A Dose of Etiquette – Trade Edition

Hey all, not much to add this week, but I thought I’d share a little something about some tips and tricks for the trade channel. Yes, trade is often full of trolls, which you should refrain from being and ignore if you find one. But that goes without saying. I can’t fix the troll problem, but I still think trade can be improved for, you know, trading. Yeah, most of it is common sense, but sometimes people need to be pointed in the right direction and, apparently, only a select few people have figured out these handy little tips.

Like…

1) Say what you need.

“LF JC link please.” You probably see these requests about a dozen times per minute. They’re always popping up in trade. They’re also completely useless. What’s wrong with it, you may ask? It doesn’t convey a clear message. You need a jewelcrafter for some undisclosed reason. You need a gem cut? An item made? Ore prospected? What do you need? I often respond to these requests only to be met with annoyance or, at best, a polite dismissal because I don’t have what they need. But how was I, or anyone else, to know that I don’t have the ultra-rare world drop pattern they’re looking for when they don’t mention that’s what they want?

Keep in mind that at this point in the expansion there are plenty of drop patterns that will still be scarce, and that even vendor or token recipes can take some time to become common. There is almost always a gating mechanism beyond mere gold to slow down the acquisition of vendor recipes, whether it be tokens, rare materials, or reputation . Even with trainer recipes that all crafters will eventually learn, it’s nice to put what you’re looking for. Chances are there is somebody leveling the profession at that exact moment that would be more than happy to use your mats to skill up without any sort of other compensation. You need 6 of the +60 stam gems? That’s *orange* buddy, you don’t need to give me 10g per cut. Or 10g total, for that matter. Skilling up with your materials is its own reward. But even if you don’t get lucky in that way, you’ll reduce the amount of useless whispers you have to sort through to get the item you need. Try “LF JC for Timeless Demonseye, please” and marvel at how the people responding to you are almost totally people that actually have the pattern.

This doesn’t apply only to jewelcrafting, either. Regardless of the profession or recipe that you’re looking for, you can’t assume that everyone will have what you need, so it’s best to specify.

2) Don’t get lazy.

On the other side of the equation is this: don’t respond to specific requests unless you have the pattern. Just throwing up a link, with or without saying “I don’t know if I have it” is lazy. If you don’t know if you have it, then look. All professions have a search feature built in. Refusing to use it or to look in your crafting book on the expectation that the customer can search for themselves is the height of lazy, and doubly annoying when the lazy linker doesn’t actually have the pattern.

3) If you want a certain price, say so.

Besides the “LF [profession]” posts, you’ll see dozens of “tipping” or “will tip well” or “serious offers only, please.” If you remember tip #1 up there, you’ll probably figure out why this is, at best unhelpful. Words like “well” and “serious” are subject to interpretation: they mean different things to different people. Maybe you think 100g is a fair tip for “just pushing a button.” Maybe the guy who just spent the last 48 hours of /played time grinding out the skill/reputation/tokens, etc. to get the pattern (or who just dropped 15-30k gold on it in the AH) disagrees. It’s the sort of thing you should say in advance to avoid any unpleasant surprises on either side.

In advertising, these sorts of words mean nothing, which is why they are known as “weasel words” – and no, that’s not an affectionate term.  They make you sound like a snake oil salesman, usually because you actually are trying to pull a fast one. You might think “serious offers only” is all clever, but pretty much everyone knows that “serious offers” means “I am trying to see how much I can get for it before deciding what to sell it for.” Yeah, you’re not fooling anybody. We know you’re trying to rip us off, and chances are we’ll call you on it. If you think an item is worth 6k, ask for 6k. If it’s worth it, somebody will buy it. If it’s not worth 6k then no amount of spamming, wheedling, or used-car-salesman charm is going to sell it at that price.

As an example, there’s a guy on our server that’s been trying to sell an item for 4k for two weeks solid now. He’s convinced himself that it will sell eventually and he’ll have his big payday (he’s said as much). Except that by my rough-and-dirty math he’s already sunk about 100g into unsuccessful AH deposits and spent so many hours spamming trade that if he’d been questing instead he’d have earned his 4k already. (And in case you’re wondering, questing is lucrative but hardly the highest pay-per-hour activity in WoW.) Even if he does find a sucker – or somebody so annoyed they’ll buy it just to shut him up – he’s already lost money on the deal. It’s like if a teenager had gone around begging friends and family for 3 hours until somebody gave him the ten bucks he wanted. He thinks he’s made 10 bucks. An impartial observer might notice that the same 3 hours at minimum wage would have given him more than twice as much so really his 3 hours lost him 10 bucks compared to what he would have gotten if he’d done what he was trying to avoid (i.e. work) and that the extra expense of the gas he used to drive around begging (AH fees wasted to stupid prices) shrunk the take even more.

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