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  Reply # 698708 9-Oct-2012 20:48 Send private message

ajobbins:
reven: what i would consider
1. 10 free listings a month for regular users, if you just want to sell the odd thing or two, you shouldnt be charged


Think of the long tail. Trade Me probably make 20-30% of their profit from the big sellers, and the rest from the hunderds of thousands of people only selling a few things at a time.

im talking about how to get new users, this could be reduced in the future, but to get people coming this would be a good feature.  and theres still a lot of money to be made off stores and advertising

ajobbins:
reven:2. advanced search, searching on trademe is a pita at times, sella is way worse


To do this well you really need to start using attributes, and with the many categories it can become very hard to do. Agree this could be done better tho.


not that hard, would be very helpful for a few things.  like i was looking to buy a house, i wanted at least 200m2 flooor area and 500m2 land, couldnt search for that.  i wanted to list all games less than $20.  i want to see things with free shipping (that would encourage free shipping).  

ajobbins:
reven:3. some really high profile auctions, oodles of them, you need to get people going there, you will spend lots of money but you have to get people going to your site and signing up (login with facebook is a good idea)


You need a critical mass for this to work. Trying to get big names to run high profile auctions will only happen if you have the punters there.

this is an idea how to get people going to the site, but it requires a large investment from the site.  my overall theme == needs lots of money to pull this off.

ajobbins:
reven:4. iphone/android/wp app


TM have mobile apps. It's kind of a have to have nowadays, rather than a bonus.

just saying it was a requirement, i dont think wheedle or listselltrade have an app ready.

ajobbins:
reven:5. emails with suggested auctions you might like (has to be done well, but hopefully keep people coming back), eg if you loose an auction, send an email with similar auctions (handy for games etc)


Trade Me have this (The Buzzy Bee) on the site - people don't like lots of emails.

no people dont like lots of emails that are spam, but many people do like emails with stuff they actually want to buy.  im signed up to dse daily deals, nzgameshop offers.  stuff i want, i want to hear about. and i can always opt out of them.  but these keep me going to their sites.

ajobbins:
reven:6. nz owned and operated is good


Does anyone really care that much? Selling to Fairfax didn't seem to do any harm to Trade Me.

agreed its a small thing, but still a bit of a bonus, i rather give my money to a local company than an overseas one. as long as the prices are fair.

ajobbins:
reven:7. provide pay by credit card for free (trademe charge you for this)


Who will may the merchant fees then? Trade Me simply pass on the charges that they wear from their bank for processing a card.

once again something to start off with, to get people using the site, you wont be making money from this site for the next few years.

ajobbins:
reven:8. use paypal as an option


Problem with this is they don't control it. It works for eBay because they are linked. If you have a dispute, you can take it up with PayPal and they can work with eBay. I suspect they would have little interest in working with someone like Trade me.

as a unknown startup, i dont really want to give them my credit card details, i dont know what their security is like, personally having paypal as an option would improve trust.  its very easy to get funds back from a seller on paypal, ive done this a couple of times in the past without any problems.

ajobbins:
reven: 9. give away random prizes at first for those who list items to sell.


Everyone does this.

never seen trademe do anything like this.  most ive seen, is list it as "featured" for a week for free..  not really a prize, i could be wrong but havent seen it.  if they made this big and loud, 10 ipads to give away by listing an auction it could get people listing.  once again, they would need to buy the prizes and send them out == more startup money.

ajobbins:
reven:i hate trademe, their fees are crazy, the 0900 support number is crazy, they make crap loads of money and arent kept in line. selling a laptop on trademe costs about $100 in success fees.


The 0900 support number is a good idea. If they went with a local number, or a toll free number they would probably have to increase the size of their call centre 10 fold. At least. Seriously.

seriously no its not a good idea. people often complain about it, trademe is not a "liked" company its a good website, its a good product, its easy to use, its good in that regard, but its not "liked".

ajobbins:
reven:im a developer and could fairly easily make a trademe like site, but it wouldnt succeed because i dont have the money to back it. you need a lot of money. saying "hey this is easy, i can do this in a week" is all well and good, but its more than just the programming.


