I’ve been an avid World of Warcraft player since day one. I’m dedicated enough to the game to drive an hour and a half to a Gamestop in the middle of nowhere to get a copy of Wrath of the Lich King on launch day. Yes, it’s true; often enough preordering isn’t always going to guarantee a copy of the game in your hands on day one. I know a lot about the game but that doesn’t stop me from finding out more. So I’m always searching the Internet to find the latest news and discussions about WoW. There is one thing though that bothers me. Gold guides. Especially the interstitial ones or the ones that come up and block the whole page while you search for the tiny X.

You’ve seen it, haven’t you? Browsing a WoW site and seeing a 120x600 skyscraper ad that details how you can make 100 to 500 gold an hour easily. Following the breadcrumbs to their site leads you on a magical journey to the discovery that for just fifty dollars you can become the owner of a brand new gold guide. This guide will have you earning 10,000 gold within a week! Why pay $250 for the gold from the evil gold sellers when you can farm it up with a guide that gives you all you need to know for $30-$50? Wait, there’s more! Over 200 bucks in other guides are thrown in for free! Exclamation point! Check mark list! Exclamation point!

Well, I do hate gold sellers. They inflate our prices, spam our channels, and do other things that ner’do’wells do. Ten Ton Hammer even has an anti-gold seller policy to help stop the spread of gold selling nastiness. This doesn’t stop the gold guides themselves from being evil. That doesn’t stop gold guides from not only being stupid but nefarious as well. First of all, let’s look at what people pay for.

When you buy the guide you’ll get a PDF that goes over how to make gold in WoW. Simply put, it’s a lot to do about nothing. You can find out the same thing in one run-on sentence! Are you ready? Here we go: You can farm gold in WoW by taking up herbalism or mining and then go pickup herbs or ores and then go to the auction house and sell them, but if that isn’t enough you can do dailies while you farm so you also get greens and you can sell those and you’ll make 200 gold/hour!!! One run-on sentence could have just saved you fifty bucks.

Of course you can always go look up gold guides. I can save you the time though. They are all the same. They all have a video with a guy or a girl talking about how they’re on a real server (on a bought character or are really on a fake server), how they have nearly 50,000 gold (always nearly 50,000), and how you, too, can be as cool as them. Oh, and look at their mounts. The site is often drenched in wonderful checkmarks. Lots of checkmarks. Testimonials, exclamation points, and checkmarks!!!

Given my best attempts to fail, this banner is still better than most gold guides real banners.

So to put it plainly, it’s a big scam. It goes deeper than that though. It goes down to one of the oldest tricks in the Internet scammer’s toolbox. “How to earn massive amounts of money with this PDF”™ is the name of the game. How do you earn massive amounts of money with that PDF? Resell the PDF to others through an affiliate program. These gold guides work the same way.

See, it’s called viral money-making or well, take a buzzword and jam “money-making” on the end. It starts at the top, usually with American businesses, which create a single PDF file. They then, in turn, give it out to people who want to “work from home.” They buy a website, put up the HTML files, and then edit it to give it that “custom” feel. Then they buy ads and get affiliates who share in their profits when a guide is sold to put their ad on their site.

A consumer comes and purchases the guide. The person who put the site up gets a cut, the lord PDF mill company gets a cut, and the referrer sometimes gets a cut too (assuming they aren’t scammed by some shady business practices). The money doesn’t go to the site’s owner, it goes the PDF mill who spreads the wealth downward. The consumer gets a PDF file full of useless garbage that’s mostly common sense and probably stolen off of a forum or WoW site while the seller has little to no overhead and rolls in the cash.

Of course, you know those shady gold sellers are involved. They join in stealing content and reposting it attempting to get people to buy their wow gold guides as well. You might stop and think to yourself… how could this be? Wouldn’t they lose business if people farmed their own gold? No. They don’t. People who buy guides to “earn cash fast” are already desperate. If they’re willing to throw down fifty bucks for a guide, then they’re willing to throw down more money for the actual gold. It’s a double whammy.

So, if you’re thinking about buying one or have a friend talking about buying one, just tell them to drop that gold guide and get some common sense. Pick up a gathering profession, do your daily quests, and if you’re good at it, play the market. Buy stuff when it’s low and relist it for more. There is nothing out there that is going to make you gold faster. Sure there are prime farm spots, disenchanting, and other intricate details, but figuring that out can be done by asking your guildmates, or even posting on our own forums for some advice.

Of course, you could say I’m on a moral soapbox. Stupid people with money are often separated, right? Well, yeah. It’s fine if you want to buy a guide. It’s not going to hurt anyone (although the money could funnel towards bad people somewhere) and you’ll just be out your cash. It’s annoying, though, whenever I can’t search the word “gold” without getting these websites jammed up in my face. It’s annoying to go to a site and have one of the ads being a HOW TO FARM GOLD next to HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT FAST and the ads that aren’t necessarily PG but involve lengthening things if you get what I mean.

So if you don’t believe me, think I’m wrong, or think that there is some wealth of information tucked behind the shady entry form where you jam your credit card number into then go forth. Purchase that gold guide. If you think what I’m saying is common sense, then drop that gold guide and get to farming.

Well, I hope you’ve learned something and if you ever have a friend who wants to buy one of these guides then just send them this article. Perhaps you can save them the cash that can instead go towards a large supply of gamer fuel. Because that’s all you really need to farm gold. A comfy chair, a nice drink, and a little bit of time each day to pick up some plants, do some dailies, and list things in the auction house.

Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Ten Ton Hammer network or staff.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our World of Warcraft Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Xerin 1
Get in the bush with David "Xerin" Piner as he leverages his spectacular insanity to ask the serious questions such as is Master Yi and Illidan the same person? What's for dinner? What are ways to elevate your gaming experience? David's column, Respawn, is updated near daily with some of the coolest things you'll read online, while David tackles ways to improve the game experience across the board with various hype guides to cool games.