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March 2, 2004

Written by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews

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Technology Exchanged For New Market Sales

Short Term Sales Made In Exchange For Long-Term Competition?

Behind the scenes around the world, multinational corporations are involved in very sophisticated business dealings...and they often contain an "exchange component" of some sort.

One such transaction, where General Electric signed a $900 million contract for high-tech electricity-generation turbines, reinforces how the world is changing. GE had to agree to exchange sophisticated technology with two state-owned Chinese power companies that want to eventually make the equipment themselves.

Interestingly, while China and other nations have enormous leverage (providing access to their huge markets), the question remains if the transfer of expertise from multinational corporations to state-owned companies will work out as envisioned.

There are two major reasons: Chinese companies presently lack the depth of engineering expertise, necessary to fully exploit the technology, that would enable competitiveness in global markets. But more importantly technology is rapidly advancing, so any technical know-how obtained today will, in years to come, be less of an issue.

Still one must tip a hat to the Chinese for desiring to better themselves. Wanting to compete in power generation, telecommunications, health care, and other advanced sectors is an ambitious step-up from today's manufacturing of toys, textiles and TV sets.


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NATE & IRTA Announce Annual Convention Dates

September 2004 will be a very busy month for the commercial barter industry, as both industry trade associations have scheduled their national conventions that month. As plans develop we will keep you apprised of them.

NATE (National Association of Trade Exchanges) will hold their convention in Las Vegas September 9, 10 & 11.

IRTA (International Reciprocal Trade Association) will be meeting in Cancun on September 30, October 1 & 2.


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Monster And EBay Bartering Efforts Considered A First

According to Jeff Taylor, founder and CEO of Monster Worldwide, the recent alliance between his company and eBay marks the first such relationship between two of the leading Internet companies.

Monster is the leading online career site, it records 41 million visits per month. EBay is visited by 69 million visitors each month. The two companies are cooperatively working together, exchanging services and visibility to expand their reach.

The agreement will see Monster's career services getting prominent exposure on eBay's home page. While Monster will serve as the title sponsor of eBay Live!—an annual conference where buyers and sellers meet from around the world. This year the meeting is scheduled in June at New Orleans.

Monster will also provide sessions on career planning and hiring for small businesses at eBay Live! and eBay University. EBay U is a roving educational program that travels across the country, teaching people the ins and outs of buying and selling on eBay.

Editor's Note: EBay currently sells $6 billion in cars and car parts, and almost $4 billion in computers and electronics. It also houses storefronts for IBM, Sears, and Sun Microsystems. The arrangement with Monster is indicative of the efforts eBay must pursue to sustain growing at 74% a year, and thus maintain its second place position of the top 10 fastest growing companies in the United States.


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Private Currencies Continue To Expand

* Cendant Corp. is converging the individual loyalty programs of all its hotel brands under one umbrella called TripRewards. Under the new program members will have more than 140 ways to redeem points for free flights,
hotel stays and car rentals.

Travelers who were members of Cendant hotel brands including Days Inn, Ramada, Travelodge, and Howard Johnson are automatically rolled over to the new loyalty plan which offers increased redeeming opportunities. Before, members of one of the individual hotel loyalty programs mostly had only hotel-related redemption opportunities.

TripRewards will also offer a variety of non-travel treats like gift certificates to Burger King and Starbucks, KB Toys and Best Buy, or a $25 gift certificate in exchange for 5,500 points.

* Amtrak is taking a cue from the airlines and rolling out a new loyalty program. It will reward frequent riders with free travel certificates, which can be used or transferred to friends, family, or anyone else.

* New programs that reward doctors are starting to catch on in health care...and now patients are getting cut in on the deal, too. A group of major corporations (GE, Ford, UPS, P&G) are launching a pilot program to pay doctors in several cities bonuses of up to 10% in "CareRewards" points if they can prove better care for cardiovascular and diabetes patients.
Patients will earn points as well, and be able to redeem them for merchandise coupons, or time off from work. Bottomline: Still another "currency" is being introduced into the marketplace.


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Here & There...

  • The Small Business Administration (SBA) has introduced a web site, www.assessyourinternationalrisk.com, to help companies looking to expanding in overseas markets. It can be hard to figure out what type of insurance is needed, from covering routine property/casualty to major financial exposure due to extending credit to new trading partners. The site offers an overview of the kind of coverage needed, as well as the ability to submit specific questions for expert input.
  • According to Spa Finder magazine, the new "thank you" gift from businesses is a certificate to a destination spa. It reports that businesses are increasingly using spas to build relationships, motivate employees and manage employee health. The International Spa Association notes that U.S. hotel and resort spas more than doubled from 1999 to 2001 (the last year counted)...and are still growing.
  • Ernst & Young as well as the Sand Hill Group, a U.S. technology-advisory company, say the supply of outsourcing workers overseas isn't limitless. As more jobs are absorbed costs will rise, just as they did in Hong Kong and Singapore 40 years ago. (Wages in India are increasing 15% to 30% annually, and the attrition rate is high as well.)
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  • New poll shows that high-income Americans have lost much of their enthusiasm for free trade, as they see their own jobs being threatened by white-collar workers in India, China and other countries. The survey by the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes shows that among Americans making more than $100,000 a year, support for actively promoting more free trade has collapsed from 57% to less than half that, 28%.

    But management guru Peter Drucker claims we're totally ignoring all the jobs that have been imported to the American economy because of that same free trade. He says the U.S. imports far more jobs than it exports...and no one has contradicted him, according to The Wall Street Journal.

  • Ken Gasper, president of The Hospitality Exchange, and a hotel owner, will join Bentley Commerce Corporation (OTCBB:BLYC) as the president of the newly launched Bentley Hospitality Exchange. (Gasper's Hospitality Exchange has developed a network of business and vacation travel properties that trade accommodations with each other.)

  • According to the Yellow Pages Integrated Media Association, beauty salons and tanning salons have historically relied on the print and electronic Yellow Pages to help generate business because of the medium's high return on investment. Beauty salons rank 7th out of more than 4,000 Yellow Pages headings with 278 million references. Tanning salons are 125th with 19.2 million references.

  • Low-cost airlines are making tremendous inroads in the marketplace, as consumers are increasingly flocking to them and bypassing the big traditional airlines. Last year, six low-cost carriers grew by almost exactly the same amount of traffic that the seven network airlines lost-a one-for-one shift. Today these low-cost carriers control nearly 25% of domestic air travel. They earned $730 million in net income, while the seven higher-cost carriers posted total net losses of $3 billion.

  • Consumers love to whine about poor customer service, but a national survey by the American Customer Satisfaction Index shows that consumer satisfaction is at a nine-year high. The study's authors believe that customer satisfaction is a key driver of consumer spending.

  • "The Apprentice" television show is not only creating a powerful viewership for Donald Trump's branding message, but Trump cut himself a lucrative deal as well. Trump and executive producer Mark Burnett own a stake in the show, on top of each receiving more than $100,000 per episode. Additionally, Trump is paid an undisclosed fee for starring-as himself.
We welcome your comments, questions, and observations.
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