(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.