TradeMe battles competing auction site again

Not content with harvesting email addresses from TradeMe's website, newly formed online auction site Done Deal is now targeting TradeMe's top sellers by offering to buy their email addresses to use in future business.

Not content with harvesting email addresses from TradeMe's website, newly formed online auction site Done Deal is now targeting TradeMe's top sellers by offering to buy their email addresses to use in future business.

Done Deal director Daniel Parker has bid in a number of auctions and then sent an email to the seller offering to pay "not for the goods, but for your email address so I could contact you".

Parker says he does not want the goods, and that the seller is free to re-sell the item, but that he does want their business. He then offers them a cash incentive of 20 cents per auction to list their next sale on his site instead of TradeMe.

"Every auction that you list on Done Deal (real products with real reserves etc, not made up auctions, up to 1000 auctions a month), we will pay you 20c" writes Parker.

"The only way to contact people is to buy product so I've bought product from them and given them the opportunity to list auctions on Done Deal."

He claims to have sent such emails to "fewer than 10" TradeMe customers and says there's nothing wrong with the practice. Initially Parker said he wouldn't extend the offer to customers who weren't part of the original email group.

However, he later contacted IDGNet to say that was no longer the case and that anyone listing an auction on the Done Deal site until the end of the month would receive 20c credited to their Done Deal account. The credit can be used at a later date when fees are introduced for various services on on the site.

Sam Morgan, director of TradeMe, says the scheme is just another example of Parker spamming his customers.

"A number of customers emailed us with it straight away saying they'd sent him a nasty email about it. We've got reasonable loyalty there but the concern is there."

Morgan is considering his legal response to this but isn't sure the law is capable of dealing with this kind of issue. "Besides who wants to be a test case?"

Parker sees nothing wrong with the practice.

"It's just the same as two newspapers - I might advertise in one and another will see I'm advertising in it and make an offer to me as a user."

Done Deal was in the news in July for spamming 12,000 email addresses harvested off the TradeMe website.

"They were sent to us via a Hotmail account, basically anonymously," said Parker at the time. Morgan changed the TradeMe system so email addresses were not revealed publically, only to the winning bidder.

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