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January 29, 2008

Written by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews

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From the desk of Bob Meyer...01/29/08

Bartercard & BBX Working With New Australian Business Directory

Clickfind (www.clickfind.com.au), launched in late 2007, is a search engine and business directory that lists genuine Australian businesses. Every business listing on Clickfind must provide an ABN number.

Clickfind is Australian-owned and is based in Brisbane. The firm is a member of the Australian barter exchanges Bartercard and BBX.

For more information go to www.bartercard.clickfind.com.au or www.BBX.clickfind.com.au.

China’s Growth Impressive

China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose to 24.7 trillion yuan ($3.4 trillion) in 2007, from 22.1 trillion yuan ($3.1 trillion) in 2006. The U.S. GDP for 2007 was $13 trillion.

Restaurant Trends To Expect In 2008

The snack attack—Restaurants are hoping that small portions, big flavors, and low prices will lure in hungry snackers. Mini burgers and wraps caught on late in 2007. From fast food to fine dining, restaurants may soon compete to create the fastest and most filling snacks.

Fine fast food—Fast food is going gourmet. Popular celebrity chefs are branching out with convenient, fast, casual restaurants that promise high quality food, fine cooking and bold flavors...all on a 30-minute lunch break. Bobby Flay, Rick Bayless, and Wolfgang Puck have invested in fast casual operations, bringing their unique culinary flairs to the masses. Expect more celebrity chefs to get in the mix this year.

Consumers Seek Information In Many Places Outside of TV

According to the BIGresearch latest Simultaneous Media Survey, the only way for people to keep up with the deluge of media options is to multitask with other media. Specifically, says Gary Drenik, President of BIGresearch, “TV's influence on consumers to purchase products declined, whereas new media options such as web radio, satellite radio, instant messaging, and blogging all increased.

“Consumers seem to be seeking information from digital platforms while TV has traditionally been viewed as a brand building medium, which isn’t providing the requisite information.”

Media that can target, be timely, and deliver value to consumers, such as coupons/direct mail, radio, yellow pages, newspapers and newspaper inserts, all increased in influence-to-purchase as consumers are looking to stretch budgets in a slowing economy.

Our Changing World

On Super Sunday something else will kick off besides Super Bowl XLII...the world’s largest focus-group study on television advertising, courtesy of a burgeoning online social network being propagated by consumer research giant Nielsen Company.

When the New England Patriots and the New York Giants take the field, tens-of-thousands of online users will take to their computer screens to rate the TV commercials running during the coverage of the game. It will be the first commercialized use of Hey! Nielsen, the online social community launched last summer with a goal of creating a new method for measuring social buzz and interaction around brands, media, entertainment, and sports properties.

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. . .)


ITEX Corporation Acquires Certain Assets Of Cleveland-Based ATX

ITEX Corporation (OTCBB:ITEX) has entered into an agreement to acquire certain assets of 26 year industry leader, ATX of Cleveland, Ohio. The all cash transaction will close Friday, February 1, with the 400 member client list and assets transferred to the ITEX office in Solon...20 miles from Cleveland.

ATX was founded in 1982 by Tom McDowell, who is also the founder, three term President and the Executive Director of the National Association of Trade Exchanges (NATE). This acquisition establishes ITEX as the dominate trading community in the Cleveland area market, with more than 700 local members, able to trade with 24,000 other ITEX business members  throughout the United States and Canada.

“This transaction hits the sweet spot for us, as there is minimal integration and overhead to deal with,” said ITEX Chairman and CEO Steven White. “With this acquisition, we will add one local customer service representative to our existing staff of three, to manage the increased member base. Being able to operate a local exchange of this size without adding additional overhead will be immediately accretive to revenue and cash flow.”

Tom McDowell, President of ATX (The Barter Company) explained, “Selling something you’ve built for 26 years is never easy. However, knowing Steve and the kind of person he is, the way he takes care of his people and his customers, has really helped to make this decision easier for me.

