Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Disclaimer: The Ad.

Some of you may have noticed that I put an ad for the Zygor Leveling guide on my blog. Given the recent posts by Gevlon and Tobold regarding gold guides and Affiliate marketing, I wanted to take a moment to comment on the ad.

In the past two years, I have been asked several times to place ads on my site for various products. I was even one of the many blogs offered a free copy of Dragon Age: Origins to review it. Most of the offers came from gold sellers, power levelers, and account sellers. I had a couple of offers from gold guide sellers, but the strangest offer I got was from a prominent poker website that wanted to advertise during the World Series of Poker. I have refused every offer I received due to a combination of not agreeing with their product and/or thinking it wouldn't fit with the blog.

In particular, I hate gold guides. Like Tobold, I think they are a waste of money. I read quite a few gold blogs and have learned only one undeniable truth. There is no surefire way to make a lot of gold in WoW. What works for one person on one server may or may not work for another person on another server. Plus, buy the time the time the idea is publish more people will be doing it and the profits will be less. Gold guides are basically a collection of ideas that may or may not work and I bet you can find most of them online somewhere else.

How are Leveling Guides Different?

Some of you may be wondering what is different about a leveling guide. All of the information in a leveling guide is available on WoWhead, and there are addons like Questhelper and Carbonite that will help you for free.

There are two key differences in my opinion. First, the information provided by a leveling guide is fairly static between expansions. Blizzard doesn't generally do whole sale changes to quests between expansions. When they do, the guides are generally updated for free. At least that was the case with the Brian Kopp guide I purchased when Mudsprocket came out.

Second, the true value of a leveling guide is the organization of information and not the information itself. A leveling guide gives you step by step instructions on where to go, what quests to pick up, what mobs to kill.

I know this isn't for everyone, but I like it. When I first started playing the game it took me for ever to get to level 30 because my questing was not organized. When I hit 80 and wanted to clear Icecrown, I hated having to continually look up coordinates to figure out where quest objectives were and what quests should be done together. I'm sure this says something negative about me, but I like being told what to do and where to go when leveling.

Why the Zygor Guide?

If you've read my blog for while then you know that I am a big fan of leveling guides. The first guide I used was Jame's excellent and free leveling guide at WoWpro.com. I used it to get Graylo from 30 - 60. At 60, I bought the Brian Kopp guide because Jame had not updated his guide for TBC yet. I used this guide to get Graylo, Graypal, and Grayfel to 70. When WotLK was released I bought the Zygor guide because I wanted an in game leveling guide and I didn't see any definite information that the Brian Kopp guide would be updated. I leveled all three of my 70s to 80 using the Zygor guide and I leveled my mage from 30 to 79 using the Zygor guide.

I'm not going to tell you that this guide is perfect or even the best on the market. There have been times when I thought it should have pointed me to a better spot or organized a little differently. However, I have been very happy with my purchase, and would make it again if given a chance.

Why have an Ad at All?

EDIT: I want to clarify one thing. In no way, shape, or form am I saying, "buy this guide or I'll quit blogging." How much I blog is determined by my ideas and my interest, and I seriously doubt I could make enough money of the blog for it to be anything other then a hobby. So, if your interested in a leveling guide and you would like to try the Zygor guide, then great. Please hit the link and buy the guide. However, no one should think "I need to buy that guide so that Graylo will keep blogging." If/When I deside to stop blogging I doubt it will have to do with financial issues.

Though I do not have any out of pocket costs directly related to the blog, there are plenty of indirect costs to maintain the blog. The fact of the matter is that it costs money to play the game and costs time to write the blog. However, I am not going to quit playing the game or quit writing the blog based on how many guides I do or do not sell.

I may be idealizing it in my head, but I look at it this way. I've put a lot of time into this blog. I've also spent a lot of money in the form of subscription fees, hardware and internet access, to play the game. Since the blog would not be possible without playing the game, the blog shares in some of the costs. (If you couldn't tell I work in cost accounting.)

I'm not looking to make a ton of money off the ad. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if I didn't make any. I'm just hoping that it can offset some of the costs of my two hobbies.

The Disclaimer: PLEASE READ!!

All links to the Zygor guide in my blog are affiliate links. If you click the link and buy the product, I will make some money. However, all comments made on this blog about the Zygor guide are my own. As far as I know, no one from the Zygor staff has contacted me for any reason. If you you are considering a purchase of the guide I want to make a couple of other points clear.

  1. Buying the guide WILL NOT give you access to their Cataclysm leveling guide when the new expansion is released. Do not purchase this guide now thinking it will be good when you want to level to 85. Only buy this guide if you have toons you are currently leveling.

  2. I think this guide has value. I also think some of the claims made by Zygor on their web site are exaggerations and in some cases down right BS. I have never leveled at the speed the site claims you can achieve. I also don't buy the argument that this guide complies with Blizzards policy that addons cannot be sold. If you buy this guide I encourage you to do so with some scepticism.


Jormundgard said...

I don't really have an opinion on advertising. But having used the Tour Guide + TomTom addons (which are essentially embedded Jame's guides, and cost nothing), I can't imagine that one is getting much more for their value.

Keeva said...

I used a paid levelling guide for Keeva, and had a lot of fun doing it. Definitely worth the purchase.

Nobody *needs* a levelling guide, of course, but if you want to go fast and skip the fluff, some levelling guides are really excellent. I would highly recommend the one I used.

I think people see gold guides as shady for some reason. Recent drama probably hasn't helped that view. I think too many people think that gold guides are akin to gold selling or something. It's not. It's just another how-to.

They are simply someone else's knowledge and strategies written down and offered up for sale. If you think there is value in that, for what you want to do, then there is nothing wrong with buying (or selling). Yes, you can find the information for free if you want - but these guides are generally one-stop-shops, and there is value in that for many people.

