Sunday 28 April 2013

Using Market Search Efficiently

You'll often hear other players say you should never use market search to find items. They claim it's a waste of time typing item names in and that the quickbar is always better / more efficient.

While I do agree it's very well worth setting up a well organized quickbar I don't agree search is a waste of time or that it should never be used. The quickbar isn't always faster or more efficient, sometimes search is the fastest, most efficient way to find an item or group of related items.

Search is particularly useful for finding specific items and items you don't often need to lookup.

You can drag and drop items from chat or inventory into search to quickly find an item.

You don't have to type in the full name of the item you're looking for. You can type in partial names to quickly find subsets of items you want to check on. For example "Navy" to find all mods with Navy in the name, "Caldari Navy" to find just Caldari Navy mods, "basic" to quickly find +3 attribute implants and so on. Very useful when you just want to look at a specific group of related items and also extremely useful for adding groups of related items to the quickbar in the first place.

The following is a list of some of the search terms I use frequently.

caldari navy
federation navy
ammatar navy
republic fleet
dread guristas
true sansha

The search bar also remembers prior searches so if you've typed in "caldari navy" once before, all you need to do is type "c" and click "caldari navy" in the drop down menu that appears. For touch typists though it's usually faster to just type the whole thing in.

Saturday 27 April 2013

Blunder - Sweet Deal

Another market blunder. Someone miss-typed a sell order again. My buy order was for 75 mil and change but he sold it to me for a whole lot less than that.

Looks like the classic case of dropping a few significant digits while entering a sell order. Oh well, his mistake combined with CCP's bassackwards code means a sweet deal for me.

Wednesday 24 April 2013

Sheep and Lemmings

Sheep and lemmings are herd animals and herd animals follow the leader. Sheep do have self preservation instincts but lemmings will blindly follow the leader right off a cliff!

Many traders / auctioneers in MMOs behave like sheep and lemmings. I've written on this topic before on my old blog for that other game I played before Eve. This is a re-write of that old post.


Sheep like to play it safe. They don't come up with any ideas of their own. They just follow someone else's lead, whether it's the lead of a rich trader, some blog author or just following to the letter some old guide full of outdated ideas and information.

Some sheep follow the  lead of other players, others just dive right into whatever the latest post on their favorite blog says will make them "lots of ISK"... Without knowing a thing about the market, doing any research or testing first.

They can't understand why it never seems as profitable as for them as the player / blog author says.

It doesn't work as well because whenever a popular blog posts about something a whole lot of new people dive into it headfirst. Also keep in mind anyone offering unsolicited friendly advice out of the blue probably has ulterior motives and may not have your best interests in mind.


It might take a while but sheep usually do notice if they're losing ISK and will eventually leave unprofitable or low profit markets.

Lemmings on the other hand don't even seem to realize when they're losing ISK hand over fist. They'll just keep on going right over the cliff. You can take advantage of lemmings simply by using large undercuts and squeezing sell prices down further and further. Lemmings just keep on undercutting (by 0.01 ISK of course) until you drive prices low enough to buy them out and reset the price.

Other Points

Sheep and Lemmings mostly bleat the camper's "buy low, sell high" mantra, mindlessly droning on about how "0.01 ISK undercuts keep prices high so we all make more" while ridiculing better, more advanced, less time intensive strategies.

There's a reason that rich trader friend keeps telling you (and everyone else) to undercut by 0.01 ISK... Most likely it's because he's a no-lifer, botter, or both and everyone blindly following that advice makes him richer, not you or anyone else who doesn't camp the market perpetually like he does.

Market leaders are trend setters, not followers. They increase profits by thinking for themselves, identifying trends early and jumping on them before the herd notices and blindly follows. Leaders research, speculate, make plans and take calculated risks. They even <gasp> lose ISK at times but the speculation and risk taking pays off for them more often than not. They aren't afraid to experiment with new/different strategies or cut their losses and bail out when a particular investment isn't working out either.

The way I see it is if I don't get stuck with the occasional loss from time to time then I'm not taking enough risk and not making as much as I could be.

If after playing the market for a while you still can't spot the sheep and lemmings then you probably are one. Stop following the herd, lead instead of following and start making more ISK!

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Bomber's Bar Video - Becoming an FC

I love flying stealth bombers and I'm a big fan of Bombers Bar. BB makes bomber fleets fun and drama free running regular pickup fleets with NPSI (Not Purple Shoot It) rules. Templeman just released a new instructional video for aspiring fleet commanders that's worth a plug.

