Moai Technologies Inc. is splitting up its flagship electronic auctioning software, giving different types of users customizable levels of functionality.
By month's end, Moai will announce Version 3.0 of LiveExchange. The release will be split into three versions: LiveExchange Enterprise, for corporate sites; LiveExchange Marketplace, for larger trading sites; and LiveExchange ASP, for application service providers looking to enter the consumer-to-consumer auction hosting business.
Moai's software and services approach to the online auctioning market has been unusual since the company was founded about three years ago. The main reason has been its business-to-business focus.
While companies such as eBay Inc. have justifiably received the bulk of media attention for their consumer-friendly sites, Moai has quietly been building a customer base among large companies such as Ingram Micro Inc. Moai's approach is largely based on business reality: Even though business-to-consumer e-commerce gets the attention, business-to-business commerce is where the money is.
"No question, we believe that's where our customer base is going to be," said Moai's CEO, Anne Perlman. Her company is going head-to-head with a growing list of competitors, including Tradex Technologies Inc., OpenSite Inc. and Fairmarket Inc., as well as add-on applications for merchant servers from Microsoft Corp. and IBM.
Moai's auctioning software is based on WebLogic Inc.'s Java Application Server and uses WebLogic's Java Database Connectivity connections to pool database information.
"What Moai provides is an object model that allows us to do the auction Web site and gives us the ability to leverage the functionality we need without building it ourselves," said Sam Jacob, senior technical analyst at Enterprise Works Inc., in Houston. "If you were going to design it yourself, it would be a hell of a job. It would take six or seven months, and you don't find that many Java programmers now."
Jacob is working with the beta of LiveExchange Enterprise 3.0 to build a business-to-business site for the auctioning of excess inventory. He said the underlying WebLogic server gives him the scalability he's going to need, and new caching features store data every time someone accesses it, so, as inquiries increase, the performance of the server improves. And the Moai technology itself is saving him countless hours of programming, he said.
"A lot of our work has already been done for us," Jacob said. "We just have to go to the object model and execute a method for the object."
All of the Moai applications provide real-time trading and notification options for users and rely on the HTTP and Secure Sockets Layer protocols for security. Pricing is based on recurring revenue and can be based on the number of auctions being run on a site, the dollar value of the auctions or other means, Perlman said.
Moai is also counting on the growing popularity of packaged e-business applications, particularly for sites with complicated business plans, which in their first generation relied almost entirely on custom-coded software.
Moai, in San Francisco, can be reached at (415) 625-0601 or www.moai.com.
A triple auction threat
Moai's LiveExchange 3.0 includes:
LiveExchange Enterprise for corporate customers
LiveExchange Marketplace for the dot-com crowd
LiveExchange ASP for consumer-focused auction hosting