Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Warning: Too much barking may mute you

If you are a canine, this may be news to you.

If you're not, you're going duuuuuh.
But because you know we're talking about World of Warcraft, you know what I'm referring to.

By now, everybody has read Cold's posts on barking techniques for Mysterious Fortune Cards (if you haven't, please go read them and give your noggin a prod because I like to have creative people putting some flavor in Trade chat).
I know that a bunch of people on my server also read the posts during the same week it was posted because I saw the rise in numbers of barkers in Trade grow exponentially.
There was a point where you'd have 4 different barkers spamming every 30 seconds during peak times !
It lasted about a month before people were sick and disgusted and the general feeling towards Mysterious Fortune Cards was mistrust accompanied with a well-deserved stink of scamming. (I know it's NOT - I've read all about it. It's the general feeling that's important here.)

What I am getting to is that people over-barked in the name of competition.
Sure, the rule was indeed confirmed that whenever you barked once in a while you would get sales in the next minutes that followed.
People did indeed get gold for their efforts.
However, when Trade gets saturated with barks, nobody wins.
No one likes spam.
People /leave Trade or /ignore (or /Report Spam even though that would not be the recommended situation to use it).
It did not take long for my friends and guildmates to put the incessant barkers on their Ignore list.

And what happens then ?
Do players actually clear their Ignore list ?
No they don't.
When their list is full, they ask around if there's an addon to increase the Ignore list.

So all these gold-makers who wanted to jump in on the gold train of Mysterious Fortune Cards are now stuck in a lot of people's Ignore lists... and they won't be able to advertise to these people anymore.
Their barking was in fact actively losing potential future buyers.
(I think they even lost more gold potential than what they actually made with Cards, but I don't have numbers to back this claim - which would have been really awesome and interesting to see.)

Now... when selling the Chocolate Cookies and Cocoa Beans for the new Feat of Strength, I bark once every hour, maybe half-hour.
I don't stay on my bank toon very long.
I link the achievement (and mention it's in the General tab), the Cookies, the Beans, say they're on the AH, and log out immediately after.
I log back on another of my toons and go about my business and keep an eye on Trade to see the banter my bark caused.
I don't get involved in Trade when it happens, lest I give people a hint that it's me on an alt (don't underestimate Trade lurkers: some are really good at sniffing you out) - I let people talk about it between themselves and watch where the discussion goes.
So far it's been limited to "lol Feat of Strength" and "achievements lol".
And I've been selling.

So don't wear people out when advertising.
You don't like spammy and annoying ads in Real Life, so why would it be any different on the interwebs ?
I know the advertising game is competitive by nature, but you have to realize that getting on people's nerves can be bad.
And karma always comes back to bite you in the ass.
What you need to do is learn the balance between silence and noise.

Now if only real dogs could learn this as easily...


  1. Nice post. It truly is an art to balance the number of barks, which types of barks based on the time of day and current players base, etc. without getting on everyone's nerves. Variety is a big key here to keep it mixed up, but I can't give all my secrets away.

    One fatal flaw I picked up from the server activity you described is that : Multiple people should not be barking at the same time for the same product..

    I was actually thinking today about doing a post on how barking in trade chat has improved the over all trade chat experience on my server.

    Trade is actually much more tolerable with the trade channel being used for actual trading, barking, and proper discussion, instead of anal jokes and chuck norris lines.

  2. That's quite true - I did notice that Trade has gone through a very subtle change in quality since the arrival of Cataclysm.
    I also noticed that very few people are barking about the items they have on the AH.
    I've been experimenting for the last week on this and, although I can't give numbers to quantify my claim, I did see sales a few moments after I've barked about them.
    I'm curious to see what range of items it can go to (when I get the time to work on that - way too busy balancing RL and WoW atm to focus on that).