Still, GlobeQuip could have the life span of a miner’s canary if it fails to sign up a critical mass of suppliers, fast.
It is a fate suffered by heaps of exchanges, and while the mining and construction industries have expressed a collective willingness to participate in marketplaces, whether they will do so is uncertain.
Several criteria, however, bode well for GlobeQuip’s survival. Its backer, Fluor, has a reputation as a company that thinks long-term; also, Fluor has not been one to rush into the b-to-b marketplace space, something that many of its competitors have, to their chagrin. Fluor’s only other significant marketplace investment is in TradeMC Inc., a still-working capital goods marketplace.
Also, Fluor, whose 2000 revenues were $10 billion, will do some of its buying and selling through the site. Still, whether it will stick with GlobeQuip through an extended manufacturing downturn is uncertain.
At least one industry watcher said GlobeQuip stands a good chance of surviving. This is because it is aimed at surplus equipment sellers, who are less concerned with price than with speedily moving product, said Brent Habig, president of New York-based IT advisory firm Tigris Consulting. Many nonsurplus equipment sellers have been reticent to use exchanges for fear buyers would judge them on price alone.