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Abstract

The literature on electronic marketplaces reveals much confusion around matters of definition and description. In particular, there is a lack of consensus on what constituts an electronic marketplace, as well as the inter-organisational processes which they sup- port. Despite the disparate, and often contradictory, perceptions of electronic marketplac- es in the literature, electronic marketplaces, operating as intermediaries in the market sys- tem, are observable in practice. This paper explores the characteristics of eight electronic marketplaces operating as market intermediaries in various business sectors. It builds on existing research to develop and refine a characteristics framework by examining the value proposition, product-market focus, market value activities, management value activities and technology/information value activities, ownership, revenue model and market struc- ture of the eight marketplaces. The paper concludes by outlining a refined characteristics framework and argues that the key characteristics of marketplaces is their ability to ag- gregate and disseminate knowledge to their participants; a task facilitated by their market, management, and technology value activities.

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