Trade Me: 'We'd be naive to ignore Facebook'

Trade Me says they can't ignore new competitors, but they offer better protection for customers.
Trade Me says they can't ignore new competitors, but they offer better protection for customers.

With the rollout of Facebook Marketplace in New Zealand, the social media giant encroaches on the territory of one of NZ's most popular websites - Trade Me.

Trade Me's head of marketplace, Stuart McLean, said they haven't seen impact yet, but they'd "be naive not to pay attention to any competitors that enter our business."

"Obviously we recognise the user base that Facebook has. In saying that, Trade Me is a good place to buy and sell goods because that's what it is designed to do and we've been doing it for over 17 years."

McLean says buy and sell groups have been around for some time now, and the Marketplace application has been in pilot for the last few months while Trade Me's General Items marketplace has "seen great growth for the last five quarters."

"We've seen more sellers come to us than ever before," he says.

The best thing for Trade Me to do, says McLean is to "stick to what we're good at, which is making it easy for our members to buy and sell onsite."

"We're continually working on new products and offerings for our members that make it easier for them to buy and sell including our new book a courier service and region & district filters."

What separates Trade Me from the competition, says McLean, is that they're New Zealand based and run finely honed anti-fraud tools as well as providing 24 hour customer service, policing, and trust and safety teams locally.

"These teams are there to make sure that we can respond on the rare occasion that someone tries to do anything dodgy on our site," he said.

With Facebook Marketplace off to a unfortunate start, Trade Me's anti-fraud and customer protections will be a major draw for buyers and sellers.

Trade Me's external communications advisor, Logan Mudge said as far as they know, Facebook has no 24 hour customer service phone or email for buyers or sellers and no New Zealand based customer service.

Multiple international news outlets including the New York Times reported that within hours of launch of Marketplace, sellers were offering drugs, sex, guns and even small children and hedgehogs.

There is no evidence of illicit or illegal sales having taken place in New Zealand.

While the selling of these items breaches Facebook's commerce policy, the company was slow to remove the advertisements and fix the problem.

- NZ Herald

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