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by Cyril Penn | March 26, 2012 | 7:45 AM

Gotradelive announced the launch of its service in the US this morning, starting in California. Here’s a link to the press release. The venture is already active in the UK and in China. It bills itself as the world’s first free commercial trading and social commerce site. It combines social networking and ecommerce technologies and promises to make it easier for businesses to connect with customers, suppliers and partners to sell products.

The notion is that suppliers can get better pricing through competitive bidding.

Some of gotradelive’s senior executives introduced me to the concept last week: Think of it as a Facebook style platform outfitted with applications for commercial use for businesses - a cloud-based tool where you load your own contacts to create your own private network. The site doesn’t charge transaction fees based on value like eBay would. It is free to use – gotradelive aims to make money on advertising though one can “upgrade” to more premium services.

Most small businesses use the telephone to contact customers – they go down their list of customers and often accept some of the first terms they’re offered before they’ve made it through all the calls. The thinking behind gotradelive is that businesses will be able to get more for their inventory by reaching out to their entire network of potential buyers at once and by creating a sense of urgency and some competition, electronically.

Keith Collins, Chief Marketing Officer of gotradelive said the wine industry is one of the sectors being targeted because the tool is a fit for wineries in reaching out to wine clubs, contacting customers for private bids for new or old reserve wines – and for business-to-business transactions where wine is offered to resellers, brokers, distributors, or whatever - direct to the trade.

It will be interesting to see how wineries use it.

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