by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews
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New Universal “Alternative Currency” Backed By Major
Digital Currency System is a new alternative currency that transforms
reward points, frequent flyer miles, loyalty points and other non-cash
currencies into a digital currency, which will be used the same
as cash at participating national retailers, merchants, vendors
earn Creditz currency when they buy products wherever the logo is
displayed. Thus Creditz digital currency is a new form of customer
reward, but it will always be in digital form and cannot be withdrawn.
Once earned it can be spent the same as cash: one Creditz = 1 cent.
partners and alliances include IBM, Merrill Lynch, First Data, Verifone,
and Scrip Advantage. The master licensee for the U.S. of the Creditz
system is CEO America Inc.. For more information go to www.creditz.com.
note: Interestingly, the subject of a “reward currency”
for members of a trade exchange was a major topic at the most recent
IRTA convention, just concluded.
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26th Convention Takes On Expansiveness
The first 25
years of the International Reciprocal Trade Association’s
existence saw an internal focus. This year, the commercial barter
industry removed the blinders with an expanded look at the growing
world of cashless trading, at IRTA’s 26 Annual Convention
held September 22-25 at the Wyndham Palace Resort & Spa in Disney
Most of the
attendees felt it was one of the most informative and worthwhile
conventions ever held, as some new exciting possibilities emerged.
Will it be the exhilarating first step that could prove to change
the growth and direction of the commercial barter business?
other complimentary currencies (from community currencies to frequent
flyer miles, and others) to enlarge the cashless trading world;
of a member’s line-of-credit trade as a normal way of doing
- the introduction
and incorporation of a new program where trade exchange members
can drive additional cash business to their establishments through
a new rewards program.
- The convention
got off to an auspicious start with a mesmerizing keynote by a
powerful advocate of alternative monetary systems, Bernard Lietaer
of The Future of Money: Creating New Wealth, Work and a Wiser
World, is a recognized expert on monetary systems. While at
the Central Bank in Belgium he co-designed and implemented the convergence
mechanism (ECU) to the single European currency system. He also
was the co-founder of one of the largest and most successful currency
funds, becoming its General Manager and Currency Trader.
message to the attendees was energizing and factual. He provided
a 5-year outlook for today’s current financial situation,
though many in the audience were stunned by precise information
and suggestions of currency upheavals ahead.
Yet it was obvious
that Lietaer feels barter, especially if the industry can undergo
considerable growth, could provide a substantially stabilizing role
for what’s expected to be a growing unemployment situation
worldwide. According to the monetary expert, businesses, individuals
and entire communities, would be better off when barter becomes
an integral component with growing usage.
message was especially relevant because the commercial barter industry
has never fully comprehended or understood (or even cared about
in many cases) what community currencies represented. Although his
message to the attendees asserted that the future of money will
be complementary currencies, he also was quick to point out that
this did not mean that the existing national currencies would be
We in the barter
business, with our trade dollars, are in the complementary currency
business. But so are others, like the 14 trillion frequent-flyer
miles in the marketplace, which at 2-cents a mile translates into
a $280 billion currency, and a myriad of other reward programs from
hoteliers to major retailers. Additionally, Lietaer reported, there
are now over 5,000 social-purpose currencies in existence worldwide.
In short, complementary
currencies are a fact. Providing an apt analogy, Lietaer suggested,
“We’ve proven it can fly, but we’re now like the
Wright Brothers were years ago...just at the beginning of something
that’s going to be dramatic! And,” he continued, “we’re
all (the people in this room) putting the blocks in place to build
a beautiful Cathedral.”
ahead for the commercial barter industry? He contends that it’s
really up to a handful of visionaries who are willing to move forward
a step at a time, conveying that those within the industry must
realize that the first important step is selective standardization
for internet barter transactions. He emphasized that this must be
done by the industry to get to a higher level, pointing out that
the banking industry only became “important” because
(Later on during
one of the sessions, specific steps were provided by Lietaer to
show how the industry could follow in the footsteps of, and run
parallel to, the incredible success of the Visa system, i.e. independent
banks working cooperatively for the greater benefit of all.)
the convention included a 2-hour educational session by standards
expert Greg Swann, of the Bureau Veritas Quality International,
to further educate the industry on the subject of international
was straight forward. Standards include: say what you do, do what
you say, and prove it—with written records and results. The
barter industry can, Swann said, immediately implement steps that
would require little money, but would raise the level of performance
within the industry.
Will the industry
take action on standardization? Historically, after a well-meaning
convention is concluded, attendees “go back to business”
and little action on what was talked about actually occurs.
Awards Banquet Honors
was given to Universal Currency Broker Jennifer Ashworth and IRTA’s
Executive Director Krista Vardabash.
The Paul St.
Martin Distinguished Service Award, for selfless contributions of
time and effort to the industry, went to Richard Logie for his accomplishment
in providing a software system for the Universal Currency and for
his representation of IRTA in Europe.
