What World Of Warcraft Taught Me About Online Marketing

By | March 15, 2010 at 9:11 pm | No comments | Online Marketing | Tags: ,

First off – I’m addicted.  Hats off to Blizzard for creating a truly, immersive and time-consuming game.

When I first started playing World Of Warcraft I didn’t have a clue what an MMO or an RPG game was, let alone an MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) – I was an FPS (First Person Shooter) freak at this point; little did I and the rest of the world know how addictive this game was going to be nor did I know how much it would have an impact on my life in online & social marketing.

Why Is It So Popular And What Has This Got To Do With Online Marketing?

The game is set in a virtual world and involves starting a character based on a set of choices (magic casting mages, plate wearing warriors, holy healing priests etc) – the usual stereotype since Dungeons & Dragons.  The aim is to “level” your character through questing, interacting and eventually joining a guild and forming large groups, or raids, and attempting to beat the end-game bosses.

Quite simply it’s an interactive & social game where anybody can be somebody else and play a game either for fun or to be the best and achieve world-first kills of bosses within the game.  This is where it hooks you.  If you are competitive and like to do the very best you can do then World Of Warcraft is for you (or not).

The game comes with its own economic environment which allows players to sell items for in-game gold and with this comes profiteering.  The gold can be transferred between characters through a trade facility and this is where online marketing comes into play.

There are several websites on the internet that sell gold online for hard cash.  Anyone who has even heard of World of Warcraft will be aware of this, but they will not be aware of how cut throat the industry is.

Buy World Of Warcaft Gold

No, I’m not selling, nor am I advertising, but you simply cannot go on a website remotely connected to online gaming without encountering any of the following adverts (hell, look to the right!):

  • Levelling Guides
  • Buy Gold Online
  • Buy Characters

The companies that run these websites are, more often than not, ran from China.  Low wages and high demand are perfect.  And with that comes profits.

The companies use all sorts of online marketing to get their websites known to Joe Public, much like any other company out there.  Not only are these websites aggressively using SEO to rank for competitive search phrases such as “Buy WoW Gold” (201,000 exact searches globally (Source: Google Keyword Tool)) but they are also using underhanded techniques such as spam email to bombarded users with the latest offers.  These more-often than not also contain key loggers or Trojans so they can gain access to accounts and steal the gold.  (Sound familiar?).

If you look at several of the world of warcraft gold selling site you will see that they utilise several online marketing methods such as conversion rate optimisation, keyword rich landing page optimisation and on page optimisation.  Several of these websites also yield some amazing sources of bulk link building tactics too.

It’s Not Just Outside of the Game

Ingame there are further automated advertising techniques such as spambots which do exactly the same as email spam just simply advertise the gold sellers URL, their price and whether they have stock.  There is also this amusing technqiue which involves greating a character and positioning them on the floor:

Corpse Graffiti used for advertising in World of Warcraft

Corpse Graffit used for advertising in World of Warcraft

I’ve Met Some of My Best Friends through World of Warcraft

It sounds sad and like some badly dubbed American infomercial made by Blizzard but I have actually met some of my best friends through the game.  As I have said above it’s a social game where you have to play with real people to achieve things throughout the game.  Especially in a guild you spend ALOT of time with these people and the game can, quite literally, take over your life.

You are not only interacting with people who have the same passion as you, but you are also sharing tips, tricks and help to people who need it to.  Again, sound familiar?

My name is Kev Strong, and I am a WoW Addict!

About the Author

Kev Strong

Kev Strong is an online marketing consultant at Newcastle Upon Tyne based digital marketing agency, Mediaworks. A lover of all things search and an ex-web developer, Kev Strong (a.k.a Goosh) is a specialist in advanced search engine optimisation.