Trade Me Group Limited is an internet auction website operating in New Zealand. Managed by Trade Me Ltd., the site was founded in 1999 by New Zealand entrepreneur Sam Morgan, who sold it to Fairfax in 2006 for NZ$700 million. Trade Me was publicly listed as a separate entity on 13 December 2011 under the ticker “TME”. In May 2019 Trade Me was acquired by private equity firm Apax Partners for NZ$2.56 billion. Trade Me Ltd also operates several sister websites including FindSomeone, Travelbug, Holiday Houses, and LifeDirect (online insurance comparisons).
Participating traders primarily use New Zealand’s banking system to settle payments, although Trade Me now offers sellers the ability to accept credit card payments by ‘Ping’ (formerly ‘Pay Now’). Australian sellers must have a New Zealand bank account, while sellers from other countries are not allowed on the site without special approval, which reduces the potential for fraud. Many buyers pay cash on pickup with larger items – probably partially due to the relative concentration of the New Zealand population in a relatively small number of urban areas.
Trade Me Group shares many features with other online auction websites, such as eBay. Some of these features include “Buy Now” and “Auto bidding”. Members in New Zealand can become “Address Verified” by confirming their street address and sellers may choose to block the large proportion of members not “authenticated” from bidding. Only “authenticated” members can ask sellers questions. Members can become “authenticated” by using a credit/debit card on-site or depositing some money in their Trade Me account. Only one membership per private person is allowed.