Global Village

May 1999

Managing:Technology

Global Village

The fourth installment in this series about on-line communities in the jewelry industry highlights RapNet

RapNet (www.diamonds.net) is an on-line diamond trading network and community that complements the Rapaport Report,the famous – and infamous –diamond price sheet and monthly analysis of the international diamond market. RapNet members, who are also subscribers to the report, include hundreds of the most prestigious dealers, labs and retailers in the world. Exclusive trading channels allow members to trade loose stones and get instant diamond prices from Rapaport. Non-members in the jewelry industry can gain access to certain areas of the site to get involved with the active discussion and trading forums and to access comprehensive directories.

Services Offered

  • Trading Networks. The site includes an advanced trading channel for diamonds, available to paying RapNet members only. Members can search a database of diamonds for sale, add their own stones to the "sell" list and also search or post "buy" requests. Diamond prices are available in this area in HTML and PDF formats, including an on-line price worksheet. Requests to buy and sell goods and services in other categories – colored gemstones, rough material, jewelry and appraisals – are allowed in less-restricted "trade forums," which are bulletin boards that allow commercial postings and are available to non-paying registrants.
  • Consumer Resources. Public Forums are actually bulletin boards where consumers and jewelers can interact. The boards appear to be unmoderated, because advertisements for wholesale goods seem to slip in from time to time. The forums are divided into category (e.g., diamonds, estate) and provide for a give-and-take of jewelers and dealers talking trade and industry members giving advice to concerned consumers.
  • Classified Job Listings. Industry members can post their job openings here or run ads for "Situations Wanted." These boards draw a great number of international postings.
  • Web Links. A comprehensive list of industry Web sites includes an easy search engine that allows users to find sites by category or alphabetically.
  • Calendar. This searchable calendar of trade events includes dates of De Beers' Central Selling Organisation sights, trade shows and auctions.
  • News and Analysis. The site provides timely briefs about mining, company and industry news, as well as owner Martin Rapaport's "Weekly Market Comments" wrapping up prices and the week's events. The site also has a weekly e-mail newsletter.
  • E-Mail Accounts. Paying members have the opportunity to get easy e-mail accounts: their user name @diamonds.com.

Who's On-Line
RapNet has plenty of high-profile retail and wholesale members (check out the on-line directory of members, searchable by company type). The people who actually use the Internet service are mostly dealers and manufacturers, though there is a vocal contingent of retailers, laboratories, schools and appraisers. There's also a significant international presence on the network.

If You're a Retailer
If you already subscribe to the Rapaport Report,using the Internet site may be a faster and more convenient way to get your diamond prices; contact Rapaport on-line about getting your user name and password. If you don't get the report, sign up for a free trade password, which will at least give you an introduction to the site and let you experiment with some on-line trading opportunities.

Costs and Packages RapNet membership accompanies a subscription to the Rapaport Report.Costs are $180 per month for a monthly subscription in the U.S. ($195 in New York City), $250 per month for a weekly subscription ($270 in New York City) and $350 for a weekly fax service ($375 in New York City).

Technically Speaking
RapNet recently underwent a site redesign to include frames and a bit of Java, but the site loads quickly and can be navigated smoothly. Fast, customized search engines for the site's directories, set up within frames and incorporating pull-down menus, ease the search for data, though they may be problematic on some older browsers.

– by Stacey King



Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


 

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