Network providers are e-services that provide a connected network
for buyers and sellers to exchange goods and services. Electronic marketplaces are one form of network provider. These marketplaces, which are usually B2B, will typically focus on a particular commodity such as chemicals, plastic, or steel. By using these marketplaces,
buyers can place their order requirements on one website and receive several quotations within a matter of hours.
Such marketplaces are very efficient in terms of their ability to link buyers and sellers, and have advantages for both parties. From the buyer's perspective. less time is required to obtain quotes from a number of vendors and the ,·~..tficiency of the marketplace translates into significant savings. From the seller's perspective, the marketplace eliminates the need
for a distributor or salesperson (an example of disintermediation), thereby reducing costs. These savings can either be passed on to the customer or go directly to the bottom line as additional profits.
Firms that conduct auction are another example of network providers. Auctions can be between businesses and consumers (B2C), such as priceline.com, which auctions off airline tickets and hotel rooms. or between consumers, such as eBay. which will auction off just about anything. Again. the e firms provide network that link a large number of buyers with a large number of sellers. thereby creating a very efficient marketplace and eliminating intermediaries (except for the firm providing the network, .inch charges a percentage of the price for which the item was sold).