Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Trading Trade Me?

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  • Roger,

    The Herald site may well look good and be very useful, but I have to avoid it. I do not know if it is a Norton/Firewall/Spyware interaction problem, but it hangs my brouser and I can't get internet access untill I have removed the spyware from my computer. It is only the Herald site that gives me this grief.

    Hamilton • Since Jun 2007 • 179 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    I kinda liked X-ville. It was 3d, it was cartoony. Yeah, it was of the behemouth, which has always been an easy target. But visually, it was ahead of its time. A web site - a portal, no less - which dared to eschew the conventional banner cross the top, headlines down the middle, nav marks down the left side.

    Yeah, yeah. Conventions, don't make me think, etc. etc. But it was more interesting than anything they - and most others - have done since.

    And, in those heady dial up days, completely impossible to fully download in any acceptable time frame.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I kinda liked X-ville. It was 3d, it was cartoony.

    It wasn't entirely original ...

    Yeah, it was of the behemouth, which has always been an easy target. But visually, it was ahead of its time.

    No, it was behind its time. DVP was a CD-Rom developer, and that's pretty much the style. Designers stopped using client-side image maps like that years ago.

    A web site - a portal, no less - which dared to eschew the conventional banner cross the top, headlines down the middle, nav marks down the left side.

    And which looked exactly the same every single day. The Second Coming could have happened and it would be just another day in X-ville.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    But visually, it was ahead of its time. A web site - a portal, no less - which dared to eschew the conventional banner cross the top, headlines down the middle, nav marks down the left side.

    That's the problem - it was all nagivation and no content.

    I was working at Xtra back then. If there was a virus alert, I'd have to add it in plain text beneath the Xville image map.

    It was interesting, but only once - the first time you saw it. But it never changed, and smart people bookmarked another page beyond the X.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    The other chat -- not so much rumour as a fact yet to be announced -- is that Yellow, the sold-off former Telecom directories business, is in the process of acquiring Finda. I'm not sure what their plan would be. Nobody I talk to ever seems to understand what Yellow is doing.

    OK... Why does the concept of sticking to your knitting (which presumably made the company worth buying in the first place), don't try and re-invent the wheel, and expand in baby-steps rather than jumping off a cliff to your expensive doom so hard to grasp? Really. Not getting it.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Patrick,

    Ah, portals - the web answer to the question of ....... well, what, actually? I've yet to use a portal-type site on a regular basis.

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 261 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I was working at Xtra back then.

    You realise that this obliges you to make at least one substantial and amusing post to this thread about the crazy old days @Xtra?

    I look forward to reading it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    Telecom directories business, is in the process of acquiring Finda. I'm not sure what their plan would be

    Maybe they've bought it because the Finda search engine seems to work, as opposed to the new Yellow one.

    Or maybe they bought it to shut it down so they don't look so bad.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 501 posts Report Reply

  • davesparks,

    My understanding is Yellow does have Finda now, and that its not a secret? Handover coming up soon, but no one knows for sure what that'll mean.

    Surely in starting Finda an acquisition by the incumbent dominant player was always near the top of the exit-strategy options?

    Likewise with Trade Me if it wasn't for the people involved at the time a buy by eBay would've been on the cards earlier.

    Makes me think, would '09 be the 10th anniversary of built-to-flip?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    and that its not a secret?

    That's my understanding too, I heard the official line is they will continue to operate as seperate entities for the forseeable.

    But then management always say that to start with don't they....

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 501 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    That they called their new company 'Yellow' (word association: cowardice, urine) tells us everything we need to know about the quality of leadership and decision making going on down there.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    OK... Why does the concept of sticking to your knitting (which presumably made the company worth buying in the first place), don't try and re-invent the wheel, and expand in baby-steps rather than jumping off a cliff to your expensive doom so hard to grasp? Really. Not getting it.

    Normally the answer is because the buyers were private equity - that whole model revolves around delivering big gains very quickly because you've loaded the business with debt and need to get significant revenue and margin jumps to service that. But Yellow Pages seemed (at the time) to be a straight cash-game really, as I suspect they accessed the debt cash flow at very low rates. So I'm really not sure either.


