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4 posts

Wannabe Geek

Topic # 18228 3-Jan-2008 03:28
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Requesting a good advice on how to advertise a brand new website.
I've almost finished making the website but now I am facing two new problems.

The website is an online auction site

Here's the first of the two problems.

TradeMe has close to or over a million item listings
So far I have......none
Simply because I havn't yet told anyone about it.
If I start notifying my friends, I may be able to get few hundred items up.

But then I'm thinking...that is no where near enough for the site to have visitors

So I would like to ask the geekzone members for any good ideas which they may have.

Second problem I'm facing is advertising or marketing of the site.

I have a low budget for advertising.
Probably thinking somewhere around $2000 to $3000
My friend and I first thought of google keyword advertising.....
but then on second thought.....who would search in google with the keywords online auction, shopping sites, online trade etc when we already have trademe.

So I would like to ask the geekzone members for any good ideas for advertising a brand new website.

PS.  dear geekzone admin-
If this forum is considered as advertising a website or bleaches any terms or conditions of the geekzone website, please do not hesitate to delete it.

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95 posts

Master Geek

  Reply # 102649 3-Jan-2008 09:46
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As you are aware, you are fighting an up-hill battle against TradeMe and you are not the first.  Ferrit evolved from an auction site and if Telecom can't win, with a rather large advertising budget, then you are going to find it tough.

Google's advertising can be expensive but effective for the right product.  However, as this is a NZ-specific site Google may not be what you want.  You can tell Google just to advertise to NZ based clients but as you point out ... how many people are going to look in Google for an auction site.  However, a search for "Auction Online" brought up a list of 8 - 10 NZ auction sites with quite a few paid ads.  If they don't click it doesn't cost so it can't hurt to be there.  Remember to set a daily budget maximum or you could use your entire budget in a few days!

Buying clicks via Google is expensive.  It may cost $1 to $5 to get ONE click ... one user.  With an auction site it may take a long time to get that dollar back again and your budget is not going to buy a lot of clicks.

As your budget is low you need to look for ways that generate buzz at little or no cost.  Find some controvercial or really odd things to auction and get people talking about it.  Something simple I saw a few years ago was a TradeMe auction for a BBQ made from old PCs.  Stupid idea but I received an email about it from several different sources.  THAT is the cheapest advertising you can get.

Banner ads on Geekzone etc may help generate a small amount of awareness.

Try talking to someone like

This guy does both billboards and web advertising and will be able to pass on ideas.  A billboard is going to chew up your advertising budget in a month or so and therefore may not work well for you.

A cheap idea that can generate buzz is just to get some cars painted with the web site logo / address and park them in high visibility locations.  You can rent guys to do it for you (towing trailers or whatever) or get your own car(s) sign-written.  (The fact that this is how TradeMe generated it's original buzz is entrirely coincidental).  Other cheap methods are printing T-shirts and getting them out and about.

An alternative to going cheap is to sell of parts of your company to others in order to raise some cash.  There are plenty of people around that would take a percentage share of a good idea in exchange for putting in the cash to get it going. 

I wise man once said "It's better to own a small piece of a large pie than to own all of a small pie" and this might be a case for that.

Good luck ...


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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 102655 3-Jan-2008 10:25
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Good luck to you, with sites like Zillion trying hard (and not really getting any inroads) you'll have a tough battle! But it's that kind of spirit that can do wonders (look at how Google overtook Altavista!)

You need to have some clear advantages over TM, so in your advertising make sure you explain what those advantages are and more importantly, why they matter to people. It's great to say "We can do X 50 times faster" but people don't care, they want to know why doing X 50 times faster matters.

If your site is aimed at the younger generation, get yourself a FaceBook app that links into the website. Facebooks apps have that viral aspect about them that will garner a lot of exposure.

Good luck!


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  Reply # 102666 3-Jan-2008 11:12
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Best of luck, but you have chosen one of the toughest nuts to crack. Trademe owns market, and as muppet alluded - you will need to pull hordes of super-intelligent, genetically-engineered mega-bunnies out of a gold plated hat to have an impact and succeed.

Its not un-doable, but its not going to be easy either.

Heres my take on the current situation:

  • Trademe = winner (past, present, foreseeable future)
  • Zillion = everyone who can't bear to use Trademe for whatever reason (hate, jealously, morals, banned, whatever)
  • SellMeFree = everyone who wants freedom at the expense of exposure.
You need to know the players, the leaderboard and the current score before you enter the game - just knowing the rules isn't enough. Do your homework, don't put your money in unless it stacks up, or you have the conviction and capability to do it and potentially lose anyway.

Put your keywords into the most popular searches on trademe (ipod, psp etc), and other keywords related to your target market (bebo, facebook, holden, d&g whatever).

I wish you the best of luck in cracking the market, and turning it into a successful business.

BDFL - Memuneh
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  Reply # 102703 3-Jan-2008 14:18
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I hate to be the party pooping realist, but, unless you are doing this just for the fun of it (ie you have some thousands of dollars and hours of work that you just really feel the need to burn in a rapid fire of fail), then, what are you thinking?!

There is NO WAY IN HELL that you can go up against TradeMe and win, or even really get to a point of any sort of worth, it's simply NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.  

Either you need to have some AMAZING twist on the whole idea of the "auction site", something that TradeMe doesn't do and everybody will instantly think "wow, that's great, everybody come over here so much better than TradeMe" (and preferably something you can stop TradeMe implementing), or you need to just think of a new idea.

Being free isn't enough (and you will never be able to get people to pay).  You could *maybe* swing a VERY niche site, auctions of one particular thing - but even then it would be an INCREDIBLY hard up hill road to follow, and I suspect it would have to still be free to get any users.  And TradeMe is owned by FairFax now, they have a financial war chest the size of a small country, if you ever posed a real threat to them in any niche, they could just reduce or remove fees in that niche to knock you out (see the airline battles of past for examples of this practice).,

I'm all for supporting the small guy, supporting new businesses, supporting competition, but I draw the line at downright sillyness.

James Sleeman
I sell lots of stuff for electronic enthusiasts...

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Master Geek

  Reply # 102704 3-Jan-2008 14:21
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sleemanj: I hate to be the party pooping realist, but, unless you are doing this just for the fun of it (ie you have some thousands of dollars and hours of work that you just really feel the need to burn in a rapid fire of fail), then, what are you thinking?!


The key is that you are correct.  It is unfortunate that TradeMe do a very good job of it and every time I turn around they have a new clever idea to make things easier. 


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Wannabe Geek

  Reply # 102991 5-Jan-2008 02:03
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I thank you all for your kind and honest comments.

Becoming a competitor of Trademe would be a Goal, but rather something close to a dream come true.
But the fact is that, my team and I put in almost 8 months of hard work and we came up with the site.

It is our first site within the shopping industry.

But letting people know about it for a low budget is one challenge and getting people to list items is the hardest part.

I'm offering many benefits for new comers to the site, but still this doesn't look enough for people to actually join up.

I've spent a few thousand dollars purchasing items such as latest iPods, phones, cameras, Gucci bags, Prada bags, etc
These items will go on sale for $1 reserve. I'm sure I will lose my money on this but the aim of the items is to try ad use the items to get people joining and start bidding.

Guys.....I have a auction site......lots of time an effort put in......
Now I want it to make it act like an auction site now...
Even with just low number of clients

A friend has suggested to me about a bulk email advertising.
There are companies who sell something like 10,000 new zealand based emails for $60 or something.
But I'm not too sure if these companies will actually give the email addresses after payment.
and most importantly, even after receiving these email addresses, do you guys think it will be a good idea to send automated emails?

Simply advertising is just another word for spamming....

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  Reply # 102993 5-Jan-2008 02:37
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Spamming people is a surefire way to make them not visit your website, to get your domain added to blacklists and to remove any search engine rankings you might have.

Please don't.

The only people who make money from it are the people who harvest email addresses.

When was the last time you got a spam email and thought "Oh, I bet that's a trustworthy website to shop online!" ?

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Wannabe Geek

  Reply # 102994 5-Jan-2008 02:49
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I was right to ask geekzone before I went ahead.
I didn't really know the fact that domains can be blacklisted from spamming.

"signz" mentioned ealier in regards to putting banners on Geekzone.
I think it would be a great idea if the price is right.

How much do you charge for the banners guys?

I also think the facebook idea given by "muppet" is great.
Are you able to extend your explanation a little more for me to get a better picture of it?

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Ultimate Geek

  Reply # 103000 5-Jan-2008 08:12
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Why does everyone want to start up auction websites ?

The Population in my opinion is far two small for more than say 2 maybe 3 auction sites.

For advertising of your site, each month NewstalkZB has a new products and services segment
where you can advertise your product/service for free. It's on the Danny Watson show around
2pm on the Second Tuesday of each month. Just a side note last time I listened to it, there was
at least two people advertising their auction sites.

So all I can say is Good Luck.

"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -
  --  Abraham lincoln

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  Reply # 103014 5-Jan-2008 11:36
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i hope you mean $2000 - 3000 a WEEK

otherwise i'd keep my money in my pocket and forget taking on trademe. come up with a different idea buddy. your new site isn't gonna make you Sam Morgan rich

im finding it harder and harder to find a good bargain on Trademe anymore. some things are listed at similar prices to retail.. once you factor in shipping, it works out the same

my money's on sellmefree... it's what trademe used to be.. and it's free

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  Reply # 103015 5-Jan-2008 11:43
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I've spent a few thousand dollars purchasing items such as latest iPods, phones, cameras, Gucci bags, Prada bags, etc

Sounds like you have a sort of a niche in "fashion"?  If so, you need to build your site around a community of (for want of a better word) fashionistas, the auction side of the business should be treated as secondary (even if it's the primary income) to the community - "come to our site, you can talk about fashion, get fashion tips, read fashion articles and reviews, write your fashion blog, post your fashion pictures ........ oh and you can also sell your fashion stuff".

James Sleeman
I sell lots of stuff for electronic enthusiasts...

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Wannabe Geek

  Reply # 103988 10-Jan-2008 12:59
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Even ebay, the biggest online auctioneers in the world, haven't come close to toppling trademe in NZ. In such a country with such a small population it really is a case of "first to market" winning the lions share of the goodies. Starting from scratch now with no budget means you've got higher chances of winning the lottery than taking over the online auction market in NZ, unless you come up with something really unique that offers a much better user experience, but then if you do, haven't you got bigger fish to fry?

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