Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Glyph multi-posting and sale conversion results

Gather 'round, friends! Despite the dry title, I am excited about this post which has been about 330 days in the making. The short version, for those that don't appreciate a good tale, is that since April 2013, I have converted 6.25% of the glyphs I've posted into sales. That's selling more than 1 glyph for every 20 posted, which illustrates just how posting intensive the glyph market can be. The overall sales table is below; now let's get into some specifics.

Total Posted Total Sold Total Multi-posted Sold Total Gold Conversion % Multi-posted % Avg. Price
180390 11269 1690 641901.36 6.25 15.00 56.96

As usual, an awesome idea is born from a conversation with my wife. Well, most of the time the idea fails to sink into my skull, but at least she has planted the seed. OK, that's not quite true. Most of the time she gives me a grown tree, blossoming and bearing fruit... and by the time I'm done objecting, making excuses, or exclaiming, "that's too hard", I'm left with the seed. Then all she has to do is sit back, and watch it grow into delightful replica of that same tree, and sigh to herself when I get all excited and ask her to "check out this tree!"

The most common complaint I see about glyphs is the lack of sales. When someone first gets into the glyph market, they test the waters with a handful of trainer glyphs (the glyphs with the most competition) and get discouraged when they get no sales. I roll my eyes and mutter to myself about sample size, giving glyphs the appropriate commitment, and the patience it takes to learn how to make all 444 of them.

Not satisfied to keep my mutterings to myself, I bombarded my wife, espousing all things glyph related. Doing her best to humour me she asked, "How does the number of glyphs you post, compare to the number of glyphs you sell?". I couldn't answer. Well, I couldn't answer without using the F word. "I feel like it's not many". So she flat out suggested that I record what I post and do a comparison. To which I started to expound on the myriad of problems I'd encounter to process that data, even if it wasn't too hard to collect in the first place.

So in the days and weeks ahead, things slowly fell together in my head. I like collecting data. I already collect statistics like trillium transmutes and rare procs from cutting uncommon gems. It's really pretty simple. So as usual, I started a spreadsheet with date/time, character and number of glyphs posted. Alt-tab after I finished twirling my scroll-wheel like a fiend and enter three whole fields. Then when I started working on my web application to work with all my sales data, I added a page to simplify the recording and add it to the database directly. There was a drop down list for my glyph posting characters, the time defaulted to the current time. It was so much fun there for a while, that I was posting more often just to play with my application.

Back in August 2013, I was able to produce a graph of Glyph Posts and Glyph Sales Compared over a small time period. It was a fun experiment which got some great feedback, questions and got the juices flowing. Then patch 5.4 hit, and my life in general got a whole lot busier. Fast forward to having a blast on Late Night with Stede, a whole lot of extra data, inspiration and...

... here is a big table of glyph posting and sales data across my three glyph posting characters.

So with more than 10,000 glyphs sold and more than 640k gold in revenue, I can answer that question. 6.25% of glyphs posted were sold over the course of just less than a year. That figure is an average. Looking through the data, there are times when Twitche went to the trouble of posting almost 500 glyphs to get 0 sales.

On to my reader question which has taken far too long to answer. How often do I sell more than one of a specific glyph? To get this data, I broke down the data into sales periods that last from the time a character posts glyphs, until the next time they post. With the assumption that there are fairly regular undercuts (helped by me posting at most twice per day, mostly once and sometimes not at all) I can get a sense if it is worth multi-posting. It was pretty encouraging to see that by posting two of every glyph that I sell an extra 15%. When you consider the efficiency of turning a scroll-wheel a few extra turns (as opposed to logging in at another time, and sitting through the ~100 page scan) I'm pleased with that result.

Finally, not all glyphs are created equal. Nothing demonstrates this better than patch 5.4 and the introduction of new glyphs, which for an experienced scribe, were much harder to collect than any of the glyphs to date. When patch 5.4 hit, I added another glyph poster to my operation. Let's call him 'Awesomesauce'. Awesomesauce was in charge of posting all the new glyphs from 5.4, and it didn't feel like he was doing that well. He'd only post 40+ glyphs (yes, I've been slack at obtaining many of the new ones) and he would often come back with one or two sales. However, once the data was aggregated, and my estimation bias (or sad-panda syndrome) was corrected with facts, I could see he was kicking ass. He had a sales conversion rate of three times my other two posters, and more than a quarter of his sales were from multi-posted glyphs. It makes complete sense, since the market for brand new glyphs is much larger than glyphs that have already been learned by the bulk of current players. However, even when it takes him a fraction of the time to post than the other two, it is hard to reconcile getting 250g out of the mailbox and calling that a 'good day'...

... which brings me full circle to the point of this post. The glyph market is a rewarding and profitable market. In my experience, it doesn't need to be micro-managed or even have cancel / repost cycles. The margins are great even if you have competitors that make crazy alchemists look like tycoons of industry. If you are selling 1 in every 20 glyphs posted, don't be discouraged! What really matters is how long it takes you to make the inevitable profit.

Time is money, friend!


  1. Glyphs are far and away the best way to accumulate gold quickly. I had long term success with Engineering and all bag sales since the beginning of pandaria but you can only sell so many tinker gears and mammoth mining bags in a week.

    Despite all the advice on glyph posting techniques, the only way to sell is to camp your AH and relist every time you are undercut. I am on a large Horde server with a dozen big glyph sellers and if you are off-line for more than 2 hours you have been completely undercut on every glyph. On weekdays just camp the AH from 6pm-11pm and on weekends start at noon and camp till midnight. If you do that you can pull in revenue of about 5K a weekday and 30-40K on a weekend.

    1. If you have to put in that much effort, you're probably better off finding a less competitive market.

      I do Glyphs on Korgath and there are ~4 big glyph sellers (myself included). It is very rare that I will be undercut on all of my glyphs in the space of a few hours. In my full 12 hour cycle it often happens, but it isn't necessary to camp.

    2. I would have to agree I also post around 700 glyphs a day and I might do a cancel scan once in a 24 bit time period because it takes at least 1 hour of my time to cancel and repost I think my competition feels the same way and I always post is stacks of 2 some glyphs I will have upto 4 or 5 so play the game and check on your glyphs every now and then that way you don't get burned out. Just my thoughts.

  2. I enjoy goldmaking the way some enjoy raiding. So rather than spending 5 hours wiping on bosses, I spend the same amount of time making gold. Selling glyphs is like printing money compared to crafting and more reliable. non gem/enchant crafters typically get impatient and end up dumping their items at below cost ruining most markets. Glyphs cost 15g each to make and so its hard to lose your shirt on them. I think most people who gold cap have been primarily glyph makers. Its good to know that Korgath is a market I can place a character at to monopolize glyphs!