Sri Lanka is literally infested with trading sites. From the venerable wow.lk to the modern, snazzy anything.lk, there are almost more sites than buyers on the Sri Lankan webspace. From Dialog comes yet another entry to this crowd: mytrader.lk.
The site it rather twitter-esque: very simple, with a search-oriented layout. As far as online trading websites go, this one loses out on almost all fronts to the alternatives. There aren’t even thumbnail views, not to mention that you have to login simply to read matching advertisements.
However, mytrader.lk is not designed to cater to the general public: it’s especially for Dialog customers, who can sign up and send out SELL or BUY requests via SMS, describing the item they’re selling or looking for. Each time a matching item goes up for sale, or a BUY request matching your sale description comes up, you get an SMS notification. As easy as that.
While this adds a truly mobile component to online trading, it’s debatable whether the service will be of much use. For one, Dialog is limiting itself to its 077 numbers, which locks out a sizeable portion of the online buyer-base. Data charges being what they are, it’s also much easier (and you can save a few cents) by simply firing up your browser rather than using SMS. It does have apparent plus points. Being useful in areas with slower internet connectivity, alerts on the go and users identified with their Dialog mobile numbers. It’s a good idea that will probably benefit a very small community of SMS-using buyers and sellers – just not enough to be a serious competitor in this space.
It should also be noted that Dialog now officially owns Suntel, and thus the already-established wow.lk is NOT a threat to mytrader (at least from a business perspective). Yes, that’s right – Dialog officially owns both the old and the new, and neither of them are much good in the face of flashier up-and-coming marketplaces: Wow is ageing, with an ineffective user interface, and mytrader looks simply too niche to become widely used.