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Name: Michael Carney
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Member since: 2009-08-06 01:26:50
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The Single Most Important Buying Secret

As long as you tick the box next to “Auto-bid” before placing your bid, Trade Me will simply place a bid slightly higher than the current bid — and will keep doing so until your maximum bid is received.

What are the hottest selling categories on Trade Me?

As I noted in my reply to Anne Freeman, I have not updated these statistics for some time; but you can see statistics for the latest month on Trade Me itself, at

This blog is independent of Trade Me, so what I choose to write about here is my decision.

Why haven’t I updated the statistics here? Other commitments, frankly. I’ve been writing about Trade Me for most of the last seven years, since the first edition of my TRADE ME SUCCESS SECRETS book was published in late 2005; now the second edition is officially out of print (I have three boxes left, and that’s all), and there are currently no plans for a third edition.

So, since I work for myself, I need to focus my efforts on projects that generate income — my social media training courses (at and my new eCommerce course ( That, along with my other commitments, doesn’t leave much time for writing about Trade Me anymore, I’m afraid.

Where's The Money?

Oops — typo well spotted. Now corrected, thanks!

Seven Smart Trading Tips for 2011

To add a Buy Now, go to your auction listing and click on the “edit” button (within the “Seller’s options” box near the top of your listing). That will take you back through the listing process and you can add a Buy Now price into the appropriate box. Please note, though, that you won’t be able either to edit your listing or add a Buy Now price if there are any bids on your auction.

Seven Smart Trading Tips for 2011

Your comment is valid, Chris, in terms of protecting the integrity of the auction process (and stopping private Buy Now arrangements) — but it does still make you more vulnerable by raising a red flag (literally) to attract other bidders. The “don’t bid till near the end of the auction” strategy, in combination with last-minute autobidding (refer Chapter Six of TRADE ME SUCCESS SECRETS) is, on balance, the most effective method for winning more auctions in the long run, without overpaying.

Of course, the underlying assumptions of this bidding strategy are that (a) there is no shortage of supply of the given product; and (b) that sellers tend to price similar products similarly. If either assumption isn’t relevant for a particular auction, then a more aggressive bidding strategy is entirely warranted (again, see Chapter Six for a “win at any cost” plan).

Michael Carney

7 Key Facts for serious Trade Me sellers

Real Estate cannot officially be “sold” online. Even property deals done on Trade Me are not legally completed on the site — buyer and seller must complete legal formalities off the site. So even though real estate transactions may be facilitated online, they don’t count in terms of sales statistics.

What does it take to sell stuff on Trade Me in 2010?

Hi Robyn

If you’re considering getting into selling from scratch, my recommendation would be to start by getting a copy of TRADE ME SUCCESS SECRETS (Second Edition), either from your library or from our Trade Me store.

That’ll give you a good grounding in the skills required to sell effectively on Trade Me. If you then want to learn the advanced techniques for selling on the site, come back here and take a look at our Advanced Selling ecourse.

Michael Carney

Feedback Etiquette

Hi Shanti, sorry to hear about agents behaving badly. Alas, there are no moderators on the forum — too many messages, too little time, at least as far as Trade Me staff are concerned — but at that bottom of every page there’s a note: “The Trade Me message board is moderated by the Trade Me community. If you’re offended by a thread or message, you can vote to have it removed”.

Simply click on the link to record your dissatisfaction with any message. If enough members vote against a message or thread, it will be automatically removed.

Feedback Etiquette

Hi Linzi, thanks for the question. Blacklisting is entirely administered by the seller (it’s listed under More Options on your “My Trade Me” page —, and it’s done simply by entering in a trader’s username into the box on the My Blacklist page. That does create potential for error — for example, the trader who’s blacklisted you may have had problems with another member but has wrongly entered your username into the box.

Once this happens, there’s no way to change a blacklist on Trade Me itself — but since you have dealt with the trader in the past, you’ve probably got their email address in your inbox archive (unless you’re far more efficient than me at deleting old files). The easiest way to find that address (assuming you haven’t deleted it) is to: (a) go to your own feedback, find the auction that related to the errant trader and identify the auction number; (b) search your inbox using that auction number; and (c) retrieve the email address thus found.

