The site initially used web banners, but falling prices for advertising made web-banner revenue insufficient to cover expenses.
Trade Me then introduced fees for auction services: first for features such as bold titles; then in September 2000 it introduced "success fees".
For a snapshot of Trade Me's early development see the Internet Archive's Trade Me archive.
The running Kiwi in the Trade Me logo is named "Kevin" or "Kev" and his name can be seen by hovering over the site logo.
Morgan commented on e Bay's attempt to penetrate the New Zealand market in an interview: "...
I think there are big cultural issues there that are just not well understood.
e Bay tried to enter the New Zealand market in 2001, but had little success.
Trade Me has remained the major Internet-auction site in New Zealand, with both international and smaller national competitors gaining relatively little market penetration.
We went up to some backwater because it was the only accommodation we could find.
Trade Me often change the logo and stylise Kevin to reflect major events in the calendar.
In its early years Trade Me continued to struggle, slowly increasing its user base, but facing financial challenges.
The early strategy for Trade Me involved simply increasing its user base and encouraging members to refer their friends to the site.
Trade Me launched the Safe Trader escrow service about this time.Trade Me is the largest Internet auction website operating in New Zealand.