Rummage a step up on Trade Me
For a brighter, more modern version of Trade Me, it is worth visiting its new "sister site", rummage.co.nz.
The look and feel of Trade Me has changed little since everyone was on dial-up.
Stacking listings one on top of another, across the screen, means there is plenty of "white space". That is getting increasingly undesirable as more people visit the site using smaller-screen tablets and smartphones.
Rummage instead presents listings in a "gallery" format, four abreast across the page, with big photos and less text.
The format is well-suited for the tablet era and is especially good for browsing "visual" products such as clothes and jewellery.
Trade Me strategy manager Mike DelPrete says more than a thousand people visited Rummage after the site was turned on yesterday.
It was developed by two United States entrepreneurs, Matt Inouye and Eugene Otto, who have given eBay the same treatment, but is hosted by Trade Me. Whether or how the pair will make any money from their endeavours is not clear.
DelPrete encouraged Inouye and Otto to set up Rummage, which uses Trade Me's application programming interface (API) to access listings, and Trade Me will share what it learns about customers' use of the site with the entrepreneurs.
But DelPrete said that if the format proved a success with traders, Trade Me could further develop it on its own.
Rummage's biggest design flaw is it is not visually obviously whether the listing information (a short description of the item, its current price and auction closing date) belongs to the photo above or below the text (it's below the photo).
Aside from that, it looks like a big step forward.