That's all, enjoy!

I Got Ganked!

I got ganked yesterday. It's only the second time I've ever been ganked in hisec (on all my characters) and it was the biggest gank loss I've ever had (including losses in low/null). Before anyone asks no it wasn't in Jita.

 I was flying on autopilot with a small load of Caldari Navy Heavy Assault Missile Launchers onboard. Nothing unusual, I fly on auto with more valuable cargoes than that all the time frequently.

My route was taking me through Litiura an 0.5 sec system I'd noted was often solo camped by a destroyer. He'd taken shots at me a few times before but his efforts were quite laughable. He'd never come close to killing me, not even when I was afk. So I wasn't too worried about it but I was planning on going manual for the jump through Litiura just to be safe.

Then the phone rang... Since it was work related I had to answer. By the time I got back I was in Litiura, the camper was shooting at me and had me a sliver into hull already. If I'd gotten back just a few seconds later I would have easily escaped but I was too late and he got me.

According to the combat report I lost 315 million ISK, however that's assuming the missile launchers are worth over 300 million when in fact I only paid 175 million for them.

With the cost of the ship + rigs (I got the rest of the fittings back) I actually only lost about 176 million though I did also lose the opportunity to make 130 - 140 million profit on the cargo. Barely worth taking the time to pick them up, I almost left them for the next day.

Whether you count it as 176 million or 315 million, it's still just a small loss for me and won't cause me to change my routine. Considering I've only been ganked in hisec twice (in total on all my characters) in over a year and didn't lose very much either time (the first was for about 75 million) I'm not at all worried about it. I make more in a single day than I've lost to hisec ganks the whole time I've been playing Eve (over a year now). That's an acceptable risk I'm more than willing to take.

Saturday 20 April 2013

Burn Jita is Great for Business

Burn Jita is upon us again. Those flying big, slow hauling ships have reason for concern but for those flying small, fast ships Burn Jita is terrific for business.

Many (probably most) of those big, slow haulers are avoiding Jita. Consequently there are less items being shipped in and out of system. Prices are dropping on export items as supply goes up and prices are rising on import items as supply runs low. That's a big opportunity for those who can get valuable cargos in and out of Jita without much risk... Couriers with small, fast ships and traders specializing in valuable items that don't take up much cargo space.

Small fast ships can run on autopilot into major hisec hubs without a problem most of the time even when carrying billions in cargo. If you're flying manually it's almost completely safe.

note: nothing in Eve is ever absolutely completely safe unless you're docked

For the most part, gankers are neither expecting nor looking for valuable cargoes in small ships. In addition, even if they do look at it, they generally aren't quick enough to kill a manually piloted ship that aligns fast.

Gankers look for big, slow ships, easy targets like industrials, freighters and mining ships. Most of them won't even bother targeting or scanning small ships, far less, locking, pointing and shooting at them. The ones that do target and scan small ships usually aren't fast enough to target, lock, point and kill you before you've warped out or docked.

Last year Burn Jita was very good for my business even though I didn't do anything different. This year I was expecting it and much better prepared. So far it's exceeding all expectations. Since yesterday I've bought and sold billions of ISK worth of items on Jita. I've moved billions more in and out of Jita without trouble too. I expect to do at least double my usual business on Jita for the duration.

So get in your small, fast ships (T1/T2 frigates, Covert Ops ships, etc) and take advantage of the enormous opportunities Burn Jita presents!

Monday 15 April 2013

Stirring Up the Bots

Sometimes I post something just to piss off the no-lifers / bots and mess things up for them. Here's an example on Jita with a very heavily camped item.

Not only did I post a big stack on Jita just 10k over the current bulk buy orders on station, I posted a bunch of cheap ones in various places around the region.

I'll probably cut it again tomorrow after a bunch of bots and no-lifers cut me and continue pushing prices down for several days.

It's hard to say for sure what will happen in the end but things like this can drive them into a frenzy of vicious undercutting. Big, high priced buy orders start disappearing, huge stacks get dumped in sell orders, momentum builds up and prices plummet.

Anyhow, it'll be interesting to see what happens over the next few days.

Edit: Someone bought the Jita stack out a few hours later. Oh well I kinda half expected that, next time I won't post about it.

