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The weekly newsletter for everyone interested in barter--the world's most versatile business tool!

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February 25, 2003

Written by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews

News On Publicly-Traded Barter Companies

ITEX's New Board Of Directors Aims To Reduce Costs

In our February 4 edition we reported on the replacement of the outside Board of Directors at the ITEX Corporation (OCTBB:ITEX).

The new board has quickly moved forward with actions aimed at reducing legal, accounting, and professional fees to save a contemplated $25,000 per quarter through the remainder of fiscal 2003.

Any and all potential loans from the company to directors or officers have been eliminated from the by-laws. And half of the $150,000 approximate costs related to the January proxy contest is being disputed, i.e. $75,000 of the cost paid to various parties engaged by the former outside board of directors.

The company also expects to realize a cash savings of $35,000 per quarter based on the absence of cash compensation for the directors. (Previous directors were drawing this amount of cash per quarter.)

Additionally, a significant number of shares (that former outside directors granted themselves) have been canceled, after advice was obtained from an independent financial consultant.

Bentley Communications Closes On Bartercard USA

As noted in our February 4 issue, Bentley Communications Corporation (OTCBB:BTLY) has finalized the acquisitions of Bartercard USA (www.bartercardusa.com) and First National Information Network (www.fnin.com). Each will become a wholly owned subsidiary.

Gordon Lee, Chairman of Bentley, stressed that, "both companies are cash flow positive and will continue aggressive growth as a result of going public, as well as increasing shareholder value for us."

Bentley also announced that Lynnea Bylund, managing director of Catalyst House (www.catalysthouse.com), will handle the investor relations for the company.

International Monetary Systems Listed On CEOcast.com

The February 17 issue of CEOcast's weekly online newsletter listed IMS as a "special situation" recommendation to the site's readers, primarily micro-cap and small-cap investors. International Monetary Systems (OTCBB:INLM) president Don Mardak was especially pleased with the coverage, stating, "These are the type of investors who should hear the story of our growing company." For more information on International Monetary Systems click here.


Every barter company in the world (outside the USA) is listed here click through to our global list of barter companies.


Advertising Kiosks Exchanged For Rights To Sell Ad Space

Sleek new bus shelters by outdoor advertising giant JCDecaux will be seen on the sidewalks of Chicago and Los Angeles soon, as the Paris-based company recently signed with those cities to install thousands of shelters--advertising kiosks--and other sidewalk amenities in exchange for the right to sell ad space on them.

Decaux pioneered so called "street-furniture" advertising in France in the 1960s and has spread the concept to major cities across Europe. (In Europe, Decaux bus shelters are so well maintained that upscale brands such as Christian Dior and Chanel happily advertise on them.)

In a recent contract with Vancouver, as well as the one in L.A., Decaux bid jointly with the outdoor advertising unit of Viacom. The company reports that it's gearing up for an even bigger deal in New York next year.


WTO Meeting Shows Difficulty In Finding Global Common Ground

Exporting giants seeking new markets, and nations intent on protecting their own farmers, could not bridge their differences on tariffs at the last day of a World Trade Organization (WTO) ministers meeting that ended mid-February.

The members were trying to meet a March 31 deadline to agree on a framework for talks on agriculture--one of the stickiest issues in the latest round of global trade negotiations, which began in Doha, Qatar, in 2001.

Basically, the United States and the 18-nation Cairns Group which includes Canada and Australia, favor an agricultural tariff cap at 25% in developed nations. But the European Union wanting to keepsome of its farm subsidies supports a 36% tariff cap.

Japan, which levies a 490% tariff on foreign rice to protect its staple crop, to fend off the United States and the Cairns Group agreed with Europe...as did India, where 650 million people are dependent for their livelihood on agriculture. Bottomline, the market access issue has a great deal of sensitivity...and WTO ministers were unable to come to any agreement.


Every barter company in the world is listed here click through to our global list of barter companies.


