Wheedle shuts down indefinitely for systems update
Trade Me rival Wheedle has closed for an indefinite time to update its systems.
The auction site went offline earlier this afternoon following the revelation that people could change easily change the price on other member's auctions. Concerns were also raised about passwords being sent, unencrypted, by email.
Wheedle has gone offline three times since its Monday morning launch.
This time, it will be an extended stint as the site comprehensively retools. An independent review of its systems is promised before the site re-opnes for business.
In terms of current auctions at the moment Wheedle closed, and whether they would be reanimated or the slate wiped clean, general manager Carl Rees told NBR he was seeking advice on the site's legal obligations. He added, "Either way we will do the right thing." He could not confirm how many auctions were open at the time of the shutdown, but expected to know tomorrow morning.
Auckland software developer Ben Gracewood, who just hours before told NBR Wheedle as an 'abomination' that needed to be scrapped and rebuilt, was quick to praise the decision.
"Good call Wheedle. Come back fighting when the site is all good," Mr Gracewood tweeted.
Indian outsourcing 'not the problem'
Earlier today, Wheedle general manager Carl Rees confirmed the Christchurch-based company had outsourced website development work to India (there was little choice after a reader spied a Wheedle ad on an Indian job site).
Does that make it the highest profile offshored failure since 2degrees Indian-developed website fell over?
No, said Mr Rees. Wheedle had people on the ground in India exercising oversight. The problem was inadequate pre-launch testing.
Ratu Mason, with the Wellington office of Lateral Security, told NBR an $8 - $15,000 penetration test would have easily uncovered the security issues with Wheedle. He suspected owners had pushed forward the go-live date. And as it was, the social media mob performed a comprehensive audit. The crowd-sourced version was free, if intensely embarrassing.
Wheedle is backed by Rich Lister Neil Graham, who told NBR over the weekend the site had a $10 million+ budget and would be supported by a multiweek TV and radio ad campaign. Mr Graham said there was room in the market for another auction site. Trade Me, which on Monday lifted its auction fee by 5.3%, had become greedy and arrogant, Mr Graham said.
RAW DATA: WHEEDLE STATEMENT.
WHEEDLE TO CLOSE FOR UPDATES – WILL RELAUNCH
Wheedle, the new online buy and sell website, has today announced its intention to close for a thorough update of its systems and processes.
Wheedle managing director Carl Rees says the introduction of a new competitor in the online trading market has attracted an exceptional response.
“We have received an extraordinary level of interest from the New Zealand public, demonstrating the real demand for competition in this space,” says Carl Rees.
“However, operating issues were identified and our determination to ensure we can provide a level of service we are satisfied with means that we have elected to close the site until we can complete a comprehensive audit of our systems and make the necessary improvements.”
Mr Rees says Wheedle will be made available again when the management team are completely confident its performance and processes meet the standards expected by New Zealand consumers.
“We will return to the market when we are totally satisfied that the site will provide the high level of experience we want our customers to enjoy.”
“In the meantime, however, we would like to thank the New Zealand public for their interest and support, and we look forward to reintroducing Wheedle as soon as possible.”