If you had seen the inner working of Trade Me you wouldn't say that. It's not just a pretty web interface, the back end systems behind it are huge and complex. The web UI you interact with is just the tip of the iceberg.

ive developed huge web applications, tens of thousands of lines of code, i know its complex and more than a GUI, theres backend apis, theres reporting, their services in the background, theres stuff to control load balancing, etc.  but its not insanely difficult, its work, its a lot of work, but its not hard work.  especially now days with azure, you can get scaling pretty easily and cheaply.

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  Reply # 698729 9-Oct-2012 21:24 Send private message

reven: 
ajobbins:
reven: 9. give away random prizes at first for those who list items to sell.


Everyone does this.

never seen trademe do anything like this.  most ive seen, is list it as "featured" for a week for free..  not really a prize, i could be wrong but havent seen it.  if they made this big and loud, 10 ipads to give away by listing an auction it could get people listing.  once again, they would need to buy the prizes and send them out == more startup


I've have long thought that prizes would be the key to getting critical mass. But I wouldn't give away ipads, I was thinking more along the lines of a million dollar prize every month for the first three months, to a random seller, coupled with lots of $10,000 prizes every week for skill based tasks. You would put the normal fee structure in from day one, which could be set around half the level of the new trademe fees (basically you would set this at the level you intended to keep it at).

The aim would be for most of the marketing to be done virally through social media, and providing you had a good platform, you could quite possibly pull this off by spending less than 10 million dollars. The platform is actually the hard bit. It may only requires a small amount of effort by a very talented person, but equally could consume an extremely large amount of effort from hundreds of not so talented people!

The issue TradeMe have is that their fees are set well above the actual cost of providing the service, and the cost to compete is actually a lot less than the billion dollars or so that it would cost to buy TradeMe outright at its current share price.

Just my 2 cents - unfortunately I don't have a few spare million to put this idea into practice.. :-)

108 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 698734 9-Oct-2012 21:27 Send private message

My thoughts on this subject....

Having being a Trademe user since inception, the site didn't have any of the fancy features it does now. All of these were added over time. Unfortunately any newcomer will have to have all these features and more from day one. Wheedle tried and failed and lost a lot of credibility as a result (that and the blatant copying of Trademe without adding much new)

As a buyer (which I am), I don't care what the fee structure is and what it costs the seller. I care about the final price. Yes, one can counter that higher fees makes the sellers put up their prices but that argument generally only applies to professional traders and not someone selling something on $1 reserve.

As a professional seller (which I am), the attraction of another site is lower fees however this doesn't mean I will drop my prices. I will sell for the same price and have a bigger margin (profit). This doesn't do much for attracting buyers unfortunately. I could drop my prices by 50c (most of my sales are for $20) but I doubt that will increase my sales anyway.

As a private seller (which I am), I usually only have one of the type of item I'm selling (e.g. old fridge). As a professional seller I can afford to throw a few listings on an alterative site but when I only have one of the item I want top dollar for it and for that I go to where the buyers are - Trademe.

I final thought - I don't have time to be browsing all these websites. I browse on Trademe. If I'm after a certain item then it's trademe or ebay or a specialty site like book depository, nzgameshop, dealextreme etc... Then there's the (getting really boring now) daily deal sites (1day, grabone etc...). I'm all shopped out and don't need another site.




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  Reply # 698747 9-Oct-2012 21:41 Send private message

personally i have listed items for more on trademe and less on sella to make up for the fees.

theres a few stores/sellers that are the same company/person using both sites, and you can buy the item cheaper on sella because of the fees.

i have to think how much do i want in my pocket for this item, and then add 7.5% to that price. for $1 reserves thats not really in your control, but i dont generally list those.

also make $0/free listings. sometimes you just want to give away something, but trademe make you do a $1 listing, kinda stink.

mjb

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  Reply # 698762 9-Oct-2012 22:05 Send private message

mattwnz: Facebook is actually very popular with the older demographic, as it is a way to share photos. With many of their children now living overseas, it is one of the best ways to see your grandchildren I have been told.


Good grief just the thought of this gives me hives.

Facebook's ToS claim copyright and ownership over all content you upload, so those pictures are no longer yours. they can appear anywhere, and you can't stop it.

