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The State of Blogging

The other day (okay it was a few weeks ago, but I didn’t have enough content to actually write about it till now) I realized something that’s fairly unique to your gold community: We’re the most monetized sub community in the WoW blogosphere. I mean think about it, most of my fellow bloggers, including myself, at least have google adsense up, or paid gold guides, referral programs or something to squeeze some money out of the blog.

Now the likely cause of this is the nature of the business. People who blog about making gold in game are likely to be those who are most passionate about it (though not necessarily the best at it) and among all gold makers there’s a desire to make gold, so it only makes sense that in the most passionate of the lot would have this trait manifest itself in the real world in the form of the desire to monetize their blog.

Obviously I’m guilty of this as well which is obvious to those without ad blockers, I’ve got google adsense both on my site as well as in my feed as well as a book contract (though frankly if it wasn’t the fact that they approached me I would never have dreamed of writing a paid guide, and in the back of my head I’m still expecting them to pull the plug on the project). The google ads are an attempt to recoup some of the costs of my blog (I pay for the domain and web hosting) and hopefully the cost of my subscription. Honestly so far the attempt has been in vain, I haven’t even made enough to pay for my domain for a year, but it really doesn’t matter to me all that much since I’m blogging for the sake of blogging, not to make money off of it (as for the book I took the deal because a.) it was a fucking book offer, who turns those down? and b.) I’m a broke ass college student).

Another thing I’ve noticed? We’re fairly sequestered in our own little world, we have very little interaction with other WoW bloggers. Something about gold blogging seems to have an effect of keeping our interactions within the gold making community while most of the other WoW Bloggers out there enjoy the the benefits of cross pollination so to speak, they get lots of love from other bloggers not specifically in their niche; you have paladin bloggers talking about druid bloggers, druid bloggers talking about artsy bloggers (sorry, couldn’t think of a better term there), artsy bloggers talking about role play bloggers and more.

For a while now I’ve been hanging around on the out skirts of the Blog Azeroth community which for those who don’t know is an excellent community of WoW bloggers. What do I notice? A lack of gold bloggers. And it’s not like the greater WoW blogging community is ignoring us oh no, it’s us that seem to be eschewing them. Take my blog for a moment, notice anything? Yea, there’s not a single link on my site as of this writing that’s not related to gold making, not a single one. Why is that? I don’t really know to be honest, though I can take comfort in knowing I’m not the only gold blogger that does this.

It’s not like I don’t follow anyone outside the gold community though, far from it in fact. I follow lots of blogs outside the gold community, most of them in the WoW community, so why do they hardly ever get an link love from me? Again, I don’t know, but it seems to be the trend in the gold making community.

What’s the result? We’ve basically put up a giant wall around our community. Okay maybe not a wall, more like everyone’s been trained by an electric fence that is no longer there. There’s nothing actually restraining us from embracing the rest of the blogging community, but everyone’s been conditioned against it.

Earlier this spring when I started to withdraw from gold making I got removed from The Undermine Journal’s list of syndicated blogs. While I was peeved about it in the beginning, I can understand why; after all it is a resource dedicated to making gold so it does it’s users no good to have my random ramblings clogging up the front page. This however is no excuse for a blog, but it seems we maintain this mentality anyways.

I wish I could say that at least within our own gold making community everything was copasetic but it’s not; throughout out own little community there’s fissures – different sub communities, cliques, and rivalries. Even in my short tenure I’ve seen the raise and fall of empires so to speak, I’m sure we all remember the markco fiasco (though admittedly that was less of a fall and more like a free fall from orbit smashing into the earth and leaving a huge crater and dust cloud in it’s wake).

I think what causes this phenomena in the gold community especially comes from a few sources. Although this isn’t limited to the gold community we do have a tendency to elevate a few select people which then draw their own subsections of the community into a little sub-orbit, creating a sort of Hollywood elite amongst the community.

