#1: Create great websites and people will tell their friends

September 16, 2007

How did Trade Me get to be so big?

One user at a time!

Everybody using Trade Me today was introduced by an existing user.

We believe there is nothing as powerful as word-of-mouth.

Competitors have spent a large amount of money on advertising campaigns trying to accelerate their growth. Many of them are no longer in business. None have achieved anywhere near the same rate of growth as we have by spending more-or-less nothing on marketing.

We prefer to spend our money on creating better websites.

With this approach it’s important we’re patient. It takes time for word to spread. As Rachel Hunter said, “It won’t happen overnight but it will happen.”

There’s also a flip side to this to be careful of: people tell their friends when you piss them off. We try not to do that!

For example, people don’t like pop-ups or animated ads, so we don’t allow them on the site.

Other posts from the Trade Me Manifesto series: