Another Trade Me rival

January 28th, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A website developer’s 12-year labour of love has just gone live and is taking on Trade Me.

Tim van Ameringen has spent more than 40,000 hours developing, a new low-cost auction and classified website, from his Dairy Flat man cave in North Auckland.

Site looks good,but success is not down to site design.

But it has also meant he’s kept costs down to hundreds of thousands rather than tens of millions like failed auction sites Wheedle and Sella.

This means big wins for users, as most will use the website for free.

It’s free to sign up, free to list products with one photo, and there is no selling fee.

The trouble is most people are not worried about the 8% fee on Trade Me (and yes I’m one of those annoyed at the increase). They worry about getting the maximum price.

Sellers will go to the site where the most buyers are, as more buyers can mean 50%, 60% more for what you sell. And buyers will go to the sites where they can find what they are looking for – ie where the most sellers are.

First mover advantage is huge for auction sites.

His website offers all the same categories except for three; books, electronic media and tickets and memorabilia, which are too difficult to deal with, van Ameringen says. 

Users may also be attracted to the site for its charity element.

Charitable trust Wings of Hope owns 45 per cent of 4tradeit and any profits will be spread back into the community to organisations such as Women’s Refuge.

Without promotion the site is already attracting 1000 users a day and 17 affiliated car dealers have around 1100 vehicles listed.

Van Ameringen is now hoping to attract more users and small businesses.

“If people find it can offer an alternative, then it has served its purpose,”  he says.

2,500 people on there at the moment. I wish it well, but I’m doubtful it will gain meaningful market share.

UPDATE: Some info I have been asked to add on by Tim van Ameringen

Balmoral Marketing/Karapiro spa:
The Te Whare Kariki Charitable Trust (now named the Wings of Hope Trust) purchased 2 chalets in the original Karapiro Spa development as an investment. The annual return for the investment was advertised as 10%.
When the developer (Henry Holt) went into receivership, Fiona and I were asked by three other investors who had lost their investment to join together and purchase the project from the receivers. Fiona and I agreed to do so, the purchase was made using a new company named Balmoral Marketing Ltd, and Fiona and I became a minority shareholder of this company. Two of the shareholders with a majority shareholding took control of the project. I was hospitalised with pericarditis (a stress related heart issue), and had no personal involvement in the project (we were shut out by secretive majority shareholders).

Approximately two years into the project, the project ran into financial difficulty and the two majority shareholders suggested I take on a Director role in Balmoral Marketing Ltd. I naively agreed to do so on the basis that all activities undertaken by the company would be transparent and best practice. Balmoral Marketing Ltd entered into a funding agreement with Prudential (a Christchurch based finance company) by way of a contributory mortgage for approximately $16.6m; this would have provided sufficient funds to complete the project. Prudential was successful in raising approximately $16.3m. However, due to the legislatively binding timeframe permitted for this type of funding facility to be filled, the end goal of $16.6m was not achieved. Without these funds, Balmoral Marketing Ltd was left with no option but to enter into voluntary receivership. This was one of the most difficult situations I have personally been involved in, knowing the lives that would be affected. Subsequently, Balmoral Marketing Ltd was liquidated, the two majority shareholders were both sentenced to jail for 6 years for their own personal financial dealings, I was absolved from any wrong doing by the liquidator (KPMG), and Fiona and I have since lived a quiet life, with a focus on our family and the building of 4tradeit.    


Wings of Hope Trust:
I originally set up the Wings of Hope Trust (formerly named The Te Whare Kariki Charitable Trust) for a Therapeutic boating project to help people with disabilities and mental ill health in the Auckland/Waitemata region. My background for 14 years was as the managing director of one of the early community mental health services in the Mt Eden, Auckland. Fiona is an occupational therapist who has a passion for helping people with disabilities. The ASB agreed to fund 50% of the project if the Trust could raise the balance. The Trust was unable to raise the required balance for the project to proceed. The Trust has purchased 45% of the 4tradeit Ltd shares, to be the vehicle for distribution of funds to NZ charities (as generated by the 4tradeit website). Independent Trustees will be added to the Trust when the Trust has a level of funds to distribute. Until this is achieved, there is little incentive for an independent Trustee(s) to invest their time in the Trust.


