Tradeloop's Member Blog And News: February 2009

About Tradeloop

My photo
We are the largest B2B marketplace for computer brokers, computer leasing companies, used computer wholesalers, third party maintainers and self-maintainers, who trade wholesale computer lots of used & surplus computers, bulk electronics, and hard-to-find used computer parts.

Promote Yourself

Does your company have a story that might interest our membership?

Let us know and you may see your name in print. We're looking for members to write case studies on. Contact us here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ethically Speaking - February 2009

Tradeloop has two open Ethics complaints this month. Both were filed by members against non-members and are still in the investigation stage. One case involves the non-shipment of prepaid goods, and the other concerns an incomplete shipment and inadequate description of goods ordered. If the parties involved are unable to reach an agreement, the cases will be referred to the Ethics Committee for a vote.

Although we have few Ethics cases under review at this time, the Ethics process is an important part of Tradeloop. It gives members a forum to resolve disputes and alert the trading community to unscrupulous dealers. We're particularly proud of the work of our all-volunteer Ethics Commity, a group of industy professionals who donate their time to the Tradeloop community. Tradeloop members interested in volunteering can have their names added to the Ethics Committee waiting list.

For more information about Ethics complaints and cases, visit the Tradeloop Ethics Blog. Remember that the blog format gives members an opportunity to review and even comment on posted cases.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Suprising Connection Between the Communications Decency Act & Tradeloop's Ethics Process

At first glance, it's hard to imagine anyone at Tradeloop getting excited about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. After all, we're a wholesale trading network, not a media company. But surprisingly, this statute plays an important role in the Ethics process by facilitating communication.

Because the statute gives Web site and blog owners legal protection from liability, we can provide a forum for customers to discuss disputes and exchange information about each other. Section 230 also gives us the authority to remove posts that seem deceptive, disruptive, or otherwise unproductive. This fairly recent change in the law means that we can use the Ethics process to encourage communication between members involved in disputes.

According the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Section 230 helps protect Web site and blog owners from lawsuits.
"Generally, anyone who repeats someone else's statements is just as responsible for their defamatory content as the original speaker—if they knew, or had reason to know, of the defamation. Recognizing the difficulty this would pose in the online world, Congress enacted Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides a strong protection against liability for Internet "intermediaries" who provide or republish speech by others."
In Tradeloop's case, suppose a plaintiff were to file an Ethics complaint alleging that a defendant company knowingly sold counterfeit merchandise. The defendant company denies the charge and says it's defamatory. Furthermore, the defendant threatens to sue the plaintiff for making the accusation and Tradeloop for publishing it.

Both the terms of participation in the Ethics process and Section 230 protect Tradeloop from liability in this situation. Members can use our service to help resolve disputes, but they can't retaliate if they don't like the process or the results.

Of course, we strongly discourage any member from making unsupported negative statements or allegations about another member. However, the Ethics process will only work effectively if both parties to a dispute are able to discuss the issue and provide evidence to the committee. Some of that won't be complimentary: the nature of a dispute is that at least one party has something negative to say about another.

Participation in the Ethics process is a requirement for all Tradeloop members, but we want members to have the most positive experience possible if they're ever involved in a dispute. The Ethics committee works first to resolve disputes amicably – which happens often. Also, before filing or responding to a complaint, both parties have to agree to the terms of the "Dispute Resolution Process Participation Agreement." It describes the process and lists the obligations of all parties involved.

"Tradeloop has been at the forefront in putting energy and resources into thinking about and implementing these kinds of policies," says Kristen Mara Cichocki, of K. Mara Law, a Massachusetts-based law firm specializing in intellectual property and internet law. "A strong ethics policy and a progressive online dispute resolution system is key to ensuring a positive and successful online experience for both sellers and buyers, and Tradeloop delivers on that experience."

We can't guarantee that any member will enjoy the Ethics process or be happy with the outcome, but we are committed to making the process as fair and transparent as possible.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Price History Charts Are Helpful Research Tools

Wondering if you're asking the right price for those disk drives or if you're getting a good deal on a lot of flash memory? Just visit the Tradeloop Trading Floor, type in the part number, and check the price history. It's a great research tool for both buyers and sellers.

Thanks to a redesigned system and improved data warehouse, we now have price history charts and information on numerous parts – and more data is accumulating every day.

The price history tool is easy to use. Just look up any part number, and the results page displays the high, low, and average price on the top right side of the page. To view the price history chart, click on the "Price History" link below the pricing information.

Here's a sample price history chart for an HP KVM adapter – part number 262587-B21:

Note the different colors that display high, low, and average pricing for both retail and wholesale items.

It's a given that many commodities experience seasonal price fluctuations. Experienced computer traders know that the price and supply of IT equipment changes over time for a variety of reasons. For instance, towards the end of fiscal years, some institutions want to dispose of equipment while others rush to drain the yearly budget with new purchases.

Price history data helps traders track pricing trends and monitor price changes in the market. Use it as a handy research tool when you're trying to determine the optimum price for buying and/or selling.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tradeloop Ethics Committee Announces Waiting List

For years, members of Tradeloop's volunteer Ethics Committee have donated their time to help resolve ethics disputes within the community. Although the 15-member committee is currently at capacity, interested Tradeloop members can place their names on the Ethics Committee waiting list. The membership limit facilitates communication and helps keep the investigation and resolution process from getting bogged down.

Before you apply to join the Ethics Committee, we encourage you to review how the Ethics Process works and make sure you understand the committee's role. Tradeloop is committed to promoting ethical business practices and combating fraud within the trading community. When a member joins the Ethics Committee, he or she is assuming a leadership role in that effort.

It's a volunteer position, but a rewarding one.
· Help set standards for conduct in the network.
· Interact with other members in the committee-only section of the Ethics Blog.
· Review the details of all Ethics cases – posted or not.

Any Tradeloop member who meets the following qualifications can apply to join the Ethics Committee. Positions are filled on a first-come-first-served basis.
· Your company must have been a Wholesale Member on Tradeloop for over a year.
· Your company cannot have any posted complaints against it.

Members agree to respect the confidentiality of cases and vote on all cases within 7 days after they're referred to the committee.

We hope you never need the services of the Ethics Committee, but if you do, our group of volunteer industry professionals is there to help resolve and mediate the dispute.

Learn more about the Ethics Committee at the Tradeloop Web site:
· How the Ethics process works.
· Tradeloop's Code of Ethics.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Better Email Communication Between Buyers and Sellers

Several months ago, we made it easier to reply directly to sales lead emails by using the sender's email address as the "reply-to" address instead of a Tradeloop email address. In this latest tweak to the sales lead system, we changed how the "Subject" line displays in the email.

Instead of the previous subject line that read: "Lead from Tradeloop," the subject line displayed is now whatever the sender types in the form when he sends the message. This should help you track and respond to sales leads – especially if the sender is specific about the subject.

Another change to the email system was completed just a few days ago. Our technical staff moved all outbound email to a faster email server. That means emails and Broadcasts sent through Tradeloop's Web site will be delivered more quickly and reliably.

Your Tradeloop membership is valuable because it gives you access to such a large pool of buyers and sellers. With these changes to our email system, communicating with those dealers is easier than ever.