Freedom of Information, or Trade Secrets

A brief pondering on how much gold-making info is given out for free, and how much is kept to ourselves.

A short while ago, I was in my kitchen doing the dishes and wondering what my next post should be about. A light went off in my head… or more the point, a light went OFF over my head, as the kitchen light burned out once again. Rather annoyed at this inconvenience, I pondered why my light bulbs keep burning out while some of Edison’s first light bulbs are still glowing strongly. The answer is pretty simple: If light bulbs were built to last, then they wouldn’t be a profitable product to manufacture.

This got me thinking about the old rumors of efficient engines that were designed decades ago. The patents were supposedly bought up by the auto manufacturers, boxed up, and hidden away in a corner. A more efficient engine meant lower profits for oil companies, and longer lasting cars meant lower profits for the auto manufactures. A bad move for the environment, but a good business move to protect the bottom line of these companies.

This line of thought ran onward to WoW. I began to think about all of the information that we bloggers post out to the community on making money in game; the tricks, schemes, and ways of manipulating the market to our advantage. Within days, or sometimes hours, I have watched these tricks implemented to such a great degree that they quickly become less viable to perform. When everyone is doing the same thing, the market readjusts itself to the crunch and levels back out in other ways.

So I began to wonder just how much information is too much information. Most of the gold guides out there contain a great deal of the same information. Little tricks that can bring in small amounts of gold. While these are viable ways of making money, they require dedication and determination in following through with  the plan in order to be a viable long term strategy. Don’t get me wrong here… these methods work. Flipping rare vendor recipes and pets will always make money, and that’s a solid tactic to bring in consistent revenue. However, once the tactic is being used by many people on your server, the return on investment begins to dwindle.

Then I asked myself:  If I were to come across a new way of making money in game that nobody seems to be working with, would I announce it in my blog? Honestly, I’m not sure if I would announce it to everyone. If it is a great money-maker for me, then I wouldn’t want everyone to catch on to it right away and ruin my market share. Conversely, I feel sort of ethically bound to let other gold bloggers know about it, since I’ve recieved a great deal of great gold-making info from them. If we all kept everything to ourselves, there wouldn’t really be any gold blogging community at all, would there? 

The question I find myself with is this: where do we draw the line?  Is it appropriate to keep our own trade secrets in making gold, or more appropriate  to spread the word?

Do YOU have some secret money-makers or tactics that you haven’t seen others use?  What are you thoughts on this?


2 Comments to “Freedom of Information, or Trade Secrets”

  • An interesting post. I have a draft of a similar one in my inbox. I never got around to finishing it for some reason.

    Carried to its logical conclusion your premise seems to challenge the efficacy of gold blogging in its entirety. One can make a strong argument that gold blogs do more harm than good. Not only do they distribute ideas freely, they also can create demand when it otherwise would not exist.

    A guerrilla tactic for an anti-gold blogger would then be to distribute some valuable ideas and develop a following, and then slowly begin to poison the well with bad ideas. These self serving strategies would allow him to exploit the new market conditions with his secret wealth generating plans.

    Of course, one key strength of a broad community of bloggers is that a plan such as this could never work for long. Entrepreneurs that we are, bloggers would try these poison tactics and either expose them as dangerous or discredit them as being wasteful.

    There are not many unique ideas out there. As a "semi-professional" blog reader for well over a year now I can attest to this fact. Once in a while someone develops a new strategy but most of the blogs recycle the same ideas or tweaks to these concepts.

    The difference between goblins who make auctioneering a profession and players who dabble in the AH is absolutely, positively NOT that the former group has better ideas; rather, it is that the latter group fails to adequately commit to the process of earning gold.

    Ask any goblin and he will recite without much thought the daily routine that he must follow to ensure profitable gold returns. The casual AH player may develop a routine and stick with it for a short time but usually withdraws from the grind and returns to raiding, or questing, or whatever.

    To illustrate this point more clearly, make a list of all the AH mules you see over the next few days. You know, the ones with names like 'BankerBob' and 'Moneybags'. Then look each of htem up on TUJ. You will see how inconsistently they post and how most have very little diversification.

    So to answer your question, no, I have no qualms about releasing any idea or strategy I find useful. If it is copied by some players it usually will only be a short time until they leave it alone and it becomes 'mine' again.

    Additionally, the anonymity we maintain as goblins helps preserve our long term success. Due to the huge number of servers out there we find a big universe in which to operate. There is room for each of us to 'stake a claim' to a server we can call home.

    Besides, the most effective way to earn large bags of gold is by being diversified. No one idea can replace that. The real threat to my gold earning enterprise is not the casual blog reader who 'discovers' a new idea. Instead, it is the passionate professional who becomes committed to out earning me–and usually that person is writing the blog, not reading it.

  • I agree with Kammler that there are so many servers (and two factions per server) that the likelihood of having to compete with another dedicated auctioneer is fairly unlikely.

    That said I got into writing about making gold because I found the process of making gold so much fun. The fact that we have others to share our ideas with makes blogging even better.

    While enjoy seeing large page views for articles what I enjoy even more is reading comments from my fellow gold bloggers. We are a community. A great community!

    Meaningful communities ate built around a common set of beliefs. One belief I'd say the gold making community shares is that we are here because we love to share ideas.

    If someone chooses greed (for rl money, ideas, etc.) over the community they may soon find themselves on the outside looking in. -flux (from Power Word: Gold)

Post comment