There’s a tendency to attribute magical skills and knowledge to people who’ve been elevated in some way – appearing on TV, or having an impressive title, or coming from a wealthy family.

(Persuasion by Arlene Dickinson, p.80)

(You guys have no idea how long that quote has been sitting in my notebook waiting to be used, pretty much since I won a free signed copy of it back in November.)

As these stars in gain more influence they start to flex their muscles, pulling strings in the community, almost like spiders on a web. I myself have seen this effect, I’ve been weaved out of some people’s webs for my recent discussion about bots (I assume, I didn’t exactly get any notification, my secretary probably just lost the memo or something) which while I think is silly is perfectly within their rights. A time comes though for many where something snaps or fails and they sort of have a fall from grace.

(Yes I’m going to switch analogies here, I’ve never been very good at these things, bear with me.)

Of course as someone gets more and more influential, impressive, or popular what have you, it just means that they’re fall from grace will become less of a bird falling out of a sky and more of a giant piece of space rock plummeting through the atmosphere leaving destruction in it’s wake.

Here’s another clear division: Forum users and blog users. It seems to me at least that bloggers and forum goers form two distinct groups. Most bloggers don’t really contribute to forums, though you can’t really blame them, if they had anything constructive I’m sure they’d much rather put it on their own blog, I mean that’s why we have the things right? Plus the blog format is much better for certain things like long winded posts, like this one! Some forum goers also accuse bloggers of just ripping off content from various other sources and rebranding it. I wish I could deny this, but it’s at least plausible. In our defense a lot of this information doesn’t really come from one particular source, and bloggers have a tendency to put their own spin on things.

What can we do about it? That’s easy, there’s a lot of things we can do, but in general we just have to work on being more inclusive.

I’ve been a part of (I unfortunately have to use that term loosely) the Blog Azeroth community for a while now, even partaking in last years Furtive Father Winter (which I fully intend on taking part in again this year) where I ended up writing a post for Disciplinary Action (who seems to have since pulled it down which I can’t really blame her for, it wasn’t my best work) and I got a wonderful post from Kamalia et. alia who wrote the Rejected Karazhan Opera Encounters: How to Succeed at Gold-Making Without Really Trying for me (if you haven’t read it yet, go read it now it’s worth it, go ahead, I’ll wait).

Two weeks ago I also signed up for the Blog Azeroth blogging circle, basically a comment exchange. There have only been two featured blogs since I signed on, but it’s got me reading more than usual and expanding my horizons, a nice breath of fresh air.

What else am I going to do? I’m going to redo my blogroll to include other blogs in the WoW community that I read anyways. I’m also going to expand my blogging horizons a bit and touch on other topics about World of Warcraft. I’m also going to work on participating in the greater WoW blogging community more, commenting on other blogs, engaging more people on twitter, giving more link love in my posts and what have you.

So here’s my call out and message to other bloggers who might or might not be reading this: First, I’d like to apologize for excluding you all from my shenanigans, and I shall endeavor to me be more inclusive in the future. Second, if you have a blog drop me a line (there’s a bajillion ways to contact me, I’m not picky) and I’ll add you to my blogroll and personal reader if I haven’t already (my blogroll is set to only show a set amount of recent posts so it doesn’t overwhelm people with old content).

As an olive branch I’m going to be turning off the no-follow attribute in my comments as an incentive to get the conversations going!

P.S. How is my comment system anyways? Easy enough to use? It’s hard for me to tell how bad or good it is myself.

About the author

Eric Dekker

Gamer. Student. Nerd. Author of The Golden Crusade. Find him on + and Twitter.

