So it's probably a very smart time for Sensis to take the Trading Post into the world of online auctions.
Today the Telstra subsidiary announced that they'd be launching auctions on the Trading Post website. And they've clearly structured their pricing model at disgruntled ebay sellers: it's free to list your item, you get the first photo free with every auction, and you only pay when you make a sale. On top of that, sales under $10 will only cost you 50 cents, while the most you'll pay for an auction is $24.95 on any item over $500.
Not only that, but they support a wide range of payment options including Paymate, bank transfers and credit cards.
Competition in this area can only be a good thing, especially with all the efforts ebay's had recently to drive away sellers. But the question is: will the Trading Posts's online auctions be good enough to draw users away from ebay? Or are we looking at another Sensis search situation here? Tell us your thoughts in comments.
The full press release, for those of you who get off on that kind of thing (you know who you are):
Trading Post® weighs into Online Auctions
27th May 2008
Sensis and its iconic Trading Post® business have weighed-in to the
local online auction market with the launch of auctions on the new
The move, a major part of Sensis' strategy to capitalise on the
booming online growth of Trading Post®, is one of the most significant
developments in Trading Post®'s 40 year history.
Launching the new website and auction capability, Sensis CEO, Bruce
Akhurst said the Aussie icon Australians have loved buying and selling
with for decades was entering an exciting new era.
"Introducing auctions opens up enormous opportunities for us to
accelerate our growth online and capture a significant new market of
buyers and sellers.
"On top of the 2 million people that already use
www.tradingpost.com.au each month, there are an additional 3.4 million
Australians using online auctions that are not currently using Trading
"And while auctions have only just started on tradingpost.com.au,
our aim is to build up the number of items available and become
Australia's favourite place to buy and sell," he said.
Mr Akhurst said the investment in the Trading Post® website was an
important part of the business' continued focus to provide its products
"Sensis has taken decisive steps to return our classifieds business
to growth. This includes successfully reducing the rate of decline in
the circulation of our print publication, strengthening our online
product and plans to further grow our presence in mobile.
"Through this investment in www.tradingpost.com.au, we are creating
a new wave of growth for Trading Post® through a completely new revenue
stream," Mr Akhurst said.
The Trading Post®'s announcement comes at a time when Australian
sellers are up in arms following eBay's decision to force sellers to
use its own payment service PayPal and as a result, pay higher selling
"Trading Post®'s new website and auctions means we now offer a
strong local alternative to eBay - one that lets you choose payment
options and provides terrific value for money," Mr Akhurst said.
"Australian businesses that make their living trading online are
screaming out for a way to trade online in which they have more control
over how they do business.
"Trading Post® has been listening closely and is now providing
auctions with a broad range of payment options for sellers to choose
from. We've also made it easier to register, buy, sell, navigate,
search and compare products online," he said.
Mr Akhurst's comments were supported by a Newspoll survey that
confirmed 93 per cent of online sellers and 95 per cent of online
buyers said it was important to have a choice of payment options when
President of Australia's Professional eBay Sellers Alliance, Phil
Leahy, said he was pleased Trading Post® is providing a new platform
that includes auctions and offers Australian sellers a viable
"Our members are in the business of trading online and anything
Trading Post® can do to help competition by providing a more flexible
environment and more affordable alternative, we support," he said.
Mr Akhurst said to successfully compete in the online auction market, Trading Post® needed to offer something different.
"As well as providing sellers with a choice of payment options, one
of Trading Post®'s main points of difference is it is free to list your
items for sale. This means you only pay a fee if you sell your item."
Mr Akhurst said Trading Post® was also focussed on providing
personalised customer support by phone and email and a security program
to verify the identity of online traders.
"Buying and selling online should be easy, fast and efficient and so
should getting answers to any questions you may have along the way.
That's why Trading Post® has a dedicated Australian-based customer
support team to help buyers and sellers with queries seven days a week.
"Through our research, we know security is important for many people
trading online. Trading Post® supports this by requiring people to
supply an Australian address to register on our site. Furthermore, our
Verified Trader program provides buyers and sellers the opportunity to
verify themselves through a free 100-point identity check with
Australia Post. That way we can provide people with more confidence
they are buying or selling with someone based in Australia," said Mr
In developing the new website and its auction capability, Mr Akhurst
said the business closely studied markets around the world and looked
carefully for the right technology partners.
"We scoured the globe conducting research, market analysis and
talking to the best technology providers. The end result is our
partnership with Intershop, FAST and Satyam to deliver best-in-breed
technology for tradingpost.com.au, similar to that employed by global
IT leaders Hewlett Packard and Sun Microsystems, Mr Akhurst said.
Usage of www.tradingpost.com.au has increased by a compound annual
growth rate of 33 per cent over the three years to July 2007. In March
2008, the site reached 2 million unique visitors for the first time.
The Trading Post® newspaper, which comes out every Thursday, is read by
725,000 people each week.1Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, Jan - Dec 2007, base: Australians 14+
is Australia's leading information resource. Sensis' popular
information services make complex lives simpler by helping Australians
find, buy and sell. These services include Yellow™, White Pages®,
Trading Post®, CitySearch®, UBD®, Gregory's® and Whereis®. Sensis
provides advertising services to 420,000 Australian businesses, of
which 90 per cent are SMEs.
® Registered trade mark of
Telstra Corporation Limited (ABN 33 051 775 556). Sensis Pty Ltd (ABN
30 007 423 912) has responsibility for Production of Yellow™ and White
Pages® directories and related products on behalf of Telstra