The history of B2B marketplaces, aka B2B Marketplaces 1.0
Technically, electronic B2B marketplaces existed even before the Internet. The Travicom reservation system, launched in 1976, can be mentioned as such because it connected multiple airlines with multiple travel agents through an automated network. Other industries, such as chemical, construction and so forth, also had their own multi-user data-processing systems developed.
However, the B2B marketplaces as we know them today were born in the 90s (aka B2B Marketplaces 1.0), with Ariba and CommerceOne as the most prominent names. Like many other internet startups of the dot-com era, they shined brightly but briefly in 2000 and disappeared with the bursting of the dot-com bubble, either drastically pivoting or going out of business. The term B2B marketplace became a no-no word in marketing for years to come.
The reason these marketplaces did not survive the dot-com crash was that they were ahead of time. Or, more specifically, they preceded technologies that were essential to their successful operations. Online payment services, as well as online security, two backbones of modern ecommerce, were then still in their infancy and could not support the demand of marketplaces. Once these matured, marketplaces began to re-emerge.
The Amazon story is rather representative. The company, now one of the leaders in B2B marketplaces, started in the 90s as an online bookstore and remained so for 8 years before establishing a technology subsidiary, Amazon Web Services (AWS). 4 years after that, in 2006, it opened its marketplace (at that time called Fulfillment by Amazon), based on technologies that AWS was already proficient in.
And the era of B2B Marketplaces 2.0 began.