New Ecommerce Firm Makes Its Mark

June 13, 2002
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GRAND RAPIDS — Jupiter Media Metrix announced last month that it ranked a local firm among the top 500 Web sites for the month of June.

Ranked in 217th place was BargainAndHaggle.com, launched eight months ago by mindpepper LLC, a subsidiary of BDO Siedman, of Chicago.

Jupiter termed B&H, which is headquartered on the first floor of the Brass Building on Monroe Street, to be the second most-popular pure consumer-to-consumer site, trailing only eBay in its number of unique visitors.

Jupiter (Nasdaq: JMXI), formed by the merger of Jupiter Communciations and Media Metrix, specializes in market intelligence and comprehensive Internet measurement and analysis.

B&H (www.bargainandhaggle.com) is an online marketplace that allows buyers and sellers to negotiate one-on-one concerning just about any item imaginable.

Someone wishing to sell an item registers it with the site and sets a price. The seller pays a registration fee, the source of B&H’s revenue.

People interested in buying whatever items are on sale — and they range from homes to cars and antiques to baseball cards — then queue up on the site on a first-come, first-served basis to bargain and haggle with the owner until the two either reach agreement or give up.

If no sale occurs, then the next party in the queue meets the owner and a new bargaining session begins.

Currently, the site lists about 75,000 items and has been the venue to sell many autographed memorabilia from the estate of Joe DiMaggio.

Mindpepper’s staff conceived and developed the business model and its software, called Dinadan after a knight of the Round Table. The patent on the software is pending.

Mindpepper is developing and testing other e-business software that it declines to discuss, except to say that it’s forging practical technology products, including dynamic pricing and transaction models for e-commerce.

According to Jupiter, B&H attracted more than 2.4 million unique visitors during the month of June. That rate caused it to rank above a number of Internet heavyweights including Quicken.com, a popular financial site ranked 219, and Gateway.com, an online PC retailer, which was ranked 221.

Mindpepper’s CEO, Catherine Ettinger, says the number of registered users has more than doubled each month since the firm launched the site early this year.

In an interview late in spring, Ettinger told the Business Journal she expects the pace of growth to continue because sellers and consumers like the site. “It offers members a high level of control over their transactions,” she said.

“As more consumers experience the advantages of our unique negotiated pricing model as an alternative to online auctions or fixed-price retail sites, we’re confident our ranking will continue to rise.”

It is the only Web site that permits buyer and seller to negotiate one-on-one.

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