Aiming to allay widespread fears that threaten to slow the growth of electronic commerce, a Hong Kong-based company has set up a screening service to provide background information on companies and individuals offering products and services on the World Wide Web.
Internet Business Registration Centre's MultiCheck site (http://multicheck.com), which went into operation late last month, offers company addresses, financial data, company histories and information on key personnel. It currently lists approximately 230 companies, two-thirds of which are based in the US and Canada, with the rest scattered across Asia, Australia and Europe.
The site also offers a direct link to the Better Business Bureau's BBBOnLine site, which covers businesses in the US and Canada.
The goal of IBRC is to contribute to the development of ethical business practices on the Internet. It currently is somewhat at the mercy of the participating vendors, which provide the information themselves. "At the moment, we take the information as it's given to us. If there are problems, we will follow up," says Peter Rieger, managing director of IBRC.
The company encourages consumers to provide feedback on the vendors on the MultiCheck site. The service is free to all who want to look at it. IBRC charges the participating vendors US$18 for initial registration and US$28 per year to maintain their listing.