Platforms and online networks: The challenge of creating effective systems and tools

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IC Bidding
The icbidding.com site. What do you think?
IC Bidding
The icbidding.com site. What do you think?

Yesterday, the initiator of a new online network contacted me with the hopes of securing publicity for his initiative. Although I don’t generally name businesses or organizations if my review/assessment isn’t positive, I’ll go out on an exceptional limb here and provide the link to IC Bidding.

Eric Krause wrote:

Good evening. I have reviewed your site the last few days.  I found it very insightful and I have reached out to some of your bloggers. At your convenience, could you suggest/recommend ideas on how to get the message of my site (www.icbidding.com) to contractors and tradesmen? Any feedback / recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time and have a nice night.

When I looked at the site, I observed a conceptual framework but not much in the way of actual business/opportunities. The cover says: “We are currently focused in the greater Philadelphia and Houston marketplace” but I couldn’t find any active projects, and the only tradesperson I could see listed was a welder based in Alaska.

I wrote in response:

Eric, I took a quick look at your site/concept and think you will have a really tough battle to make this work.  The service you propose might have value if there is enough traction to establish a meaningful number of projects and contractors — but unless you have that, there isn’t likely to be significant interest. It becomes a chicken and egg problem and I fear the capitalization and resources to achieve the traffic/volume and interest will stymie any but the most well-funded organizations.

As an example, I’ve seen earlier incarnations of bidding network systems. Some (in Canada) are operated in conjunction and under the support of local mixed construction associations, facilitated by agreement with online service providers. In another, a major general contractor (through as separate corporation) set up a tool to achieve something like you propose here — the idea worked, to the extent that subs and suppliers sought to be listed on the system, if only to access that major contractor’s business opportunities.

In the conclusion, I said I couldn’t see value in giving his site/initiative publicity.

However, maybe I’m wrong, and since he asked for publicity, I’ll give it to him with the link here. If you have any thoughts, please feel free to share them through a comment or email to me at buckshon@constructionmarketingideas.com.

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