Trade Me launches new look, users launch tantrums

July 6, 2009
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Trade Me has officially launched its new look and you could say it’s the change that launched a thousand tantrums. 

From what I can see, it’s the same users who were chucking out the conspiracy theories a week or so back when Trade Me offered up a preview of the site. 

Yes, there were threads started on the message board in support of the new look but those threads were buried by repetitive threads, often several by the same person, saying the site sucked (so some other intelligently descriptive term). 

Tantrums aside, the new look’s here and here to stay. Large companies don’t spend time and money developing things to simply back down over the grumblings of a few customers (because it’s worth remembering that message board-users make up just a small portion of Trade Me’s customer base). Especially when that same company has the market cornered. 

I use Trade Me. I’ve been a member since May 2000 (well, to tell the truth I actually joined a wee bit before that but forgot my username and  password). Over the years there have been things about the site that have annoyed me and I have been quite critical of Trade Me when I’ve felt justified (give us a decent bloody search engine, is that too much to ask?) 

There have also been times when I’ve felt Trade Me has been far too heavy-handed when dealing with its users and a bit too light-handed when dealing with potential problems on the site (that’s how Scambusters came about). 

However, this time around perhaps they’ve been a little too warm and fuzzy. Maybe they should have just launched the site without warning and got the grumbling and tanties over and done with in one hit. 

Trade Me chief executive Jon McDonald reckons the ad spaces have been juggled to suit industry norms but that no extra ad spaces have been included while a couple of users on the message board say they reckon there is definitely more ad space. Personally, I don’t see any evidence of more space being devoted to advertising but you know what? It’s a business and that’s one of the ways Trade Me makes money. I don’t use an ad-blocker on my browser but much like the ads on TV or in the newspaper, I’ve learned to ignore them for the most part. 

Anyway, amid all the demands that it be changed back, threads insulting Trade Me’s head honchos (calling them, among other things, dickheads and morons), threads by people who are holding themselves up as being computer whizzes who know more about IT than Trade Me’s staff (but don’t know how to clear their cache or force refresh) and threads by the “I’m leaving Trade Me and will spend my money elsewhere” brigade (um, where … over the years this threat has been a common one but let’s be honest, all the other sites have come and gone, Trade Me’s still here. And that’s because from a Kiwi usability point of view, it’s the best), there are actually threads saying the new look is okay. 

I know it’s different but for the most part, I’m happy enough with the changes. There are some parts of it that might take me a little longer to get used to than others but I’m not going to stamp my foot and demand they change it back because I know that it takes time to get used to change. 

And hey, there were probably plenty of tantrums when it was changed from this!

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