21 comments

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  1. farli

    i have non-gold blogs on my blog roll, i just add stuff that i read to my blogroll lol. Nearly anything you read about wow can somehow be linked to making more gold so it’s all good.

    i have to start posting more on consortium forums (making an account would probably help doh!) but it is how you say, when i get an idea i’d rather put it up on my blog however that does’nt stop me joining in the discussion on topics other people raise i guess.

    really thought provoking post

    i think part of the “walling” is some other wow communities have negative perceptions about gold making, somehow it is a bit shady?

    if you wanted to get back on TUJ i’m sure you could i got on there pretty soon after i started my blog, you can always do like huntermastery does and have seperate RSS feeds for different topics, one for gold making, one for other stuff.

    a sign in using twitter option would be nice :P but once you fill in the information it stays there so i only had to fill in name etc once

    1. Eric Dekker

      Yea I get that sense sometimes too, a few shady characters in our community taints the world (of warcraft) view on us.

      Yea I’ve been thinking about generating a gold specific feed, I already have different categories for non-gold stuff, I dont’ know how to do it though from a technical stand point. Now that you’ve brought it up again though I’ll try again :)

      Yea it should be like most commenting systems you find on blogs, you stick your name/email/website in and leave a comment, and if you have a gravatar that shows up with it as well. Currently the system is set to moderate the first comment anyone makes and then once they have had one comment approved future comments automatically get approved. It also flags comments with two or more links for moderation.

  2. Nev

    Great post Eric & you make a lot of very valid points. I read quite a few non-gold blogs too & sometimes leave comments but it was the gold blogs I looked for originally for info & with a name like AH Addict, I think I locked myself into that niche. I tend to not want to write more general wow related stuff – I’ve always kept much of my online interests totally separate so as not to bore readers with the ‘wrong’ content.

    I should probably add podcasts & non-gold blogs to another list on my blog too – altho I’ve been saying for a while that I want to re-design it so I probably won’t just yet! lol

    1. Eric Dekker

      Hey Nev! Thanks :)

      A lot of bloggers find that people follow them for their writing, not necessarily the topic, so you might be surprised what other topics your readers would like to hear about.. There are lots of bloggers who you might think are locked in with their names who explore other topics.

      1. Nev

        Yup but I’ve got an idea bubbling on the back burner for now will sort that out for me :) You’ll just have to wait & see though :)

        1. Eric Dekker

          Ahh excellent, looking forward to it :)

      2. Soco

        One of my biggest problems in starting blogging was the name. I play a Priest but I knew I didn’t want to just write a Priest blog, similarly not wanting to be classified as a gold blogger or just dealing with transmog.

        I like to write about different things and my blog roll and twitter feed are filled with a whole host of different types of blog. I think I follow more non gold blogs than gold blogs even though I seem to have found my place within the gold making community by far more than any other.

        I keep forgetting to participate in the Blog Azeroth topics >_<

        Great post and commenting seems easy enough. The captcha code was really simple. I struggle a lot with them sometimes on certain blogs.

        1. Eric Dekker

          Yea the blogger.com comment system especially I have to refresh like 20 times sometimes to get a CAPTCHA I can read lol

  3. Joseph Douglas

    Great Read Eric.

    I’m in a peculiar position with my writing because I picked up the ball from the previous owner who was relatively liked in the gold making genre. During the transition there was a lot of confusion (I’m not the owner of the site, I just do the overall writing of the entries). With that confusion became a lot of hurt feelings and emotions both positive and negative.

    Being a new writer in the blogosphere has sparked both enjoyment and frustration. Enjoyment because it sparked something that was hidden in me for a bit (lots of journals sitting around my house, and even rumors of a couple of personal journals in different places) but never actually published
    (was offered a book deal for a WoW gold book but it felt a little to hinky for the terms they were offering).

    We are a semi closed group that has it’s own cliques. And at times we get a little snippy at each other due to fear of taking readers, or taking topics. I’ve struggled with this from time to time because I will read different journals and the forums, get an idea but trying to figure out how to give credit to the original idea maker, but still going on my own tangents and feelings. I even got into a quick slap fight with another blog because we had the same basic idea within the same couple of days.