Friday 12 April 2013

Market Orders - Posting Strategy and Tactics

Expanding upon a previous post, I wanted to talk more in-depth about the posting strategy and tactics I use to "make so much ISK in so little time". This is turning into a very long post so I'll just cover the basics today and go into more specific details on tactics, exceptions and examples another time.

My overall market strategy is extremely simple but the details are complex. I use a lot of different methods (tricks, tactics w/e you want to call them) to facilitate the overall strategy.

No-Lifers and Bots

I can't really talk about my order posting strategy without touching on the biggest underlying reason behind it. Competition from no-lifers and bots. They are a huge problem not just in Eve but in any online game that has a market or auction interface players can use to sell each other items in game.

No-Lifers spend excessive amounts of time online obsessing over babysitting market orders, trying to ensure they always have the lowest sell order and highest buy order on every single item they're working.. They're online 12-16 or even more hours a day and rarely take a day off. They're constantly undercutting sell orders and overcutting buy orders by the minimum possible amount (0.01 ISK in Eve).

Bots are even worse. They do exactly the same thing as no-lifers except they can be online indefinitely (virtually forever) and can cut even faster with inhuman machine like precision. At least no-lifers have to take a break occasionally to eat, sleep or w/e,  can only post/update orders so fast, and even the most obsessive, sleep deprived no-lifer can only run so many clients at once. Bots on the other hand take no effort on the part of the player running them other than configuring the bots initially, can post/update orders with unbelievable quickness and can run as many clients as the botter's hardware can handle.

Overall Strategy

My overall strategy is really pretty simple. Following the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle I use easily implemented systems and simple rules of thumb to keep things running smoothly without requiring hours spent obsessing over details.

1. Squeeze the competition from both ends. I raise buy prices and lower sell prices until margins are low enough most of the competition (no-lifers and bots in particular) leave the market and I get a fair share of it. Margins on my best, most profitable items are rarely more than 20% (there are exceptions) and most of them are usually in the 5-10% range.

2. Aggressive pricing. I use big cuts on both buy and sell orders. Usually around 10% of the difference between the lowest sell order and the highest buy order.  There are of course exceptions. Sometimes when a particular market is ridiculously high I might cut by 50% or more and obviously when margins are extremely tight cutting by 10% might not be very smart (though sometimes it's the right move to correct a market).

Huge Cut on a ridiculously overpriced item

3. Buy in bulk amounts when possible. Terms like bulk and high volume are relative and don't even apply to some things. The absolute values of terms bulk or high volume are very different for ore and minerals than they are for implants or modules going for over 100 million each. High end officer mods don't drop in sufficient numbers to even supply a bulk market in the first place.

4. Concentrate mainly on the best sellers, expensive, high volume, high profit margin items and characters in the most profitable locations. Which items and characters those are can and does change frequently, however some items and some characters are better than others. I tend to focus primarily on those items, prioritizing working the Big Head over the Long Tail.

5. Post "guard" orders on items with extremely slim margins. Anything with under 2% margin between buy and sell orders isn't worth bothering with, especially when considering taxes and broker fees eat up a big chunk of that 2%. When a guard order gets filled that's usually my first indication the no-lifers and bots have abandoned a market, margins are rising, and it's worth working again. With higher volume items I'll often put up a second set of middling volume orders at price levels a bit higher and lower to catch the wave when margins inevitably increase.

6. Check inventories frequently, post recently acquired items and update or post new buy orders for the same items. This is a very important, high priority step. Basically, combined with the less important step #5, it's my inventory control. I don't have to worry about losing track of an important item and not having any buy orders up for it because I always go through station inventory as one of the first things I do when logging onto a toon. That way I find newly acquired inventory from buy orders, post them for sale and update or post buy orders at the same time. No spreadsheets or inventory tracking software required.

For the most part I pay decent prices for the items I buy. I have to be careful not to get greedy and try selling them for too much profit though. Whenever the margin between buy and sell orders gets too high the no-lifers and bots jump all over it and I get very little if any business. When it's in the sweet spot I buy and sell in bulk for big overall profits.

Thursday 11 April 2013

Drinking and Typos

Oops! Someone typoed a sell order price after drinking too much. I might not have noticed if he hadn't sent me an evemail about it.

