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July 6, 2004

Written by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews

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Bentley's "Out-of-the-Box" Thinking Looks Promising

Bruce Kamm, CEO of Bentley Commerce, is busily bringing his online trading technology to industries that typically haven’t been involved in barter. One such effort revolves around the establishment of a barter platform for bond and other financial instruments trading.

Bentley reports that the barter platform, already in place and known as PrimeStreet, processed $50 million in bond trading and $1 million in fees in its first month. Bentley, which set up the barter platform and assists in the trading endeavors, will receive cash revenue from the PrimeStreet exchange, after transaction costs of $250,000.

Essentially, the trading of bonds and other financial instruments for trade dollars takes place through PrimeStreet. These trade dollars are later used to purchase other financial instruments and bonds.

(PrimeStreet’s parent company’s real-time credit processing is currently used by over 60 financial institutions and more than 33 online finance centers. The firm operates in the U.S. and Canada, with global expansion anticipated.)

According to Kamm, “Bringing online trading technology to businesses that typically haven’t been involved in barter delivers new transaction capabilities and profits to all participating parties. We expect PrimeStreet and other enterprise level exchanges to continue to drive Bentley’s growth and revenues in the coming months.

“As large companies in various business sectors join our network, making it more efficient for them and their participants to trade, so too will the trade volume, velocity, and fees generated increase accordingly.”

Bentley Relocates To Florida

Bentley Commerce (OTCBB:BLYC) is moving forward with its cost reduction and restructuring program. Gordon Lee, Bentley’s chairman, has resigned from the Board and all management and consulting positions. His focus will be on American Interactive Digital Channels Corporation, a company he founded and serves as its CEO and Chairman.

Bruce Kamm has announced that Bentley, a Florida corporation recently headquartered in California, will be consolidating and moving to 9040 Town Center Parkway, Bradenton, Florida...minutes away from the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.

Bentley is placing an emphasis on greater communication by adding interactive discussion forums on its website. Shareholders, members of barter exchanges, and others can post topics, questions, or suggestions for management, as well as communicate with one another.

In addition a toll-free telephone call management system is now available to contact Bentley’s various departments (business development, trade floor, technical support, investor relations and marketing) and their personnel at (888) 281-2465. For more information: www.bentleycommerce.com.


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New European Report Shows Huge Difference
Between USA & Europe

A pair of economists—Fredrik Bergstrom and Robert Gidehag—have just concluded a study, “The EU vs. USA,” for the Swedish think tank Timbro. It found that if Europe were part of the United States, only tiny Luxembourg could rival the richest of the 50 American states in gross domestic product per capita.

The authors admit that man doesn’t live by GDP alone, and that this report misses the output in the “black” economy which is significant in the European Union’s high-tax states.

But a rising tide still lifts all boats, and GDP per capita in the U.S. was a whopping 32% higher than the EU average in 2000, and the gap hasn’t closed since.

Higher GDP per capita allows the average American to spend about $9,700 more on consumption every year than the average European. The Swedish study states, “Most Americans have a standard of living which the majority of Europeans will never come anywhere near.”

But what about equality? Well, the percentage of Americans living below the poverty line has dropped to 12% from 22% since 1959. In 1999, 25% of American households were considered “low income,” meaning they had an annual income of less than $25,000.

If Sweden—the very model of a modern welfare state—were judged by the same standard, about 40% of its households would be considered low income.

In other words, poverty is relative...in the U.S. a large 45.9% of the poor own their homes. The average living space for poor American households is 1,200 square feet. In Europe, the average space for all households, not just the poor, is 1,000 square feet.

So what is Europe’s problem? “The expansion of the public sector into overripe welfare states in large parts of Europe is and remains the best guess as to why our continent cannot measure up to our neighbor in the West,” the authors write.

In 1999, average EU tax revenues were more than 40% of GDP and in some countries above 50%, compared with less than 30% for most of the United States.


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Microsoft’s Lawsuit Settlement A Subtle
Barter (Marketing) Arrangement

Over the years Microsoft has received approval to settle class-action lawsuits by providing vouchers to consumers. In June, a Massachusetts judge gave approval for a $34 million settlement against the company. (Microsoft was accused of violating state consumer-protection and unfair competition laws.)

