Thursday, February 14, 2008


I wanted to write this post to start listing the features of our online marketplace that we have started to build within our area. The list of features is too long, so I am shortening it. We actually are using an application suite from one of our favorite Open Source CMS’s, We started to build the online marketplace, as the Barter system ITEX that we are working with, because their marketplace is the second most visited area of their website. ITEX also has more than 24,000 small businesses in the system with thousands of barter items that people search for. While this online marketplace is setup to promote the ITEX Barter site and Barter ITEMS, we also wanted to promote this marketplace within non-barter clients. Yes, we are opening this online marketplace to be a listings for any businesses trying to buy or sell services. So think of this marketplace as a directory of b2b, a list of online businesses, or businesses of any kind that want to sell products or services, not just barter.

The businesses directory tool was used to create this Marketplace, and it shows entries of companies, clubs, persons, shops, products. The entries are divided into categories, which can contain subcategories. One entry can be entered in several categories. The companies/clubs/persons enter themselves in the index. Registered users can modify or delete their entries. Entries can be renewed by the user if they expire.

Using the integrated Category & Entry Manager in the back-end, all categories and entries can be managed comfortably. Entries and categories can be deleted, unpublished and moved. This is not a common but great flexibility of our Marketplace.

A Fields Manager can be used to configure each field entirely. This concerns the ordering, obligatory fields, fees, field length (width of field and number of characters), field type (textfield, textarea, checkbox, checkbox group, select list, text code or calendar), search methods, in which view a field should be shown (Category View and/or Details View), and much more. An unlimited number of new custom fields can be added.

For each entry two images can be uploaded (besides the linked images in the description). The images will be resized to a predefined size. With the URL field “image” it is possible to add fields for linked images.

An alpha index is available to show only entries starting with a specified letter. Also only the most popular entries and categories, the recently updated entries, the new entries or entries by tags (mata keywords) can be shown.

In a menu module all categories within the Marketplace can be shown in tree view or all main categories in a flat view. An extended search function gives the possibility to search within the existing values of one or more fields or within a specific category.

Detailed Features:

  • Multi-Level Categories to show full depth of Marketplace
  • Adding Multiple Subcategories at once
  • User definable fields (textarea/inputbox/checkbox/checkbox group/select list/calendar)
  • Wide possibilities of configuration
  • Dynamic Page Titles (SEO -Search Engine Optimization), to rank the specific marketplace items high on Google, this is probably the Best Feature of our system
  • RSS Feeds (configurable to show latest, random, etc. entries)
  • Integrated Google Maps connection
  • Security Image for spam protection
  • Extended Search Function
  • Category Search, most online marketplaces don’t have this.
  • Edit and delete functions for the user (via front-end)
  • Quick Edit/Edit in Place function
  • Show all entries of one user
  • Integrated Wysiwyg-Editor (front-end)
  • Meta Keywords & Description (SEO)
  • Show entries by tags (meta keys)
  • Image Upload
  • Supports field URLs http, email, linked image and linked media file (video/audio)
  • Text code field for Add/Edit Entry form to show individual information
  • Connection to Paypal
  • Category & Entry Manager
  • CSS file editable within back-end
  • Templates for Details View and V-Card, editable within back-end
  • Template for Add/Edit Entry form, editable within back-end
  • Template Parser with Syntax Checking
  • Language Manager to install new languages
  • Confirmation emails for author and/or system operator
  • Alphabetical index for category and entry selection
  • Show most popular entries and categories
  • Show new & recently updated entries

Marketplace Category function

  • Multi-Level Categories. That is, each sub-category may have sub-categories. Unlimited nesting depth.
  • One entry can be entered in several categories (by default 5 categories, extensible by configuration file).
  • All Marketplace categories are individually promoted on our network of sites, and are SEO’ed for maximum exposure.


  • Adding an image/logo, which will be shown in the V-Card and/or in the Details View.
  • Adding an icon/symbol, which will be shown by default in the upper right corner of the V-Card and/or in the Details View.
  • Meta-Keywords and Meta-Description can be set up by the user. Used for the Tags feature.
  • This is exactly the main advantage of our Marketplace, that ebay and Amazon provide. Have you noticed their items ranking high on Google, this is how they/we do it.


Marketplace is divided into three views: the General View ( Marketplace main page), the Category View and the Details View. A category view shows all subcategories and entries of a category. A Details View shows only one entry.
The views are almost entirely configurable within the back-end and additionally by changing the view templates.

  • In the General View all main categories can be shown together with an image and a short description.
  • Already in the general view all entries can be shown as V-Cards.
  • A Category View shows the corresponding sub categories and the entries within the category as V-Card.
  • For each entry two images can be added. One small picture (icon/symbol), which will be shown by default in the V-Cards and the logo image, which will be shown by default in the Details View.
  • CSS file, editable within the back-end, for changing the layout easily.
  • Connection to Google Maps possible and routing function.

User Edit Function

  • Edit and delete functions for the user.
    If a user is logged in, he can edit and delete his own entries. Also he is able to move his entry to another category.
  • The user is able to add his entry afterwards to additional categories.
  • It is adjustable within the back-end, if the delete function really deletes an entry or sets it only to un-publish.
  • User IP addresses of set up and changing will be saved.


  • Extended search function using one single search field.
  • Drop Down Lists with all already entered values for all fields possible.
  • Separate drop down lists also for user defined custom fields.
  • Searching within a specific category possible
  • Search parameters are saved within a cookie.
  • Auto search with parameters given in the URL.

Other Features Coming soon!

  • Photo Gallery - a plugin to show an “unlimited” number of uploaded images in Details View (horizontally or vertically) with Lightbox effect.
  • Review & Rating - a plugin to vote and comment an entry.
  • Video/Audio - a plugin to show audio or video files (YouTube support).
  • Radius Search - a plugin to search within a radius of cities.
  • Download - a plugin to upload and download files.
  • Featured Listings - a Pay option to show entries on a featured position.
  • This marketplace will always remain free, people will be given an option for featured listings, but unlike eBay and Amazon, we will NEVER price gauge our sellers just because we have buyers.
  • In case you have noticed we get ranked very high on the search engines, and we will continue to get a ton of traffic this way. The early sellers of items on our Marketplace will benefit by their listings always showing up near the top of all of our system. We have a special software rules & algorithm built in to our system.


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