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
- 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
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.
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
by Stacey King
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.