Lifeline to Liquidity

New solution promises to link Net markets

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- DECEMBER 18, 2000 -- If, as IT research firm Aberdeen Group asserted recently, achieving liquidity is key to a Net marketplace's survival, Portland, Ore.-based GlobalExchange may have developed a lifeline to help the markets reach that goal.

GlobalExchange was set to announce the release of its EX3 Technology in New York on Tuesday. The company says that EX3 will enable online exchanges using almost any B2B software platform to communicate and to share buyers and sellers.

By linking the markets using GlobalExchange's proprietary exchange-to-exchange (E2E) networking solution, EX3 Technology lets a seller post a product on one exchange and have a buyer bid on it in real time from any other member exchange.

In a November report entitled "Net Markets Pursue Their Holy Grail: Liquidity," Boston, Mass.-based Aberdeen Group defined liquidity for online exchanges as being a critical mass of buyers, sellers and value-added services to support a steady stream of transactions. "Liquidity is the blood supply to the Net market," Aberdeen wrote. "It alone does not sustain life, but life cannot exist without it."

"Just a couple of years ago, B2B exchanges were seen as the Holy Grail of electronic commerce, but they haven't delivered on the early promise," said GlobalExchange founder and CEO Tony Schwartz. "Most exchanges have not been able to generate enough liquidity to attract a critical mass of users. GlobalExchange's goal with the new EX3 Technology is to fuel B2B liquidity by acting as a central hub to expedite transactions across exchanges."

EX3 Technology is a Java-based technology using standard XML protocols. Serving as a dynamic hub linking seller product offerings and buyer bids, EX3 displays all products in vertical market categories listed on any EX3-networked exchange. New product listings and bids on one exchange are instantly and automatically replicated on all similar vertical sites.

Coded access filters let members control which products appear on their exchange. For example, an agricultural site could restrict listings to farm equipment, produce and livestock, while excluding cosmetics, building materials and electronics.

"The challenge is to make the link global, instant and seamless, so we unify the highly fragmented B2B markets by removing traditional inefficiencies for both buyer and seller," Schwarz said. "This is virtually impossible as long as exchanges continue to operate as isolated islands of commerce.

GlobalExchanges said that the EX3 Technology network is just the first of a suite of exchange-to-exchange products and services it plans to launch in 2001.