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The 2018 NDAA contains an interesting provision being dubbed "The Amazon Amendment", which is described in Section 801  as  "....a program to procure commercial products through online marketplaces for purposes of expediting procurement and ensuring reasonable pricing of commercial products." (http://thecgp.org/images/Section-801-2018-NDAA.pdf)

Key Provisions:

  • "...is used widely in the private sector, including in business-to-business e-commerce..."
  • "...enables offers from multiple suppliers on the same or similar products..."
  • "...a procurement of a product made through an online marketplace under the program...is deemed to satisfy requirements for full and open competition...[and] to be an award of a prime contract for purposes of the goals established under section 15(g) of the Small Business Act.."
  • "....shall be made under the standard terms and conditions of the marketplace relating to purchasing on the marketplace..."
  • "...the award of a contract to an online marketplace provider ... may be made without the use of full and open competition."
  • "...the Comptroller General of the United States  shall submit... a report on small business participation..."

It seems obvious that Section 801 is implicitly referring to familiar online retailers such as Amazon, but it also seems companies like Grainger might also be included in the potential stable of eCommerce providers.  It's notable that they have acknowledged the potential effect on small business and are creating a reporting requirement to capture that.  

Is this innovation, or predation?

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Contractors in the construction business don’t generally pay Grainger catalog “list” prices, in my experience.  The government shouldn’t either.  

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For the Federal Government the best on line market place is FEDBID.com (recently bought by Compuserve).  You post commerical products and can have multiple bids in hours.  If you provide several days, the bidders  make multiple bids lowering the price even more.  FEDBID has ensured they comply with all Federal regulations and will even post the requirments over $25K to FEDBIZOPPs automatically for you.  We have used them for well over 10 years and there is nothing easier or better. Without thier services we would have to increase our staff substantially.  We do not pay them a fee, they get that from the awarded vendors.  Our analysis is that the heavy competition lowers the price more than thier fee (1 to 3%) increases it. 

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Well dang it I thought this new provision provided an opportunity with regard to this discussion (referenced below)  and then I read closely and lo and behold not yet!   Why?   Well to my amazement  the provision has added a new definition to commercial item acquisition that  appears to have left Kickstarter by the wayside.   And really "Commercial Product" now means a COTS item that is not a service?  Too bad Kickstarter not yet and come on bill writers try using familiar and already defined words and quit inventing new ones!   

 

COMMERCIAL PRODUCT.The term ‘‘com-

8 mercial product’’ means a commercially available off-

9 the-shelf item, as defined in section 104 of title 41,

10 United States Code, except the term does not in-

11 clude services.

12

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