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January 8, 2008

Written by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews

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From the desk of Bob Meyer...01/08/08

IRTA Works With IRS On Members Behalf

In the last few years many of IRTA’s North American members (and other industry participants) have reported an increase in IRS civil penalties related to non-matching TINs (tax information number) and back-up withholding issues.

Recently, the IRS has stepped-up their enforcement efforts resulting in severe monetary penalties and bank seizures causing undue hardship for International Reciprocal Trade Association members and other third-party recordkeepers.

IRTA has maintained an excellent relationship with IRS and currently serves on the IRS Information Reporting Program Advisory Committee (IRPAC). Because of this special role IRTA holds with the IRS, they are in an unprecedented position to assist members in dealing with and avoiding these unpleasant penalty issues.

IRTA continually supports its members that are experiencing IRS/TIN reporting problems by providing guidance, updated contacts and regulatory information.

For more information on services and membership see www.irta.com.

Karmic Capitalist

Chip Conley, a 46-year-old Stanford MBA, envisions himself as a Karmic Capitalist. Why? His company, Joie deVivre Hospitality (www.jvhospitality.com), has boutique hotels that are niche- and life-style oriented...offering deep emotional connections with guests.

The 35 unique properties, that stretch from Napa Valley to Los Angeles, offer personality tests guiding guests to a hotel based on its style and persona—not price. Four years ago 80% of the company’s web driven reservations came from third-party (vacation/travel) sites. Since then that number has plummeted to 10% and falling, reflecting a reversal that indicates most patrons now coming directly to their site.

All back issues of "From the Desk...” can be accessed by clicking here.

(Please feel free to forward our newsletter to your friends and colleagues. We have a “box” at the end of the newsletter for your convenience. See you next week. . .)


TTI Announces Year-End Trading Activity

TeleTrade int’l (TTi) reported that for the year ending 2007, trading activity exceeded nearly $109 million on its global online platforms for independent trade exchanges. This reflects an increase of 7% over 2006. Total activity since its inception in 1999 exceeds $562 million

The eValues system (www.eValues.net) reflects nearly $60 million in transaction volume during 2007. Its online totals reached $245 million in activity since coming online in 2000. EValues clients have uninterrupted online trading access, daily trade opportunity broadcast e-mails, an inventory control system, comprehensive contact management, and an excellent accounting system.

TTi CEO Gary Lasater noted that the company has been developing and designing technology for the trade exchange industry for over 27 years. This year, the firm has plans to introduce a new version update of “revolutionary design” for its users. The time frame for the new update will be sometime prior to the third quarter of 2008.

For U.S. exchange members, TTi has been able to secure a relationship with the nation’s fourth largest private merchant service provider. Thus offering merchants the guaranteed lowest credit and debit processing rates and the ability to process credit, debit, discount and barter, programs from one terminal.

From further information contact: Gary Lasater at 303.840.7172 ext. 1, or e-mail at gary@teletrade.net.


·         U.S.-Chinese joint venture to provide barter services to 580,000 member organization.

There are currently over 730 posts and 95 comments contained within 19 categories on our blog. We trust you’ll find them worthwhile, and value your feedback.

Click here www.barternewsblog.com.


Open Letter From IRTA’s Universal Currency Committee

Universal Currency has grown leaps and bounds in 2007. The current membership is more solid than ever. The trade volume for 2007 is a record year surpassing all years, since 2000; while we haven't closed December yet, we are currently at 5.4 million. That number reflects a significant increase in the use of the platform and its value. More importantly we are still growing...increasing our value and strength.

Highlights of 2007 include:

UC Euro currency:

Due to concern expressed by our European members of the falling value of the U.S. dollar, the committee is currently establishing the ability to maintain an account in the euro currency. Updates will be provided to the membership as we progress.

Increase in international members:

UC's trade volume increase is highly attributed to the trading between our European members with each other and abroad. This has opened many doors for travel destinations and opportunities.