Good job m8
From: Some poor drunk
Sent: 2013.04.11 17:18
To: name withheld

Daily reminder not to play eve drunk.
Eifyr and Co. 'Gunslinger' Medium Projectile Turret MP-805
I'd ask for compensation, but ti's the nature of EvE
Good luck my friend, best wishes to my loss.

Looking at my wallet transactions it's obvious what happened. Intending to post a sell order for 48.5 mil he dropped a digit and sold an implant to me for 4.85 mil instead.

My buy order was for 43.3 mil but that's how the game works. I've always felt Eve handles this backwards, he should have gotten my buy order price intead of getting screwed over a typo. The same goes for typing an extra digit (or 3 as I once did for a 2 billion loss) in a buy order, you should pay the price of existing sell orders instead.

I sent him another 20 mil for being nice about it.

Wednesday 10 April 2013

Working Big Head Long Tail Theory

There have been some questions about my time management and profits claims lately. How can I possibly make so much ISK with so little time spent posting and updating orders?

Today's post is a short explanation of how it's possible with a few screenshots showing I actually do make the kind of profits I claim. All screenshots were taken on just one of the many stations I operate on. Most of the items were purchased elsewhere and shipped there for better sell prices.

A small number of the items I cover (usually 5-10 items) bring in nearly half my profits (as per Big Head Long Tail theory) each month. Big Head Long Tail theory basically says a small number of inventory items accounts for a disproportionate amount of sales volume and profits. In my Eve business that's mostly relatively high priced items with good volume and profit margins. Which items those are changes constantly due to competition but a small handful of items still accounts for a large chunk of my income each month. I pay far more attention to a handful of Big Head items and work them much more thoroughly than the hundreds of items in the Long Tail.

That doesn't mean it isn't worth working the Long Tail at all though. Here's an example of a Long Tail Item (also taken on the same station as the screenshots above)..

I may not sell a whole lot of each individual item in the Long Tail but many of them are low volume high ticket items with big profits or high volume items with lower but very steady, consistently reliable profits. There are a lot of them and it all adds up. Once you get your prices set right to discourage most of the no-lifers and bots, it doesn't take very much time at all to work them (almost passive income).

I update Big Head item orders on a few of my most important traders most days. The less important traders and Long Tail item orders get updated less frequently, sometimes going a week or even longer between updates.

Here are a few articles on Big Head Long Tail theory as it relates to real life business.

The Science of Retailing
Chris Anderson
The Misguided Bobbing of the Long Tail

Tuesday 9 April 2013

Using Courier Contracts

Courier contracts are a great way to move items around between stations. You don't even have to be in the same region to view items in assets and set up contracts to move them around.

Just a few reasons you might want to use courier contracts are:

- They save you from the tedium of making long flights between hubs.

- Collateral transfers the risk of being ganked and losing the shipment from you to the courier pilot. If he gets ganked the shipment is lost but you get paid the collateral.

- They allow you to move large volume shipments without you having to train skills for flying big cargo ships.

Of course there is a cost, couriers don't work for free. The courier I use, Red Frog Freight (aka RFF), comes out to approximately 500k ISK per jump for hisec only routes. RFF will accept contracts for up to 860,000 m3 volume and covered by up to 1 billion ISK in collateral. They also run Blue Frog Freight and Black Frog Freight for higher collateral and low/null sec contracts respectively.

Personally I never use Blue Frog because it costs about the same as sending multiple contracts to the same destination via Red Frog and Red Frog has a 3 day contract expiration requirement while Blue Frog is 7 days. Usually the same guy will pick them all up and deliver them at the same time anyhow.

As for delivery times, I find RFF delivers most of my contracts within 24 hours, contracts between major hubs usually take less than 12 hours and contracts originating from or being delivered to Jita often only take an hour or two.

Here's how I set up courier contracts using Red Frog Freight as the courier.

1. Send items via private contract (not a courier contract, that comes later) to the character on the destination station.

2. Accept the contract(s) on the destination character and transfer any funds by right clicking the name of the character who sent the items.

3. Open assets on the destination character. The items should be showing on the origination station now. If they aren't you probably opened assets before accepting the contract. In that case simply wait a few minutes for assets to refresh again, or log out and back in to force an immediate refresh.

4. Select all the items (in assets) you want to move and click "create contract" to begin setting up a courier contract to the destination station.

The reason for setting up courier contracts on the character who will be receiving the contents is that way the items will automatically appear in his inventory upon delivery without having to log onto the sender to check for delivery, create another contract and accept it on the receiver.

