General
Q: What is the mission of this website?
A: To provide accurate pricing information to TF2 traders in order to help facilitate fair trading.
Q: Why should I even use a price-guide?
A: There are traders who are active enough that know the general price range of most items. However, most people are not. There are literally thousands of items of differing variations. This price guide most accurately brings you real values from actual trades of the greatest number of these items. There are no voted-on values here.
Q: How long have you been providing a price guide for TF2 items?
A: Since 2010. The Spreadsheet started simply as a shared Google spreadsheet. The traffic on it ballooned and the decision to put it in a blog was made in August of 2011. The upgrade to our new domain occurred in February of 2013.
Q: How do I reset my search for classes/item types?
A: Double click on any class/item type button to reset.
Q: Are these prices exact?
A: Prices are averages and never absolute. If a price says "3 +/-" that means it could be 2.66 refined or 3.33 refined is the range we see as an average price. Could that mean it trades for 2 ref? Not likely and you could probably trade closer to the range stated...although that could involve time. If the price says "2 - 3" that means on average prices are between 2 and 3 refined. Could that item trade for 1.88 refined? Certainly. Would it trade for 1.33 refined? Not likely a good deal for a seller and you could take more time to find a transaction closer to the range stated. Someone who wants an item will likely pay a price in the area of what is on the sheet. Traders who are only looking for profit will offer lower and/or try to sell higher. Prices are not infallible and the sheet is briefly behind the market as changes in prices inevitably happen. When trading and someone tells you something that is different than what you believe or is on the sheet, get several opinions. If you think something is wrong, tell us. If we help you out you can let us know that also.
Q: How often is this site updated?
A: At least one update occurs every day - rain or shine. There are days when 2 or more price updates can occur. We are working on making the updates real-time so more to follow on that.
Q: Who runs this site and who are the members?
A: We are a handful of experienced TF2 players and traders. The group is fluid and has changed membership over time. We have many thousands of hours of in-game play as well as trading. The admin was also an experienced trader in the past and has focused his time on running and maintaining the site.
Q: What is your methodology?
A: We use as many different, credible sources of information that are available. We try to check, and re-check prices on as close to a daily basis as is possible. Credible trades are actual exchanges our software picks up or we witness, actual agreements on prices we witness, specific offers on items, specific asking prices for items. These all give us a range of buying/selling and we try to reflect that market in the spreadsheet. Our primary source has become our trade-analysis software which reports actual trades in real time.
Q: Can you explain your trade-analysis software?
A: Our software analyzes trades via the Steam API and popular trading sites and runs 24/7/365. It shows prices of trades that occur and the value in keys and/or metal that is exchanged. The output goes into a mysql database. During a typical day there are dozens of trades registered in the database, sometimes hundreds. Many of the trades from the software (80-90%) confirm prices already on the spreadsheet. So if you don't see a price change, it often means that is just where a price has 'settled'. If a trade shows a price different from the spreadsheet I try to confirm this with feedback from my contributors as well as publicly listed prices for items. About 50% of the time a trade doesn't match the spreadsheet price, there is no confirmation in the marketplace. In that case the price stays the same. What causes this? Typically a "quicksell" someone just trying to liquidate. The other 50% of the time the price has indeed shifted and after the same research as above,we adjust the price on the sheet accordingly. If there are multiple trades from the software showing a change in price then we look for confirmation but ultimately require less proof since it is already there. Most often in this case the price is adjusted. The software shows the relevant information: the item, the quality (genuine, vintage, dirty, etc), the date and then a value that was exchanged for it. Trades that are wildly out of the market-price range, based on standard deviations, are automatically ignored. Anything that sneaks through this check will ultimately get rejected since every trade is looked over.
Q: Can you prove that you have this trade-analysis software and/or that it works?
A: Our software is proprietary. However, a sample output from our software is available for viewing above under the Archives.
Q: Are actual trades better than users voting on values?
