This is a question I get asked often on the blog and through email: “Why do my items not sell on the Diablo 3 gold auction house?” I’m about to let you guys in on one little ‘secret’ that can help you realise why your items are returned to you, time and again, even when you check the prices of the competition in the auction house before hand.
Let’s take a look at a series of auctions – let’s say I searched for these using the search filters so I could find similar items listed for sale – my competition:
Now do you see the time frame on the right? That’s the amount of time remaining before the auctions expire. Why is this significant? Well, to answer that, I’m going to indulge in a long, but simple, analogy.
Imagine that you enter a store to buy a small, red toothbrush. This store contains lots of toothbrushes, all different shades of red and all different sizes. Some are covered in dust and some are brand new.
Each of the toothbrushes is priced very differently – some are $100.00, a few are $500.00, nine are $10, two are $4.00 and one is $2.50. You didn’t want a specific shade of red and the $2.50 one is nearly the right size (the $500.00 is a perfect size but, come on, $500?).
You buy the $2.50 one. Now imagine that as you leave, another customer walks in looking for the same kind of toothbrush. He no longer has the chance to buy the $2.50 – he won’t even know it was there. He buys a $4 one. A third customer enters and buys another $4 toothbrush.
Let’s expand this analogy – this shop now buys and sells red toothbrushes but you have to assign the price yourself – the owners won’t help. You need to make sure the price is around the average value mark – or the buying customers won’t be interested.
After this change to our scenario, a fourth person enters with a handful of brushes to sell. He already has a red toothbrush but found more some place… we won’t question him closely.
He checks out the competition and decides that, given the fact the majority are $10 that this must be the going price. He asks the owners to sell his 4 toothbrushes at $9. To maximise his chances of selling he buys the last $4 toothbrush – what a coup! The next person in will make him that back PLUS $5 (minus the shop owners small fee).
Unfortunately this fellow didn’t note the layers of dust on the $10 toothbrushes. He leaves the store confident he’ll make money, but on the way out bumps into a guy with a sack bulging with red toothbrushes. He starts to get nervous. He follows the guy in and notes he walks straight up to the shop owner and says: “List the lot for $4 Brian”.
Our man watches on helpless as the owner puts out hundreds of red toothbrushes at $4. Then, to rub salt in the wound, business picks up. Dozens of people start coming in and asking for red toothbrushes. They start buying up the $4 stock. Our budding toothbrush seller is heartbroken.
Fast forward 24 hours and there are some ‘brushes at $100.00, a few at $500.00, a dozen at $10 and just four at $4.00.
This, I hope, gives you a simplified understanding of what’s happening in the auction house. The real story is told by what’s been sold. Not what is up for sale. You can use the time remaining on similar items to the item you wish to sell as an indicator for demand and price. If an item has 1 hour left it has been on sale for 35 hours and nobody wanted it. Why? The most common reason is because it was overpriced.
Monitor auctions for a longer period than just 5 minutes. Check your favourite market peak and offpeak hours, peak and offpeak days. Place some items up with a bid price to sample the waters if you like. Just make sure you don’t judge the value of an item in comparison to similar items that have been on sale for a day or more. If you’d like to know more about pricing items and tons more stuff, then don’t hesitate to check out my gold guild!