Wednesday 26 February 2014

Trading Terms and Definitions

Different people sometimes use the same terms to mean different things. For traders it can be confusing understanding exactly what someone means by terms like "Station Trading" or "Regional Trading".

Station Trading

The strictest definition and the one I use is trading on a single station, using station range buy orders only and reselling on the same station. There is no need to travel, the trader typically never leaves the station other than to update his clone or buy a skill-book he needs to train.

Having said that, I often use 1 or 2 jump buy orders instead of station orders on characters I more or less consider to be station traders. However I will specify that's the case when talking about them.

Most others use a similar definition for station trading though some use it to refer to trade on any station within the same region and that can cause quite a bit of confusion.

A few even use it to mean any and all transactions made through market orders regardless of location. To them market orders are on stations therefore market order = station trading. They use the term Station Trading simply to differentiate between market trading and trades deals made in chat and/or through contracts. They don't seem to be primarily traders though, they're industrialists and others who are only peripherally involved in market trading as a means to an end in support of their main business rather than as their main business.

A grey area is buying at greater ranges and reselling on the station it was bought at without any travel or transport involved. Some consider that straight Station Trading too.

Regional Trading

Trading within a single region. Buying throughout the region and reselling within the same region. Usually involves transporting items from less traveled systems to one of the larger hubs within the region.

This is the definition I use and one of the bigger sources of confusion. There doesn't seem to be a consensus on the usage of the term. Some use it the way I do while others use it to refer to the trade between different regions (what I think of as Inter Regional or Haul Trading).

Again the grey area is if you're buying throughout the region and reselling everything where it was bought without travel or transport, some consider that Station Trading rather than Regional Trading.

Inter Regional Trading

Buying items in one region and reselling them in another. Involves travel and/or transport from one region to another and usually at least one trading character in each region.

Not everyone uses this term but when it is used it always seems to mean the same thing. I never saw it used until I started using it myself.

I used to refer to this as Haul Trading until I realized that was kind of ambiguous and could easily be confused with the hauling and transport involved in Regional Trading.

Or maybe it's just me

Or maybe I'm the one who's confusing terms. Maybe I'm using Regional Trade to mean something different than most others. Maybe I should change my usage and start using Regional Trading to refer to the trade between different regions rather than the trade within a single region.

What do you think?

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Quick Delivery

I love public courier contracts, they tend to get delivered much faster at lower rates and to/from more places than private contracts through courier corps.

Frequently it is a courier corps or one of their pilots that picks up the public contract anyhow. The difference is the pool of potential courier pilots is vastly larger. Anyone (a member of any courier corps, independent courier pilots or some random player looking to make a little extra for a quick trip in his PvP fit interceptor) can accept and deliver the contract rather than being limited to just a single corp.

As long as you're paying decent rates the contracts tend to get delivered quickly and all without paying exorbitant "rush" fees or much higher rates for trips into low/null.

As an example I've had roughly 350 million worth of Genolution implants sitting at a low sec station in Devoid for a while that I couldn't be bothered flying manually to pick up. That particular pilot is still flying Vigils, has another month or so to go before he can fly Prowlers and I really don't like doing low/null pickups in anything but Blockade Runners now.

So today I set up a contract  to move the implants to the nearest high sec station where I could pick them up on autopilot later in relative safety.

The contract was for a 2 jump trip (1 in low sec) and paying 2 million ISK with 350 million ISK collateral.

Then I put the character on autopilot to pickup some stuff elsewhere and tabbed out for a few minutes to do a few things on another character.

Maybe 10 minutes later, I tabbed back in to do the return trip. To my amazement the contract I'd just entered had already been delivered!

Thanks go out to Naskmatar Deliveries for such incredibly quick service!

Sunday 16 February 2014

Coincidence or not?

I've talked about Spam Referral Sites before but I noticed an unexpected correlation over the last month between spam referrals and another site's blog roll.

Here are my all time statistics for referring sites. Nearly half of them are fake hits from just one spam referral site (vampirestat), there are another 700 hits from another spam site (adsensewatchdog) and there were several other spam sites that don't make the all time list but used to show up on daily, weekly and monthly lists.

All Time

Then about a month ago I noticed the spam sites weren't showing up on my daily or weekly stats anymore. I also noticed a big source of real referrals (Greedy Goblin) wasn't showing up anymore either. Checking into things a little further I found Gevlon had pruned his blog list, removing a number of blogs from his list, inlcuding mine.