    I know that there is a lot to learn with voice and tone and content. I’m still learning and even looking to throw in a few pro classes to see if I can’t get better. So reading entries like this impress me and make me wish that I could write this well.

    To me communication is the most important thing to readers. Whether it’s in comments (that I’ll be honest are few and far between) and my emails which I answer as quickly as possible. They are what make me know that at least someone is listening to me. The occasional bad grammar and all.

    I would say that one thing we all could do more is to build blogging on our passions. Grabbing the opportunity to write for a gold blog was because making gold in warcraft became a passion. When I started that first 100g to get my first mount was horrid. I never wanted to have someone ever have to deal with that again. So everytime I hear that someone got a mount they wanted to buy. Or could buy something they always wanted, and it’s due to what I’ve offered to them as far as bits of advice and direction. Then that equals as many hits on the blog as I can see.

    1. Eric Dekker

      Some link love would certainly go a long way in terms of crediting people, especially since JMTC is still such an influential site :)

      Also, I’m not sure if you have anything to do with this, but comments are always moderated on JMTC. I commented on something a while back now and it never got approved, and it looks like they never do, you haven’t had a comment in ages

  4. Cold

    Great article brother!

    Pretty spot on with every mention.

    It has been my experience that gold making sites are more easily monetized than other niches. Probably because gold making is hard work and or complicated to those new to making online game gold. Therefore there are a lot of players looking for a quick and lazy way to get rich. That’s where selling guides as an affiliate comes in. And those outlandish sales pitch pages while shady, do convert well. That’s where we as gold bloggers have to draw a line.

    It’s very easy to support some garbage guides and make easy money because the recurring sales add up quickly. I tend to only promote the guides I truly stand behind even of they are just a one time sale. The problem is most of the fake gold bloggers that just steals content, create newspapers from other sites content, or just simply release our rss feeds as their own tend to latch onto the scam guides that pay well regardless of the actual quality of the guide.

    As to our perception from other bloggers it pretty much is that we are all ” money grubbing scumbags who rip people off in game and would sell our grandmas teeth for quick cash”. It easy to see in unapproved blog comments, reddit links placed outside of gold making subreddits, or plenty of gaming forums. Why do people think this about wow gold makers?

    Easy Answer: Markco

    When you have such a slimy Internet snakeoil salesmen as the loudest and most vocal voice for so long, people tend to associate the rest of us with that same shady always pitching a sale type of scumbag. Yeah, he ruined the credibility of past, present, & future wow gold bloggers and it’s goIng to be a hard obstacle to overcome. Then enters Peng Joon the copy/ paste champion that steals your work and packages it up for $17 PER MONTH. The image gets tarnished even worse than what Markco ruined for us all. Clearing our image as legit bloggers outside of the wow gold circles will always be an uphill battle because of the scumbags that are just here to try and take readers money as their sole objective.

    Monetizing your site is fine, just do it with decency and only support legit guides, legit writers, and legit products. Once you cross the line to writing for income as your primary purpose, as opposed to making some extra cash on the side to help cover costs, it’s hard to come back.

    The sad thing is that fellow bloggers can spot the snake in the grass vey easily. But the poor new readers get bitten over and over before they know where is safe and who to really trust.

    Damn this got long! Lol.
    Rock on brother!

    1. Eric Dekker

      Holy wall of text Cold lol.

      I’ll have to clarify something here I think, I don’t think blogging as a major income is bad, I just think gold blogging, or WoW blogging in general, isn’t a great media for it. I read lots of blogs about, well, blogging or writing in general whose authors make a living off this work, and they produce great content. Just blogging about say gold though I doubt there’s the market potential to really make suitable money and it’s really not a topic that you can really be a professional in, at least not like copywriting (which is what most of the other bloggers I read do).

      The professional blogs I read are just that, professional. They use their blogs to hawk their services, demonstrate them, and to help other writers.

