Is Trademe Social Media?
I freely admit that I have a bit of a problem when it comes to Trademe. I check my watchlist far more often than I check my Facebook page. One of the things I do to relax is scrolling through pages of random auctions, just to know what’s there. My wardrobe is about 25% Trademe, my furniture probably a bit more. I have developed a terrible habit when I’m out shopping of delaying purchases until I can compare prices with Trademe.
It seems I’m not alone though. Trademe has about 2.4m members, compared to 2.1m New Zealand Facebook members. According to O’Reilly and Battelle’s classification system in our textbook, Trademe is a level 3 Web2.0 application “derived from the human connections and network effects – and growing in power the more people use them”
An enormous light bulb has just gone on in my head! I had been thinking about social networks in a relational sense but had missed the transactional aspect. This is how social software has changed the world! This is the open market in its purest sense, people who have something to sell connecting directly with people who want to buy something. This is the threat to traditional business models.
I’ve been reading a series of blogs called The Trademe Manifesto by Rowan Simpson, a software developer involved in the growth of Trademe from membership of 10,000 to 100,000 in 18 months. It seems to me that the success of Trademe has been not making it about themselves. They have given users the ability to buy and sell in a trusted environment and let them get on with it. They haven’t focussed on marketing, knowing that the best way to increase their membership is through word of mouth referrals from existing members who are happy with their product.