The Thing Is . . .
The Thing Is . . .
In a converted garage in Parnell you will find a former Shortland Street actor (yes, actor) at the helm of a new web site that has been growing at a rate of over 100 percent per month.
Paul Reid along with his community of users have created TheThing.co.nz -- "a one stop community web site where you can find anything in your community from events, gigs to friends and partners as well as your standard flat mates, jobs and things for sale."
Oh, no you say. Another entrepreneur, looking to build another Trade Me rip-off? Wrong! What makes The Thing unique is that it is free, 100 percent free. The site also offers categories that Trade Me do not -- like events and services.
"Keeping the site free means that we have the a very efficient marketplace," says 26 year old Paul Reid, the Company¹s Managing Director.
Reid spent 2004 and 2005 living and travelling throughout the US and the UK. "As a traveler," says Reid. "I know how hard it can be starting from scratch -- all your networks have gone and you need to find an apartment, car, job, friends, things to do, businesses to use etc. This is where an all-encompassing community web site like The Thing helps."
In Los Angeles, Reid used a free classifieds site to buy three cars; find two apartments, a hypnotherapist and acting work; buy and sell a mobile phone and an i-book; to crew a music video and to find a web developer to build TheThing.co.nz.
It was this ease of doing business through that site in the US which inspired him to create the same experience for other Kiwis.
"I know people don¹t have a lot of time these days, hopefully The Thing can help them find what they need or want quickly and efficiently.
Other unique features of The Thing, are that the site does not require you to sign up, you can upload four pictures with your classified ad and that your ad is posted live to the site 24/7.
"We don¹t monitor ads manually we depend on the good faith of our users to alert us to any suspicious looking ads which we may then decide to remove if necessary."
Some listings placed so far, include lewd titles such as -- "Looking for a virgin to help out" and "Italian man seeks NZ girls to marry."
Reid insists that not all users of the site are looking for sexual encounters. "We have listings for everything from people looking to find quality nannies, church groups, rock bands promoting their concerts, dog walking services, piano lessons etc."
Users of the site have been growing rapidly with over 2,500 unique users in October, building to 4,000 in November. The site currently has over 4,500 listings. Not bad for a company that has not spent any significant budget on promotion. "We¹ve just been relying on search engine traffic and word of mouth from our users and that seems to be working fine."
Reid is not a fan of auction sites -- "I hate them, they can be so infuriating and so inefficient -- when you need something now and you have to wait seven days, before the auction has ended and some idiot has got a ridiculous buy now price and you cannot talk to them or e-mail them an offer, it just doesn¹t make life easy having to constantly monitor an auction.
Reid also thinks some auction sites attract unscrupulous traders, "I know for certain that there is a lot of deception behind internet auctions -- especially with people creating dummy bidding accounts to seek to inflate a sale price."
Despite his distaste for auction web sites he says he has used Trade Me several times successfully ¬ "well it was the the only real option I had at the time but now I just stick ads on The Thing -- it¹s free."