5. In the contract window check "courier" and "private".

6. Enter "Red Frog Freight" in the name field.

If you don't want to use a courier corps like RFF don't check "private" and leave the name field empty. You can get cheaper service that way but it might not be as quick or as reliable.

7. Click the Next button to go on to the next part of creating a contract

8. A "Pick Items (2/4)" window opens showing all the items in inventory on the contract originating station. Items in the contract will have an X in the box beside them indicating they are in the contract. Assuming you selected everything you wanted in the contract in the first place you don't need to change anything here just click next.

9. "Select Options (3/4)" window opens.

10. Enter the name of the destination station here. Note you can enter partial names like Amarr and hit "Search" which will find all stations in amarr and pop up another window allowing you to select one of them.

11. Enter the courier payment in the "Reward" field. If you're using RFF go to Red Frog Freight to calculate the fee.

Another alternative courier corps with a good reputation is PUSHx

12. Enter the collateral amount in the "collateral" field. With RFF the maximum allowed is 1 billion so enter 1 billion. It doesn't cost anymore to enter high amounts than low amounts so always enter the maximum 1 billion. Make sure collateral isn't less than the value of the cargo, otherwise you're just tempting the courier pilot to default on the contract and keep the contents for himself.

13. Set "Expiration" to 3 days. That's the standard for RFF contracts, other couriers may have different standards.

14. Set "Time to deliver" to 1 day. That means after a courier pilot accepts the contract he has 1 day to deliver it. If he doesn't deliver on time, the contract defaults and you receive the collateral payment as compensation. I've never had RFF default on a courier contract.

15. Click next.

16. "Confirm 4/4" opens. Double check you entered all of the information correctly. If something is wrong use the "Previous" button to back up and fix it. Pay particular attention to the Reward and Collateral fields. Once you're sure everything is good click Finish.

17. A final "Are you sure" type window pops up. Click Yes.

18. The actual contract opens up. Triple check everything is correct. If not Delete the contract immediately and redo it.

That's all.

Monday 8 April 2013

Copying Market Quickbar Settings

Market quickbar settings are saved at the account level, all 3 characters on the same account have the same quickbar. To copy quickbar settings to other accounts all you need to do is copy this file. However this file also contains many other settings like window positions, overview, etc. so don't copy the file to accounts you don't want to lose other settings on. If you're unsure, backup the original to be safe.

The exact location of the file you need to copy depends on your OS. For me, running Windows XP, it's in:

C:\Documents and Settings\<USER>\Local Settings\Application Data\CCP\EVE\c_program_files_ccp_eve_tranquility\settings

<USER> is the windows user name.

The file containing the quickbar is core_user_*.dat

for example core_user_9999999.dat

* is a number (it's a 7 digit number on all of my accounts). I don't know how CCP comes up with the number but it's some kind of account ID. For my 6 accounts the smallest ID number is the first account created. The larger the number the later the account was created. You can figure out which file is for which account as long as you know the order the accounts were created in.

Find the file with the settings you want and copy it to the files for the accounts you want the same settings on.

Don't forget doing this will change a lot of other settings too, not just the quickbar.

Sunday 7 April 2013

Buyouts and Resetting Prices

Market prices can trend upward and downward. Sometimes when prices trend low you can make nice profits by buying an item out in bulk and resetting the price to normal or a bit higher than normal levels.

I don't do very many buyouts in Eve yet because buyouts tend to be capital intensive and can be very risky, especially if you're short on capital to keep buying more as others dump stock. With over 130 billion ISK I might seem rich to many players but I'm really not all that big a market player yet. I'm still relatively new to Eve, some of my competitors have trillions of ISK, huge stockpiles of items and years of experience following long term market trends. Trying to outmaneuver those guys without enough capital for expensive, long, drawn out price wars is a great way to lose a lot of ISK fast. If you don't have plenty of surplus ISK to play with, you have to pick your spots carefully.

When I see a good buyout opportunity that doesn't require too much capital I'll go for it. Recently I noticed someone dumped a huge stack of 900+ Navy Micro Auxiliary Power Cores for a little over 4 million each. Several other sellers undercut him quickly with stacks of 100-200. In a few hours there were close to 2000 for sale, all under 4 million each. I thought about buying them out then but that was an awful lot of stock to move and a fairly large investment. It would take a while to move that many and I wasn't willing to tie up that much capital for very long.

