Dear Gold Queen

I have a question that you could possibly talk about to all your followers. Is it or is it not important to have a buyout price attached to your auctions? would i not attract more traffic without the buyout price? would i be excluding the quick buyer, or the impulse buyer? just your thoughts on the matter. thank you.  David Jones

Hi David, thanks for asking.  I restrained myself from answering your comment so that I could post the answer for everyone.

A background for newcomers to selling on the Auction House:

When you post an item to sell on the AH, you have the choice of setting a bid price, or setting the bid price and the buyout price.

A bid price is the lowest amount that a seller would accept to purchase the item. When you set your bidding price you need to check 1) that you would be willing to accept that price for the item, and 2) check that the amount is now lower than the vendor price.  You may laugh at the second advice, but it is possible to make a very decent gold with an Auctioneer addon scan and search for items to resell to a vendor for profit!  Some guys just do not realise that merrily undercutting the other sellers leaves them open to exploitation.  Don’t be one of them.  Check your prices before you click!

You might laugh at Blizzard’s own outdated advice: “You should set the item’s minimum bid at a similar or cheaper price. If you set the item at a more expensive price, it will not sell” Forgetting to tell us that you might waste your gold if you could have soll it to a vendor instead?  naughty naughty!

Auction House History

Back in WoW Vanilla, when the Auction House was a novelty, and the biggest news in World of Warcraft gold making was “let’s team up and grind the elites at Tyr’s Hand for cash!” then Auction times were set to 2, 8 or 24 hours.  If you look closely at thescreenshot for today you can see the old auction times.

If special loot dropped, like a BoE epic, then you could advertise in the trade channel that you were running an auction for 2 hours, with a starting bid.

Because they were likely to hang around for the auction duration, players could place bids and actively bid against each other, similar to ebay. There was no 1 hour waiting time for receiving your gold in your mailbox, so both parties were happy.

Unfortunately, the gold sellers loved and abused the system. Blizzard changed the auction duration. They are now 12h 24h 48h.

Player bidding

Even though playtimes are now longer than 6 years ago, I doubt any of your potential buyers are willing to stand around bidding against each other for 48 hours!

Blizzard cautioned at the time: “Check out how long the auction is running. If it’s running an extremely long time, you may wish to avoid bidding on that item. Otherwise you’ll have to wait that long to get the item”

No Buyout – No Sale!

Today: if you do not set a buyout price, then you risk your auction being ignored by players. Auctionator addon buyout screen virtually ignores items without a buyout price.

If a player wants an item now, then he wants it NOW.  He doesn’t want to haggle.   Items bought today are more likely to be for immediate use, such as mats for crafting, flasks for raiding, updated gear.   Tell today’s player that he can’t have the item until the end of the auction duration, minimum 12 hours, and he’ll either throw a tantrum or just buy something else.


Bird wants it now

I want it now

Today’s bidding Wars

If a player is willing to haggle, then negotiating is now normally done through chat whispers.  Occasionally I have set up parties where interested bidders could fight it out between themselves.

When to sell bid-only items

The only time I can think you would not post a buyout price on your AH item would be if you are selling something horrendously expensive (swift spectral tiger etc) and are willing to accept any price over that large amount.  Or if you want to tease and get amusement from frustrated players who want a very rare item.  I’ve also offered items in the AH with a very low starting bid and no buyout when I want to use this as an advertisement to whip up some hype in the trade channel.

/2 WTS [Bold Inferno Ruby] for 1c in the AH now.  No buyout price, so your bid could win!  Whisper me for prices for other gem cuts.

When to buy bid-only items

The classic time to put in a bid for an item without a buyout price, or even for an item with an ending-soon buyout is the night before the weekly maintenance.  Monday or Tuesday night, you can place a low bid on items that you want to buy.  During overnight maintenance, auction duration continues to countdown.  With no players online to bid more than your offer, the auction might close without any other bids.

Although this is a strategy known to quite a lot of players, you might be surprised at the low numbers who actually remember to do this on your realm server, so it is worth checking this week.

Talking point: Do you remember the old auction times on the AH?  We had quite a discussion on twitter about the old AH durations.  Mageshadow and myself  have vague memories of a 30m duration, but no reminder screenshots.

twitpiAbout the Author

The Gold Queen is written by Alyzande. With many level 100s, 9 years expertise in making gold, 10 garrisons, 16k achievements, 1505 days played, and over 18m gold earned. The Gold Queen blog teaches you how to make gold playing World of Warcraft using ethical trading, auction house flipping, crafting, reselling snatch lists, and farming gold making.

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p.s. Would you like to chat to me?  You can email my personal address using the contact form, you can chat to me on twitter @thegoldqueen, or you can reply to a comment here.  I get all of them on my desktop pc and my little smartphone which sleeps under my pillow with me. (Who needs a Gold King, when you have a smart phone, eh?)


3 replies
  1. Jael
    Jael says:

    Good post! As someone who buys tons of stuff on the AH, your paragraph “No Buyout – No Sale!” says it all. There is no way I would wait a day to buy something even it means paying more.

    I also think a rare item would have much more potential to be sold at a higher price if it has a buyout price. I have won expensive items for silvers because the auction was overlooked by most people because it had no buyout price (good for me, but the seller was asking the question here). That said, I rarely bid on these items, thinking I would be outbid before it’s over anyway. I will make a mental note to check back later, but then forget. In the end, someone else likely won that auction by having placed a low-end bid.

  2. Shatamall
    Shatamall says:

    I vaguely remember a 30 minute duration, I think. Wasn’t that back in like mid-vanilla (I think I started in 1.5 or 1.6)? I could just be remembering the “short” duration on auctions though.

    BTW, the Google +1 thing works from Google Reader via Feedly (that’s what I’m using as my blog reader).

    • The Gold Queen
      The Gold Queen says:

      I have a reply from BlizzardCS_EU over twitter:

      “@thegoldqueen Current AH durations have been the same since Patch 2.3.0 (back in November 2007!), but before that they were 2h, 8h & 24h 😉 BlizzardCSEU_EN 12 hours”

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