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The weekly newsletter for everyone interested in barter--the world's most versatile business tool!

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September 7, 1999

BarterNews' expanded coverage of the barter marketplace continues with the introduction of this online weekly report.

Industry Conventions...

Two upcoming national industry conventions are, unfortunately, over-lapping this year, which makes attendance at both difficult. And the venues for both are spectacular as well!

The larger of the two conventions will be the International Reciprocal Trade Association (IRTA) to be held in Vancouver, Canada, September 23-26. Open to anyone interested in the commercial barter industry. Expected attendance is 300, primarily trade exchange owners and corporate barter executives. Some 30 countries will be in attendance at the largest-ever 20th IRTA Congress.

The attendance record will be due, in no small part to Robin Maini, IRTA's new Executive Director whose untiring efforts have enrolled 57 new companies into the organization in less than a year, almost doubling the organization's membership. For further details on the upcoming Congress contact Sheila Gidley, at: admin1@IRTA.net.

As the IRTA Convention concludes the American Countertrade Association will be holding their fall Biannual Conference and Training in beautiful Keystone, Colorado, from September 26-29. In the past, membership was restricted to companies directly involved in countertrade and offset, but now third-party service providers are welcome.

For conference details e-mail Mary Fromyer, Executive Director, at: aca@countertrade.org.

Wall Street Appears Ready To Invest in Online Bartering Services

On September 1st, Paramount Financial announced that it had built a new barter web site for swapping merchandise and services over the internet. Investors jumped on the stock after the announcement, making it the biggest percentage gainer in North America.

But when it became known that Paramount only created the site and didn't own it, Paramount shares dropped the next day by 33%—from $6-1/2 to $4-5/16. (Paramount was taken public in 1996 by Stratton Oakmont, a brokerage firm that was expelled from the securities industry in December for repeated abuses.)

The new site, TradeandSwap.com, has been operating since August 9th. A private company, the owners paid Paramount less than $200,000 to develop the site, which focuses on consumer barter—more of a site for the hobbyist, rather than business to business barter.

It had few listings when we checked it out in early September. Charges are either $14.95 per trade, $29.95 a month for unlimited trading, or $200 for a yearly membership.

One of the owners of the site, 31-year-old Eric Aronson, is now preparing his defense for a federal criminal trial that begins the end of September. Aronson was indicted in November for criminal conspiracy, securities fraud, and wire fraud in connection with his role in the alleged fraudulent sale of shares in Satellite Recovery Network, according to Bloomberg News.

On Saturday, September 4th, TradeandSwap.com gained considerable exposure by appearing on the electronic signage in the 5th inning of a nationally-televised (Fox TV) baseball game between the New York Mets and the Colorado Rockies. Television viewers saw the company's logo with every pitch to home plate. Inasmuch as the 5th inning lasted twenty-five minutes, the new startup's coverage was substantial.

What's The Value Of Your "Intangible Assets"?

We've often said that your "intangible assets" can be as valuable a your tangible assets. Here's an example of what we mean...

Anthony Robbins, the motivational guru, is trading big-time—solely on his name, reputation and charisma. The 39-year-old has become chairman and majority owner of a publicly traded dot-com company whose value, even though they don't have a website yet, now exceeds $480 million! Robbins deal reinforces the fact that virtually everything imaginable is tradable.

The new company, GHS, aims to develop the eBay of personal and professional empowerment. Robbins, who put in no cash, has a stake worth $276 million after the media banking powerhouse Allen & Co. (a major investor in the original company—an obscure provider of medical services) did a reverse merger and invested $15 million as well.

The medical business was spun off to GHS's shareholders in a separate company, leaving a public shell from which Robbins will launch a yet-to-be-named self-improvement web site.

The new agreement concluded in May. When Wall Street heard that Robbins was involved and GHS would become a dot.com company, its stock soared from 75 to $12. Thus giving Allen & Co., and some of its executives, a $48 million paper gain on their original $250,000 investment in GHS 15 years ago.

Robbins will give the new venture exclusive online rights to his name and his current web site, anthonyrobbins.com—which will be folded into GHS. (However, Robbins $80 million a year business of selling books and seminars will remain private.)

Are You Aware That...

Top companies look at their advertising expenditures as investments, rather than expenses. It's a mind-set that dramatically changes how advertising efforts are viewed.

One of the prominent internet companies-Amazon.com-spent 22% of their $610 million in sales last year on advertising.

And Fogdog, a closely-held online retailer of sporting goods in San Jose, spends an unbelievable 60 of every dollar in revenue it earns on marketing.

Yet, the typical small business spends around 5% of its gross sales on advertising.

Unusual, One-On-One Trades

Barry Halper, a New Jersey collector of sports memorabilia, made one of the greatest trades ever when he swapped six bottles of J&B scotch with Lou Gehrig's wife for Gehrig's uniform.

It was the flannel pin-striped New York Yankee uniform worn by Lou Gehrig 60 years ago, when the first baseman declared himself "the luckiest man on the face of the earth." A couple of months ago, in July, Halper auctioned off the uniform for over $450,000!

The Texas Rangers baseball team acquired this year's all-star relief pitcher, Jeff Zimmerman (whose record was 9-0 at the All-Star break), a year ago by trading two dozen baseballs to the independent Northern League for his contract.

Bartered TV Time Cashed Out In China

United Media Syndicates acquired advertising time on 160 TV stations in China in exchange for providing 20 one-hour episodes of "Love Talk"-a contemporary love story set in an international Shanghai ad agency.

United Media then aggregates the "barter-acquired time" and resells it to national advertisers-Maybelline, Motorola, Pond's and Lux-for $2 million in cash.

40,000 Circulation To College Students

Directions Publishing has a student resource guide for the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Publisher Diane Everson has room in this annual publication for several additional pages (full page is $3,250), available on a direct trade basis, or payment with trade dollars. Advertising closes in two weeks. Contact Diane via e-mail at diane@directionspub.com.

Next Week....September 14th

  • We look at an ambitious 18-page editorial insert which aims to provide a comprehensive guide for advertisers, media agencies and media owners on the role that barter plays in media deals.
  • Ubarter.com goes live. We will have comments from CEO Steven White on their business-to-business internet web site. The only publicly-traded barter company offering online trading.
  • New technology will enable members of trade exchanges to use trade dollars, rather than cash, when gambling in cyberspace.

 

We welcome your comments, questions, and observations.
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