Well I had a fun time today.
I was sitting posting my morning auctions when I noticed a guy in trade spamming along the lines of the following.
Ghost Iron Ore, single stack, in ah 12g each, cheapest in the ah!
Exotic Leather, single stack, in ah 25g each, cheapest in the ah!
I didnt think much of it till he continued to do it for another dozen basic materials, including trillium, cooking materials, enchant mats etc. The supposedly "cheapest" prices in the auction house piqued my interest seeing as though prices on base materials had been relatively high lately (GOI going for 4-7g ea on average, a fair bit above my buying price) most of the prices he advertised were between 300-500% higher than even the inflated prices of late. Upon doing my master list search for materials in TSM I found that he was the only seller, and had apparently taken the liberty of buying out almost every basic materials market in the AH during it's slow afternoon times. This did not sit well with me.
Usually I'd laugh and let the prices fall back to their normal values but this instance had 2 major differences.
1. I'd been wanting to attempt a little market manipulation as of late, as I'd never done it on a large scale.
2. The guy was from a guild that I have a long standing hatred for.
Considering I had a fairly large protection stock (4000 ghost iron ore, 800 exotic leather, 1200 green tea leaves, yada yada) I decided it was time to have a little fun. */knuckles*
After sending 2-4 stacks of each item to a half dozen different alts I proceeded to post starting at the old market values, followed by undercuts of 20-40s each time, posting at various types of pricing (For example 37g exactly, 36g99s99c, 37g82s95c) and in various sized stacks to cover up that it was all posted by yours truly. Now, having never done this before I was a bit nervous, but I'd posted every item for 20-80% above what I'd originally purchased for it so the worst possible outcome was me having low profit margins.
After cleaning my parrots cage, washing my car, coming back in and hacking away at Throne of Thunder for 4 hours I popped back on to my bank alt and checked how my little gambit had worked, with surprising results. Ghost Iron Ore prices weren't only back down, they were below 3g a piece, and the lowest i'd posted any of it at was 3.75g. Most of the Exotic Leather I posted had sold for a 200% profit and the ones that were left had helped the price continue to fall, likewise most of the low quality herbs were down from 3-4g to 2 gold a pop.
After checking a few other items I realized for a material cost maybe 1500g, which turned a profit of maybe 300g on the ones that sold (the rest I cancelled or left sit to keep the prices down) I'd crashed over half a dozen markets in the AH between 25 and 60 percent, fulfilling both my objectives of getting myself cheaper prices, and sending the guy that'd been spamming trade a nice big one fingered salute.
Not a half bad day....for me at least.