We made a conscious decision (well, ok, I did), that we would not post any pictures of our kids online (except in a password protected private gallery), and that it would be up to them when they're old enough to decide if they want pictures of themselves posted online.

Once they're there, they're there forever.

(also, logging in with facebook is a horrendous idea... and I can't stand sites/services/systems that don't let you log in any other way. *ahem* spotify)




contentsofsignaturemaysettleduringshipping

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  Reply # 698781 9-Oct-2012 22:45 Send private message

reven: ive developed huge web applications, tens of thousands of lines of code, i know its complex and more than a GUI, theres backend apis, theres reporting, their services in the background, theres stuff to control load balancing, etc.  but its not insanely difficult, its work, its a lot of work, but its not hard work.  especially now days with azure, you can get scaling pretty easily and cheaply.


I really don't think you grasp how complex the Trade Me systems are. We are talking 13 years worth of continuous development and improvement with a reasonable sized team of developers. This simply is not something that you can replicate in a short period of time, much less as a a lone developer.




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mjb

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  Reply # 698783 9-Oct-2012 22:48 Send private message

ajobbins: I really don't think you grasp how complex the Trade Me systems are.


Without knowing his full experience, I don't think you can conclusively say that.




contentsofsignaturemaysettleduringshipping

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  Reply # 698787 9-Oct-2012 22:53 Send private message

reven:
ajobbins:
reven:i hate trademe, their fees are crazy, the 0900 support number is crazy, they make crap loads of money and arent kept in line. selling a laptop on trademe costs about $100 in success fees.


The 0900 support number is a good idea. If they went with a local number, or a toll free number they would probably have to increase the size of their call centre 10 fold. At least. Seriously.

seriously no its not a good idea. people often complain about it, trademe is not a "liked" company its a good website, its a good product, its easy to use, its good in that regard, but its not "liked".


Considering Trade Me's popularity, I think saying they are not liked is a bit of a stretch. No one is forcing them to use it...

As for the 0900 number, I can promise you that the fees you would pay would rise hugely if they made phone support free. People love to ring up for 'support' on the silliest things - 'Can you list my item for me', 'my photo looks funny', 'I don't like the font', 'I'm at the pub and I want to buy this lamp, can you place a bid for me' etc etc etc. It would actually be ridiculous.

Without exaggeration, I would expect they would probably need 400-500 support staff to manage the volume of calls. That's gonna wipe about 20 million bucks off the bottom line. I don't think their shareholders will be very happy about this.




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  Reply # 698788 9-Oct-2012 22:54 Send private message

mjb:
ajobbins: I really don't think you grasp how complex the Trade Me systems are.


Without knowing his full experience, I don't think you can conclusively say that.


Based on his comments, and MY experience, I'm quite confident I can.





Twitter: ajobbins

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 698800 9-Oct-2012 23:36 Send private message

ajobbins:
mjb:
ajobbins: I really don't think you grasp how complex the Trade Me systems are.


Without knowing his full experience, I don't think you can conclusively say that.


Based on his comments, and MY experience, I'm quite confident I can.



I'm really surprised that you would think this so complex and unobtainable?  The amount of experience and technology for building very large transactional systems is well established.  Look at Oracle, SAP, IBM, eBay, PayPal, financial insitutions, stock markets,  Amazon, etc....etc....

Powerful transactional based systems that have *WAY* more volume and traffic than TradeMe's user base and daily volume are commonplace today.  They are being built every day.  I'm not saying it doesn't take work, but this is not a case where someone has to invent the wheel.  The resources and technology is readily available.

I was working with Sun Microsystems who was working in conjunction with Oracle on power eBay with Sun servers and Oracle software back in 2002.  Even back in those days eBay was massively bigger than TradeMe.  

Trust me, there are no shortage of technical services, hardware, software and consultants to build the guts of another Trademe.

I think it is a bit silly to think that TradeMe is somehow this miraculous feat of software and hardware engineering.  The 'genius' of which is nigh on impossible to replicate???

mjb

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  Reply # 698802 9-Oct-2012 23:38 Send private message

spacedog: I'm really surprised that you would think this so complex and unobtainable? ?The amount of experience and technology for building very large transactional systems is well established. ?Look at Oracle, SAP, IBM, eBay, PayPal, financial insitutions, stock markets, ?Amazon, etc....etc....

