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Watch the butterfly take off

An Internet-based marketplace of buyers and sellers is set to become the next big thing in e-commerce if the recent string of...

An Internet-based marketplace of buyers and sellers is set to become the next big thing in e-commerce if the recent string of business to business link-ups are anything to go by

David Bicknell

E-business

Last week the influential First Tuesday group shifted its focus away from the dot-com world, with which it has been identified, and spent an evening discussing business to business (B2B) and new Net market makers.

These are companies that aggregate products and services or bring together buyers and sellers online. The concept has been described as a "butterfly market" because it resembles the wings of a butterfly - one for buyers and the other for sellers. Other terms for it are "cyber-mediaries" and "vortex businesses".

First Tuesday's timing was good. Last week, research group Gartner suggested that B2B e-commerce will grow from $145bn in 1999 to $7.29 trillion in 2004, when it could represent 7% of the forecasted $105 trillion total global sales transactions.

The new market makers represented at First Tuesday - Gartner calls them "e-market makers" - are projected to facilitate $2.71 trillion e-commerce sales transactions in 2004 - that's 37% of the overall B2B market - and 2.6% of forecasted worldwide sales transactions. Gartner describes an e-market maker as an organisation that develops a B2B, Internet-based,

This was first published in February 2000

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