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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 launched the Safe Trader escrow service about this time.
Sam Morgan founded Trade Me during the first few months of 1999, constructing the site while working full-time for Deloitte as a technology consultant.
Trade Me has remained the major Internet-auction site in New Zealand, with both international and smaller national competitors gaining relatively little market penetration.
Morgan commented on e Bay's attempt to penetrate the New Zealand market in an interview: "...
By August 1999 membership had risen to 3500, and Morgan could dedicate most of his time and funding to the site.
The early strategy for Trade Me involved simply increasing its user base and encouraging members to refer their friends to the site.
In its early years Trade Me continued to struggle, slowly increasing its user base, but facing financial challenges.