Site peddles government surplus

When Georgia found itself with seven truckloads of surplus copy paper,

it turned to an Internet auction company that deals with excess.

With an online network of 100,000 traders scattered across about 100

countries, Washington, D.C.-based Liquidation.com facilitated the sale of

Georgia's 144 pallets of surplus paper. Originally valued at about $134,000,

the paper fetched nearly $42,000 — a higher price than what Georgia hoped

to get, company spokesman Hunter Hoffman said.

Liquidation.com, a marketplace for buying and selling surplus business-to-business

goods, is trying to expand into the government arena. The company, Hoffman

said, is negotiating contracts with three other states and the federal government,

and is pursuing municipalities, too.

"Surplus as a separate [revenue] entity is still being largely overlooked.

[Governments are] looking at millions of dollars of unrealized money that

can go back to the taxpayer," Hoffman said.

He said Liquidation.com has thousands of traders worldwide, giving sellers

a better return. But the company also offers assurances. For instance, the

company only lists qualified buyers and sellers that register with the site.

Buyers can request a sample of the product and inspect it before making

a bid. And Liquidation.com also facilitates shipping for the seller to the

buyer that can be tracked through the World Wide Web.

Before a sale is completed, a buyer has 48 hours to inspect the surplus

merchandise. In the meantime, Liquidation.com holds the buyer's money in

escrow before the buyer authorizes its release to the seller.

The company charges a 10 percent fee for all successful transactions,

Hoffman said. For example, in the Georgia deal, Liquidation.com received

about $4,200, which was deducted from the $42,000.

Hoffman said the company wants to present itself as a "business service

provider" whereby its software is integrated with a client's electronic

procurement system. Instead of the client contacting Liquidation.com each

time it has a surplus item it wants to sell, he said the software would

automatically showcase the item after it is designated as surplus.

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