A: Market prices are what people pay in real trades. The majority of our prices come from actual trades between two gamers. Voting on item values is not a good indicator of actual price in the marketplace. Owners opinions of the value of their items are biased and often not credible. We never use voted-on item values.
Q: Is there just one person here who dictates prices?
A: No. Most of the prices on the spreadsheet are from actual trades between gamers who have no affiliation to our site. The majority of trades are collected via our Steam Trade Analysis software. Admin also takes input from contributors who send prices of trades they witness. All Steam API-generated trades and submissions from contributors are screened for accuracy.
Q: Why don't you identify your contributors by Steam ID?
A: Two reasons. One is that the majority of trading information no longer comes from outside sources and is generated by actual trades using our Trade Scanning software. The output of which will be posted and updated. The second reason is to keep witch-hunts to a minimum. My contributors are real and know who they are but I choose to keep them anonymous for their own protection.
Q: Do you manipulate prices.
A: No. We take the integrity of the spreadsheet and our reputation seriously. We have many players who rely that we are giving them accurate pricing. We validate every contributor's information with other sources. Every price is from multiple sources of information, never a single source. We lower prices of items we have in our own backpacks every day. Admin does not trade for profit as of August 2012. If you are concerned about a price research it yourself. If you think we're wrong, tell us. We have no pride on the line. We rely on you to tell us if we err. Sometimes the market changes and a price moves before we witness it. Our philosophy is that what we create here must be the best it can be and that as in life everything comes back to you in the end. How to use this site: We see that some misinterpret the sheet and want to make sure it is very clear what the prices mean. Prices are in refined metal, unless noted. When an item trades in keys or buds typically we will reflect that on the sheet.
Q: Can you explain the reddit accuser's manipulation accusation of August 2012?
A: A reddit user falsely accused the TF2 Spreadsheet Admin of manipulating the spreadsheet price on one item for profit. The accuser lied about his "evidence" in order to discredit the Admin and the TF2 Spreadsheet. You can read all about it and our official response here.
Q: If the accuser lied about his evidence, why did Reddit keep the 'scammer' label on the TF2 Spreadsheet Admin's account?
A: Unknown. It is likely retribution for the TF2 Spreadsheet Admin anonymously criticizing a Redditor's now-defunct competitor (billsandbuds.com) based on the Redditor's inexperience playing TF2. This criticism was accurate, however should not have been done anonymously. We requested a re-examination of the reddit accuser's bogus evidence and there was no response from Reddit administrators. Their 'scammer' tag is unjust and retaliatory. I have never purposely manipulated prices on this site for my own profit nor for the profit of any of my contributors.
Q: Why was the Admin's profile private?
A: This was in response to the false accusation above. The thought process is that an open profile was no protection from false accusations. However, to be more open even in the face of these false accusations, the Admin's profile will be made public going forward. It is open for any logged-in Steam user to see.
Q: What connection do you have to Valve?
A: None. We are completely independent and have no connection to Valve or its employees. We are gamers.
Q: Do you do link exchanges?
A: Yes, we will consider requests for link exchanges from related websites. This is a on a case-by-case basis. Any site we link to is the sole responsibility of that site's owner.
Q: What is your steam URL?
A: Admin's link is here.
Q: What is your email address?
Q: Are you on Twitter?
A: Yes! @traderempire. Please follow us to stay up to date with the contests and promotions we run.
Q: Can I donate items for contests?
A: Yes! We accept donations and all items given will be used as contest prizes. You will also be credited in the contest post when your item is given away. Add me here.
Q: Can I be a contributor?
A: Yes! We are currently accepting applications for helping with pricing, translations, and blog posts. If you are an experienced trader, are dependable and consistent then we would be happy to hear from you. Send us an introduction email stating your experience, what you have to offer and how you would propose assisting.
Q: Can I help in any other way besides donations or contributions?
A: Yes! You can spread the word on our new site!
Trading
Q: What does "Dirty" mean?