After reading the posts in this blog, I am a bit embarrassed to confirm that I have spent almost 13 years, and committed the amount of hours discussed … often working 12 to 16 hour days, 6-7 days per week (as hard as this may seem to believe) on the 4tradeit project. Fiona, my children and close friends can vouch for this.
When I started the 4tradeit project, I was 41 and the extent of my computer knowledge was how to use the basics of Microsoft word and excel. I am self-taught, without the benefit of colleagues to collaborate and bounce ideas off, and started without basic understanding of any coding language or of how to make or work with graphics. The original idea I had was to create an internet based search tool, to locate hard drive parts from around the world for an IT company I was a part owner in (Digital Recovery Ltd), hence the name ‘4 trade IT’. When we sold Digital Recovery Ltd, the idea changed to creating a trading website that could be used to raise money for local kiwi charities.

The core 4tradeit software is by a company called Geodesic Solutions. This company (over the last 13 years) has perfected the basic functionality coding required for an online auction to run smoothly. However, aside from the auction functionality, much of the other Geodesic software functionality is boutique and basic in nature. Together with the help of three other programmers, I have built a new ‘Items selling’ addon module called MyStuff. This module alone has taken two years to perfect, and still has some issues we are working on to get the module fully functional as I had envisaged it to work. The software has over 15 such addon modules that we have built.

Most of the issues raised in this blog we have fixed, including a change to new dedicated servers that now cost 20 times the annual cost of the old servers. The website is currently running well with few reported issues, and around 2700 members are enjoying using the website. 

Wheedle reportedly had 17 programmers and went through $18m before they closed down their trading website. I have so far spent $120,000 and my own sweat on 4tradeit, and we have lived on little personal income over the last 13 years. Building 4tradeit has many times felt like a long, fruitless journey, often a foolhardy one, and many time I have wanted to quit (maybe I should have … who knows). Anyway, here we are ….

A solution to scalping?

June 30th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

There’s been outrage over people scalping Super 15 tickets on Trade Me. No practical way to stop this unless you require photo ID with tickets to get into events. Also making tickets non transferable means if you get sick or injured or the like, then your tickets are wasted and your seats go empty.

The basic “problem” is that there is a fixed supply, and high demand. The secondary market allows those who want to pay a premium to get to go, after missing out due to the vagaries of online booking systems.

Now one may say it is unfair that the scalpers make the money, rather than the sports code. This is true. So why not have the sporting code itself auction off some tickets?

Sell half the tickets at a fixed rate (so some fans can get to got for an affordable price), and auction off the remaining half with the top say 4,000 bids getting four tickets each?

Trade Me transparency report

April 1st, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Trade Me have published their 2014 transparency report detailing requests for information from Government agencies.

The requests in 2014 were:

  1. IRD 44,638 (info on no of members rather than individual inquiries)
  2. Police 1,663 (+80 from 2013)
  3. Disputes Tribunal 478 (+32)
  4. MBIE 181 (-88)
  5. MPI 89 (+19)
  6. MSD 76 (-83)
  7. IRD 62 (+11)
  8. Commerce Commission 29 (-19)
  9. ACC 28 (-15)
  10. SIS 28 (+15)
  11. Customs 26 (-14)
  12. NZDF 24 (+16)
  13. NZTA 17 (+3)
  14. Medsafe 14 (+8)
  15. DIA 12 (-10)
  16. EQC 7 (-16)
  17. DOC 7 (-9)
  18. SPCA 7 (-3)
  19. MCH 6 (-2)
  20. EPA 3 (+2)
  21. Corrections 2 (-1)
  22. REAA 2 (nc)

Good on Trade Me for being open about who they are getting requests from, and how many.

Is Wheedle still going?

October 31st, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

New homegrown competitors to Trade Me, which include Wheedle, are “nowhere to be seen”, chief executive Jon Macdonald told several dozen shareholders at the company’s annual meeting in Wellington.

Is Wheedle still going? I don’t know anyone who uses it.

But he warned investors that the company was facing tough competition from overseas e-commerce firms which were selling online to New Zealand consumers.

Without improvements, Trade Me risked “falling behind” when it came to providing the experience people now expected when shopping online, he said.

