Friday, July 11, 2008

The Trading Post – a story of slow technological adoption

I walked into the local corner shop in Bronte. In pride of place there was a copy of the Trading Post for sale. Timber that had gone through crushing, bleaching, milling and other machines just to carry classified adverts.

The Trading Post is a specialist classifieds paper in Australia that has been around for a very long time. It is now owned by the dominant phone company (Telstra). It charges for adverts and charges for the newspaper which comes out weekly. It has classifieds in a few hundred categories. There is no content other than classifieds.

It is precisely what you would think the internet destroys. But here it is – still wanting to take your advert.

I should note that it is cheaper to place an advert in the trading post than it once was. The adverts are placed until the item is sold. The car adverts are cheaper than listing a car on Ebay (suggesting Ebay’s ever increasing prices are creating an umbrella under which dying businesses can shelter).

But all of that argues for an electronic trading post. But in my local shop precious retail space is devoted to a newsprint trading post.

Why? And what does this say about Ebay?

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