I put up a buy order at around 3.2 mil each and got 50 or so that way. Two or three days later there were 173 left priced under 4 mil each with the next cheapest just under 5 million. I bought all 173 of the cheap ones, giving me 220+ in total. I posted 120 or so for 4,999,997 each on Jita, split the other 100 up and shipped them off to other hubs where I posted them for even more.



The Jita stack didn't get undercut for a least a full day and most of it sold during that time. Over the next few days (after the screenshots above were taken) I got undercut a few times but still sold the entire Jita stack for 4,999,99x ISK each. About half the ones on the other hubs sold in the 6-12 million each range. Those have been undercut a few times since but they're still selling for 5-10 million each.

Friday 5 April 2013

Just Say No to Nullsec

I wasn't planning on getting involved in or commenting on the sillyness politics of the CSM popularity contest election but there seems to be a growing  sentiment against the power of the nullsec blocs. I can get behind that.

Nullsec power blocs have been grossly over-represented on the CSM in the past. This is almost certainly a big part of why the game seems to pander to them (often to the detriment of other players) so much. Nullsec players are more organized due to the nature of nullsec more or less forcing players to join large power blocs. That organization means nullsec players tend to vote in blocs for bloc leadership approved candidates and get more than their fair share of candidates elected.

The best way to blunt the power of the nullsec blocs on the CSM is for a larger percentage of the rest of the Eve player base to vote and more specifically to not vote for nullsec candidates.

The candidates I endorse are as follows

1. Ripard Teg (exception to the no nullsec rule)
2. Ali Aras (exception to the no nullsec rule)
3. Trebor Daehdoow
4. Mangla Solaris
5. Chitsa Jason
6 Nathan Jameson
7 James Arget
8. Ayeson
9. Mike Aariah
10. Cipreh
11. Korvin
12. Steve Ronuken
13. Roc Weiler

While there isn't anyone I fully endorse for the 14th spot, voting for either of the following would be better than not voting simply because they are he/she is not on the nullsec bloc list

Psychotic Monk

Edit: It seems Psychotic Monk is on the bloc list after all so his name has been struck out.

Ripard and Ali are exceptions to the no nullsec rule because they are reputable players who may live in nullsec but stand for something other than nullsec power. Ripard is very well known for being open minded, thinking outside the box and working for the good of the game and everyone who plays it, not just himself and his buddies. Ali is newbie friendly, going out of her way to help new players. A voice that's sympathetic to new players and understands them well is something that's desperately needed on the CSM.

Two blog posts in one day, that's a first for me!


Hate-Mail, anyone who's played online games for any length of time has probably received hate-mail at one time or another.

Mixed somewhere in all the ranting, raving, name calling and obscenities the hater usually mentions what he's so mad about. For market/auction related hate-mail it's usually something like:

"You're selling under cost!"
"You're paying too much for that item!"
"You undercut by too much!"
"You're killing the market!"

And the big lie...

"You'd make a lot more if you'd just undercut by 0.01 ISK like I do!"

That's what the no-lifers and bots want you to do because it means they make more ISK, not you. The guy telling you to undercut by 0.01 ISK is either naive enough to believe the no-lifers and bots or more likely he's one of them. He's pissed you entered what he considers "his" market(s). If you don't play the 0.01 ISK game he can't dominate the market, manipulating and price gouging his way to obscene profits by camping constantly anymore.

I used to get hate-mail almost daily from other auctioneers in that game I played before Eve. To my complete amazement I haven't received one single market related hatemail in Eve yet. I've gotten a few for running someone's gatecamp or making fun of his obvious scam in local chat but none over my market related actions.

I can't believe no hate has been sent over my market actions. The haters must think my characters are someone else's alts and send the hate to his main instead of me.

Wednesday 3 April 2013

20 Milllion SP

My main broke 20 million skill points late last month. 20 million is supposed to be some kind of milestone so I figured a post was called for upon my first character reaching the milestone.

Mox started out as mostly a trader but now he's a pilot flying mainly Stealth Bombers and before that Drakes, hence the heavy investment in Spaceship Command and Missile skills.

Right now he's training Drone Interfacing V with another 16 days to go. He'll likely get Vs in Missile Projection, Rapid Launch and Target Navigation Prediction next. After that it'll be Caldari Cruisers V, Recon and Strategic Cruisers. At some point he'll probably grab Caldari Battleships IV, Gallante Cruisers IV, Gallante Battleships I - IV and Cruise Missiles IV too though those aren't very high priority.

