Trade Me in print

December 5, 2010
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Trade Me: The Inside Story, by Michael “MOD” O’Donnell, foreword by Sam Morgan (Phantom House Books, RRP $39.99):

Given the number of Kiwis who visit our No 1 auction site on a daily basis, it’s no surprise this book has been written.

Forget about eBay, it hasn’t been able to get a foothold here in New Zealand – Trade Me got there first and is here to stay.

Sure, every now and then there’s a bit of grumbling about Trade Me’s perceived inadequacies but for the most part it does a good job. Probably its biggest problem has been keeping up with its own popularity: it grew so fast I think it caught most people by surprise and that makes it incredibly difficult to keep things ticking over as they should.

I’ve been a Trade Me user since May 2000 but I actually joined earlier than that. Unfortunately, I promptly forgot my username and password and rejoined later with a new name.

Over the years I’ve watched Trade Me grow from a good idea to a great business with surprisingly few hiccups along the way.

When I heard there was a book being written about Trade Me’s “inside story” I was a tad sceptical: would it be nothing more than PR fluff? Would it be full of boring reports and projections? Would it be a boring, self-promoting bit of tat?

I’m pleased to say my scepticism wasn’t necessary. This book is a fascinating read that covers the history of the company and gives a great insight to Trade Me guru/creator Sam Morgan.

Michael O’Donnell has done a great job of bringing to life Trade Me’s first decade, writing with humour and just enough admiration to show his pride in this Kiwi success story without sounding cloying.

And that pride is well placed, especially when you see plotted on the graphs in this book the incredible growth of Trade Me in those 10 short years.

It’s been an amazing decade but I suspect the best is yet to come.

Handbags & Hovercrafts: Trade Me’s Most Memorable Auctions (Random House, RRP $26):

While the previous book did carry a little section at the end on Trade Me’s most popular auctions of all time, this book is a collection of the most memorable.

If you’ve been a member of the site for any length of time you’ll recognise some of these, including the Lisa Lewis bikini, John Key’s cast and – my personal favourite – the scary washing machine. I wonder if I should auction my evil iron?

Jillian Allison-Aitken

I come from the other land down under, where men are men, and sheep are nervous. I'm a sub-editor and in the past have been a proof-reader, news editor and web editor. I am also an ex-columnist, and book and software reviewer for the local daily newspaper.I still read. A lot. And surf the web. Also a lot.You'll find a little about both of those pastimes here, and on By George.

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