Delinquent account and maintenance parameters:

The UC Committee implemented a new penalty to members who exceed their line of credit by means of credit line reduction, transaction reversal or other. This was created to further protect the integrity of the system and create incentive to get back within the credit parameters established by UC Committee International.

Looking forward in 2008:

It is with great pride that we celebrate our 10th year in business in 2008. There is tremendous momentum and excitement as we enter the New Year. Some of our core focuses for 2008 are:

Corporate barter division:

UC formed a corporate barter committee to increase trading abilities and explore and expand on ideas presented by current UC members who utilize corporate methods.

UC Euro currency:

UC will continue its focus to fine tune the UC European platform for our European members.

Credit maintenance:

The UC Committee will continue to review all lines of credit in the system, making necessary decisions based on each members 12-month rolling sales history 

Growth:

With continued consolidation within the industry and the loss of a few members in 2007, we are redirecting much effort into continued growth.

In closing...while the founders and various supporters of UC have worked so hard throughout the years to get us where we are today, without you we wouldn't be here. So here's thanking you all, and wishing everyone a happy and prosperous 2008. We look forward to breaking new records, reaching new heights and making new friends.

Very Truly Yours,
Jennifer Ashworth, Ron Whitney & the UC Committee

 (For more information go to www.irta.com.)


Small Business Owners In Advertising Rut!

When it comes to advertising, small businessowners are definitely in a rut—sticking to traditional media, advertising in printed directories (that are out-of-date before the ink dries!) Here’s the scoop. . .

According to an independent study commissioned by AT&T, the majority of small-business owners see directory advertising as their most effective marketing tool. The survey of 1,000 businesses with 25 employees or less, found that nearly two-thirds (63%) still advertise in a printed directory.

In addition, 72% of those small businesses said they would spend the same amount on printed directory advertising in the coming year; some (11%) said they would spend more. And 19% said they would spend more next year on newspaper and magazine ads, which were cited as the second-most effective marketing tool by the small businesses.

While only about 23% of the respondents said they currently use online advertising (and two-thirds said they have their own web sites), some 53% of them said they expected to buy online advertising featuring video over the next two to three years, according to the survey.

Obviously, AT&T, which publishes the well-known Yellow Pages directory, has a vested interest in the survey. But to eliminate bias, the company contracted Western Wats Data Collection Agency in Utah to conduct the survey.

The small-businesses survey is intended to back up research from The Kelsey Group, in which 61% of Americans say they still use a printed directory to find local information. That survey found that 13% of consumers used search engines to find local information, while 7% used web directories.

The results of both surveys show that businesses and consumers looking for local information are still turning to the tried-and-true book. The top five categories for directory searches are: restaurants, physicians, auto parts suppliers, auto repair shops, and pizza.

According to the survey, 20% said they expected to spend more on internet directories, and 38% expected to spend more on internet banner ads. When it comes to search-word marketing, 43% said they spent more this year than last year, and 34% said they expected to increase search-word spending next year


Wealth Accumulation Key To Moving Upward & Forward

By Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Editor’s note: The following article by Gates, a Harvard professor and author of the forthcoming In Search of Our Roots, has been excerpted from the December 2 issue of the Dallas Morning News.

I have been studying the family trees of 20 successful African-Americans, people in fields ranging from entertainment and sports (Oprah Winfrey and track star Jackie Joyner-Kersee) to space travel and medicine (astronaut Mae Jemison and pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson). And I’ve seen an astonishing pattern: 15 of the 20 descend from at least one line of former slaves who managed to obtain property by 1920—when only 25% of all African-American families owned property.

Ten years after slavery ended, Constantine Winfrey, Oprah’s great-grandfather, bartered eight bales of cleaned cotton (4,000 pounds) that he picked on his own time for 80 acres of prime bottomland in Mississippi. (He also learned to read and write while picking all that cotton.)

Sometimes the government helped: Whoopi Goldberg’s great-great-grandparents received their land through the Southern Homestead Act. “So my family got its 40 acres and a mule,” she exclaimed when I showed her the deed, referring to the rumor that freed slaves would receive land that had been owned by their masters.

