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OnForce, the eBay-like online marketplace for buying and selling IT services, is rolling out a deeper market research component to its site, and is also offering a Microsoft Vista information section to link buyers to Vista experts.

Called MarketView Index, the new research section of the New York-based company’s Web site gives users a window into aggregated work order information that has been bought and sold on the site and points to trends over the past 90 days, compiled into a state-by-state chart.

The chart offers a few clickable fields as well. For example, users can click on the column listing the number of providers in each state to reveal a list of the providers in any given state. They can also click on the work order field, which lists the average price of a work order in that state over the last 90 days, to reveal a list of all the work orders.

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The information can give IT service providers insight into how to price their services and give buyers an idea of the going rate for particular types of jobs.

OnForce introduced the MarketView feature as an extension of the “Explore the Marketplace” feature of its Web site, which was introduced in the third quarter of 2006 and allows users to view recent work orders and providers for certain geographic areas, according to Paul Nadjarian, senior vice president of marketing.

In addition to service provider geographic coverage and the most recent pricing and 90-day average pricing, the MarketView Index also lets users see the median time for work-order acceptance.

Users can also filter the marketplace data by technology category, giving a more precise view of the pricing for particular types of services.

In announcing its new service, OnForce pulled out some statistics from MarketView Index regarding trends in the last 90 days. For example, Maine, West Virginia and Vermont are the most expensive states for on-site IT service. California, Ohio and New Jersey are among the least expensive states per hour.

Work orders are being accepted in as little as 3 minutes in South Carolina, Ohio and Florida, where technician coverage is particularly dense. But median time to acceptance is longer in states with fewer providers such as Wyoming, Alaska and Delaware.

VOIP (voice over IP) and Consumer Electronics are among the priciest work order categories, nearly double the average price of the POS and Printer categories, according to the company.

Meanwhile, the new Microsoft Vista area will offer users information about what is happening with the new operating system, according to OnForce CEO Peter Cannone.

“There are so many editions of Vista out there now,” said Cannone. “If you aren’t sure of the issues, the contents of this site area will help buyers better determine what they need.”

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