Online ratings to differentiate e-marketplace

NTT Communications'' MRO goods procurement marketplace aims to provide online traders with e-finance tools using Coface Group''s @rating credit rating system.

The maintenance repair operations (MRO) market has been a popular choice to e-enable. The repetitive and routine nature of purchasing such products in what are often fragmented markets has meant that a plethora of online marketplaces have sprung up. Analysts, however, predict that many will fail as the number of marketplaces grow disproportionately to overall market size.

NTT Communications, a subsidiary of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, is one such company that has jumped into the fray with ".com Co-Buy", a MRO goods procurement online marketplace. The communications giant's latest partnership with Coface Group, an international credit risk related service company, may just make it stand out from the pack, as not just an online catalogue, but one with e-finance capability.

"There is a real need to go beyond introducing buyers and sellers - it's a nice thing to do, but it won't generate revenue," says Richard Burton, general manager of Coface Hong Kong. "If the marketplace can facilitate access to finance and assurance, they are more likely to have a future."

Under the agreement, members of ".com Co-Buy" will be able to evaluate their counter parties' ability to fulfill commercial commitments based on a rating assigned by Coface. Member companies will be able to check the rating given to counter parties, their credit limit, and order credit information reports online. In addition, sellers will be able to protect themselves against the risk of non-payment for credit sales to buyers on ".com Co-Buy". Such protection fees will reflect the rating, the credit limit, the length of the protection period, and the country of the buyer. 

Coface is also attempting to set an industry standard with its "@rating Quality Label". Coface will provide the label to companies wishing to demonstrate their financial liability by signalling proof of financial reliability of the company.