This post is an entry for the June Cold's Gold Factory Blog Carnival. Cold asked:

What have you learned from the real world that you have applied in the WoW auction house?

Originally, I had this whole only-sort-of-facetious post written up about how I learned everything I know about making gold from Mark Shapiro, but the more I thought about it, the more it felt a bit glib. I may still make that post, but I didn't feel it was completely appropriate to the topic at hand.

But in real life, I am not particularly entrepreneurial. I don't sell stuff on eBay or work on commission. I work a 9 to 5. I am mostly fiscally responsible, but I am a compulsive saver. This attitude is great if you're always planning for a rainy day in real life, but not so great when it comes to making gold. I actually have to fight against my severe risk-aversion when I make moves on the AH sometimes.

However, there is one thing I've learned in real life apart from "Keep track of your expenditures and earnings every month" and "budget your spending" and "don't buy stuff you have no idea how to use just because it's on sale."

Your reputation matters.

My parents own a small business in a small town. Growing up, every little bitty aspect of our lives could make or break what Important People thought of our business, and therefore affect the kind of business we got.

While your server is probably not a small, gossip-y Midwestern town, outright trollish behavior can affect whether you get buyers, especially on items that you bark. If you have a reputation as a ninja, people may not buy your BoE epics because they don't know if you got them legitimately. If you are regularly a jerk to people in Trade, you may have difficulty selling to people through that venue. Sure a little mutual trolling can be good publicity, but at a certain point, I don't want to buy anything from you anymore.

Honestly, this does affect how I make gold. I don't cuss in Trade. I sell vendor items under a separate toon that's not associated in any way with my main. I do not snipe off the Neutral AH. I aim to be polite to people I sell to "in person" who have commissioned me in Trade. I try to give a good and fair tip to people whom I commission from Trade. When barking, I make a point not to spam Trade.

Keep a clean house. Know the line between being smart enough to take advantage of others' mistakes and being a slimeball. Your line might be different than mine is (my background suggests that it is), but be aware that you do have a reputation, and your actions influence it.