by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews
International Continues Expansion Worldwide
The cover story
of BarterNews issue #56 reported on the world's largest barter
company, Active International. For the inside look you can read portions
of that article on our
web site. This past week we talked with COO Rick Fuest, and we'll
have an update on the focus and strategies Active is now pursuing in
You'll want to check
out their thinking, and how they've built such a powerhouse. Incidentally,
Active is now making over $800 million a year in media purchases. And
their success isn't going unnoticed. Reuters International,
Ad Week and the New York Times all interviewed Active's
Fuest this past week.
Introduces Gift Card For Radio Stations
Radio stations in
several locations around the U.S. have already embraced a new idea from
Chicago-based Ibart (www.Ibart.com).
It's the Ibart Gift Card, available in denominations of $100 to $500
and redeemable at numerous merchants through their web site.
Chris Sweis, Ibart's
enthusiastic CEO, explained the thinking behind his company's new innovation,
"Unlike other on-air giveaways, the Ibart Gift Card is similar
to offering numerous gift certificates simultaneously, inasmuch as we
have numerous merchants participating in our exchange in multiple categories.
Our card has a much higher perceived value and, we believe, will appeal
to more listeners."
Radio stations will
find the bartering of unsold airtime for the gift cards to be a versatile
promotional tool...not only to be used for promotional giveaways, but
as another useful closing tool and client retention aid.
Announces New Reciprocal Broker
Molina, a Certified Trade Broker with BXI for the past eight years in
the Greater LA office, has been named to the BXI Exchange Corporate
Staff as the new reciprocal broker. She is replacing Georgia DeGrant,
formerly from St. Louis.
BXI is also conducting
a boot camp for brokers this month. The intense sessions begin on March
20 and will be held in Phoenix. For more information on BXI, the oldest
trade exchange in the U.S., check out the company's web site: www.bxinsider.com.
Monetary Systems Increases Common Stock
of International Monetary Systems (OTCBB: INLM) have approved an increase
in the company's authorized capital to 90 million shares of common stock
and 10 million shares of series preferred stock.
Don Mardak, CEO
explained, "The increase will enable us to accelerate our growth
strategy of being the leading consolidator in the barter industry."
CTO Likes Barter Possibilities
chief technology officer, Mark Hedley, is like many IT executives these
days. He's taken advantage of the cutthroat competition that the economy
has stirred up in the telecommunications sector, reworking data and
voice networking agreements.
He and his team
are also evaluating new ways to reduce costs without cutting into the
muscle of their IT operations. Among them is the possibility of offering
hardware vendors hotel rooms in return for computer equipment.
value of a guest room for the value of equipment is very do-able for
us," exclaims Hedley, in a recent Computerworld story.
Last summer, he and his team began evaluating which IT projects might
be a good fit for these types of barter arrangements. And while he declined
to name the vendors he has discussed this option with, Hedley says the
potential for establishing such a deal is "very real."
extent of the changed environment is astonishing."
McCann, Editor-in-Chief, MeetingNews
In reading a trade
publication recently, I found the comments of McCann, an industry insider,
revealing...as noted below:
an industry insider, you understand things that are unfathomable to
those on the outside. I remember when I first began to learn about the
meetings business. I couldn't comprehend how it was possible that companies
wouldn't want their attendees to always book the lowest hotel rates
they could find.
"For a while
I stumbled over the concept of room blocks and the fact that the more
trackable volume you bring to a hotel for one meeting, the easier it
is to negotiate a lower rate for the next one.
"I guess I
might as well have stayed ignorant. Today, it's often a sound strategy
to book low, non-group rates via the Internet and other means.
planners will be horrified to hear me say that. But for now and the
foreseeable future, I believe planners should quit placing so much emphasis
on room blocks, and instead encourage attendees to simply book the lowest
available rate at a hotel that makes sense for them to stay at, whenever
doing so is practical."
McCann goes on to
his closing comments, "Planners would benefit by finding the serenity
to accept the things they cannot change. The Internet surely is here
to stay; its assimilation into hotels' yield-management efforts certainly
is not going to be undone; and attendees without question will increasingly
explore opportunities to pay less for hotel stays.
hotel occupancy levels get back to normal, it's entirely likely that
there will be plenty of fire sales." His advice is, "Stop
fighting so hard, planners. Spend your energy where it will have some
McCann's comments are relevant in many areas today. We all must "wake-up"
and observe what is happening in our own particular industries. What
changes do we see happening, and how are we responding to those changes?
Consumers Paying Down Debt
Recent data suggests
that people are hunkering down and getting their financial house in
order. Last week the Federal Reserve reported that outstanding credit-card
debt plunged $8.4 billion in December, the largest monthly decline since
the data were first collected in 1968.
The savings rate,
meanwhile, continues to rise, with consumers saving 4.3% of their income,
the highest savings rate in five years.
And when consumers
do spend, they've become more sophisticated in their usage of credit,
shifting away from high-interest revolving credit toward lower-rate
home-equity financing. (Two years ago, many economists worried that
borrowers would simply run up their credit cards again after paying
them off with proceeds from refinancing, but the latest drop in credit-card
borrowing suggests that isn't happening.)
There is now evidence
that many of the credit problems are confined to consumers with marginal,
or subprime, credit. (Credit-card charge-off rate for subprime borrowers
now tallies 18.61%, nearly three times the 6.51% rate for all credit-card
economist at Merrill Lynch, expects consumer spending to be 2% this
year...versus 3% in 2002. He thinks that such a pullback will yield
dividends in the long run, putting consumers in a better position to
ratchet-up spending again a year or two down the line.
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And There. . .
- March 17 will
be TradeAmericanCard's Annual Client Appreciation Luncheon...Corn
Beef, Cabbage and Fun will be served to clients and their guests at
the Marconi Auto Museum in Tustin (CA). If you'd like a free dinner,
call TAC for additional information: (714) 532-1610.
- Bartercard UK,
reportedly Britain's largest bartering exchange, says trading is up
dramatically--some 80%! Mike Timoney, managing director at Bartercard
said that over £3 million worth of goods changes hands each
month in the UK.
- Three years ago
this month (March 10, 2000) the Nasdaq Composite Index reached a record
close of 5060. The downslide, nearly 75%, has been just as dramatic--to
below 1340 as I write this on Monday, March 3. History suggests the
coming years could remain difficult.
- Small steps forward
could pay off big-time, as the U.S. is preparing a technology aid
program for the Middle East and Africa. Commerce Secretary Don Evans,
whose department is spearheading the initiative, sums up the mission,
"This effort is very important in terms of trade and jobs."
There's a growing
appreciation that technology, when properly applied, can have a
significant impact in terms of poverty reduction, especially in
the context of public-private partnerships for developing nations.
(The first beneficiary will be Senegal, a predominantly Muslim nation
in West Africa.)
chief economist, Stephen Roach, says the case for deflation looks
as compelling as ever, despite higher oil prices. "It would
now take a fairly vigorous recover in the global economy--several
years of world GDP increasing in excess of 4%--to tilt the business
cycle away from deflation." The outlook: A slow, painful, grinding
adjustment looms ahead.
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