E-Commerce Insiders: Vertical Portals Are Key

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA (05/15/2000) - Vertical portals, which bring together buyers and sellers in a particular industry, cannot be ignored by companies striving to do e-commerce, according to a variety of speakers and panelists at the second annual Buenos Aires Exhibition and Conferences on Electronic Commerce, which took place last week.

The event was a strictly business-to-business proposition, with strong backing from both the Argentine government and some big name players in the Internet business. The main dish was the conference part of the event, which - unusually for these sort of events - was entirely free, although clearly oriented to a corporate audience.

One of the main concepts that speakers emphasized was the "vertical portal" idea for e-business, particularly the export market.

"Unless you are a truly big name, your business site will be buried among thousands of others, and it will not be actively searched for", said Carlos Mosquera, consultant to the Argentine Secretariat for Industry and Commerce.

"What exporters must do is to organize behind the same roof, under a vertical portal".

This is effective business-channel creation, said Mosquera. Vertical portals can interact much more effectively with potential customers and suppliers, creating a synergy that is impossible to reach with individual sites.

"The traditional enterprise-owned business site may offer support after the initial contact stage, but it will not open many new opportunities unless you are also covered by a vertical portal," said Ricardo Campero, state coordinator of the national Electronic Commerce Program.

Speakers noted that vertical portals are also effective tools for country-level relations and searches.

"Under a single 'roof' a prospective importer can see everything a country has to offer in a particular trade," Mosquera said. "We expect a four-fold increase in electronic business-to-business or in country-to-country business in the next two to three years," Mosquera said. "It is extremely important for us to get on that train," he added.

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