“I really got to know Steve about ten years ago when he was president of NATE; today the barter industry is better and stronger because of him. I know that my clients, who have taken care of me for the last 26 years, will be well taken care of by Steve and his staff.”

Terms of the transaction:

·         All cash, payable in full on February 1, 2008. Financial details not disclosed.

·         Accounts receivable.

·         ITEX will utilize existing cash to fund the purchase.

The acquired assets include the following:

·         400+ member accounts.

·         Contracts between ATX, The Barter Company, and specified clients including the client relationships.

·         Historical transactional data and associated accounts.

·         The www.atx-barter.com web site.

For more information go to www.itex.com.


The First TV Network Created For Multicast

Broadcast veteran, Victor Ives, loves seeing those notices almost every TV station is running that explain how the government-mandated move in 2009 from analogue to digital will change the face of television. Why? Because it makes it a lot easier to explain the need for his new Multicast Classic Movie Television Network. 

“Now in our second year, we were the very first television network set up primarily to provide programming to the new class of ‘multicast’ stations being created by the FCC mandated migration of all TV stations from analog to digital,” he explains. “Up until now, people were incredulous that the government was, in effect, going to increase the number of TV stations by 400 to 500 percent!”

In addition to blanket satellite coverage of Canada, the USA and Mexico, the White Springs channel is now seen 24/7 in twenty Asian nations including China, Hong Kong and the Philippines. “In Asia there are millions of people who can pick up our programming from space,” Ives disclosed. “Technically, these receivers are illegal in China, but they’re so prevalent that government officials go out of their way for photo opportunities with the personalities on channels seen there.”

White Springs TV, which is owned by a group of Portland investors, provides programming, via satellite, to individual viewers who own small dishes and KU Band digital receivers as well as to television stations and cable systems. White Springs TV is operated by White Springs Media, a privately held company.

The streaming is catching on where it might be least expected. The network got an e-mail from a doctor in Iran asking for more American cowboy movies. “That would have pleased my former mentor and employer, Gene Autry, the movie cowboy,” said Ives.

A big break recently occurred for the fledging network when Comcast Cable NW started airing some of their made-for-television movies and scored impressive ratings. The 1974 comedy, “Thursday's Game” with Bob Newhart and Gene Wilder, beat 17 other channels including A&E, Bravo, and FOX News; tying USA’s “Law & Order” and MTV.

Ives says that was the turning point. It gave WSTV credibility and placed them on the radar of prospective affiliates and media partners.  “Absent that successful stint on Comcast, we wouldn’t have an affiliate in Los Angeles or so much interest across America and beyond,” Ives admitted.


ITEX Moves To Expand Franchise Network, Membership Base

ITEX Corporation (OTCBB:ITEX) has announced the retainer of two top Chicago marketing firms — The Goodness Company and Sigale Public Relations — to provide professional assistance to its franchisees in the rapidly expanding Chicago region by promoting member registrations.

The Goodness Company will begin by creating instrumental PR tools such as a Tool Kit and Press Kit. It will also direct a monthly franchisee conference call, in addition to developing tips on how to help franchisees secure optimal publicity for their businesses.

Sigale Public Relations will focus its efforts on attracting new franchisees throughout the United States, adding to the existing 95 ITEX locations, and helping 24,000 local businesses.

“Retaining the professional services of two top Chicago Marketing firms, Sigale Public Relations and The Goodness Company provides a tremendous boost to our franchisees to assist them in gaining a higher level of press coverage in order to build more local awareness and future business relationships. We look forward to opportunities to gain exposure and explain why our trading community provides added value for small businesses,” said ITEX Chairman/CEO Steven White.

“Both Chicago marketing firms are accepting ITEX dollars for the term of their engagement. And each understands the benefits of attracting a new customer in ITEX, thus participating in the camaraderie of a small business trading community and utilizing the ITEX dollars earned for a large variety of goods and services from savvy entrepreneurs like themselves.”