Then, being on your very best behaviour, write to the trader pointing out that he/she must have made a mistake (and asking them to review that past transaction based on the auction number you found earlier).

If that doesn’t work out, then blacklist them as well and move on — clearly the problem is theirs, not yours.

PS Don’t worry, blacklisting doesn’t show up anywhere on Trade Me records, and it isn’t necessarily negative in connotation either — my wife and I blacklist each other’s user names on Trade Me so that we can’t be accused of bidding on each other’s items in an attempt to drive up the price. That’s called “shilling”, and it’s a definite Trade Me no-no.

Feedback Etiquette

Actually, there is a handy sorting tool which allows anyone to isolate and review neutral or negative feedback — you’ll find it at

Just enter the Trade Me member ID and the tool retrieves and sorts the feedback.

Making An Offer They Can’t Refuse

I suspect they’re clinging to an outmoded notion based around the old model of scarcity of information: they either forget or don’t know how open the Trade Me marketplace is, so don’t realise that it’s so easy to find the selling price of past listings.

Either that, or they’re hoping for ignorance on the part of potential buyers, which is never a particularly smart (or longterm) business strategy.

Making An Offer They Can’t Refuse

Eligius: The main benefit of S=R (i.e. the starting price of your auction being the same as your reserve) is that Trade Me will provide a little yellow flag alongside your listing price, telling potential bidders that as soon as they start bidding the item is in play — so any bid is not a waste of time but could potentially win the auction. Psychology is again at work here — if you see a product listed at, for example, $40 but without the little yellow flag, it could mean that the actual reserve price is well outside the range of what you’re prepared to pay.

The S=R strategy can attract more bidders if the reserve price is actually realistic (and looks good to some prospects). And (at the risk of your listed item appearing too expensive for some) it does mean that you sell your item at least at your preferred price — or, of course, don’t sell it at all.

The Rule of 25

Good point, esdott. With the larger traders (ideally those who also operate Trade Me Stores), it’s rather safer to provide such information. For unknown individuals, however, unless the item is too bulky to move around easily, it can be wise to organise a rendezvous point for pickups, eg your nearest McDonalds.

The Rule of 25

Alas, with nearly one and a half million auctions running on Trade Me every week, the team just don’t have the time or the manpower to police any but the most glaring problems.

The Rule of 25

Very true. I guess i’m just the suspicious type …

How To Create Eye-Catching Listings

Unfortunately, too many hopeful users seem to think that the mere act of listing an auction item is enough — let’s not sully ourselves with anything so crassly commercial as detail that will actually attempt to sell the item on display.

My research during the writing of the Trade Me Success Secrets book confirmed that items with photos are several times more likely to sell successfully than those without.

On the positive side, however, items without photos can be a great bargain for buyers willing to take a risk!

Christmas for Trade Me Buyers - and an irresistible invitation for sellers

Well done, BM, right on message.

Talking of books as a Christmas gift, I always had a soft spot for TRADE ME SUCCESS SECRETS, the top-selling book about How to Buy For Less and Sell for More on Trade Me. Trade Me’s top buyers and sellers share their winning tips & techniques and the stories behind their successes, in this easy-to-understand 336-page paperback guide to saving yourself $$$ when you buy and making much more money when you sell on Trade Me.

TRADE ME SUCCESS SECRETS covers everything you need to know about Trade Me – from getting started through to growing your own thriving Trade Me business. [Around Christmas time, I usually get a lot of requests to autograph the book for the buyer's nearest and dearest, who has a Trade Me habit!]

The core users of Trade Me are typically aged 18-40, slightly more likely to be female, and scattered throughout the country. Urban use is strong, but provincial users are probably disproportionately more likely to use Trade Me (because the keyboard is a lot closer than the general store).

I’ve found that the Trade Me Success Secrets book has a wide appeal, with everyone from total TM newcomers to the most experienced reporting great satisfaction with the content. Since one should always zero in on a target, however, I would suggest that those who’ve only used the site from time to time would have more to learn than the veterans.

