Oh, Right. E-commerce is About Buying and Selling, Isn’t It?

  • Written By: D. Geller
  • Published: March 28 2000


Event Summary

VerticalNet (NASDAQ: VERT) will acquire privately held Tradeum, Inc. Tradeum's product, Xchange Suite 2.0, creates digital marketplaces that support a variety of exchange mechanisms, including catalog-based sales and auctions. The software is claimed to be easily configurable to the unique business models of different marketplaces, and is based on XML standards and templates.

Market Impact

VerticalNet was an early entrant into the vertical B2B market business. It entered the space when digital markets were still in the future and set up as a content provider, with dozens of individual vertical sites. However, its "marketplaces" tend to be based on fairly simple models, while other verticals have been offering much more robust digital marketplaces. Also, the leading life sciences vertical, Chemdex, recently announced that it would rename itself as Ventro and devote itself to launching new verticals in a variety of industries, which was a clear threat to VerticalNet.

Once VerticalNet has successfully integrated Tradeum's digital marketplaces their vertical offerings will be much bigger draws. The question is whether they can make the change before the Chemdex folk launch their new offerings and capture significant market share.

User Recommendations

VerticalNet is already a good place to go for content in a variety of industries, so individuals and companies in those industries can only find increased value once effective digital marketplaces are added.

A company wanting to launch its own open vertical marketplace will have to ask whether increased capabilities at VerticalNet will be a threat to them. We don't believe so - we feel that in most industries there are opportunities for competing vertical marketplaces at this time, although we suspect that in the long run most of these segments will support no more than one or two.


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