Microsoft will give people from Massachusetts—who have purchased certain Microsoft operating-system, productivity-suite, spreadsheet or word-processing software—vouchers, which can be used to buy any computers and software used with those products. In most cases the vouchers are insufficient for complete purchases, so in effect the scrip become a marketing tool for the company!

Also just announced is a similar settlement of a class-action lawsuit in Minnesota, where Microsoft consumers in that state will receive $174.5 million in vouchers.


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In Speilberg’s Movie The Terminal,
United Airlines Scores Big With Barter Deal

Oscar-winning movie director Steven Spielberg created the most famous product-placement in screen history years ago in 1982, with Hershey’s Reese’s Pieces in his movie, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.

But his movie, The Terminal, starring Tom Hanks takes product placement to new heights—as 90% of the movie’s product placements are barter deals—where marketers barter products and other help for exposure on the screen.

United Airlines couldn’t ask for better product-placement opportunities as movies centered around airline operations don’t come along too often. The airline bartered for its part in the movie, in that no cash was exchanged.

United played a major role in the movie:
• Catherine Zeta-Jones, Hanks’ love interest, plays United flight attendant Amelia Warren.
• The first words in the film are a United boarding announcement.
• About 40 United employees from Los Angeles International appear as extras.
• Also appearing are United 747 planes and Red Carpet Clubs.
• United has been advising DreamWorks (Speilberg’s production company) for 18 months as well as providing employee uniforms, gate signs and logos.

In addition to United’s role, more than 40 other companies (Burger King, Starbucks, Discovery, Nathan’s, Baja Fresh, and Auntie Anne’s among others) built replicas of their restaurants and stores in a 200,000 square foot former military hanger at Palmdale (CA) that doubled for the transit lounge which Hank’s Viktor Navorski character turns into his home away from home.


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Here & There...

  • Deadline is August 1 for advertising in the up-coming issue #63 of BarterNews, which will be out prior to the NATE and IRTA conventions. For complete rates click on “Advertising” (above navigational bar) or contact Bob Meyer...email: bmeyer@barternews.com.
  • Reiner Husemann reports that Euro Barter Business is now providing services in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland that include credit-line insurance, barter factoring, and barter credit fulfillment guarantees.
  • 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) and sign up!
  • The U.S. Supreme Court has cleared the way to give licensed Mexican truckers permission to transport international goods in the United States. The right to expand into our states was a provision in the North American Free Trade Agreement. This means as many as 34,000 Mexican trucks could be in business north of the border...bringing more competition for the U.S. trucking industry, and subsequently lowering transportation charges.
  • The annual shareholder meeting held in New Berlin (WI) by International Monetary Systems (OTCBB:INLM) saw shareholders overwhelmingly vote to re-elect two directors, to ratify the company’s auditor’s, and to increase the company’s authorized capital to 280 million shares of common stock and 20 million shares of series preferred stock. These matters passed by affirmative votes of 99%, 99% and 97%, respectively.
  • Venture capitalists are making a comeback. In 2000 they invested $105.8 billion, but slid down to $18.4 billion in 2003. While nowhere near the turn of the century high-water mark, the pace of investment in new companies is definitely increasing. Dollars invested so far this year are up 28%—from the year-earlier period—to $11.3 billion, according to VentureWire. And there are still 919 venture firms in operation, near the 2001 record of 943.

    Despite poor returns in recent years, institutional investors appear as eager to invest in venture capital as before, plus foreign investors are now providing a new money source. Most recently Finland’s government pension fund placed $125 million with Grove Street Advisors to build a U.S. venture portfolio of 15 partnerships.
  • In general, outdoor advertising is a growth area in marketing, with spending up 8% in 2003 compared with the prior year. TNS Media Intelligence/CMR says that compares with increases of 1.8% for network TV, 5.8% for national newspapers, 6.3% for consumer magazines and 13.4% for local newspapers, and a decline of 5.4% for local-television advertising.


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