As Juha, and no doubt many others, has noticed Trade Me is currently unavailable. The guys are working as I type to get things fixed. Hopefully it will be back up soon.

Not good.


UPDATE (04-Jan): It’s back up. The site was down between 8:50pm last night and 6:10am this morning. All auctions that were due to end during that time have been extended by 24 hours. There is more information in the site announcement. As the announcement says we sincerely apologise to everybody affected.

Trade Me browser stats for December

In December our three sites (Trade Me, FindSomeone, Old Friends) combined received just over 66% of all domestic page views recorded by Neilsen//NetRatings.

So, our server stats are probably the closet thing there is to a census of the technology kiwis are using to access websites.


Browser Market share Dec-06 +/- since July-06
IE6 70.3% -12.3%
IE7 12.2% +10.8%
Firefox 1.5 7.1% -0.3%
Firefox 2.0 3.8% +3.8%
Firefox 1.0 1.9% -1.2%
Safari 1.6% +0.5%
IE5.x 1.4% -0.7%
All others 1.7% -0.6%

There has been a lot of change in the last couple of months following the release of IE7 and Firefox 2.0, which together now account for over 15% of our visitors.

Despite all of the good press that Firefox gets within the web development community IE is still dominant with around 84% market share. IE7 has quickly jumped to 12%, no doubt thanks to Windows Update. It will be interesting to see how this tracks over the next few months once all of the users who will receive the update automatically are accounted for.

Screen resolutions

Screen res. Market share Dec-06 +/- since July-06
1024×768 54.1% -2.0%
800×600 15.2% -4.7%
1280×1024 13.2% +1.2%
1280×800 6.6% +2.2%
1152×864 2.9% +0.1%
All others 8.0% +3.2%

There is a slow but clear shift towards larger monitors. At the top end things fragment quite a bit, with various different sizes to consider. Over 30% of our visitors are now using 1280x or bigger. But that still leaves a majority using smaller resolutions. It’s depressing to think that many of these people probably have a monitor capable of a higher resolution, but are unable (?) to change the setting.

How does your setup compare?
Personally I prefer Firefox. I switched when Firefox 1.0 was released and haven’t been tempted back. I use a 19″ monitor which runs at 1280×1024.

Which raises some interesting questions for web designers, developers and testers:

If you develop using Firefox do you really have your users in mind? At Trade Me our test team all use IE6 as their primary browser, for reasons that should be obvious looking at the table above.

Have you already abandoned IE5.x users? This is still a big audience. 1.4% of Trade Me users represents around 40,000 unique visitors each month.

How does your site look at 800×600? These stats are a reflection of our audience, but they’re also a reflection of our site. The new Trade Me design, launched in November, targets users with a resolution of 1024×768 or larger, but we’re also careful to ensure that the site still works for users at 800×600. On the homepage, for example, the size of the category links is reduced and the navigation tags are repositioned below the logo and banner advert. If your stats show a lower percentage of users with small resolutions, why is that? If your site works poorly for these users they are unlikely to come back.

How do your stats compare to these?

Source: all of the numbers above come from Neilsen//NetRatings.

Getting out more

I met Natalie and Tim from Decisive Flow just before Christmas. I’ve been following their blog and keeping an eye out for their public beta since they had some media coverage about PlanHQ a few months back, so it was good to meet them in person and talk a little about what they’re doing. I was a bit surprised when Natalie told me I was the first Trade Me person she had actually met.

Have we been that elusive? Stink!

I had two excellent opportunities to talk about Trade Me in 2006, firstly at Webstock in Wellington in May and later at TechEd in Auckland. The audiences at these conferences were quite different, but in both cases full of interesting people working with technology. Both were like a direct injection of enthusiasm. I really enjoyed sharing some of what we’ve learned so far at Trade Me and it seemed to be pretty well received (*).

I’m keen to get out of the office even more this year.

(*) If you’re interested, there are videos available online for both of my presentations: Webstock presentation, TechEd keynote.