“To be straight with you, that means spending more,” Macdonald told investors.

“That means we expect our growth to be subdued in the coming year.

“While we will remain a high-margin business, we do need to grow our team and increase our marketing spend.”

Not sure Trade Me needs marketing. I think what they need is to continue to have an excellent easy to use auction site.

Trade Me bans

October 10th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Dominion Post has a story on items banned for sale on Trade Me.

The full list of banned or restricted items is here. It includes:

The ban on flight tickets seems strange, as it applies to even transferable tickets.

The human parts ban is:

You may not list a human body or body parts on the site. This includes such items as sperm, eggs, excrement, and bone. 

People have tried to sell human excrement on Trade Me? 🙂

The fair deal coalition

May 22nd, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Trade Me has joined 31 consumer and lobby groups from New Zealand and overseas in writing to Trade Minister Tim Groser to voice concerns about the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement.

The company is a member of the New Zealand-born umbrella group the Fair Deal Coalition, which was set up last year during the Auckland round of the negotiations to lobby against possible provisions in the yet-to-be-completed trade agreement.

The coalition fears the trade agreement could unduly strengthen intellectual property rights, for example by extending copyright by 20 years and introducing new controls on parallel imports. …

In its letter, the coalition asked Groser to reflect on the “variety of sectors” that stood to be adversely affected by such provisions. “As a group we are diverse, but we share one thing in common: we seek appropriately balanced intellectual property laws,” it said.

Trade Me spokesman Paul Ford said the firm backed the coalition because it was concerned the agreement could “result in a crappy deal for both Kiwi consumers and a decent chunk of the Trade Me community”.

“We reckon parallel importing is pretty important to New Zealanders as it means Kiwi sellers can source goods direct from licensed suppliers around the globe, so buyers get more choice and, with any luck, better prices too,” he said.

The Fair Deal Coalition has attracted support from advocates in six of the 12 countries which are party to the trade negotiations, including the United States, Canada and Australia.

The group’s founders include Consumer NZ, InternetNZ, the Royal NZ Foundation for the Blind and the Telecommunications Users Association.

I’m one of those involved in the Fair Deal coalition, and it is great to see it gain supporters in the major countries involved in the TPP.

I’m all for free trade deals, but that doesn’t mean I want a deal at any price, and I think the proposed US chapter on intellectual property is not balanced or a fair deal. I think the current NZ intellectual property laws are relatively well balanced and we should not agree to anything that would force a change to them. If enough countries stand firm on these issues, I am hopeful the US will modify its position. And to be fair to the US, they have already moved a considerable way by agreeing to writing exceptions to copyright restrictions into the text – a first for a free trade deal with them. But the current proposed wording is still not suitable.

Consumer NZ spokesman Hadyn Green said his group believed the trade deal’s documents had provisions “which may remove parallel importing in New Zealand”. That would mean retailers could no longer import copyright goods, from software to branded clothes, without the permission of the manufacturer, which Consumer NZ feared would push up prices for many products.

Bans on parallel importing work against free trade, and should not be in FTA.

A Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry spokeswoman said last week that the parallel importing of copyright works had been raised in negotiations but there was no consensus among the negotiating parties on whether an agreement “should include specific provisions on this issue”.

Which hopefully means it won’t include such a provision.

Rodney says auction the unemployed on trade Me!

March 24th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Rodney Hide in NBR writes:

We have 50,000 people on the unemployment benefit and plenty of work that needs doing. The 50,000 represent 1000 years of work that doesn’t get done each and every week. The waste is horrific.

The waste follows from the failure to match the unemployed to the jobs that need doing at a price potential employers are willing to pay.

The matching part of the problem is a perfect job for the internet. And, sure enough, US techno whizz Morgan Warstler has the fix: match the jobs and the unemployed on eBay and pay them through Paypal.

In New Zealand our equivalent, Trade Me, is the perfect set-up linking Kiwis wanting to sell with those wanting to buy. It’s similarly perfect for matching those looking for work with those with jobs that need doing. Trade Me should be used to match jobseekers to jobs.

Under the Warstler scheme the unemployed would register on Trade Me to receive their benefit payment each Friday night.  At present, an unemployed 20-year-old receives a benefit payment of $190.84 gross a week.  Let’s make that $200.