Consumers Prefer Inserts Over TV For Product Info

In its latest Consumer Focus study Vertis Communications, a Baltimore-based company, found that people are less reliant upon television to spur their purchasing decisions and instead are looking toward (newspaper) inserts—as well as online promotions—to help make up their minds.

According to the most recent survey of 3,000 American adults—the company’s 10th annual—only 22% listed television as the main influence in making their purchasing decisions, down from 30% in 1998. Conversely, those who cited inserts rose a similar amount, from 19% ten years ago to 27% now.

Not surprisingly, the Internet is also growing as a decision driver. Ten years ago, Vertis didn’t even ask about it in a consumer’s decision-making process. And when Vertis first posed the medium eight years ago, only 11% cited the Internet as a decision driver. This year, 26% said it was a key driver, as the convenience and ease with which people can get information means it will only continue to grow.

The increased availability of information has also led to a more informed consumer when it comes to making purchases. According to the survey, only 17% of adults said they entered a store without having conducted prior research last year, compared to 31% in 2004 (when the question was first asked). Approximately 57% of consumers said they used advertising inserts as a research tool, 50% cited the Internet and 38% used catalogs, according to the survey.

Over the 10 years of the Consumer Focus survey, Vertis has also tracked certain consumer behaviors. For instance, young adults are participating less in team sports than they were 10 years ago. They’re also choosing to stay in, rather than go out. According to the survey, only 3% of young adults said they were more likely to go out to a movie than stay in. In 1998, 13% said they were likely to go to a movie.

The survey also noted that single women are becoming a more influential category versus 10 years ago. In 1998, only 69% of women between 18 and 24 were involved in home electronics purchases. By 2008, that number has grown to 91%, in part driven by the prevalence of personal electronics such as cell phones and computers.

Over the past 10 years, the number of women 25-34 who were single or living with a significant other (as opposed to being married, divorced or widowed) increased 8% to 38%, according to the survey. And they are more educated: the percentage of women who had an undergraduate or graduate degree increased, from 28% to 41%, over those 10 years.

Consumers are much more socially aware than they were 10 years ago, and are making decisions based on that awareness. Nowadays, people are much more environmentally focused or concerned about social fairness.

Consumers are also more open to change, whether it’s in the form of political action or personal preference, he says. Right now is the perfect time for new things, whether it’s new products or new leadership. We’re also seeing a younger attitude in the country, so we’re talking about adopting messaging that’s fresh and innovative and captures a new attitude.


Corporate Barter Company ICON International, Great Employer

ICON International, a specialty finance company engaged in corporate barter, was selected as one of the top “25 Best places to work” in Connecticut for 2008.

The complete list and specific rankings will be unveiled at a special awards ceremony on March 25, and will be published in the March 31 issue of the Hartford Business Journal.

“This is a significant accomplishment; one that we have strived to attain,” says Richard Upton, senior vice president of Human Resources at ICON International. “We have a cohesive organization of talented and dynamic people. Together we have achieved a positive work environment that not only focuses on profitability but employee satisfaction.”

The firm competed against many other companies statewide for the position. The “Best Companies to Work For” in Connecticut are selected based on a stringent employee survey process conducted by a third party.

ICON scored high marks in all categories: (1) organization as a whole, (2) individual employee opinion, and (3) team infrastructure. Employees expressed their gratification with the company’s strong leadership, compensation and benefits, support for work-life balance, communication practices, corporate citizenship, and additional perks.

A subsidiary of Omnicom Group, ICON is a strategic holding company that manages a portfolio of global market leaders. Omnicom’s companies operate in the disciplines of advertising, marketing services, specialty communications, interactive/digital media, and media buying services.

For more information call (203) 328-2300, e-mail info@icon-intl.com, or see www.icon-intl.com.


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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