December 12, 1996 11:15 AM ET
TechnologyNet unveils online Marketspace
By Margaret Kane

  NEW YORK-There are thousands and thousands of pages of information about computers online.

And that's the problem.

Now consumers and businesses looking for information can look to one place on the Internet, a single site listing thousands of retailers, distributors and vendors.

The idea for this World Wide Web site comes from Alan Weinberger, founder and CEO of the ASCII Group, who is CEO and chairman of TechnologyNet Inc., which administers the new site, called The Computer Industry Marketspace.

Instead of pushing a direct model, which many say is the future of Internet commerce, Weinberger is working to move the existing network of distribution onto the Internet.

"We wanted to create a neutral background," he said here yesterday at Internet World. "We're integrating the industry so the industry is usable."

Although Weinberger doesn't dispute that some consumers may be able to save by buying directly from the manufacturer, he said they miss the service and support that is available through local resellers.

"Most PC products worldwide go through dealers, not direct models. This is the way the industry works. Whether it should or not isn't a factor," he said.

Weinberger, who has lined up more than 1,000 resellers-and two of the largest distributors, Ingram Micro Inc. and Tech Data Corp.-for the site, has also garnered support from major vendors, including Netscape Communications Corp., Novell Inc., U.S. Robotics Corp. and American Express Co.

The site, which went live yesterday at www.technologynet.com, allows users to search for specific hardware or software brands or for resellers or integrators who specialize in a particular business. Users can also limit searches to specific geographic areas so that they see only local VARs and don't have to hunt through pages of listings.

A typical VAR listing includes contact names, phone numbers, and street and E-mail addresses. It may also include certifications, or areas in which the VAR specializes.

The VARs can also get special information, including promotional deals being offered by vendors.

John Schultz, Webmaster for TechnologyNet, thinks the service will be a boon to businesses.

"You're going to have a lot of businesspeople using this site," he said. "The information is really of use to them."

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