Achievement Award honors individuals within the barter industry
who have demonstrated achievement in management techniques, education,
client services and marketing/sales. This year several deserving
individuals were honored:
of Florida Barter; Bob Bagga, Raj Kapoor & Chris Haddawy of
BizXchange; Sirri Simsek of Turk Barter; Don Mardak of Continental
Trade Exchange; and Lois Dale of New York Commerce Exchange.
into the IRTA Barter Hall of Fame was Andrew Federowsky. He, along
with Wayne Sharpe and Brian Hall, founded Bartercard in February
In last week’s
report we covered his extensive achievements. Not mentioned, however
were Federowsky’s efforts and input in developing Bartercard’s
online transactional web site (including auction, e-marketplace,
and shopping mall) which recently saw the $100,000,000th online
sold $10 million in licensees and trained hundreds of people in
multiple countries. Global membership doubled under his leadership
to over 75,000 with a trading volume of $2 billion annually.
The IRTA convention’s
major Platinum Sponsor was Turk Barter. Active International and
Florida Barter were major sponsors, and three trade exchanges were
sponsored individual events: Barter Consultants, BixXchange and
New York Commerce Exchange.
New Money-Making Ideas And Valuable Contacts!
You can obtain
useful, informative ideas and contacts in every available back-issue
Commerce Selects ITEX’s Processing Services
has been selected by Bentley Commerce to provide processing services
to the exchanges with which Bentley has contracts. The new processor
will replace the VirtualBarter system the firm had been licensing.
Monetary Systems CEO Presenting At Edgewater Research Conference
CEO of International Monetary Systems (OTCBB:INLM), will present
a corporate overview of the company’s growth strategy at the
Edgewater Research Conference, scheduled for October 7-8 in Lake
Tahoe (NV). Mardak noted, “This conference is known as one
of the best venues to increase investor awareness. We believe our
stock is undervalued given our increasing revenue, profit growth,
and strong market position. This is the first step in getting our
stock to a proper valuation.”
& Credit Changes Place Pressures On Real Estate
For Convulsions Ahead If Tax Benefits Change For Homeowners
CEO of Pimco (the world’s biggest bond investor), ranked 10th
in Fortune magazine’s “The 25 Most Powerful
People in Business,” says U.S. energy markets have reached
a “tipping point” due to under-investment by energy
companies in developing new supplies and a lack of investment in
refining capacity. Furthermore, he says, the high energy costs will
slow the economy...we will see a significant pullback in consumer
spending next year.
And if higher
energy prices and rising interest rates aren’t enough, a presidential
commission on tax reform is looking at the mortgage-interest deduction.
(The mortgage-interest deduction saved homeowners $61.5 billion
last year.) Changing the deduction tax benefits, even if done slowly,
could cause short-term convulsions in the market as buyers recalculate
what they can afford.
With a rising
federal budget deficit, the commission for tax reform says “everything
is on the table.” Which would include the 1997 elimination
of capital-gains for home sellers who profit...now $250,000 for
individuals and $500,000 for couples.
It was originally
contemplated, by a nonpartisan budget group, that the capital-gains
measure would cost the government $5.8 billion in lost revenue over
10 years. Instead it’s been 60 times that or $348 billion.
One modification to be considered is the length of time one must
live in the house to quality for the capital-gains exclusion, which
is currently two years.
In short, a
lifestyle built on cheap energy costs and low mortgage rates (including
home ownership tax benefits) is in jeopardy.
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- One of the
Wall Street’s best-known bankruptcy bankers is Bill Repko.
He’s been associated with some of the country’s biggest
corporate restructurings, i.e. Enron, WorldCom, United Airlines
and Chrysler. In a sign that more companies could soon be facing
hard times, Evercore Partners has hired Repko to bolster its corporate-restructuring
CEO Austin Beutner sees the economy in the eighth inning of
a good cycle, and sooner or later expects to see defaults inching
up. “With any sort of hiccup in the economy, or moves
in interest rates, we’ll see a robust market for restructuring
Bill Abrams, a partner
in Washington (DC) law firm Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson,
puts together business financing...and they’ve seen a
tenfold increase in home-equity deals since 2001. It seems that
faith in ever-increasing property values has led to a growing
number of entrepreneurs risking their homes to start or buy
businesses. Abrams says they’re “betting the house,”
because if the housing market softens many entrepreneurs will
be left with huge debts and little equity.
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How tied-in are the
relationships between the airlines and the credit card companies?
At Delta, credit card sales accounted for $13.7 billion of its
$15 billion revenue in 2004, according to a bankruptcy-court
teamed up with Delta in 1995 to issue a credit card that sports
the logos of both companies. The relationship was so critical
that American Express last year helped the ailing airline, by
prepaying $500 million toward its purchase of Delta’s
frequent-flier rewards miles over a three-year period.