August 16, 2005
by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews
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Dave Wallach, Barter Industry Pioneer, Has Inoperable Lung Cancer
Dave Wallach, 66, the epitome of dedication and determination, spent most of his adult life in the commercial barter industry. He launched his trade exchange business nearly 30 years ago, in the days when the industry had yet to be defined.
Although financially undercapitalized, starting with $4,000, he was rich with vision and ambition. Wallach diligently plugged away year after year, frugally reinvesting his earnings in building ValueCard into the Bay Area’s largest trade exchange. (He sold ValueCard to Intagio in 2002.)
In March, 1998, I spent two delightful days in San Francisco interviewing Wallach for the cover story of issue #44. ( Click here to all back issues.)
I found his perspective on a variety of subjects interesting and well thought out. Particularly enlightening was his assessment of the barter industry which he referred to in environmental terms. “We are the business ecologists. We take what is wasting away, our clients excess or under-utilized capacity, and turn it into something more valuable for them—needed products or services.”
This past Thursday I talked with Dave from his hospital bed, where he was having necessary procedures prior to moving forward with very aggressive chemotherapy treatments. He expressed determination to fight hard in the toughest battle of his life.
All of us within the commercial barter industry are indebted to Wallach for his many contributions over the years—from the enlightened, informative media seminars he gladly shared year after year at the national conventions, to the altruistic mentoring he provided to novice exchange owners.
This is a tough time for Dave, and I’m proud to say my friend is courageously handling this most difficult challenge like a champion. Dave Wallach’s cell phone is: (415) 672-5497.
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Australia’s BBX Goes Public With Oversubscribed IPO
Michael Touma, managing director of Business Barter Exchange, is now the head of a publicly-traded barter company—BBX is the first Australian barter company to be traded on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).
Touma’s company has been building an infrastructure in Australia for the past 13 years, and with an ASX listing he envisions a bright future. “Our listing will give us a lot more credibility, as well as a lot more power to move forward and see faster growth.”
BBX’s IPO closed oversubscribed and raised $6.85 million from the sale of 27.7 million shares at 25 cents each. (It closed the first day trading at 24 cents). Reportedly, an impressive 60% of the investors were institutions.
Touma plans to use some of the capital to expand into Asia’s Indian and Chinese markets, in addition to establishing more branches and franchises within Australia.
BBX is Australia’s second largest trade exchange, handling close to $100 million in trade on behalf of 4,360 member businesses each year. For more information contact BBX’s corporate office at (612) 9476-6655.
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Hotel Inventory Tightens, Change Will Affect Barter Industry’s Inventory
Travel is on the upswing four years after 9/11. And demographic trends ahead for leisure travel are bullish too, as baby-boom retirees will presumably increase their travel in the coming years.
Couple this heightened demand with the expected tighter supply of hotel accommodations (as many hotels are being converted to condominiums to cash in on the boom in that sector), and the lodging industry is now looking quite solid.
The travel turnaround isn’t necessarily creating a lot of optimism within the barter industry, because acquiring more hotel accommodations revolves around picking up excess inventory.
Given the shrinking supply of hotel rooms in New York, Hawaii and other resort markets, along with the fact that it takes a considerable amount of time to get approval for any major new hotel project, one can project that the hotel industry is feeling pretty good now. But greater occupancy might lead to less desirable inventory on a trade basis.
For hoteliers, the fly in the ointment may come from rising interest rates causing possible repercussions from a economic recession. Or a drop in real estate prices could create a less prosperous mindset for homeowners, and would likely see curtailed spending on travel
Every barter company in the world is listed on our web site, click through to our Global List of Barter Companies.
Undeveloped, Arid Land Parcels Now Hot Property
In the barter industry, undeveloped land that has no water, electricity, sewers, roads and other amenities is referred to as “currency land,” meaning it’s used for trading rather than actual use. And the buyers (traders) certainly are aware of such caveats.
Such isn’t the case in the cash world these days, according to a recent report on land selling in West Texas near the Rio Grande and the Mexican border in Jeff Davis County. The land is sandy and bleak, full of gullies and rattlesnakes.
Yet in February, a Californian bought 7,408 acres for $65 an acre. He promptly sold them in small chunks to some people and in big chunks to others. Some of these buyers quickly resold to others, who resold to still others. The pieces kept shrinking while the prices went higher.
Buyers are now paying as much as $800 an acre, 12 times the cost six months ago. Nearly all the sales for the raw, undeveloped land, were bought over the Internet or at seminars by people from California, Florida, New York and other places where the cost of homes has been surging.
After four years of real estate mania, the message has sunk in widely and deeply. Land is good. More land is better. Land will always increase in value. Every moment you don’t buy you’re losing money. No need to see it before buying!
Why are buyers unfazed and not asking questions about the condition, accessibility, or even the location of the land?
One theory is that the buyers are looking for a greater fool to purchase the land from them before the bubble bursts. Another possibility is that they merely want to be able to brag at their next dinner party that they own a ranch in Texas.
New Money-Making Ideas And Valuable Contacts!
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useful, informative ideas and contacts in every available back-issue
Wall Street Journal Editorializes “The Realtor Racket”
An August 12, 2005, editorial in The Wall Street Journal ripped the National Association of Realtors lobby, suggesting they’ve become partners with certain Republican Governors in what looks suspiciously like a price-fixing scheme, whereby realty discounters are prevented by law from charging fees below the industry norm of 5% to 6% of the sales price.
The article says state legislatures and real estate commissions are enacting laws that make price competition illegal, and thus treat realtors as if they are members of a closed shop union. It points out that in almost every other consumer industry—booksellers, retailers, insurance, airlines, banking, stock brokers—the introduction of Internet and discount sellers has been a phenomenal financial benefit to customers.
(For example, LendingTree.com is prevented under these laws in about 10 states from continuing its popular practice of providing several thousand dollars of rebates and coupons at Home Depot to homeowners who use its real estate services. And discount real estate agents would also be prohibited under many of these laws from advertising their lower prices in newspapers.)
This process of squeezing out transaction costs, known as “disintermediation,” is ripe for the $70 billion-a-year real estate brokerage market.
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