Paper Buyers Catch "e-Wave"
"On high-end, premium grades, I think that people who consume and manufacture those grades are scattered," he adds. "There really isn't a convenient place to find all of your options, but PaperExchange has become that one place where you can go and find out all your options for high-end premium needs."
PaperExchange.com is a neutral cyberspace marketplace for buyers and sellers of paper to evaluate and find the optimal trading partner. Once terms are agreed upon, PaperExchange streamlines the transaction, lowering costs for both buyer and seller; acts as a credit and clearing service by clearing the transaction and assuming the credit risk; and arranges logistics and negotiates freight. PaperExchange charges a 3-percent commission to the seller on successful transactions.
PaperExchange is not a collection of Silicon Valley wunderkinds. Of the 60 (soon to be 100) employees at the company, 40 possess paper industry experience. There are also veterans from the printing, production and magazine sectors. Carroll believes that expertise has been translated into the architecture of the site.
That expertise has also translated into success. From March through November 1999, PaperExchange set nine consecutive records for first-time-user sessions, in terms of Web activity. One year ago, it boasted 250 members, a total which has swelled to more than 2,700 in 75 countries.
The formula for becoming a trader on PaperExchange is a common one: A buyer or seller logs on to investigate the site and to access its content, then is drawn to the trading floor to see what types of products are available. PaperExchange maintains an extensive user profile and tracks how long it takes, from the user's first visit, to conduct a transaction. One common trait among PaperExchange traders, according to Carroll, is that they're all early adopters of new technologies.
Obviously, not all buyers and sellers of paper are tuned into the latest technologies, and when they do hear about Internet companies such as PaperExchange, a lack of information can prohibit new relationships. It's part of Carroll's job to knock on as many doors as possible.