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eConstructors.com beefs up e-commerce services

eConstructors.com adds new e-commerce features that include a search engine for Web designers, developers, interactive agencies, systems integrators, and Web boutiques.

Ever wonder who built a Web site you like?

Go to eConstructors.com, click on the phrase "Who built it?," type in the company name, and you'll probably get a pretty good idea.

Palo Alto, California-based eConstructors.com, which revamped its site last week to add new e-commerce features, built the search engine as a resource for Web designers, developers, interactive agencies, systems integrators, and Web boutiques.

The company, which calls its database a 'work in progress,' currently tracks those who did work on about 16,500 Web sites, a number that includes different business units and divisions. Also included on the site are profiles of 2,625 Web services companies.

Currently, eConstructors.com is one of a host of online business exchanges trying to connect buyers with services they need. But unlike other market exchanges--such as Bizbuyer.com, which connects customers to everything from legal services to office equipment to Internet services--eConstructors focuses specially on Web site building services.

And instead of charging a fee each time a company responds to a business proposal the exchange provides, eConstructors' customers pay only when a contract is signed. At that time, eConstructors collects a referral fee of 3 percent of the total contract amount, according to Felix Kramer, chief executive of eConstructors.com. To match a client with the right services company, eConstructors.com poses a host of questions that cover a client's design or development needs, including price range, technical skills, and project scope.

Dan Gutierrez, chief executive at Amulet Development, an e-commerce Web site builder in Culver City, California, said he has already received one solid business lead from the service within several weeks of using it. He said his company aims for deals within the $50,000 to $150,000 range.

"We don't do a lot of marketing," Gutierrez said. "We are part of several electronic marketing exchanges. EConstructors is better because we don't pay until we get a contract. That's the way it should be done. With others, you pay a fee with no guarantee on any business."

Kramer said the Internet services firms using the service benefit by weeding out clients who don't fall into their desired contract price range or skills base, while customers are able to find the best services firm to meet their needs.

To lure customers as business ramps up, eConstructors is offering 5 percent off contract costs to to companies that hire services firms listed on the site who are participating in a promotional discount program, said Kramer, a former marketing director at Web company Clickshare.

Additionally, the site offers a more extensive matchmaking service, provided by its business partner, San Francisco-based eLine Productions, that will help clients with everything from a Web project assessment to a draft of a project proposal. EConstructors plans to increase the number of services companies profiled on the site to up to 10,000 within the next year, Kramer said. The company also plans to add message boards and other features that will help customers choose the right services firm for their projects.

"We're hoping to become a watering hole for the industry," Kramer said.