News – TradeMe

July 4, 2008

In the 10 days since our last post there have been lots of changes at TradeMe! We are now eagerly checking the TradeMe Announcements page quite regularly to see if any changes have taken place. Back before the trademe sale to Fairfax, the announcements page was updated at least once a week…sometimes several times a week. Our logging in process normally involved us going straight to the announcements page first!

Since the big sale, announcements have been sparse. Have TradeMe stopped innovating and adding new features? Theres probably some truth to that. TradeMe as a business works extremely well – don’t fix something that ain’t broken. But I think less announcements could also be due to the fact that Sam Morgan has started to step back a little from TradeMe, with the new General Manager Jon McDonald slowly taking over the reins.

Another possible reason is the fact that the probably one- third of the announcements were always site or credit card issues. Perhaps Fairfax doesn’t want internal problems broadcast to the world every time. Particularly since advertising takes an increasing role on the site.

So yes, lately the frequency of announcements is back up to the scope of the good old days. It makes it more interesting for those of us interested in how the giant operates, and the issues affecting it.

Site Changes – Fees for Hidden Reserves

Probably the most important news for a long time has been the announcement of a 25c fee to have a hidden reserve on your auction.

Hidden reserve? Whats that? Basically when you list a traditional auction you are able to set the price you would like bidding to start at, lets say $10 for your old vacuum cleaner. Next you set your reserve price (the minimum price you will accept to sell the item, lets say $50). Having a low starting price is good because it gets the bidding started. The more bids you have, the more attention your auction gets,

More attention for your auction is gained through being ranked higher in searches as a ‘hot’ auction, and also for the fact that people wonder why your auction is so popular if there are a lot of bids. If heaps of people have bid on it, others quickly notice and become interested, lets call it the ‘curiosity factor’. For instance say you are at the mall and you see a big crowd of people around an exhibit in the foyer. You are going to wonder what its all about!

Bids attract more bids, and theres more chance of a bidding frenzy when there is more people watching your auction. So many traders start their auctions’ bidding prices a fair way under their reserve price, to attract attention.

There is also a down side to being able to set your starting bid price low. A lot of people start the bidding at $1, and this could be on a high ticket item such as a lawnmower. Because bidders don’t know the reserve (which could be $350) This falsely gives people the impression that it might be a bargain going if the bidding is starting low. But in effect, this technique attracts a lot of people test bidding, probing with small bids to try to gauge the rough amount of your reserve. This frustrates buyers in a number of ways: These ‘probing bidders’ in an effort to find out your reserve price can accidentally bid over your reserve price causing them to have the leading bid when thats not what they intended. This can result in buyers asking for sellers to remove their bids, which creates an annoyance for the seller and for other bidders.

Another frustration for buyers because you might be in the market for a $100 lawnmower, and think that this auction could be a possibility where in reality with a $350 reserve there’s no point you even bothering bidding on the auction. with the auction. Hidden reserves do waste a lot of people time so there is some merit in discouraging hidden reserves as it connects genuine buyers with genuine auctions faster, and saves a lot of time in the process.

Although the big downside to this change is that we will see less and less of the traditional auction format with the exciting auction frenzy mode, where bidders simply get carried away with bidding! Of course you can still pay the 25c and set up your auction the way you want it, but the direction of the trademe site is definitely changing.

This follows what is happening overseas with Ebay, where they are adopting more of a fixed price buying approach, over their traditional auction format. Read more in the post above titled “News – International”

So is this change a change for the better? We believe so. With peoples lives getting busier, we have less time to mess around bidding on auctions. People want to know the reserve price so they can make an instant decision whether to make a bid or definitely come back in a few days to make a bid. With the majority of auctions now having the start price same as reserve they know any bid will have the change to be successful, saving time.

The change also removes the eternal question that plagues sellers thru the qna feature from buyers: “What is your reserve price?” This question is probably the most asked question on TradeMe and it can drive sellers mad

The change should result in a better user experience for both buyers and sellers.

Site Changes – Rental Property Pricing Change

The fee to list residential properties for rent will increase from $49 to $69, effective from 1 July.

A simple fee increase. We don’t think we’ll see any drop in listings over the price increase. TradeMe property is still the best place to list your rental property due to the fact of more eyeballs. Compare the one off trademe fee of $69 to relist for as long as you like versus a newspaper where you have to pay for each ad. The costs soon mount up. You can’t put a photo in the paper cheaply.

