An Electronic Supermarket For All Things Digital

Since September, business on the Amix is up 92%. That's not a typo. Amix is short for American Information Exchange Corp., a Mountain View (Calif.) startup that hopes to fashion something akin to the American Stock Exchange: an electronic market for knowhow, where people can buy or sell anything digital, from fancy multimedia presentations to tips, costing as little as $1, on how to use programs.

To pull it off, Amix is pioneering a new dimension in on-line brokering: hypertext. By forging electronic links both within and among computer files, hypertext enables a shopper who is skimming a synopsis to summon further details instantly. A shopper who spots an interesting product description can tap a key to call up the seller's credentials--or comments from previous buyers--before hitting another key to make an on-line purchase. Amix debits the buyer's credit card and credits the seller's, less a graduated commission that works out to 18% on a $500 item. Amix has focused mainly on brokering so-called object-oriented software and related programming tools. Next year, it plans to attract more subscribers--currently numbering under 1,000--by expanding into such fields as data-base management and computer-aided design. Amix costs $8 a month plus connection charges, which vary widely.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.