The online trading website Trade Me had an important social element to it. As well as trading facilities the site had chatrooms and collectors’ forums where like-minded people could discuss their products and collections. Trade Me also became a good way of getting publicity – charities conducted online auctions, and controversial items (such as a baton used to hit protesters during the 1981 Springbok rugby tour) were put up for sale, attracting media interest. In 2009 an Auckland man advertised a very noisy washing machine for sale. Because of his comical description the listing received a lot of hits and attracted world-wide media attention – the page had been viewed more than 800,000 times when the auction closed. The ‘scary washing machine’ – a mid-1980s Gentle Annie model – was bought by the 100% appliance chain for $5,160 and was taken on a publicity tour collecting money for charity.
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