I don't hate gold guides, and I would have no problem advertising them, honestly.

I think the biggest thing is that you should never promote a product that you haven't seen and tried yourself, and can fully get behind. Ifyou promote a product that you can't honestly back 100% from your own experience, then you lose credibility.

I'd have to see the gold guide and see whether the strategies are enduring, or whether it's just full of short-term market tips etc... markets are very different on each server so it would have to be quite a broad and guide to account for that. If it's just hints and tips and trivial stuff, probably not worth it.

But again - it's up to the buyer to decide whether they want to go looking for tips, reading blogs etc - or whether they just want it all in one place, at one time.

Just like anything out there, you can probably find it for free on the internet. If I wanted cooking recipes, there are probably millions out there for free on the net - so why buy a cookbook?

So I think hatred of gold guides is irrational, a lot of the time. There's nothing wrong with them. If people want to pay money for information that can be gathered for free, it's up to them. But we shouldn't be looking down on the people who spend time putting guides together.

I would never advertise gold or account selling, though, and I have ignored requests to advertise gold sellers on TBJ.

Triv said...

Simple and quick. Done with class and style.

Alexander D. (besttamer and beastcreator) said...

Don't leave (>'~')> I can't really help you finacialy nor do I understand it cause I'm only 14 plz don't advertise goldsellers those jerked hacked me 10x in the past few mounts or so! Lost alot of munyy I worked for cause like now it's been 2weeks and blizz still hasent fixed it well that's off topic keep up the posts if you are a Druid try out foofy's blog I'm sere u know her(foofys cupcake) also for hunters tribunalxhunter.com post vids offten but u man u wow must take a while to type all that info for me it's easy I just type and forget y I started and find out I'm done not where if that's good of bad owell Happy hunting or LOL moonfire!!!!!! Pwnd

Graylo said...


I think you might have misunderstood me a little. I don't have any problem with people buying, creating, selling or advertising gold guides. How people spend their own money is up to them. Also, neither Gevlon’s nor Tobold's posts changed any of my opinions on Markco, his blog, or his guide. I agree that some of his tactics were a little slimy, but I've seen very similar tactics from Joana, Brian Kopp, iDemise, and Zygor. The only thing exceptional I saw from Markco was his threats to sue which I thought were funny.

The reason I hate Gold Guides is because I think they provide very little value as a general rule. There are really only two ways to make a lot of gold in wow other then winning the BoE lottery. 1. Farm your butt off. 2. Exploit the inefficiencies of the market.

Knowing what to farm can be a little difficult because you don’t really know what is valuable on your server. Unfortunately, a guild can’t really tell you that either. Farming the standard items is always an option and the best places to find them are easy to see on WoWhead. Therefore no guide is necessary.

Exploiting the inefficiencies of a market isn’t something that a guide can really help you with. The more people that try to capitalize on inefficiency the more efficient the market will become. Therefore the guide actually makes the tricks it shows you useless.

As you said, you should never support a product you can’t fully get behind. I agree 100%, and a gold guide is not something I can get behind.

That is why I won’t promote them.

Merlot said...

I don't think you needed to justify this ad in any way. I'm not even sure how this became an issue of ethics. I find it quite amusing that much of this shit storm was stirred up by Gevlon, who is a self-confessed merciless capitalist and the last person to pass up a good deal. His objection to the gold-making guide, if I understand it correctly, is not an ethical one at all, but an intellectual one. I don't think there's anything wrong with advertising levelling guides - or even gold-making guides for that matter - and commend you for having the skill to make a few bucks from your blog. And plugging the guide in the process lol.

Kring said...

Can't you join the fight and bitch about someone?

You're doing it completely wrong, Graylo...

We need blooooooooood...

Qieth said...

In regards to gold making guides, i found this "RyutaroAkaTarou" guy on Youtube. He has EXCELLENT gold making guides, narrated videos, profession overviews and such, and they are free. Id rather support that than people wanting money to tell you how to make mo.. gold.

RyutaroAkaTarou is his YT account name - people can look it up themselves if they want.

Erohe said...

Your justification just feels lame. Advertise for it and that's all. If you really want to give advice about leveling guides, then talk about james' ones, which, as you said, are free, and of excellent quality.

Anonymous said...

I joined wow and in 11 days I was 80.
Step one: buy wow and install it, step two: download Curse Client, or any add-on manager, step three: download Questhelper and Cartographer. It might be sad but I was only in Outland for a day. Only do quests that are in orange or yellow and ditch all the rest. Questing, however lame it may be, is the fastest way to lvl. Purchase all the Bind to Account lvlving gear you can, if you have an 80, and just quest. Forget pvp forget raiding, you can grind for rep and skills later. Jamming as many quests per hour will optimize the rate at which you lvl. I haven’t lvled an alt recently but it would seem that if you wanted to have any maxxed professions before you do hit 80 just pick up skinning and LW. Don’t purchase a thing aside from a skinning knife, and when you hit 80 you will have about 6k gold from quests and looting. Personally I think that purchasing a lvling guide is a waste. Just this man’s opinion.

jason said...

Truth of the matter is I've been debating on whether or not to purchase a leveling guide, to speed up leveling on my alts, and since it will benefit the site I go to most often for all things Moonkin, you just made up my mind for me.

Tyra said...

Exaclty what i expect from someone posting an ad for the first time. Quick, simple, and honest ;)

Good enough for me. And if it was Markco's (before drama), would've been ok with me too!

Fingon said...

I have no problem with ads on a blog of this caliber. If it brings you a little money and maybe help the motivation abit then just the bether.

I have myself never used any leveling guide except Jame's but now a days i prefer doing it solo.