Tuesday 2 April 2013

Growing Profits

I made 13 billion in January and 13 billion again in February. For months I've just been coasting along perfectly happy pocketing 10 billion plus a month while putting in minimal time and effort to get there. My prices weren't very aggressive anymore, I wasn't increasing my escrow, I was spending less and less time working the market every month.

In fact I wasn't even really trying to grow my business anymore. It was already far more than sufficient for my needs and still growing almost effortlessly.

Then in March my profits rose to 23 billion (10 billion more) with only a slight increase in time and effort.

I increased my escrow substantially (by about 5 billion) and got very aggressive with pricing again too. A big chunk of the escrow increase was in buy orders on Jita. In the first half of the month my order posting/updating frequency picked up slightly (mostly due to increasing escrow). In the last half of the month I slowed down again.

I moved a lot more stock between regions with courier contracts than normal. That's because profit margins on Jita were terrible, the increased escrow and aggressive pricing meant I bought a lot more stock (especially on Jita) than usual. I moved surplus stock in 1 billion isk lots all over the place to take advantage of better prices elsewhere.

I also started selling more stock (including several of those surplus lots) on secondary hubs. Sales are slower on the smaller hubs but profits are higher and there aren't nearly as many overly obsessive competitors (bots and no-lifers) so that's been working out well. In fact many of my highest profit sales were on secondary hubs for high volume always in demand items that nobody else was selling in the area (in some cases market history showed no sales at all in the entire region for the last year).

I attribute most of this month's increased profits to the increase in escrow, particularly in the mods and implants markets. Order posting/updating frequency, courier contracts and secondary hub sales were certainly factors too though all that was driven by the escrow increase, aggressive pricing and resulting high stock levels.

I've just been coasting along sitting on too much cash and not putting enough into escrow for several months now. I want to increase my escrow by at least another 20 billion over the next few weeks. With all my traders (except the 2 new ones) having Margin Trading V, 20 billion more in escrow translates into roughly 100 billion more in buy orders. If I pick the right items to pump that ISK into it should lead to another big increase in total profits.

One of the new traders will start taking over the Jita implant business from the current mods and implants trader in 11 days (when he gets Margin Trading V). Once that happens my capitalization, diversification and coverage in both the mods and implants markets on Jita will increase substantially. The new trader should double my implants business within 1 month and quadruple it in 2 - 3 months. Freeing up the implant orders on the current mods and implants trader means he'll be able to concentrate only on mods, diversify into more mods and sink more ISK into them too.

I've also dropped a bunch of lower value items on all my traders (except the 2 new ones which don't have the skills to trade seriously yet). Items with impressively high profit margins but less impressive total profits (especially when taking the time and effort involved into consideration). Mostly T1 modules, cheap skill-books and some other things that go for under 5 million per. This freed up 40-60 orders on each of my traders that I'll be able to use for other more valuable items now.

The not so shocking truth is I did pretty much the same as always except I was a little more disciplined  about sticking to the plan and not just coasting. I spent a little more time making sure I raised my escrow and I got back to setting prices aggressively again.

Monday 1 April 2013

Financial Report - March 2013

Financial report for the month of March 2013 (last month). Trade oriented since trading is how I make virtually all of my ISK.

I buy and sell skill-books, faction/deadspace mods and implants covering all 5 major trade hubs (Jita, Amarr, Dodixie,  Hek and Rens) plus several regions that don't have a major trade hub. I play fairly casually and update orders infrequently, often going several days between posting/updating orders. Some characters get updated more often than others and I update sell orders more consistently than buy orders.

In March I made 23 billion after expenses making it my best month yet.

Current net worth is 129 billion with 65% of it in cash and market escrow. Most of the rest is in sell orders and recently acquired stock I haven't gotten around to posting for sale yet. Very little is in assets I don't intend to sell soon, a few ships and some mods I keep in stock for my own use, maybe 2 billion in total.

That's my actual current total net worth, I don't pad the numbers by counting ISK I've earned but have since spent and no longer have. That'd be like calling myself a real life millionaire because I've earned over a million dollars during my life when the reality is I've never had anywhere near a million in total.

Tomorrow's post will cover the shocking truth about what I did to nearly double my trading income last month.