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Sep 1, 2008
by Christopher Heine
First, there are general purpose consumer search engines such as Yahoo!, AOL and MSN. Clearly though, Google leads the pack here in terms of both usage and technology. Then there are a handful of directory sites that act like an online version of the Yellow Pages. A perfect example of this kind of site is Business.com, where people can find anything from a lawyer to a web designer for their services needs. Lastly, there are a few online marketplaces that were built for the needs of the wholesale community. Leading the way in this division is WholesaleCentral.com.
Which of these three different kinds of marketplaces is best for finding all the top products at unbeatable prices? Let us review the leading example of each kind of marketplace, while examining the advantages and disadvantages along the way. Here is how they rank in descending order and why:
Of course, no one disputes Google's outstanding reach in the consumer search engine world. Users can find almost any person, photo, video, service or product through the site. However, if a retail business is looking for, say, Keds sneakers in sizes 4-6 for boys, it will likely take a substantial amount of time and energy. This is why Google is a "general purpose" search engine; it is a more diluted method for searching for wholesale products.
Also, for buyers, Google can be a dangerous place to do business with strangers. Compared to Business.com and WholesaleCentral, it is rife with fraudsters. As recently as June, a European man was found guilty of selling stolen goods online. The victimized retailers discovered the offer via Google. These days there are also the offshore pickpockets prowling the internet who take your credit card information and money without legitimately offering any product in the first place; not to mention all the malware brokers the industry has seen in recent years, aping the brands of legitimate organizations with phony advertisements to trick Googlers.
Quite simply, when you shop for wholesale products at a consumer-first search engine like Google, you are taking a substantial risk. You may not only part with your time as you languish while searching for items; you may also unknowingly lose your money.
Business.com provides visitors with 21 main products and services categories. However, once you delve into the subcategories and use the sites search engine, you realize that, like Google, finding wholesale products is going to be a lengthy process. A recent "wholesale sneakers" search at Business.com produced a top result for a Mountain Dew consumer contest, of all things. The second result belonged to 6pm.com, a site that does actually sell shoes. After clicking on the link, however, the viewer was taken to 6pm.com's homepage that entailed mostly dressy heels for women. The subsequent results were no better and are not worth mentioning.
From these examples, one learns that Business.com does not provide a streamlined experience for wholesale products buyers. The site's search engine and categories work together like a vague, online B2B version of the Yellow pages, though fraud seems to be less of an issue compared to the consumer-first search engines. Additionally, it can be a valuable source in the search for accountants and healthcare packages.
While Google and Business.com have some effective features, neither site compares favorably to WholesaleCentral.com if you are a retailer looking for specific products. After all, the reason WholesaleCentral.com was created was for wholesalers and retailers to have a place to meet, communicate and conduct business in an easy, productive and honest fashion. You will not find fraudsters roaming freely in the nearly 70 product categories at www.wholesalecentral.com. While Google is undiscriminating, WholesaleCentral.com protects its buyers. The site maintains tight controls for which sellers it includes in its directory.
First, WholesaleCentral.com staffers review all sellers' information when they sign up, and before approving them to be a part of the community. Thus, the only sellers allowed to participate have been thoroughly validated by a human being, rather than an easily-fooled automated system. The staffers are in continuous contact with sellers to make sure everything is current and legitimate. If a buyer complains about a seller, WholesaleCentral.com will investigate the complaint and if necessary, ban the offender.
Thus, the site is an incredibly safe environment to purchase bulk items. Even so, what does WholesaleCentral.com have to offer in terms of finding products? The site's unique feature, the Product Locator Service, outdoes the competition for bulk item searches in every imaginable way. The searches have integrity because the results are not based on a pay-per-click model, nor are top spots awarded to the highest bidders. Registered buyers can keep track of their order histories from hundreds of WholesaleCentral sellers by clicking on the My Orders button at the top of the homepage. Buyers can review their purchases from just minutes before or months prior.
In the end, no other website comes close to providing the same level of security and convenience for products buyers. WholesaleCentral.com is clearly at the top of the list.
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Topic: Web Tech Tips
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