Once an unemployed person is registered on Trade Me anyone wanting work done can bid for them to do it.  It’s the perfect way to match the jobs that need doing to those who can do them. 

So how would it work?

The unit of work on offer is a 40-hour week. And the bids start at $40 a week. That appears impossibly low but the government still pays the $200, so the least anyone gets paid for a week’s work is $240. 

The low starting bid ensures the market clears every week. Local retirement villages and community groups would be actively bidding to help the unemployed into work and to get work done.  Specialist contractors would move in to bid for the unemployed and to offer their work to the marketplace.

It’s hard to see the price staying at $40 a week. Especially for good workers.

The bids increase in $20 increments, with the government getting back $10 of each $20 hike. The worker gets to keep the other $10. For example, if the bid goes to $200 the worker keeps $320 and the government contributes $120 of his or her pay.

So basically the benefit abates.

Trade Me enables feedback possible both ways. Anyone familiar with the site knows how that works.

The good workers and the good employers would soon be identified. There would be no better CV than a string of positive comments on Trade Me. Those workers would get their wages bid up and would soon have a permanent job.

The impossibly lazy would also be identified. They could be followed up by government agents.

Likewise, the bad employers would be weeded out. They would be dealt to just as bad dealers are dealt to on Trade Me. The Warstler scheme provides total transparency.

You could trial this with the long-term unemployed – those who have been on the unemployment benefit for over six months.

Fairfax sells remainder of Trade Me

December 16th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Fairfax Media is reportedly selling its remaining stake in Trade Me for about A$650 million (NZ$810m).

If the sale were to proceed, it would considerably pay down the company’s debts.

The stake is reportedly being sold to a range of New Zealand and Australian institutions in a placement through UBS, according to market sources.

The quoted sale figure would exceed what Fairfax paid for Trade Me in its initial investment five years ago.

Fairfax bought the online auction company from founder Sam Morgan and his fellow private investors for NZ$700m in 2006 and previously recouped NZ$364m by selling a 34 per cent stake through Trade Me’s initial public offering in December 2011.

Morgan went on to be made a board member at Fairfax.

In June, Fairfax further sold down its holding by 15 per cent at a discounted price of $2.70 a share, retaining 51 per cent of the company.

The sale is surprising because it is regarded as the best asset in the digital arm of Fairfax, said Lance Wiggs, a former Trade Me insider who worked on the initial sale to Fairfax.

‘‘It does make sense for investors that you want to separate your assets, one old media, one new media. If I was Fairfax I would want to own Trade Me, not old media,’’ Wiggs said.

The purchase and sale has been a net gain for Fairfax. However I do wonder at the wisdom of selling the only part of your business that actually made money!


October 2nd, 2012 at 3:57 pm by David Farrar

Well Sam Morgan was right when he called Wheedle a joke. The Trade Me guys and gals must have been laughing.

Stuff reports:

Wheedle is offline again and, in a double whammy, a blogger has posted instructions that he said let people change the reserve price of other members’ auctions.

NBR said it had tested and confirmed the fault, reported by a logger by changing and then resetting the price of one “random” auction.

Wheedle have announced they have gone offline to do an audit. They needn’t bother reopening. You only get one chance to make a good first impression.

Allowing others to change the reserve price!!!

NBR quotes Ben Gracewood:

The TVNZ and RNZ commentator doesn’t hold back.

“Wheedle is an abomination,” he says.

“Its very genesis is offensive to the web development community.

“The original claims of “forty servers” and “millions of dollars” are quite literally equivalent to me winning Lotto, buying 50 trucks, then yelling from the rooftops “hooray I’m taking on Mainfreight”. I have no knowledge of logistics, I don’t know about road user charges, and I wouldn’t have the foggiest clue how to manage local distribution.

Likewise, the coders behind Wheedle don’t have any idea how to build a website, Mr Gracewood says.

“On day zero (during the weekend) the site was returning random user profiles each time you refreshed. Any decent web developer would recognise this as an issue with incorrect sessions being served across multiple (of their forty) servers. That should have sent alarm bells ringing.