Ad Age Conference Message: No Free Lunch For TV Viewers

At the Advertising Age Madison+Vine Conference held at the Beverly Hills Hotel last week it was pointed out by Brodie Keast, Sr. VP of TiVo, that 50% to 70% of people watching TiVo recorded programming are skipping commercials. And the threat presented by this personal video recorder has marketers scratching their heads.

Some believe marketers should be able to figure out how to bring brands closer together. Others, however, insist anyone buying into the notion that branded entertainment will be the savior of the TV business is "drinking spiked Kool-Aid!" While product placement and product-integration in new shows rated discussion, it was clear that it's a new game today. Ultimately viewers will have to pay for TV if advertising drops as a result of commercial skipping.


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Here And There. . .
  • According to Padgett Business Services, 45% of small businesses reported higher unpaid receivables in 2002 than the previous year. Which highlights one of the most valuable and often overlooked services a trade exchange offers its members--that of a guaranteed payment on sales made (via authorizations) through the exchange.
  • Environmental activist Dan Silver (head of LA-based Endangered Habitats League) says the best way to save fragile habitats is to work with real estate developers. And he now advocates hammering out environmentally friendly land-use policies before projects even get off the drawing board.

    In many negotiations land is exchanged. Buildable land is gained by the developer in a barter deal for developer-owned fragile habitats, which will remain pristine territory owned by the Endangered Habitats League.

  • Here's a huge potential barter marketplace: There are now nearly one million homeowners renting out their homes. And over 1,000 vacation rental sites online to assist them.

  • According to Olympic sponsor John Hancock Financial Services, the U.S. Olympic Committee undersells itself and barters too much. David D'Alessandro, CEO of Hancock, says the USOC is too prone to accept merchandise and services from domestic sponsors (barter) and too dependent overall on its share of international Olympic revenues. In 2002 the USOC received $14 million of its $29 million in "sponsorship in kind," instead of cash.

  • China's tightly controlled news media is slowing changing as China's main state broadcaster, China Central Television, is launching the country's first 24-hour television news channel. To survive, the station will have to include live coverage, including some stories that could not be censored. It's a first step.

    Further changes in China include spinning off the central bank's role of regulating banks to an independent agency, which will bring China's central-banking system more in line with those of developed countries. The plan will be implemented next month when the transition to a new generation of top leaders is completed.

  • Have you signed up to receive a summary via e-mail of the Tuesday Report every week? If not, go to the top of this issue (right hand corner) to sign up!

  • "There is nothing wrong with the economy," famed economist Arthur Laffer told financial planners at a T.D. Waterhouse Group conference in Los Angeles last week. "The problem is with asset values, which are probably as undervalued as I've ever seen them."

    And David Levine, a former Wall Street economist and investment strategist who was among the first--in 1998--to warn that the stock market was in a bubble that was bound to burst, now worries that most investors have been so burned by the market that they are, so to speak, keeping too much money under the mattress. He contends that more people have been damaged by fear than by greed.

  • George Gilder says if President Bush were to advocate a new law deregulating all broadband services it would ignite the stock market and revive the kind of Internet revolution that makes sense.

    Gilder says Chinese, Japanese, and Korean companies are fulfilling the business plans of U.S. firms that were driven out of business by the regulators. Case in point, South Korea has household broadband penetration of 70% at ten times the speed ofour DSL and cable modems.

  • What a comedown for the venture capitalists! In 2000 some 653 funds raised $106.9 billion...in 2002 only 108 venture funds raised $6.9 billion. Their exit markets (cash out of investments) of IPOs and mergers have been largely closed.

  • Internet use is growing, according to Ipsos-Reid Corporation, a marketing research firm. Interviews with 6,600 adults in 12 countries in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia showed that 544% of the population had gone online at least once over the previous 30 days.

    The U.S. figure was 72%, up from 59% in 2000. Canada was second at 62%, up from 60%...then South Korea at 53%, up from 45%...Britain at 50%, up from 35%...and Japan 47%, up from 33%.



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