Im an unabashed capitalist but we are starting to think that Trademe has lost its mojo.
It started off being a great way for Kiwis to buy and sell their stuff. It reached critical mass very fast and we were all pretty proud when Sam Morgan and his small band of backers sold it and made a lot of money.
It was a feel good success story. The sort of entrepreneurial effort that we want to see replicated. And like all good businesses it needs to do all it can to maximise returns to the shareholder. But all business growth needs to be sustainable - and to do that it either needs to grow its customer base or find new ways to make money.
It was good to see that year on year, Trademe expanded so that now there are few aspects of the business community that it does not touch.
And by and large they have done a good job of looking after the "littleguys" cheap stuff is cheapish to sell. Its success is very much based on a sense of community. Its customers are also its fans.
But not any more. Instead of being sharp and looking at innovative ways to expand Trade Me's applications the lazy bastards have gone back to their original client base - the average kiwi peeps and they have starting upping the prices. In some cases the increase cost of selling some goods is nothing less that price gouging.
We found out recently that to sell a sheep that would fetch about $60 the cost has literally gone from about $10 bucks to at least $30. If I was selling a book it would be about $6-$8 dollars. That is price gouging plain and simple. ( note the variance is in how much you want to "pimp" your sale or spend on promoting it.
Its shameful and shows that Trademe is not the cool , innovative, company it once was. The people of New Zealand who found a community that was a unique virtual kiwi village will decamp. They will look else where. We reckon that the time is ripe, for someone to start up something that is honest, profitable and innovative and fun again. Sella has started to show some promise and niche selling platforms like Lifestyleblock.co.nz are also doing ok.
This thread here shows how Trademe is starting to lose support for two reasons - its taking the easy way out and charging more rather than looking for innovative solutions for its customers and new markets and ideas to grow the business.
We think that by and large Trademe still does a good job but our experience in trying to sell a smelly old mad rooter lamb has left us wondering if Trademe has lost its soul.
It is extremely disengenous of Trademe to say that they now charge about $32 and $40 to sell a $60 ram " because its easier" for the customer.