      1. Markco

        Erik, I made $50,000 selling jmtc and sold 6,000 gold guides before doing so.

        Any blog can make money if you provide consistently impressive content that helps people. The amount of work I put in was insane to what people do today.

        In one week I remember creating 2 podcasts, 4 guest posts, 3 YouTube videos, responding to 100′s of emails, Daily posts, and breaking 50,000 pageviews.

        In comparison, Now a days it’s considered amazing to just have a post every day.

        It is totally possible to live off this amount or effort.

  5. Markco

    Great article. Fantastic even.

    Gold blogging is looked down upon by anyone who just wants to play the game without being distracted by makin gold. Anyone who does play the ah is considered in the way of this simple goal because they play the markets and raise prices in their eyes.

    In reality, gold makers find ways to lower prices which helps the very people who hold distain for them.

    I wish I was still a gold blogger. In its hay day jmtc definitely brought people together and managed to bring massive media coverage to gold making, all the while improving our image.

    1. Eric Dekker

      Hey Markco, long time no see!

      Yes I agree, and I’ve talked about this ad nauseam on the blog, that true goblins are beneficial to the economy and to the general player base. Unfortunately there are a few bad grapes out there that have given us a bad name.

  6. Victor Stillwater

    I’m all for inclusivity in blogging. I follow a ton of people on my reader, but keep forgetting to put up and update my blogroll. I should fix that!

    I followed links from other blogs to your blog mostly because I’ve been interested in making money for paying for mounts and pets…

    That said, I’m here to ask for advice. I’m a returning player who moved his NE hunter from one server to another and onto Horde faction. I’m a Miner Engineer.with approximately 2000 Gold at level 80.

    I would like to make a jewelcrafter monk come Pandaria but I’m not sure if I should make his other tradeskill mining or Enchanting or something else.

    Can you help me out with information? If my Miner/Engineer is my main, and I have a DK herbalist/Scribe (not too active at 77), what’s a good thing for synergy for a monk? Would JC/Enchants do it?

    1. Eric Dekker

      Well while you’re leveling you should just stick to Mining/Herbalism, it will give you a much welcomed exp boost while leveling and those classic, Burning Crusade, and Wrath of the Lich King mats can fetch a pretty penny if you decide to sell them (you can also hang on to them to level a profession later which is a great idea).

      Once you’re done leveling your Monk or whatever it is you decide to do, yes Jewelcrafting/Enchanting is an excellent combo, they work very well together (or at least have in the past, don’t see how that will change in Mists of Pandaria).

      Something else you could consider is dropping mining on your hunter, dropping herbalism on your DK, and then make a druid or something with that combo for full time gathering, much more efficient use of your time and opens up two profession slots for you too use on other professions!

      1. Victor Stillwater

        Thank you. I’m not too keen on changing my hunter’s tradeskills, but if I may ask… why a druid alt?

        I mean, I can make a druid alt and that’s fine for pre-Pandaria farming, but why specifically a druid?

        And yeah, I can probably save all the ore and co-level the monk and Druid. with the druid at a slightly higher level than the monk :D

        1. Eric Dekker

          Well Druids have the benefit of instant flight form and can pick herbs from flight form, which doesn’t sound like much but can be a huge benefit. You also mentioned you were Horde right? Tauren also get a Herbalism perk IIRC so a Tauren Druid is the ultimate herbalist. Dual stack with mining to save time and increase resources gathered per hour

          1. Victor Stillwater

            You’re bloody brilliant!

            of course, all my mains save for the monk are now Tauren. LOL. thanks for help with the nest egg building, btw. :D That said, I have no experience with druid play. Know anyone who might help?

          2. Eric Dekker

            My druid blogs of choice are Fluid Druid, Restokin, and Falling Leaves and Wings, all of which can be found in my blogroll on the right :) Between those three you should find everything you need (there’s 4 druid specs now, a lot to talk about lol).

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