I had to wonder if there was a correlation between being on Gevlon's bloglist and getting spam referrals from vampire stat and the rest. But I didn't want to jump to conclusions so I decided to watch it for a month and see what happened.

A month later, here are my stats for the Last Month

Last Month

All the old spam referral sites seem to be gone for good. =)

Semalt is suspicious, it might be a new spam referral site but if so it's low volume spam compared to the old ones.

This can't be just a coincidence. I very much doubt Gevlon is behind the spam referrals (he probably doesn't have a clue this is happening) so I figure the spammers must be using his blog list to find other blogs to spam. They probably do the same thing with many other blogs too.

I may have lost one of my 3 main sources of actual real referrals but if losing those referrals means the hundreds and thousands of bogus spam referrals have stopped for good that's just fine with me.

Referral numbers are actually meaningful again, Hurray!

Wednesday 12 February 2014

The Daily Routine

One question that comes up frequently is what my daily routine is like? That's a more difficult question to answer than it might seem because I do a lot of different things, and I'm always changing things up.

One thing that's important to note is what I do now is quite different from what I did in the beginning or even for most of my first year trading. That's because in the beginning you have plenty of time,  fewer characters, far less investment capital and far fewer orders to maintain. I simply can't spend anywhere near the same amount of time on individual characters or orders now with 23 active traders, 450 billion ISK and over 7000 orders as I could when I first started out with just 1 character, maybe 50 million ISK and 53 orders.

I use a whole bunch of simple rules of thumb to make most decisions quickly and easily. Some are hard rules that I always follow without exception while others are more situational and only come into play under certain circumstances (like that damn no-lifer/bot camper won't go away, it's time to take the gloves off, kill the margin and teach him a lesson).

I also use a priority system where I do the most important and most profitable things first. The things that are most likely to generate the highest total profits (not to be confused with the highest profit margins). That means I tend to spend more time updating and renewing orders on some characters than on others. It also means I spend more time working on my most profitable items (on most characters) than on less profitable items (on any characters).

The very first thing I do every day is check my skill queues in Evemon and update any skill queues that need updating. That takes 5-10 minutes at the most, usually less, then I get into my prioritized trading routine.

My trading priority system starts with using the ISK tool tab in jEveAssets to track where everything is and make most of my decisions about what needs to be done first from the information there. Under that tab the 4 important columns I use to make those decisions (in order of importance) are Wallet Balance, Assets, Sell Orders and Escrows.

Wallet Balance tells me how much ISK each character has. I like to keep a minimum 3 billion ISK on each of my active traders. That's enough to cover at least a couple of days worth of normal purchasing activity on most of them though I prefer 5 billion on the ones in the more active regions and 8 billion on the Jita buyers. This is very high priority, I usually look at this tab first and if necessary quickly transfer some ISK around between characters before doing anything else.

Assets tells me how much stock each character has just sitting around waiting to be picked up and/or posted. Generally when a character has more than 2 billion in assets I should do something about it soon. If prices are good locally or I don't already have enough up for sale, it generally gets posted there. If local prices aren't good I'll usually ship it off to another region for sale though depending on stock levels and prices elsewhere I might just sit on it for a while too. This is high priority, most days I look at this tab second and post or ship stock from any characters that have a large amount in assets.

Sell Orders tells me how much stock a character has for sale on the market. If this number is too high I've probably got an obsessive no-lifer or bot undercutting me and need to drop prices. If it's low, that usually means business is going good there and it should be one of the first places I ship stock to from other regions. This is important but it's not high priority, it can usually wait a few days or even a week.

Escrows tells me how much ISK I have in buy orders in the region. Similar to Wallet Balance, I like to keep Escrow over 3 billion on all active traders and much higher on the bigger, more important ones in the most active regions. Note with Margin Trading V (which all my traders have) that means the total value of the buy orders is approximately 5x higher, 3 billion in Escrow = roughly 15 billion worth of buy orders. This is a lower priority but it is important not to let Escrow drop too low, especially in the busier regions.

For example my ISK tab (sorted by Wallet Balance) currently looks like this:

Each line represents a single character, with 3 traders on Jita and 20 other traders each in a different region. The bottom 6 are 2 combat pilots that aren't involved in serious trading and 4 inactive traders I don't really need right now but am training up anyhow so they'll be immediately available if/when I do need them in the future.

