Sloot.com offers an online tool store for contractors.

The Sloot.com team said they know tools forwards and backwards. That's why they founded Sloot.com, an Internet community for trade professionals.

"We noticed a lot of sites geared toward that industry where no one was really paying attention to the trade professionals - the people who were actually doing the work out in the field," said Josh Blank, project manager for Sloot.com. "We wanted to create a community that would cater to the people who actually use the tools."

The Beaverton, Ore.-based company started developing the site in March and launched it in mid-August as Sloot.com.

"We wanted a short and simple name that would be unique, catchy and easy to remember," Blank said. "One of the people that we work with came up with the name, `sloot', and it was available, so we got it."

"Sloot," or tools spelled backwards, refers to more than just wire cutters and clampmeters.

"When we say tools, we don't mean tools in a literal sense," Blank said. "We believe that the Internet and some of the tools that it offers are just as important as the tools that we would carry around on our tool belt."

The Web development team created specialized pages for electricians, telecom specialists, HVAC mechanics, plumbers, carpenters and woodworkers. Each section includes hot products, columns, feature articles and forums as well as a trade-specific search engine called a "knowledgebase."

"Knowledgebase is a specialized search engine that contains dozens of articles, message board topics or tools," Blank said. "The results that it returns should be very focused and should answer their questions."

Sloot.com not only offers information specific to each trade, but also specializes its page for each individual. After registering on the site with your name, e-mail address, country, zip code and trade affiliation, a box titled "My Tools" will pop up in the upper right hand corner. Click on "weather" and it will give you a four-day forecast for your city. If you need directions to a job site, click on driving directions, type in your departure and destination addresses and a map and detailed directions will appear in Mapquest. Registered users can also sign up for free e-mail through Sloot.com and earn "sloot loot" award points. By registering, users get an automatic 50 points.

"We have a reward program for using different features of the site or making a purchase," Blank said. "Just visiting the site, you can accumulate award points that you can use toward the purchase of promotional gear as well as tools and things from our catalog."

Sloot.com features a catalog with nine major product categories and tools from 17 manufacturers such as Fluke Corp. and Ideal Industries Inc.

"Our tool offering grows every day," Blank said. "We are adding 100 to 200 new products a week into the catalog."

The Sloot.com team is also working on developing wireless applications that can be used from the job site.

"The up and coming features will include wireless access to the community, online calculators and other tools that they can use while on the job site with a handheld wireless device (such as a Palm Pilot)."

Blank said Sloot.com is trying to build up its user base by exhibiting at trade shows, such as the recent NECA show in Seattle.

"People were intrigued with what we were doing and the audience that we were focusing on," Blank said. "We were impressed with the response we got at NECA. Electrical contractors are definitely an up and coming market."

StraightlineSupply.com www.straightlinesupply.com StraightlineSupply.com, Camarillo, Calif., provides a broad offering of premise wiring products to handle everything from residential to large commercial networks. Visitors will be able to view product descriptions, images, performance testing data, schematic drawings and installation instructions. Shoppers can check the stock or status of their open orders or obtain instant shipping information from UPS and FedEx. They can also review their account activity, establish a new account or change details to their existing account online. When they are ready to place their order, they can use the online shopping cart to get real-time pricing and availability. A fulfillment center, located in Camarillo, Calif., will pick, pack and ship orders.

Jensen Tools www.jensenhomewiring.com Jensen Tools, a supplier to the international electronics service industry, launched a Web site to meet the needs of home wiring professionals. The site features tools, testers and accessories for the installation, maintenance and repair of LAN, telephone and CATV/satellite/audio systems. Users can also find other resources such as white papers, "how to" instructions, installation techniques and other information from product manufacturers. The new site offers free technical support, online technical documents, a 24/7 day fax back service, secure online ordering and flexible shipping options.

National Fire Protection Association www.nfpa.org and targetsafety.com The National Fire Protection Association, Quincy, Mass., and TargetSafety.com, Rancho Bernardo, Calif., signed an exclusive partnering agreement to deliver environmental health and safety training to public and private employers, including those in the fire services, electrical and aviation sectors and health care providers. TargetSafety.com provides mandated OSHA safety training via the Internet, making it cost-effective for employers to outsource implementation, management and administration of OSHA-mandated health and safety programs.

e-wire-cable e-wire-cable.com E-wire-cable.com, Inc. helps its customers search, select, specify and procure wire and cable, electrical products and related services. The site's global trading exchange will combine comprehensive databases of catalogs with a search engine that allows buyers and sellers to conduct business through an e-commerce solution that lowers their transaction costs, provides a wider selection of products and streamlines the procurement process. The company offers a wide range of electrical and electronic wire and cable from recognized domestic and international suppliers.

Dexter + Chaney and TradePower www.dexterchaney.com and www.tradepower.com Dexter + Chaney, a Seattle provider of software that helps construction companies manage information, partnered with TradePower, a B2B digital marketplace and supply chain solution for the construction industry. Under the agreement, Dexter + Chaney will integrate TradePower's desktop-based software and Web-procurement services into its Forefront Management Software product, allowing users to connect through Forefront to TradePower's digital marketplace. By connecting to TradePower, Dexter + Chaney's customers will gain access to thousands of construction industry suppliers and contractors that participate in the TradePower marketplace. This will enable users to procure supplies, obtain pricing and determine availability of construction materials.

Rockwell Automation www.ptplace.com PTplace.com, Rockwell Automation's online source for the purchase of Dodge and Reliance Electric brand power transmission products, is now able to accept credit card orders. Online sales have topped $15 million in the months since the site's April launch. This new function makes the site more accessible, by allowing unregistered visitors to place orders with authorized distributors for Dodge and Reliance brand products. Visitors will then be able to create a personalized home page when they log onto PTplace.