Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The "Five" types of bots

Often I get asked the same question "What is the best way to price a card?" as easy as this might sound, all will depend on how much money you are willing to invest into the game and how much risk you're ready to take.

I will start by showing this generalized bots with different price strategies:

We all already know that some bots buy cheap to sell cheap and others buy high and sell reasonable cheap, but many fail to understand that trying to be the cheapest seller and highest buyer at the same time, often leads to massive losses.

BOT 1: "The Cheap Seller"
This kind of bot is quite simple, it involves very little to no risk at all and while not getting the most visits a day, when it does buy something good, often sells it quickly and for a good profit.
It seems like a good easy way to make money, but this kind of pricing will make the supplying customers feel ripped off (when they realize how cheaply you buy) and the buying customers hardly will become regulars, as they might just be buying cards for the sake of being so cheap (or to sell them back to BOT 4/5).

BOT 2: MTGO Library Default Pricelist
This pricing is what I would recommend a new bot, while having a good decent profit margin to be called "risk free",this often falls in the trap of still being a bot that "doesn't buy quite as high as the others". Theres a chance of making some regulars, but with time they might move on into bots like BOT3/4 as they seem to have the 3 things regulars like: Higher buying prices; Cheaper selling prices; Bigger stock.

BOT3: "Average Bot"
While I would recommend the default pricelist to a new bot, once you start getting a few customers and regulars, you should slowly edge a bit the buying prices forward, this will keep your regulars happy. This bot will always pick a bunch of cards from what you are trying to sell, and also likely to have a lot of cards that you need. This is the perfect bot for attracting many constructed players, while having a decent profit margin.

BOT4: "Minimal Profit Bot"
This kind of bot might seem a smart way of making profit. Many would be fooled that this bot will make much more profit than BOT3 simply because it will sell and buy the same card more often, but this bot hasa few downfalls. Firstly a very short gap on profit margins often mean that you will not get profit in a few specific cards, possibility big losses. The reason for this is because you will sell a newly popular card before you have time to increase the price, or the opposite, you will be the first to buy a card when it gets banned before you can reduce the price. To cover the loss caused on "not so good" trades, you will need to make many "regular" ones to break even.

BOT5: "Top Buyer, Expensive Seller"
This is the bot which every drafter will have on their buddy list. Very popular for top buying prices, this is the first spot where drafters will try and unload their cards. The downside is that, in order to buy this high, you will have to sell the previous bought copies of that card at high prices. This means that while a drafter might be excited that you are paying top dollar for 2 of his cards, he will be quite disappointed that it hasn't picked any other of his 10.000 tradable cards. This bot requires "rich" regular buying customers that want a fully stocked bot and don't mind paying extra for having it all under one roof.

Where do you think your bot fits? Currently my BestDeal bot is somewhere between BOT4 and BOT5, then each of the other bots on the chain sell slightly cheaper and buy slightly lower.

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