A Merchanting Clan (popularly called Merch Clans, Merching Clans, or Price-Manipulation Clans) is a popular type of non-combat Clan whose goal is to manipulate item prices to gain a profit. Though originally designed as just a way of players gathering together to predict the changes in the Grand Exchange and making investments accordingly, they have since changed to actually alter the Grand Exchange Prices in order to make profits on in-game investments.
Historically they were a collaboration of players who attempted to predict natural market shifts and making advantageous investments. They used to be fairly rare, since solo-trading was easier and in some cases more profitable.
Nowadays, Merching Clans are significantly different than their predecessors. They do not rely on natural market fluctuations to raise and lower prices. Instead they pool their wealth together and buy out the entire stock of a particular item. This is intended to trigger a massive price increase due to the Grand Exchange picking up the increased (albeit artificial) demand. When the increasing price hits a certain mark, the clan sells their items, netting a profit.
These clans are often heavily criticized because their operations are nearly identical to the real-world practice of price manipulation. Main points include interfering with the game play of all those who are not in the clan, due to the difficulty of purchasing an item being bought-out.
Members of the clans themselves have been known to criticize, often accusing the founders and higher-ranked members of scamming players, because they often buy items to be merchanted before announcing the items to their lower-ranked members, and sell the merchanted items before announcing as well. In many cases, this leads to a significantly reduced profit, or even a substantial loss in money for the low ranks.
- Leaders of Merchanting Clans will often create a separate account with the username having the word Merch in it.
- The names of merchanting clans often change in accordance with the item being merched.
- The Clan Chat of merchanting clans is most of the time muted to unranked players, due to the massive amount of spam and hate messages that these clans receive.