Commercial online marketplaces’ benefits to federal procurement

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Robert Burton, partner at Crowell & Moring, discusses takeaways from comments on the GSA e-commerce initiative, and why he believes regulations on micropurchases will do more harm than good.


The General Services Administration is reviewing comments on their Commercial Platforms Initiative. According to GSA Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laura Stanton, five themes echoed throughout the feedback. Responses emphasized simplicity and protection, reduction of ambiguity and ensuring of competition. Robert Burton, partner at Crowell & Moring, believes that instituting too many requirements for online marketplaces could turn out poorly.

 

“Agencies are using online marketplaces right now, and they’re using the commercial terms and conditions of the online marketplace. Quite frankly, I think that’s what Congress wanted, but they just didn’t get it quite right when they fashioned the law,” Burton said. “They should not be required to search different portals… you cannot have a requirement that they search the portals and compare pricing, because that defeats the purpose.”