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.
- 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.
- 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.