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Third time lucky? Listselltrade goes for Monday liftoff

Trade Me rival has another shot.

Tue, 09 Oct 2012

 Listselltrade, which displayed a launch-delay message all yesterday, last evening flipped to a new home screen saying:

"We are currently switching to a live, full version of the site. This holding page will be in place for a few hours while we complete the switchover."

Listsell trade aborted a launch last Thursday after registration problems.

On Twitter, web developers also pointed out what they say were poor security practices.

These included leaving the door open to Javascript being added to a listing and allowing a tech-savvy user to easily snoop on another member's account details.

Another go at launch on Friday was also put off.

A second Trade Me rival, Wheedle, remains offline a week after launch.

Its backers have promised an independent review following a series of security problems, including the ability for members to change prices on each others' auctions.

No timeframe was given for the review.


Listselltrade aborts launch, will try again Monday

 UPDATE / Friday Oct 5: Trade Me rival listsell Trade, which aborted its launch yesterday for a fresh try 9am today, now says it will launch on Monday. Sellers can upload listings in the meantime.

Listselltrade backer Brenda Treacy told NBR ONLINE its launch was brought forward after another Trade Me competitor, Wheedle, said it would launch this week.

Yesterday, there were problems with member sign-ups.

And on Twitter, web developers pointed out what they said were poor security practices, including leaving the door open to Javascript being added to a listing and allowing a tech-savvy user to easily snoop on another member's account details.


UPDATE / Thursday Oct 4, 5pm: Trade Me rival Listselltrade says it will now launch at approximately 9am tomorrow (Friday).

The site attempted to launch at 3pm yesterday, only to see its registration page and password reset functions play up (see below), and web developers on social media pointed out what they said were poor security practices, including leaving the door open to Javascript being added to a listing,  allowing a tech-savvy user to easily snoop on another member's account details.

Listselltrade owner Brenda Treacy has just sent the following to members:

To ensure an efficient transition to full operation List Sell Trade have delayed their launch time to ensure the servers are switched over smoothly. They apologise for the delay. In the meantime, registration and listing are still open.  The site will be live by approximately 9am on Friday the 5th of October.

UPDATE Oct 4, 4pm: A second Trade Me rival, listselltrade, has encountered immediate problems.

The site officially launched at 3pm today, but NBR ONLINE was able to access or reset the password on an existing account, and the registeration screen blanked when your correspondent tried to register a new account with a separate email address.

"It's a bit wonky," tweeted @Ruatara, the west Auckland man who first uncovered the set-your-own-price security hole in Wheedle, which forced its indefinite close-down Tuesday.

He also could not login, request a password reset, or get the registration page to load.

@Ruatara, an internet industry veteran who emailed NBR identifying details but did not want to be named, had been able to log in last night, and even list an item. 

Blogger and software developer Ben Gracewood also weighed in, telling NBR, "The registration page is screwed for me".

Mutliple others tweeted that they could see no option to enter a user name (a field that appeared earlier, then blanked out).

Beyond the registration page, the social media mob also criticised listselltrade's Javascript code, with some alleging security holes, others code that had not been updated from pre-launch to launch mode.

It's been a week of tough lessons. One, it seems, is a website coded in New Zealand can fall over as fast as one developed on the subcontinent.

READ ALSO: Trade Me shares hit all-time high; site previews new look

Undaunted by Wheedle's failure, listselltrade gears up for launch today

Oct 4: Wheedle collapsed in a screaming heap on Tuesday, and will be offline for an indeterminate amount of time.

Undaunted, a second Trade Me competitor is gearing up to launch today at 3pm.

Listselltrade is created and run by Treacy Advertising and Web Design, a 15-year-old Christchurch business.

Last week, sole director and shareholder Brenda Treacy told NBR the site had been 18 months in the making, with up to eight staff working on it at any one time. 

Ms Treacy was looking for a project as business slowed after the quakes, and saw a business opportunity in frustration over Trade Me's  fees.

$10 all-you-can-list
Listselltrade's key point of difference will be a $10 all-you-can list monthly subscription, with no success fee.

The site will also take a liberal attitude to businesses who want to promote their own sites.

Nationwide mail drop
Last week, Ms Treacy told NBR a four-page tabloid flyer (see it here) would be printed on the weekend of Oct 6-7 and delivered to every mailbox in the country.

This morning, she did not immediately respond to NBR's phone call, but emailed that all marketing plans were on track.

Listselltrade opened for registrations last Thursday (a date rushed forward after Wheedle announced its Monday launch) and "many new users have already taken advantage of our offer to bulk load their product databases into the website as sales listings at no charge. Feedback from users has been very positive".

Ms Treacy said she was no Rich Lister, just a hard working Kiwi business woman. Marketing would be ongoing, but the budget would be hundreds of thousands, not millions like Wheedle. And on that note, as of last week she was looking to sell signage on the nationwide flyer to help cover costs.

Not developed in India
Speaking to NBR last week, Ms Treacy repeatedly emphasised her site was locally developed. Wheedle development was outsourced to India. 

Local development can provide more immediate control. 

But then again Wheedle's many blunders (passwords sent as clear text, members allowed to edit pricing on other members' auctions, no contact information in sell notices) were schoolboy errors that should have been picked up in pre-launch testing whether the site was developed in Bangalore or Burwood.

What the crowd wants
Again, good luck to all Trade Me rivals. Competition can only be good.

But unfortuantely, Wheedle has made life harder for all that follow.

It also showed that lower fees aren't the only thing people want.

Many NBR readers, and others (read Zillion founder Dylan Bland's excellent post here) want Facebook connectivity and/or some mechanism to import or link to Trade Me reputation profiles – both features that could give a new auction/classified site immediate authority, and help overcome the Catch-22 problem of gaining listings when there are few members, and members when there are few listings.

Facebook connectivity isn't offered by listselltrade, but the wisdom of the mob suggests it could be worth checking out.

Importing a Trade Me profile or reputation score would require a team of lawyers as much as developers, but I suspect it's the move that will be the real game-changer. 

If someone ever goes there.

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Third time lucky? Listselltrade goes for Monday liftoff