Sites Changes – Home Page Tweak

In an effort to get more exposure for their sister sites, TradeMe have added prominent links to the home page for FindSomeone, TravelBug and Stuff. To be honest, we know that the links for these are already up the top of the page but just like a banner add our eyes are trained not to read the top part of web pages so these links are often overlooked! So we think its a good move business wise to put these links in a new position.

TradeIt Site Update

June 22, 2008

Its been a few weeks since we launched and already visitor numbers are growing each day. We’ve been picked up in the search engines now also. We hope users are finding the site a useful resource!

We’ve just updated TradeIt. Here are a few of the changes:

Latest News Updated

Home Page Updated

Thanks for checking out the site!

And for kicks we have a little something extra…

June 22, 2008

Top TradeMe member Gazza1234 obviously uses the TradeMe site everyday, as he has managed to collect dozens of the TradeMe site logos that are changed on days of the year like Xmas day and valentines day. Kev the Kiwi – TradeMes blue mascot certainly has been busy….. Check out the link below:

News – International Auctions

June 22, 2008

International Online Auction News

Aussie auction site sells for $2million – In Australia, Ebay is the dominant player in the online auctions market. Although that didn’t stop 2 determined aussies from starting their own auction site 2-3 years back. They named it ‘Oztion’ – Its Aussie for auction – A terrible, but no doubt memorable name. They quickly built membership up to 275,000. Also in their favour was Ebays ‘monopolistic’ move to ban other forms of credit card payments for auctions, and only allow eBay members to use their inhouse Paypal credit card processing service. This heavy heanded approach alienated hundreds of larger fee-paying sellers who looked for an alternative selling channel and jumped onto Oztion bringing their listings with them. The owners of the site and have just sold the site to Jumbuck Entertainment for $2million.

This should give hope to all the NZ auction sites, that it could be possible to make some money by building a TradeMe alternative.

First mover ebay is impregnable

Although according to the Australian Commerce Commission (ACCC) eBay is still the dominant force in online auctions and will likely remain so due to their “First Mover Advantage”

You can read the article here:

And you can read an explanation of, and learn about the effectiveness of the “First Mover Advantage” on TradeIt here:

News – NZ Online Auction Space

June 22, 2008

New Zealand Online Auction News

There is yet more TradeMe competitors in the market now. is one of the more promising competing sites, design wise. But after having a good look thru the site it is almost a direct clone of TradeMe. The auction page layout is almost exactly the same as trademe (probably the same code has been ripped from TradeMe). That aside the site is quite clean looking and has a few special features without being overkill. A good feature is the ability to hover your cursor over the auction title (when browsing) to view the photo and auction description without having to click thru to the auction. As far as competitors go this site will be one to watch. – Another brand new site run by “experienced TradeMe members”. We hope to see big things if members are running it! We’ll be watching its progress. site has been online since Jan 2007, and apparently has just had a revamp? The homepage is too cluttered and has flashing graphics which make it look cheap. An interesting banner greats you on the homepage. They promise a Million Dollar Giveaway. They are giving away $1000 free site credit to the first 1000 members to join. Nice strategy but they of course charge fees, so are even worse than the free sites operating.

News – TradeMe

June 22, 2008

As always, TradeMe have been busy with new features and changes on the site.

TradeMe Goes Mobile!

You can now use TradeMe on your mobile using your phones internet browser. Its best for checking things when you are on the run, like your watchlist and bids.

All you need to do is point your browser to:

You can also click that link to view it now on your PC.

You can read more about TradeMe Mobile and see some pics of it in operation on this blog:

TradeMe allows you to donate to save the kiwi
From Announcements Page:

You can now contribute to saving the kiwi when you sell stuff on Trade Me.

When placing a general listing, you can choose to round up your success fee to the nearest dollar and donate the difference to the Forest & Bird’s Kiwis for Kiwi campaign.

Participating auctions display a kiwi icon. Kiwis for Kiwi Launches

June 1, 2008

We’re happy to announce the launch of! We hope this website will benefit TradeMe users and those interested in online auctions. We aim to feature the latest news concerning TradeMe, the online auctions industry and highlight developments in the secondary market of services that co-exist alongside Trademe.

This site will discuss the TradeMe website as a business, and will explore ways of trading through the site more effectively with our Trading Tips section.

For more info on why we started the site read our About TradeIt page here:

If you are new to the site please have a look around!