Summary Gene expression profiling in melanoma is an exercise in prospecting for fundamental molecular biologies useful for formulating hypotheses to explain disease characteristics. Over the last 10 years DNA microarray technologies have been employed in scores of such melanoma studies. As soon as the technology became available, researchers grasped the new tool and began to hammer away at melanoma’s molecular strata. A small army of data miners toiled into the dross, believing that glittering seams of relevance had been struck and from great slag heaps of data they would extract biological gold. What exactly has a decade of ceaseless sappering brought us, what can be profitably refined from what has already been extracted and what remains undiscovered? This review is a critical analysis of the multiple research programs, which have attempted to define and contextualize broad transcriptional changes relevant to melanoma biology.