“But no, they forged ahead with the launch. The next faux-pas was to send password reset emails in the clear. I personally have had 20 odd emails with my own password in them (because someone has been spamming the password reset function). The fact that Wheedle can send my my own password is a huge problem. It means the passwords are stored with (at the very least) reversible encryption, and probably in the clear. The stories of websites being hacked to divulge passwords are many, and it’s only a matter of time before Wheedle is hacked. They should be salting and hashing passwords such that they are unreadable in the database.

I like his Mainfreight comparison.


September 27th, 2012 at 7:22 am by David Farrar

NBR reported:

Mainfreight co-founder and Rich-Lister Neil Graham is taking on Trade Me with a new online auction and classified site,, that officially opens for business on Monday.

New Zealand cyberspace is littered with the train wrecks of online adventures that tried to take on Trade Me but which failed to crack the “chicken and egg” problem of attracting a critical mass of buyers and sellers.

It is very hard to gain sellers unless you have a critical mass of buyers, as sellers know the more buyers, the higher the likely price. However as Trade Me increases fees, it opens up the probability that sellers will judge that probability of a lower auction price is exceeded by the certainty of lower fees. But I don’t think they are there yet. The other factor is that some people may go elsewhere just so there is competition to keep fees down.

But Graham said Wheedle had the management experience, technical expertise and “firepower” to become a long term success. His personal wealth was put at $65 million in NBR’s 2011 Rich List.

Wheedle will launch a television, radio and online advertising campaign on Sunday to promote the site. Chief executive Carl Rees, one of three other shareholders in the business, would not disclose how much it would sink into the campaign, but said it had a multimillion dollar war-chest.

The venture had been two years in the making and will run off 40 servers in IBM’s Auckland data centre, he said. “We are not doing anything by halves. Our infrastructure is huge to run this.”

Rees said Wheedle had 10 staff in Christchurch and another 12 in India who had been developing software for the site and who would be involved in another undisclosed venture. …

Wheedle aims to undercut Trade Me, charging a flat-rate $1 fee on items that sell through the site for more than $20. The fees will be waived and the site will be free to use until November 29.

It is not clear what fee if any will apply for under $20. Sellers won’t like a fee if it does not sell at all. But the fees are a lot cheaper than Trade Me. However the major factor is price. Say your item sells for $50. Then it is $1 on Wheedle and $3.95 on Trade Me making it a net $49 vs $46.25.

But if you get $50 on Trade Me and $45 on Wheedle, then Trade Me is a net $46.25 and Wheedle $44.

But they sound well financed, so may be able to take the initial losses to build up enough critical mass. Free fees initially is a very good idea, but the problem is if people are selling one item, they can not auction it on both sites to see which site gets better results.

Another competitor, List Sell Trade has also been launched. Their model is a $10 a month subscription for all site listing services. Can’t see it flying.  Sella continues to exist. They have no listing or success fees, just enhancement option fees.

Sella has 654 listings for historical fiction books which is a lot. However I note almost none have bids on them – they are basically all listed with buy now prices equal to reserves, so it more like a 2nd hand service than an auction. Trade Me has 4,214 historical fiction listings and a mixture of buy nows and proper auctions.

Trade Me fees

September 26th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Trade Me will raise the “success fees” members pay to sell most items through its online marketplace by more than 5 per cent on Monday.

The announcement of the pending hike was met with a mixture of indignation and resignation on the company’s community bulletin board.

Last month Trade Me reported an 8.4 per cent jump in its annual profit to $75.6 million. One member described the price rise as “greedy”, placing the company in the same category as “councils, power companies, water companies, supermarkets, petrol companies and so many more”.

Others said rival free auction sites were no real alternative because they lacked a critical mass of buyers. Some said they were having success selling items through Facebook, but one poster forecast nothing would change.

“People will moan for a while and will suggest the sky is falling in. Others will suggest going to ‘X site’ or ‘Y site’ instead and a few will try. Ultimately, all will find that selling through here is still the easiest way to go because the buyers are here.”

Trade Me said the fee for selling an item valued at $50 – about its average trade – would rise from $3.75 to $3.95, an increase of 5.3 per cent.

The highest rise would be for items priced at $1500, for which success fees will increase by 8.1 per cent to $79.50. There will be lower increases on higher-priced items and no change to the maximum $149 success fee.