    The Trade-me question will be what eBay does with it? They're only buying the name (they have the technology themselves) so the question is are they buying it to turf it (and introduce ebay.co.nz) or buying it as a portfolio play to continue to run as it stands with the odd eBay intiative tacked on the side?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    I'm just pleased that 'Yellow' have got around to making the new whitepages play with Firefox. They'd somehow coded the links so they were unclickable (but worked fine in the Browser of the Beast).

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    DVP was a CD-Rom developer, and that's pretty much the style. Designers stopped using client-side image maps like that years ago.

    Well, it was years ago.

    The Second Coming could have happened and it would be just another day in X-ville.<quote>

    Bliss.

    <quote>sticking to your knitting (which presumably made the company worth buying in the first place

    Made it valuable, but what about sustaining that value? Possibly, hard copy yellow searches didn't translate so well online. Watching Trade Me go nuts while your book becomes a paper weight's gotta hurt.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    Darn html tags whilst delivering surplus labour...

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

  • Julian Melville,

    Watching Trade Me go nuts while your book becomes a paper weight's gotta hurt.

    I'd like to see a TradeMe prop my door open or keep my monitor at the right height.

    What, there's phone numbers inside that thing?

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 199 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    actually the proposal for the US to put off the analog TV shutoff failed the vote in congress - it's back on again for next month

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2608 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    You realise that this obliges you to make at least one substantial and amusing post to this thread about the crazy old days @Xtra?

    Crazy old days was more Ihug. I started at Xtra in 1999 (almost exactly 10 years ago!), and by then Xtra was kind of stuck between 'new media cool' and bloody Telecom.

    It all seemed very sensible and well run compared with the 'Hug - "Wow, they have an actual health and safety policy!" "Wow, they do performance reviews!" "Wow, the boss isn't insane!"

    And unlike ihug there was - at least on my floor - no sex, drugs or other crazy times, which was a tad disappointing.

    One big thing I remember was the celebrations for the 300,000th customer. Hopetoun Alpha had been hired out, with balloons and Mongolian barbecue. But management tried to keep it a surprise by saying it was a general company meeting, so of course no one wanted do go. Eventually they had to fess up, and we willingly boarded a party bus and duely celebrated.

    There were also compulsory Friday afternoon drinks which you had to attend and be all social and shit. You weren't allowed to go home early. You had to stand around and drink a beer, a wine or an orange juice with the accountant.

    Two big things happened when I was there. First, the ditching of Xville and the introduction of the #003399 and #ffcc00 portal. I also remember all the crappy microsites I had to look after - the pages for webhosting Xtra business clients, and the absolute nightmare headache that was the Xtra shopping mall webhosting thing. Ugh.

    The other big thing was the introduction of the flatrate internet pricing. It started off being $44.95 a month (matching Ihug's $45), but a few days before launch they dropped it to $39.95. At the time it was shocking.

    Xtra was fun and my workmates were lovely, but it was all getting a bit too sensible and businesslike. I got bored and eventually quit, walked the earth, eventually resurfacing in the fast-paced world of television.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    It all seemed very sensible and well run compared with the 'Hug - "Wow, they have an actual health and safety policy!" "Wow, they do performance reviews!" "Wow, the boss isn't insane!"

    Ah yes. You missed the boss-is-insane era at Xtra.

    The boss then would've been Bill Birch lookalike Bob Smith, who brought the "sensible and businesslike" after Chris Tyler departed like an out-of-control skyrocket over the horizon.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • sagenz,

    trademe? I see John Key is going to auction his cast on that site. Do you think he is going to sign it? :^)

    uk • Since Nov 2006 • 128 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    ...the introduction of the #003399 and #ffcc00 portal.

    This is quite possibly the geekiest sentence I have seen in my life.

    I now want to meet Robyn and see if she uses that in irl conversation.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    trademe? I see John Key is going to auction his cast on that site. Do you think he is going to sign it?

    Is it all his own work?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I now want to meet Robyn and see if she uses that in irl conversation.

    You know the people who do air quotes with their fingers? Robyn does the same thing, except she mimes the xml notation.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    yes, there's a lot of bending at the waist to do "<" and ">"

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2608 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    trademe? I see John Key is going to auction his cast on that site. Do you think he is going to sign it?

    Is it all his own work?

    We shall have to ask Graeme about the legal ramifications of such behaviour.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

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