You can purchase the Second Edition of TRADE ME SUCCESS SECRETS on Trade Me, under member ID SuccessSecrets. The link is:

Thanks for playing! :-)

Google joins the Property party

They couldn’t at the time the service was announced, and I haven’t seen anything to suggest that has changed.

Social Selling

Thanks for the note, Tim. I didn’t mean separate identities on Trade Me, just on other sites. I’ve edited the post to clear that up.

Surviving The Recession Through Trade Me

[This thread continues the response above , referring to Brigitte's comment about being offered a second bite at an item which someone else won].

A few categories don’t attract success fees (notably cars, houses and jobs) but most general items do — check here for full details:

The general success fee structure is as follows:
* Up to $150: 6.9% of sale price (50c minimum)
* $150 – $1500: $10.35 + 4.5% of sale price over $150
* Over $1500: $71.10 + 1.9% of sale price over $1500 (max fee = $149)

If you sell two items through the same auction, you’ll still attract those fees for each item — but you’ll save on any the promotional costs (bold, featured & first in category costs; costs for a sub-headline; and cost of any extra photos). And then there’s the time cost of relisting …

Of course, there’s no guarantee that people will accept your offer, but the whole exercise only takes a couple of clicks, so it can certainly be worth the effort.

Surviving The Recession Through Trade Me

I have to say I haven’t seen anybody raise this issue before (though I monitor some of the Message Boards from time to time, I don’t check through all categories).

If you think the lack of a suburb is costing you bidders, then my recommendation would be either to mention your location in your listing or (if space is at a premium there) add a note through the “Add a comment to your auction” feature at the bottom of your listing.

Surviving The Recession Through Trade Me

It’s not documented on the Trade Me site (although it is in my book), but when an auction closes (successfully or not) sellers are able to offer that product to other bidders and watchers. Clearly, you can’t do that if your product is a one-off item, but if you’re selling multiple items it’s a cost-effective way of doubling your sales return. You can only make the offer once per auction, and you do incur double success fees from Trade Me if both items sell, but you don’t have to pay the listing fees twice.

How can sellers take advantage of this offer?

After your auction closes successfully, you’ll see an addition to the top of your auction, in the part visible only to the seller. Skip to the bottom, where you’re given this advice:

If the sale falls through …
1. Make a fixed price offer to the other bidders or relist this item.

Click on the”Make a fixed price offer” link (even though, as far as you know, the sale hasn’t fallen through). You’ll be taken to a page listing the bidders and/or watchers and invited to send them an offer, at a price you set. Go for it.

This is completely legitimate under Trade Me rules; and it’s a way for some of the high-volume traders to improve the yield of their auctions.

Surviving The Recession Through Trade Me

>Re 10. Sheldon.
Um — I am responding (see Comments 3 and 14), but only where I have something to add. I don’t think a response of “thank you for your comment” would add much. And I do have a day job to occupy my time ….

Surviving The Recession Through Trade Me

>RE 9. Richard:
Research data from around the world shows an interesting gap (usually called the Value-Action Gap) between peoples’ beliefs and their actions. A majority of Britons, for example say (Source: JWT Anxiety Index March 2009) that they’re anxious about our planet running out of natural resources, about over-population, species extinction, water pollution and many of the other ills besetting our environment. But most pro-environment behaviours adopted in the past year in the UK (recycling, dining in, re-using rather than replacing, reducing electricity usage, etc) are more because of the recession than because of any concerns about the environment.

And, when asked about specific purchases they might make, most survey respondents chose to soothe their wallet at the expense of their conscience.

Oh, and a March 2009 US survey conducted by The Shelton Group found that 71 percent of consumers cited saving money as a reason to buy energy-efficient products. Far fewer chose “to protect the environment” (55 percent) and “to protect the quality of life for future generations” (49 percent).

So it’s not that they’re ignorant of the bigger picture, Richard — they’re just being pragmatic in the current economy.