Trade Me has been redesigned and moved to the cloud – something that would have made as much sense to many people when it launched 22 years ago as someone who paid over $ 27,000 for a houseplant.
Founded in 1999 by Sam Morgan, the company was sold to British private equity firm Apax Partners in 2019 for NZ $ 2.56 billion and delisted from the stock market.
Chief Technology Officer Paolo Ragone said Trade Me rebuilt the website from the ground up to make things easier to find, add new products and features faster, and speed up the listing process.
“Trade Me is a 22 year old company, there were a lot of things that were here from the start, so we did a lot of modernizations, one of which was the new look,” said Ragone.
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The move to Google Cloud, completed in late March, was another big step for the company, which previously operated from data centers in Auckland and Wellington.
“Whenever we built something that needed a new server, we had to get it, wait for it to arrive, put it in the data center – it could take weeks for that server to come up, while right now it literally takes seconds to get that server up Having the capacity to hand whenever you need it. “
It’s also an improvement in terms of security, he said.
Trade Me was not a victim of cyber attacks such as a ransomware attack in May on the Waikato district health department or ongoing attacks on the exchange operator NZX last year.
“Well, so far, but I say knocking wood,” said Ragone.
“You cannot rest on your laurels here, you have to keep investing. Cyber criminals are a business.
“You are constantly being attacked. Fortunately, however, most attacks are low-performance attacks, like script kiddies or automated attacks that try to find really obvious vulnerabilities.
“But we can see them really clearly in our logs and we have warnings that say, ‘Hey, this new IP from an Eastern European country is making a lot of requests right now,’ but these aren’t the main concerns. It’s the more advanced actors that we’re really careful with. “
Security and privacy are areas that have changed a lot in the last five or ten years, he said.
The competitive landscape had also changed, with tremendous growth from competitors like Facebook and Amazon.
“We watch them, of course, like any company with its competition… but it’s really a losing strategy to just focus on them.
“We need to focus on our customers, make sure we are delivering tons of value every day, and that they come to us because they really enjoy the services. They are looking for a strange screw for their washing machine, until the next job or their new house, they know that they can come to us and we will solve that for them. “
The company continued to grow, he said.
“It is clear that, especially when compared to five or ten years ago, the supply and especially the growth in real estate, engines and jobs were part of the growth of the organization.”
Under the new owner, Trade Me invested more in the technology that underpinned its platforms, he said.
“When you’re in the stock market, it’s sometimes difficult to argue for large, multi-year investments that have a slightly shorter-term focus. The fact that we spent a year moving to the cloud, several years in preparation for this rewrite and look, is good proof of the investment.
“It’s great to have owners who understand your business.”
Covid-19 remained a challenge, as did recruiting skilled workers.
“I think the best we could do was keep investing in our technology. Technicians want to work in a place that is ahead of the curve from a technological point of view, ”said Ragone.
All members would be switched to the new look of Trade Me by July.