Friday, 14 June 2013

Mailbag - Order Posting?

This post covers several points I've wanted to clear up for some time about my order posting/updating process. A few days ago I received an in game email with questions along the same lines. After answering that email I realized with a little polishing and expansion on a few points posting it here would be a great way to finally get that blog post done.

The email

love the blog
From: Zosius
Sent: 2013.06.11 10:19
To: Moxnix Induli,  

Hello Moxnix,

I love your blog. have been reading it awhile. I have few questions that i was hoping you can help me with.

When it comes to trading how do you do your order updates? I own 3 accounts in major hubs and update buys and sells 1by1 moving through quickbar simultaneously in all ccounts. This is to see the price balance and reallocate stock or trade more cautios if price is out of balance between the hubs.

This method takes time but is quite profitable. I noticed that I can manage to 1-1.5bil a day if I spent 2-3 hours updating orders one time a day including houling (30min). However after sometime i burned out and got demotivated. I felt in position where finding new ventures was costing more isk/effort  than just updating my items list.

I constantly read that you update very casionally. How much time do you spend updating orders a day and how frequently you do it to sustain such large growth. If you update sells and buys sepearetely, don't you get annoyed once you are done with sells, you move back and update buy orders only to see your sell order is far behind already.

thanks for any advice and regards,
Zosius

Re: love the blog
From: Moxnix Induli
Sent: 2013.06.14 08:24
To: Zosius,  

My Response

Thanks, it's always nice to hear from my blog's readers.

My order updating process is fairly simple but difficult to explain properly. I mostly just use common sense, a simple priority system (do the most profitable things first) and make most decisions quickly by using simple rules of thumb. But there are a lot of rules, special cases and exceptions to the rules which makes it seem far more complex than it is and makes it very difficult to explain in detail.

I also like to mix things up frequently to keep the competition on their toes. When I say I do something a certain way it doesn't mean I never do it differently it just means that's what I usually do most of the time. Hence why I use words like "usually", "mostly" and "generally" so much.

At the most basic I start by checkiing my inventory for newly purchased items. I post most of the new stuff and while posting I'll also update existing orders (both buy and sell orders) for the same items.

Sometimes that's all I do though I'll generally do it on 3-5 of the most important characters. The ones that tend to move items in the highest volume and make the most ISK.

Once that's done, I'll usually (but not always) check all my sell orders on those characters and update those too. When I do that I'll usually update buy orders for those items (the ones I have sell orders for) too.

I also tend to concentrate on the most profitable, highest priced and highest volume items. There are many days about all I do is spend 5 or 10 minutes on each of the 3-5 most important characters checking nothing but sell orders and the top 20-50 items on each character.

If I have more time I'll do a few more characters and maybe update all buy orders on a couple too. I do try to update all buy orders on at least 2 characters once or twice a week but sometimes I skip that and take it easy for a week or so too.

My cuts tend to be big, generally around 10% of the difference between buy and sell orders and I don't normally camp, but there are exceptions to everything. Sometimes I'll cut by 1 ISK either to confuse the competition or because the profit margin is so low I'm only cutting to keep the no-lifers and bots on their toes. Large cuts discourage camping no-lifers and bots, when margins are low they'll often not cut you and let your items sell. It might take a while but after a few days of big cuts once or twice a day they'll usually slow down or stop camping and your stuff will sell. Raising buy prices at the same rate ensures that when the price gap closes it'll be at a decent profit over the price you bought at. Conversely if you don't raise buy prices by large increments too the campers will just continue 0.01 ISKing you out of business.

I hate camping but very rarely when my sales on a particular station have for a long time been greatly reduced by obsessive, perpetual campers constantly 0.01 ISKing me. I'll camp for a short while (a half hour or so), updating several key items every 5-10 minutes to see how the no-lifers and bots react. I'll adjust prices with large cuts and quickly reduce profit margins until I either find the sweet spot where the no-lifers and bots slow down enough that my items start selling again or margins are so low it's not worth my bothering with anymore.

Slightly more often I'll do what I call semi-camping, leaving a character logged in all day while I'm mostly afk (not even in the same room as the computer) but able to drop by and spend a couple minutes checking key items periodically throughout the day. The character might be online 12-16 hours but I'm only actually at the keyboard a few minutes at a time for maybe a half hour in total. This is extremely useful both for finding out just how hard a particular market is being camped and for screwing with the no-lifers and bots that are camping it. It's also a great way to sell off some overstock and balance assets, sell orders, escrow and cash in hand on a character that has too much in assets / sell orders and not enough liquid cash without becoming an obsessive camper and starting a perpetual cut war myself.

I don't worry too much about the price balance between hubs. Generally I have a pretty good idea of the usual prices and when I'm unsure the estimate I get from mouse hovering over an inventory item is usually close enough. I do usually notice when something is priced very high or very low and buy, sell or ship items to take advantage of it. Also there are certain items I tend to buy on 1 station (mainly Jita) and ship off to 1 or more other stations to sell.

Burnout... That's why I sometimes go for a week or so where I don't do much other than let orders sit and post new purchases. It takes maybe half an hour to do that on 4 or 5 characters. Sometimes I even go a few days without doing anything, I just let everything sit for a few days.

I usually spend 1-2 hours a day but there are days I spend far less time and there are days I spend 3 or 4 hours instead. On average it's about an hour a day when I'm taking it easy and 2 hours a day when I'm being more serious about it.

It does take patience and at times it can be difficult to be patient enough. When I find myself getting annoyed or angry is when I realize I'm starting to take it too seriously. I'll log off then and not do very much at all for a few days. The really interesting thing is markets often rebound nicely after leaving them be for a while like that.

Anyhow I hope this helps. I'll probably base a blog post on it later. I'd include your mail in the post but not your name unless you tell me posting your name ok with you.

Notes

1. My response has been edited to correct minor mistakes (typos/grammar fixed, ambiguous wording changed).
2. My response has also been expanded upon in several places to make things more clear and bring up a few additional points I wanted to make.
3. Zosius' mail to me is un-edited. It's a straight copy/paste of the in-game mail he sent me.

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