A: The short answer is "not-craftable". However, this isn't always the case. The community has come to define "clean" as being devoid of any extra descriptive text (gifted by, craft #, craft name) and limitations (needing gift-wrap, non-craftability). Anything "dirty" has one or more of these text or limitations. Often, however, a craft # > 100 item will be considered "clean" since the # is only visible out-of-game (craft #'s < 100 will be traded as such and dirty/clean is not relevant).
Q: What effect do item levels have on price, if any?
A: Some traders prefer specific levels or common ones (0, 42, 69, 88, 100, etc) and can increase value. Most traders, however, do not consider levels when pricing and it often takes longer to sell an item because it has a specific level.
Q: What effect do item craft #'s have on price, if any?
A: Crafted items with #'s less than 100 will have the number show in game and because of this are more desirable. Items with the lowest # being the most wanted. However, like levels, there are specific numbers with higher desirability (we will let the market tell you which ones). The price of a crafted # 1-100 item will be higher and gradually decline over time from the moment they are available. Prices on the Spreadsheet are for craft #'s higher than 100.
Q: How does paint influence the price if an item has been painted?
A: This varies, but generally for the premium paints (white, black) it increases the price up to (but never more than) the price of the paint. This price increase is proportional to the higher the price of the paint.
Q: What does "Pure" mean?
A: This refers to buds trading and means actual earbuds, not earbuds equivalent offers that include unusuals. Pure can also refer to keys in the same way meaning only keys and not, say, the metal equivalent.
Q: Why don't you include Unusuals?
A: Unusual prices are highly subjective and often fluctuate with the price of earbuds. There are thousands of combinations and few in number in each specific hat/effect group.
Q: What does "sweets" mean?
A: This is a common trading term. It generally means added items of lesser value than the main item you are trading for. It is a relative term: when trading for a high value item sweets could mean a bills hat, when trading for a lesser value item it could mean a cheap paint. Prices for dirty items needing gift wrap never include the cost of gift wrap, you will need to factor in the current price of wrap and add it to the price for a non-tradeable but gift-wrappable item.
Q: Why is the price of x item so high/low?
A: Often this question comes in about Keys or Earbuds but the answer is always the same. Prices are what people pay. They go up and they go down, that is the nature of the marketplace.
Q: Can you reduce the price of keys to a fixed price?
A: No. We are reporting the prices we witness and will not 'set' any prices.
Contests
Q: Why do I need to sign in to participate?
A: To keep the contests as fair as possible and limit everyone to participating once in each contest. It is possible that someone has multiple Steam accounts and if we find out someone is doing this they will be ineligible.
Q: Do you ever sell email addresses or any other personal information?
A: No. No personal information is ever sold or given to any outside entity. Contest winner's steam id's are posted on the site, however, to provide proof that prizes are actually given away. Read our privacy policy here.
Q: What time of day do the contests run?
A: Contests are random. Admin lives on the east coast of the US in the Eastern Standard Time Zone and generally run during waking hours here.
Q: How are contests announced?
A: Contests are announced in a blog post.
Q: Why do I have to have ad-block disabled to see contests?
A: We are an ad-sponsored site. No ads = no contests, prices, content, etc.
Q: How do the contests work?
A: Each contest will be announced and explained in a blog post. Read the directions. Some contests will be random number drawings and take a number of posts. Some will be scavenger hunts. Read the directions in each contest's post.
Q: What happens if I win?
A: Winner will be notified in a blog post, most likely the same one where the contest originated. Winner is responsible for adding the Admin to receive his/her prize.
Q: Is there a time-limit for claiming one's prize?
A: If you win and don't claim your prize within 30 days, you forfeit the prize.
Q: Can I win more than once?
A: Yes, but not on the same day. This is subject to change if we detect any cheating.
Q: I notice my comment number was 100 and hours later it is 94. What happened?
A: If we find inappropriate comments (such as spam, cursing, hate speech, etc), we will remove such a comment from the site. As a result, comment numbers can change.