by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews
Monetary Systems Agrees To Acquire BarterNet
Briner's 1,400 Member Exchange Joining Forces With
On Friday, March
7, International Monetary Systems (OTCBB: INLM) announced it had signed
a definitive agreement to purchase the assets and the client base of
BarterNet. The transaction is expected to be concluded within three
more than 1,400 clients located in Sacramento, Stockton, Modesto, Fresno,
and the East Bay area near Oakland. It is a strategic acquisition for
IMS according to CEO Don Mardak. "This will certainly enhance the
bartering activities of our present client bases in Sonoma County, Silicon
Valley, and the Central Coast regions of California," he declared.
Jim Briner, Jr.,
COO of BarterNet, will continue to manage the California exchange as
well as assume additional responsibilities at International Monetary
Systems. For more information: www.internationalmonetary.com.
Creates Own Currency...Disney Dream Reward Dollars
The Walt Disney
Co. is following in the footsteps of what American Airlines instituted
back in 1981, creating a currency of its own which will be used as a
valuable marketing tool. Frequent flyer miles, the airlines currency,
have become an indispensable part of the business.
Disney, in conjunction
with Visa and Bank One, has introduced its first credit card that allows
users to earn points--1% on all purchases. Points are redeemed for Disney
Dream Reward Dollars and then can be traded for park tickets,
food, cruises, hotels and most Disney merchandise.
The reward dollars,
capped at $750 annually, can accrue for five years. And once redeemed
must be spent within 12 months.
Purchases With Trade/Barter Modules Announced
(OTCBB:XRMD), a real-time negotiating technology provider to the media
industry, is releasing LMM 3.0 on March 14. This new version will feature
new media trade/barter modules, and will give all registered users of
its Live Media Marketplace the ability to negotiate media purchases
in real time using trade or barter items as well as cash.
Users will be able
to select the number of items in each purchase, and allows them to negotiate
and change values with cash or a cash/barter blend. (Users can input
any percentage blend of cash or trade.)
The company anticipates
these new trade modules will expedite discussions with various registered
companies looking to use the LMM 3.0 technology under private label
agreements to market to their client bases.
Futures...Hedging A Housing Drop
With housing values
having skyrocketed in some areas of the country, will there be a drastic
correction in home values? Robert J. Shiller, a professor of economics
at Yale University and author of Irrational Exuberance, contends
that price drops of as much as 10% a year could happen in areas where
local economies are struggling and home appreciation has been soaring.
Shiller is a proponent
of "housing futures," a risk-management tool for homes that
would be similar to the hedge asset vehicles found in today's financial
markets. For a fee (around 2% of the home's value) a homeowner could
purchase the right to sell a futures contract that would be at a price
similar to comparable homes in a specific neighborhood.
When paying the
upfront 2% premium, the owner buys the right to exercise the option
for a defined period of time. If the owner sells and prices have dropped,
they would receive the guaranteed price determined at the time the policy
was written. (If the home prices rise, the owner is out the cost of
This idea is now
being tested in Syracuse (NY) by some of Shiller's Yale faculty members,
who have just landed a $5-million federal grant to help launch the new
"housing futures" program.
chief, Alan Greenspan, recently noted (at a meeting of the Independent
Community Bankers of America Conference) that he sees the housing boom
losing steam in 2003, due to the fact that mortgage interest rates are
no longer declining.
mention that today's low rates have encouraged people to buy "more
house" than they can afford at higher rates. Nor, that homebuyers
are also taking on more leverage...down payments have been shrinking
and mortgage payments increasing as a share of income. Bottom-line:
this leverage will come home to roost on insufficient cash flows when
variable-rate mortgages go up, causing a possible glut of sales and
foreclosures when owners can no longer afford their payments.
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And There. . .
- Jeff Bezos, CEO
of Amazon.com, told attendees at the Annual TED (technology, entertainment
and design) Conference, regarding contemporary technologies, "I
believe where we are now, in respect to where we will be, is that
of the early 90-pound vacuum cleaner stage of the Internet."
- Grant Thornton
LLP, the country's fifth largest accounting firm with 585 offices
in 110 countries, and nearly $2 billion in global revenues, announced
that the firm favors the expensing of stock options.
says now is the right time for the accounting profession to step
up and really be committed to moving forward on expensing stock
options, which will lead to better incentives for the employees
and better returns for the shareholders.
reports that 25% of airline tickets are now booked online. Not so
with the cruise industry, where the traditional travel agent still
accounts for 90% of the industry's bookings. (Agents derive commissions
of 10% up to 16%.)
Will the cruise
industry follow the airline industry and go more online? The move
in that direction seems to be underway, as online bookings have
increased substantially. Two years ago 1.3% of cruises were booked
online. This year that figure is expected to double--reaching 2.7%.
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