The current fees are:

  • 7.5% up to $200, going to 7.9%
  • 4.5% from $200 to $1,500, going to 4.9%
  • 1.9% from $1,500 to $5,500, no change

At $5,500 you reach the maximum fee of $149. After the increase you’ll reach it at $5,150.

So the fee for various price levels is

  • $50 – $3.75, 7.5%, changing to $3.95, 7.9%
  • $100 – $7.50, 7.5%, changing to $7.90, 7.9%
  • $250 – $17.25, 6.9%, changing to $18.25, 7.3%
  • $1,000 – $51.00, 5.1%, changing to $55.00, 5.5%
  • $2,500 – $92.50, 3.7%, changing to $98.50, 3.9%

They’re pretty significant increases, as in my opinion the business model should be based on increasing volume of trades, not the percentage fee per trade.

What I’d be interested in is what have the fee changes over time been? Does anyone have data on what the fees were before it was sold in 2006?


August 8th, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

Ever fancied having a slide in your home or office instead of those tiresome stairs?

Well, the Trade Me team in Wellington has decided that it would be the perfect way to spice up the daily grind.

They have installed a slide between the two floors of their new Wellington office, which staff began to move into on Monday.

Now that is cool. What a great idea.

It reminds me of my response when I worked in the PM’s Office to some survey about building improvements. I submitted that they should place a huge waterslide around the beehive stretching from the top floor all the way to the bottom, into the swimming pool. There would be entrances in from every level. I thought that would be a great boost for staff morale if you could waterslide from your office into the pool!

Who do you think this is an advert for?

February 18th, 2012 at 5:45 pm by David Farrar

An ad at Trade Me for senior and junior communications advisors says the roles are:

To support all aspects of corporate communications through innovative strategies and to facilitate the flow of internal information and communications.

The jobs are in the Office of the Leader of the Opposition.

Trevor’s credibility for sale on Trade Me

February 16th, 2012 at 12:22 pm by David Farrar

Heh, someone has set up an auction of Trevor Mallard’s credibility. The proceeds will go to Christchurch Earthquake recovery.

The Q+A, as always, is amusing:

Q: Is there any actual evidence you can provide to show that this item has ever existed

Q; Doesn’t Trademe rules state that the item must be in your possession? I don’t think anyone anywhere has Trevor Mallard’s credibility in their possession. In fact, research is ongoing to find proof it ever existed, as far as I am informed.

Q: While at face value this looks like a bargain, do you have any way of verifying that the product actually exists? I am somewhat dubious, as I have not seen any recent evidence of the existence of “Trevor Mallard’s credibility.”

Q: How damaged is this item? Will there be a refund available if it doesn’t pass muster?

Q: Is there a buy now? or will you let the auction take it’s course?

Heh, now that last one is very funny.


Helping Trevor out

February 16th, 2012 at 10:13 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

Labour MP Trevor Mallard says he didn’t know how to set a “buy now” option on Trade Me – despite being a member since 2005 and on-selling tickets to Homegrown and the Wellington Sevens in the past.

Under fire for ticket scalping after selling four tickets to the sold-out Homegrown festival at a $276 profit, Mr Mallard told Radio Live this morning that he hadn’t been aware he could put a “buy now” price on the auction.

However, his TradeMe account shows he has been a member of the online auction site since 2005, and has sold plenty of tickets in the past.

Did not know how to set a buy now option? Really? Well in case Trevor needs a hand in future, I’m happy to assist.

If you are selling tickets to a concert on Trade Me, this is the screen you will see.

As is obvious, setting a buy now price is incredibly simple. You just enter the price you want in.

Trade Me to be floated

August 26th, 2011 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Fairfax has announced that it is selling 30% to 35% of Trade Me, and will be listing it on the stock exchange through an initial public offering.

This is great news, and should result in a lot of keen investors.

I await Labour and The Greens insisting that as Trade Me is vital infrastructure due to its near monopoly status, that the Government buy it and turn it into an SOE.

Labour on Trade Me

May 28th, 2011 at 1:42 pm by David Farrar

An interesting new initiative from Labour. To have one of their MPs go onto the Trade Me message boards and diss your own social media campaign.