Powerful transactional based systems that have *WAY* more volume and traffic than TradeMe's user base and daily volume are commonplace today. ?They are being built every day. ?I'm not saying it doesn't take work, but this is not a case where someone has to invent the wheel. ?The resources and technology is readily available.

I was working with Sun Microsystems who was working in conjunction with Oracle on power eBay with Sun servers and Oracle software back in 2002. ?Even back in those days eBay was massively bigger than TradeMe. ?

Trust me, there are no shortage of technical services, hardware, software and consultants to build the guts of another Trademe.

I think it is a bit silly to think that TradeMe is somehow this miraculous feat of software and hardware engineering. ?The 'genius' of which is nigh on impossible to replicate???


Ta. You managed to say exactly what I'm thinking.




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  Reply # 698803 9-Oct-2012 23:40 Send private message

mjb:
mattwnz: Facebook is actually very popular with the older demographic, as it is a way to share photos. With many of their children now living overseas, it is one of the best ways to see your grandchildren I have been told.


Good grief just the thought of this gives me hives.

Facebook's ToS claim copyright and ownership over all content you upload, so those pictures are no longer yours. they can appear anywhere, and you can't stop it.

We made a conscious decision (well, ok, I did), that we would not post any pictures of our kids online (except in a password protected private gallery), and that it would be up to them when they're old enough to decide if they want pictures of themselves posted online.

Once they're there, they're there forever.

(also, logging in with facebook is a horrendous idea... and I can't stand sites/services/systems that don't let you log in any other way. *ahem* spotify)


Thats is one reason I don't use facebook myself. You have got people posting their babies and child photos which are linked to their name, which over time could come back to haunt you.

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  Reply # 698804 9-Oct-2012 23:47 Send private message

The point is that NONE of those website were build overnight, or even in weeks or months. They took years to mature to the points they are at. There is only so much you can see from the outside, and trying to come in and replicate it might be easier in some ways than starting from scratch - but certainly isn't something that could be done by a one man band as you suggested and hence my comment.

If you want to hire 40 or 50 staff, and invest 2-3 years in developing something great you might something that resembles Trade Me in terms of front and back end functionality.

I have worked for Trade Me, I have seen the beast first hand. I work with large software development projects now in financial services (In Oz) - and we build things that take several years but are a fraction of what Trade Me is today.




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  Reply # 698805 9-Oct-2012 23:50 Send private message

Just to frame TradeMe's complexity and system loads with a comparison....


From http://www.trademe.co.nz/About-Trade-Me/Our-Technology

"On any given day we can send as much as 4TB of data out to the Internet and send over 1 million emails."

Compared to eBay...well...eBay's daily bandwidth output is not public as far as I know, but we can be sure it dwarfs TradeMe. However, Wikipedia reports that eBay process 50 petabytes of data a day.


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  Reply # 698807 10-Oct-2012 00:01 Send private message

ajobbins: The point is that NONE of those website were build overnight, or even in weeks or months. They took years to mature to the points they are at. There is only so much you can see from the outside, and trying to come in and replicate it might be easier in some ways than starting from scratch - but certainly isn't something that could be done by a one man band as you suggested and hence my comment.

If you want to hire 40 or 50 staff, and invest 2-3 years in developing something great you might something that resembles Trade Me in terms of front and back end functionality.

I have worked for Trade Me, I have seen the beast first hand. I work with large software development projects now in financial services (In Oz) - and we build things that take several years but are a fraction of what Trade Me is today.


I don't think anyone said you would build this overnight.  Although the original TradeMe was coded overnight.

;)

The resources are available, the technology is present, it has been done before and with a good team, it could be done again. If your opinion is that it would take 18 months to get a functional auction site off the ground using the proper the resources available today (in other words, not doing it 'on the cheap'), I really disagree with your assessment.  But that's just my opinion. I only used to work with engineers at companies like Sun, Oracle, Cisco and eBay....so that's where my frame of reference is coming from.

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