Trade Me is the largest 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$750 million. Trade Me Ltd also operates several sister websites including Find Someone, Old Friends, Travelbug, Safe Trader and Holiday Houses.Trade Me's website is the second most visited in New Zealand after Google New Zealand, and is ranked 1,213th globally according to Alexa Internet. As of 2006, the group of sites collectively generate over 60% of all web traffic originating in New Zealand. In a country with a population around 4,177,000, the TradeMe site currently has around 2.5 million active members, with approximately 70,000 people online and 1,390,000 auctions running during peak hours.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 'Pay Now'. Australian sellers must have a New Zealand bank-account, while sellers from other countries are not allowed on the site, 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 shares many features with other online auction-websites, such as eBay. Some of these features include "Buy Now", "Auto bidding" and the Safe Trader escrow service. Members in New Zealand can become "Address Verified" by confirming their street-address, and sellers may choose to block unverified members from bidding.
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