Electronic marketplaces (EMs) are an important empirical phenomenon, because they are theoretically linked to significant economic and business effects. Different types of EMs have been identified; further, some researchers link different EM types with different impacts. Because the effects of EMs may vary with types, classifying and identifying the characteristics of EM types are fundamental to sound research. Some prior approaches to EM classification have been based on empirical observations, others have been theoretically motivated; each has strengths and limitations. This paper presents a third approach: surfacing strategic archetypes. The strategic archetypes approach has the empirical fidelity associated with the large numbers of attributes considered in the empirical classification approach, but the parsimony of types and the theoretical linkages associated with the theoretical classification approach. The strategic archetypes approach seeks a manageable number of EM configuration types in which the attributes are theoretically linked to each other and to hypothesized outcomes like performance and impacts. The strategic archetypes approach has the potential to inform future theoretical and empirical investigations of electronic marketplaces and to translate research findings into successful recommendations for practice.