open for business

A new online purchasing system, Government Commerce Network ( entered the $700 billion U.S. government contracting market last week, aiming to make buyers' lives a lot easier.

Wood River Technologies Inc. announced the launch of with the goal of meeting the unique purchasing needs of government buyers through an unmatched variety of vendors, said Richard White, the company's president. WRT also runs the government contracting portal

"No one has the vendor diversity we have," White said, adding that the size and scope of's vendor base should help distinguish it in a somewhat crowded market. "We have almost 3,400 registered vendors so far, and we're in all industries, selling everything from rags to nuts and bolts to glue to high-technology equipment."

Buyers also will have access to's database of more than 330,000 businesses selling to the government at federal, state and local levels.

Other buyer-friendly features include:

  • Vendor-list management tools.
  • Purchase history reporting, which helps buyers show if they have solicited bids from three or more vendors — a common requirement at all government levels for small purchases.
  • The ability to sort results with in-state vendors listed first.

Vendors also benefit from the new service. offers a direct channel to more than 160,000 government buyers, but vendors pay nothing to register and post their products. Also, if a customer wants to buy from a vendor who is not registered, will contact the company with a deal already lined up.

"It's easy for us to get vendors because we're free and we'll go out to the ones that aren't in the system and tell them that there's business waiting as soon as they register," White said. "We only take money when a transaction takes place."

The vendors' profiles are available online, and they pay a 2 percent transaction fee on any sale. features request-for-quotations purchasing using credit cards, but catalog item purchasing and purchase-order capabilities should be available by March 1, White said.'s government customers include the Army, the Navy and the Agriculture Department as well as the states of Maryland and Massachusetts.


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