Wellington free wifi

February 2nd, 2011 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

Wellington waterfront visitors will be able to connect to the internet for free from this morning with the launch of Trade Me’s wi-fi network.

Initially expected to cover the area south from Frank Kitts Lagoon to the waterfront side of Te Papa, it is likely to extend to areas including the Sunday markets.

Weather’s not great today, but hope to try it out at the weekend with an iPad at one of the fine bars on the waterfront.

Going going going going going going going going going going …

November 12th, 2010 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Carmel Sepuloni on Red Alert blogged yesterday:

John Chapman is a staunch Labour supporter and is one of our good friends in Waitakere:)

Given his support for Labour and generous nature, he’s kindly put up one of his prints for sale on trademe – proceeds raised will go towards the Mana campaign.
The print is entitled ‘It’s only going to get worse’ – how appropriate given the state of our country under the current National Government.  We may have to persevere another year (or slightly less) of a National Government but that gentle reminder of how much worse it could get if we have to endure any longer than that – is a great motivator for getting Labour people and the generally ‘disillusioned with National’ ordinary kiwi, enthused about the next election!
What a great idea to raise money for Labour. And hell, if John Key’s plaster cast can go for $18,000 on Trade Me and receive hundreds of bids, this nice artwork should raise thousands.
So how did the auction go.

Whale has this graphic:

Not a single person bid. No not one. How incredibly embarrassing.

I guess Carmel was right – it was only going to get worse – for Labour.

UPDATE: A reader commented to me  that they are surprised a certain Board of Trustees Chair didn’t bid for the artwork so it could then be burnt – or does that only happen when it is part of a Police investigation involving the PM?

Sir Rob’s Chair

June 8th, 2010 at 3:52 pm by David Farrar

An interesting auction on Trade Me. A chair made in the 19th century in Japan that was gifted to Sir Robert Muldoon by the Japanese Government.

Bidding is at $12,000.

Trade Me auction of an XT phone

February 23rd, 2010 at 3:30 pm by David Farrar

Someone has listed this phone on Trade Me as a Telecom XT mobile phone 🙂

As always, the Q+A are quite hilarious.

Flag Doodle almost at $20,000

February 12th, 2010 at 7:15 am by David Farrar

Incredible. The bidding for the John Key flag doodle has reached $19,238. Now I suspect the bidding is more for the morning tea with John (and Pippa) than the artwork itself – I certainly hope so!

As at 6 am:

  • Top Bid $19,238
  • 188 bids
  • Approx 250 questions and answers – many of these are hilarious. Well done to the TVNZ staffer answering them.
  • 73,622 page views

The Cure Kids charity will be pleased, especially with five days left in the auction.

Why you should be careful in you Trade Me photos

January 30th, 2010 at 9:33 pm by David Farrar

A friend e-mailed this to me. I have excised the name of the poor seller!

A manure sculpture of Nick Smith

October 28th, 2009 at 9:29 pm by David Farrar


Oh this is very very funny.

Artist Sam Mahon has created this sculpture of Nick Smith. He has made it from cow manure and it is up for auction on Trade Me. It is called “Nick Smith in the shit” and is currently going for $560.

Mahon explains:

The sculpture is light and hollow and highly polished. It sits on a steel stand slightly right of centre.

I wonder how much it will go for. Will Nick bid? Will any of his colleagues bid? Is it made of organic manure only?

Councillors and staff bail Mayor out

July 25th, 2009 at 9:43 am by David Farrar

I previously blogged on how North Shore Mayor Andrew Williams black-listed Whale Oil from bidding in a charity auction, removing his bids. This meant the auction went for $150 (and to the Mayor’s daughter) instead of the $1,000 or so Whale was willing to bid.

They obviously realised what a bad and indefensible look this was, so today the Herald reports:

Mr Williams said council members and staff had boosted the top bid by $1030 and three teenage cancer patients would accompany him today in the jet plane simulator.

The poor Councillors and staff – having to do a whip around to save face for the Mayor.

A more sensible approach would have been to raise the money beforehand, and simply outbid Whale Oil.

Mr Slater said he would pay the $1000, which included money sent in by readers of his blog, “in the spirit of the auction”.

Great for the charity.