Trading Post to challenge eBay in auctions market

Will eBay's dominance be seriously challenged?

Sensis and its iconic Trading Post business has weighed in to the online auctions market with the launch of auctions on tradingpost.com.au, endeavouring to boost revenue and take market share from market leader eBay.

The auction site went live on Monday.

The Trading Post online auctions site has been in development for 18 months and is rather timely with the current backlash against eBay's new payment structure which will lock users into paying for purchases through its fee-based PayPal service on June 17.

Sensis corporate affairs manager Stephen Ronchi said it is a very strong local alternative for Australians to buy and sell.

"We're offering a wide range of payment options to sellers to offer buyers, so it's really up to the choice of the seller," Ronchi said.

COD, cheques, bank deposits and money orders are all back on the table through the Trading Post auctions, as is a choice between PayMate and PayPal.

"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," said Sensis CEO, Bruce Akhurst in a statement.

"We've also made it easier to register, buy, sell, navigate, search and compare products online."

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 trading online.

eBay director of Trust & Safety, Alastair MacGibbon, said Sensis will have to address the security concerns of online consumers, which has heightened in recent months.

"It will be interesting to see if Sensis will be offering any type of consumer protection, considering that security is a major concern for Australian internet shoppers".

Trading Post will require users to supply an Australian address to register on its site.

A Verified Trader program will give users the opportunity to verify themselves through a free 100-point identity check with Australia Post.

While buyers and sellers can be expected to see a lot more integration between the print and online environment, the auctions will be kept separate from the print publication, said Ronchi.

Automobiles, boats, pets and real estate will still be available as a classified listing, but not available as auctions.

Ronchi said Sensis has purposely kept these items off the list because customers, such as in the case of buying a car, still enjoy the fact they can physically inspect a product or test drive, before buying.

A comparison of prices reveals that the Trading Post online auction fees are slightly less than eBay's fees. A $5000 item will cost approximately $77.50 in fees in the Trading Post compared with $89.34 on eBay.

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Kathryn Edwards

Computerworld
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