 20 in stock which I gradually sell off when prices are especially high. I'm in no rush to dump them so I only put one on at a time. Someone could come along and think that this is an excellent market to exploit due to the low amount available for purchase, buy my golden pearl and relist it with a few others they might have. Little do they know that I have 20 more in the bank and I list another one slightly undercutting them. They then have a choice: To buy mine and relist it again or to undercut me.

    If they choose the former, i just keep listing mine one at a time and smile to myself as I bought them a few weeks ago at half the price. There's loads more on the opposing faction AH so I can get some more if need be. I'm glad to find a buyer who is willing to keep buying them for a high price as I'm shifting a lot of stock.

    If they choose the latter and undercut me, I'll just undercut them back until the price reaches my threshold, then I'll stop posting until the price gets high enough again for me to want to sell. So they will be able to sell if they go below my threshold, but not at the high price that they would like to maintain. In effect, both of our thresholds control the market price with the lower threshold winning out. As I'm completely patient and don't have any real need to sell the item, they can have the market as long as they are under my threshold. I'll just sell something else.

    Add to this the fact that there may be several others who also have a stock of the item and you have a time consuming AH battle with no real way of monopolizing the market. Just when you think you've won, some other seller will come in and make you buy their stock.

    The best strategy is to use the simplest and most important of all auctioneering rules that doesn't need any AH PVP.

    Know your markets, buy low and sell high.

    Be patient. Wait for your items to be cheap. Buy lots.
    Be patient. Wait for your items to be expensive. Sell lots.
    Last edited by Mornia; November 17th, 2010 at 06:49 PM.