Looking at Wallet Balance I see 2 of my Jita traders which I like to keep around 7-10 billion ISK are both in that range which is ideal. The 3rd Jita trader (the mods trader) is way down the list with only 3.6 billion ISK. One of the very first things I'll do is transfer several billion ISK from other traders that have over 5 billion ISK. I could transfer several billion from the other 2 Jita traders too because the skillbook and implants traders really don't need as much ISK as the mods trader does (5 or 6 billion is enough for either of them most of the time).

All of my other active traders have at least 3 billion ISK so I don't need to do anything else about wallet balances.

Moving onto the Assets Tab, I re-sort the list to put the character with the most in Assets at the top and the one with the least at the bottom.

What a mess!

The first thing I notice is my Lonetrek Trader, who also does pickups for the 3 Jita traders, has nearly 8 billion in assets. Normally I'd have done something about that long before it got anywhere near that high but I've been putting it off and the stuff's been piling up for over a week now. I'm still a bit burned out from the grind last month proving to myself I could hit 50 billion a month if I consistently spent 2 hours a day at it for the whole month.

Really I should (and normally would) take a look at all the characters with over 2 billion in Assets and several of the ones with over 1 billion. I'll have to slowly start working on it one or two characters at a time eventually but not today. I'll put it off for at least another day and maybe longer. Who knows, maybe I'll get lucky and prices will rise in the meantime. :)

It's not as bad as it looks though, several character's Assets numbers are inflated because they're sitting on small stacks of PLEX that I won't sell unless the price goes up a ways. I bought them at good prices, if sell prices rise, I'll sell them and buy more cheap ones, but if sell prices don't go up I'll just use them to extend account subscriptions in a month or so.

After re-sorting on the Sell Order tab I can see 5 characters have over 10 billion in sell orders which might mean I need to update sell orders on them. Normally I'd take a look at all of them soon and update sell orders on any that need it. But that's not really a high priority unless things haven't been selling on them for a long time and that's not the case right now (other than maybe on the Lonetrek Trader with over 14 billion in sell orders). I'll probably take a look at Lonetrek's sell orders in a day or two but the rest can wait until after I get all that stuff sitting in Assets moved around and posted for sale.

Finally I re-sort on Escrows and see that 7 traders have less than 3 billion in Escrow, but only 2 of them are significantly less. I'll have to take a look at those 2 pretty soon, normally that would mean right now but I've been putting a lot of things off for a while and increasing Escrow is lower priority than posting Assets to Sell Orders which still needs to be done. Also the Jita skillbook trader has under 6 billion in escrow. That's a little lower than I like to have him at but not low enough to worry about yet either.

So in a nutshell I really need to transfer some ISK to the Jita mods buyer and get all that stock on the Lonetrek Trader moved around and posted for sale. There are a lot of other things that need doing too but those are the 2 highest priority. When I get over the burnout, I'll do them first. That'll probably take at least an hour (there's a lot of stock on Lonetrek and much of it needs to be shipped elsewhere). Once that's done, I can work my way down the priority list on the rest until I've had enough for the day and then start over again the next time I log in.

Saturday 1 February 2014

Financial Report - January 2014 - Record Month

Financial report for the month of January 2014 (last month). Trade oriented since trading is how I make virtually all of my ISK.

I buy and sell faction/deadspace/officer mods, ships, skill-books and implants with traders covering all 5 major trade hubs (Jita, Amarr, Dodixie,  Hek and Rens) plus secondary hubs in most other empire regions. I have 23 active traders, 3 on Jita (one each for mods, implants and skillbooks), 20 more with each covering a different region and a few more in training.

In January my net worth was up 50 billion after expenses.

For a change, this month I increased the amount of time I spent working the market. I spent 2-3 hours a day on all but a few days this month. 3 times as much work for less than 50% increased profit. That's pretty harsh diminishing returns on time spent.

Once you get big enough spending more time working the market has diminishing returns, the more hours spent at it, the less you make per hour.

Next month I'll probably go back to spending less time (an hour a day at the most) and working longer term trends again

Current net worth is 432 billion with about half 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, mostly ships and mods I keep in stock for my own use, maybe 4 billion worth and very recently a small stockpile of PLEX worth 5-10 billion.

That's my actual current total net worth, I don't pad the numbers by talking about profit made before expenses, adding that up as a running total and only mentioning expenses as an afterthought. My numbers are (and have always been) my actual current net worth after expenses.