Trading Places

Whether you start one or just use one, B2B exchange will be part of your business.

Combining two of his main interests, wine and technology, Peter Byck, 37, launched a new Internet company,, in 1999. The 45-employee firm in Novato, California, created a Web site that gives suppliers of bulk wine, grapes, equipment and services a place online to sell their wares to wine growers, wineries and retailers in a secure, user-friendly environment.

How big is B2B? Check out "From: Business To: Business" to see which way this industry is headed.

These days, business-to-business exchanges like seem to be growing in popularity. According to a Jupiter Communications study, the B2B market should account for more than $6.43 trillion in online trade by 2005. A sizable 35 percent of that money will be attributed directly to B2B Net markets.

Also referred to as Net marketplaces, Net markets, B2B auctions or online trading areas, B2B exchanges basically act as virtual marketplaces that lack geographic limits. Some online exchanges allow businesses to search for particular products or suppliers and agree on the terms of transactions online (with actual transactions being conducted offline). Other exchanges allow complete transactions to take place online. Either way, B2B exchanges make it easy for buyers and sellers worldwide to come together on the Web to do business.

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Melissa Campanelli is a technology writer in Brooklyn, New York, who has covered technology for Mobile Computing & Communications and Sales & Marketing Management magazines. You can reach her at

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This article was originally published in the November 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Trading Places.

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