Global Village

April 1999

Managing:Technology

Global Village

The third installment in a series about on-line communities looks at the Jewelry Dealers World Trade Net

Jewelry Dealers World Trade Net (www.btwtn.net) is a relatively new, trade-only network that strives to remain close-knit, manageable and secure for its users. Part of the larger Brokers & Traders World Trade Net that includes coin dealers and pawn brokers, JDWTN started in mid-1998 partly as a break-off group from larger trading networks. (Most regulars of this network retain their memberships on Polygon or GemKey networks.) It advertises itself as the only on-line trading channel that is truly "dealer-only" – no trade associations, magazines or affiliates are allowed within its virtual walls. The group remains small enough to be fully democratic, incorporating most of the changes suggested by members. All membership applications are posted for approval, which further excludes dealers with questionable reputations.

Services Offered

  • Trading Galleries. Members advertise items for sale or call for products they need on this bulletin board. The board is further broken down into "Buy" and "Sell" options for diamonds, colored stones and watch brands, though traffic on the boards is still light.
  • Discussion Boards and Chat Lounge. Discussion bulletin boards are segmented into specialized areas: bench, business, general discussion, a bench pricing and shop management forum hosted by David Geller (author of Repair Pricing Guide), a forum for students and trade school teachers, and a place to review proposed members. Dealers can "reverse filter" to prevent their competition from seeing their postings. There's also a fast Java-based chat room for general discussion.
  • Database search engines. Three databases – DiaData for diamonds, GemData for colored gemstones and WatchData for timepieces – include effective search engines to narrow down products for which you are searching. The most active ones are the databases for diamonds and mined gemstones (with plans for separate searches for synthetics and rough or crystals). Using pull-down menus and fill-in data forms in the diamond engine, for instance, users specify ranges of colors, clarities, sizes, prices, lab certificates and shapes from which to sort.
  • Auctions. Though not yet frequented, the site includes an "Auction Hall" where dealers can schedule and conduct live on-line auctions for items.

 

Who's On-Line
At Professional Jeweler'spress time, the network had about 50 members, all of them licensed jewelry and gemstone dealers. Many are small businesses, including metalsmiths, custom manufacturers, loose gem dealers and retailers.

If You're a Retailer
This is a way to expand your contacts geographically while still establishing strong relationships. If you're interested, it may be good to get in on the ground level while the group is still small; if you sign up now, you're still considered a charter member.

Costs and Packages
It's $29.95 per month to be a Level 1 member, which includes access to all areas of the site and an e-mail account. Level 2 is $49.95 per month and adds a personalized Web page.

Technically Speaking
The network uses its technology wisely to create a clean, quick and efficient network. The chat rooms (using a technology called "Jat Chat") are faster and less cumbersome than most Java-based chat features on the Web. The site uses frames and pop-up browser windows to users' advantage instead of their annoyance. The network suggests Netscape 4.05 and can cause problems for Microsoft Internet Explorer users; be prepared to make the switch!

– by Stacey King



Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


 

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