Well, perhaps not the mule, but 104 acres in Florida. If there is a meaningful correlation between the success of accomplished African-Americans today and their ancestors’ property ownership, we can only imagine how different black-white relations would be had “40 acres and a mule” really been official government policy in the Reconstruction South.

The historical basis for the gap between the black middle class and underclass shows that ending discrimination, by itself, would not eradicate black poverty and dysfunction. We also need intervention to promulgate a middle-class ethic of success among the poor, while expanding opportunities for economic betterment.

Perhaps Margaret Thatcher, of all people, suggested a program that might help. In the 1980s, she turned 1.5 million residents of public housing projects in Britain into homeowners. It was certainly the most liberal thing Ms. Thatcher did, and perhaps progressives should borrow a leaf from her playbook.

The telltale fact is that the biggest gap in black prosperity isn’t in income but in wealth. According to a study by economist Edward Wolff, the median net worth of non-Hispanic black households in 2004 was only $11,800...less than 10% that of non-Hispanic white households, $118,300.

Perhaps a bold and innovative approach to the problem of black poverty – one floated during the Civil War but never fully put into practice – would be to look at ways to turn tenants into homeowners. Sadly, in the wake of the subprime mortgage debacle, an enormous number of houses are being repossessed. But for the black poor, real progress may come only once they have an ownership stake in American society.

People who own property feel a sense of ownership in their future and their society. They study, save, work, strive and vote. And people trapped in a culture of tenancy do not.

The sad truth is that the civil rights movement cannot be reborn until we identify the causes of black suffering, some of them self-inflicted. Why can’t black leaders organize rallies around responsible sexuality, birth within marriage, parents reading to their children and students staying in school and doing homework? Imagine Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson distributing free copies of Virginia Hamilton’s collection of folktales The People Could Fly or Dr. Seuss, and demanding that black parents sign pledges to read to their children. What would it take to make inner-city schools havens of learning?

John Kenneth Galbraith once told me that the first step in reversing the economic inequalities that blacks face is greater voter participation, and I think he was right. Politicians will not put forth programs aimed at the problems of poor blacks while their turnout remains so low.

If the correlation between land ownership and success of African-Americans argues that the chasm between classes in the black community is partly the result of social forces set in motion by the dismal failure of 40 acres and a mule, then we must act decisively.

If we do not, ours will be remembered as the generation that presided over a permanent class divide, a slow but inevitable process that began with the failure to give property to the people who had once been defined as property.


Hotel General Managers

Work With Audio/Visual Vendor On Barter

Collect cash, as usual, from the guest accounts staying at your facility that require the use of professional AV services. And rather than shouldering your ongoing employee costs, or your current vendor’s cash agreement for AV services, here’s a much better alternative:

Work with a proven national vendor (a sterling 25-year track record) who will provide all of the AV services for your hotel on a 100% TRADE BASIS! (Payment to be in the form of trade dollars.)

Your hotel’s annual AV billings must be a minimum of $200,000, and this offer is available only in the continental United States.

For a confidential introduction contact Bob Meyer via e-mail: bmeyer@barternews.com.

Attention Trade Exchange Owners:

If your member hotel(s) have a minimum of 10,000 sq. feet of meeting space and annual billings of at least $200,000 for AV services this is a great opportunity to earn substantial cash service fees on the hundreds of thousands of trade dollars your hotel member will be paying the vendor. Contact Bob Meyer at the above e-mail.


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The Growth and Use of Secondary Capital (New Money) Creates Unprecedented Wealth In Today’s New Age Of Possibility

There are many forms of secondary capital—which can be defined as any financial instrument that measures and communicates value in a common language. Would you like to see and learn more about the many forms of secondary capital?

 We have 70 free, informative and inspiring, articles for you in our “Secondary Capital Section.” Check it out... www.barternews.com/secondary_capital.htm.

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