Air NZ lousy promotion

Great: AirNZ runs a giant charity Auction each year

Dumb: using Sellmefree as the vehicle.

Here, for example, is 2 month’s worth of Business Class travel for two people. It was added 3 days ago, and should be attracting a bunch of traffic.

The value of this to the right buyer is big. It costs about $8,500 to fly return to London. If you and someone else had to fly return to London twice in two months next year then the value is about $34,000. If you wanted to add some other flights, then it would be even more.

But the auction is flawed.

First – the text of the auction states that the travel is for 3 months, not two, and although there are three questions checking. with replies, that the original text still stands.

Secondly the auction is on SellmeFree. Last time I checked AirNZ was a publicly/Govt owned company, and so has no corporate reason to use SellmeFree.  Here’s why using sellmefree is stupid:

– The traffic to Sellmefree is tiny – this great auction has, after 3 days, just 1137 visitors, and that’s after Mauricio linked to it

– The banding and user interface is horrible  – the photos don’t scroll, the page is ugly and there is no co-branding of the AirNZ material. Look at the view – would you be happy as an AirNZ marketer?


– But most of all, nobody buys on Sellmefree. There is trivial active membership compared to that other site, and, well, people just don’t trust Sellmefree. There are just two bidders so far on this auction, and the price is shamefully low. Moreover there are only 4 questions to what should be an entertaining auction, and three of those are the same.


I cannot fathom that this comes from the same people that delivered Pimp my Plane and the Pink flight of Fabulosity. I can only make an educated guess that the folk who do the charity stuff are not at all connected to the very cool folk who do the domestic marketing stuff.

Time to get a cluestick and make that charity stuff work for you Air NZ.

Published by Lance Wiggs


11 replies on “Air NZ lousy promotion”

  1. Hi Lance,

    $250,000 seems like a great reason to use sellmefree. Just to clarify that’s how much the site has raised for these fabulous charities already. As you well know with all your experience in TradeMe and Fairfax, auctions often don’t really get pace until the closing days. To have raised this much already is significant. On the first day of the auction the site attracted more than 22,000 unique browsers (as Glen above can confirm). The site currently receives an average of 90,000 unique browsers every month. That’s not 1million, but it’s grown the fastest of any auction / classified site in the market – according to Nielsen. Air New Zealand for their part, have put together an amaizing fund raising event that may well raise more than $300,000 for these very worthwihle charities. Let’s remember that’s what this is all about Lance. The charities.

    Best regards,

    Josh Borthwick


  2. Thanks Josh
    What I am saying is that the charities would make a lot more by having the items sold through a bigger, more active market. More buyers and sellers = a better price.

    It would be great to follow throgh on Glen’s point and see what they raise if they use TM next year.


  3. Good point Lance, I believe (as per the last press release said)$264,000 was raised last year by Air New Zealand and Zillion. As per above we’re already almost there with 7 days to go. Interestingly enough TradeMe raised $244,605.77 with the City Mission Winter appeal. I think TV was involved too? Perhaps it isn’t size that counts :)

    Josh Borthwick


  4. Do you think you’re bias because you work with trademe? I’ve done some work for charity, stuff is usually done by whoever is willing to give up time and money for the cause.


  5. Dave
    I don’t work at Trade Me right now, but yes, I am strongly biased toward Trade Me as I did work there and they are the giant around here. Live with it.

    That said it’s obvious to me that if you want your charity to make maximum cash and gain maximm exposure then you’d go Trade Me. But then perhaps APN has come to the party with free advertising on the NZHerald, which I don’t see from over here.

    At the end of the day Sellmefree has:
    25,229 ITEMS FOR SALE of which 4,466 are NEW ITEMS

    versus Trade Me’s over 1,000,000 items for sale (30-40% new). Don’t even start on the comparative Page Impression numbers.


  6. I am really pleased you have highlighted this auction. I saw an ad highlighting this auction on the NZ herald site about a week ago and my first reaction was “APN must have paid big to get this – as Air NZ would naturally choose Trade Me – why wouldn’t they?” – I also thought this is the last desperate fling by sellmefree to try and demonstrate value and gain traffic – after spending nearly a year trying to convince NZers that they had a viable business model. Oh and by the way despite signing up to be notified of the start of the auction – no email!!

    In reading this post / comments and refering to the live auction for the 3 months of travel – oops 2 months of travel, I am staggered that they still have not corrected the text copy – it still says 3 months ! – this is the evening of the 14th, the first question was posted on the morning of the 10th!!

    I cannot belive that the GM of sellmefree has the time to defend his site on this blog and yet he does not have the time to check the content of his own site – says a lot about the site!


  7. Guy’s probably like trademe you cannot change the auction once it starts…? But then you’d want to get this stuff right first?


    Q. posted by: lax asked at :13/12/2007 12:50:56 p.m.
    Why are you showing Li-flat seating, when they are not available on the planes that Air N.Z. fly to Honolulu.
    A. answered at : 13/12/2007 5:52:28 p.m.
    Hi Lax. You are correct, our Boeing 767 does not have lie flat seating. This was an oversight when loading the many auction items and unfortunately once the auction is live we have no way of removing pictures or changing wording. Travel will be in 767 business class. We apologise for the confusion.


  8. Hi Lance

    I like all the comments in regards to the auction, from all angles of the board.

    Just too let you know that I am one of the 2 people bidding on the the Business flights you have captured in your photo.

    As a simple bidder, I felt that the Auction is being advertised on many of the Air NZ sites and associating banner sites. I just happened to be looking on the site and thought to press on the banner, And then realised that there were more options to bid on.

    I had never heard of Sellmefree and have noticed that alot of people on the site currently do not have any feedback and are first time subscribers to the auction site which leaves me to feel that there can be alot of false bidding happening.

    I would trust TM more to use then sellmefree just because alot of the users have verified feedback.

    well just some thoughts.


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