The federal government’s main site for hosting government contracting opportunities, FedBizOpps.gov (FBO), is no more. The General Services Administration (GSA) announced in late 2019 that 10 government sites were to be merged to provide a central entry point for those who, make, manage and receive federal awards. The new site, beta.SAM.gov, replaces FedBizOpps.gov for federal government contract opportunities valued at $25,000 or more.
Vendors looking to bid on federal government opportunities have been looking for alternatives to FedBizOpps, since the transition to beta.SAM.gov brought with it a loss of popular features and functionality.
One important feature lost in the transition was FBO’s bid notification system. Previously, businesses relied on this feature to get quick, up-to-date information about FedBizOpps contracts and awards matching their criteria. Vendors could choose what information they wanted to receive and at what frequency they wanted the system to run a search on FedBizOpps. This “Search Agent” would then send an email notification to the vendor about opportunities relevant to their area of interest.
Beta.SAM.gov Changes: Good or Bad?
To gain access to beta.SAM.gov, a vendor must meet the criteria of one of three available categories: Federal, Non-Federal or Entity, or Public. A vendor’s category determines what kind of access they’ll receive. Those looking to find bids through beta.SAM.gov will need a Public account, which allows vendors to search for bids but does not allow them to save searches, follow opportunities or generate reports. [i]
In addition to the changes to vendor categories, many of the features previously available on FBO have not transitioned smoothly to the new site, creating more confusion and frustration.
With the GSA’s initial announcement, there were high hopes for the convenience that beta.SAM.gov could bring. Unfortunately, key features have been lost and vendors are finding the new site to be less user-friendly. For example, vendors must create a new account to have full access to the features of beta.SAM.gov, because their old FBO accounts cannot be transferred. Vendors who do not create a beta.SAM.gov account will only have access to public information. Further, creating a new account is not the same as registering an entity, which vendors also must do.
In addition, vendors’ saved searches, reports, watch lists and followed opportunities from their FBO accounts will not be transferred to beta.SAM.gov. For many vendors, this means years of valuable information will be lost.
Beta.SAM.gov: What Happened to Notifications?
Vendors who use beta.SAM.gov will no longer receive email alerts and bid notifications when new opportunities are found, as they did with FBO. Vendors must now sign into their accounts and search the website to find new activity on business opportunities. This will make the process less efficient and more time-consuming for the user, which will most likely result in fewer bids being found. Vendors will also not be able to download search results/display items, generate customized reports, save or rerun searches, or access the Interested Vendors’ List unless they create an account on beta.SAM.gov. [ii]
A Better FBO Alternative
There’s no reason the transition to beta.SAM.gov must be such a struggle. BidNet has been an industry leader in bidding services for over 30 years and continues to find bids that match its clients’ needs. BidNet offers:
- Federal, state, and local opportunities and awards
- Daily email notifications that include targeted bid opportunities
- Custom bid summaries
- Future opportunities
- A proprietary coding system, which ensures clients only see relevant bids
BidNet provides clients with daily notifications about targeted bid opportunities that match their line of business. With a team of experts searching and filtering bids based on product and service codes, BidNet’s users only see the bids that pertain to them. When our experts find relevant opportunities, they send a summary of the opportunities and additional related bid documents to the vendor for review. In addition, our Bid Alert® Bulletin ensures that BidNet members are never out of the loop and can spend more time preparing winning proposals on the opportunities that match their interests.
Andrea Cortina | BidNet.com
[i] 2019 https://beta.sam.gov/help/user-accounts General Services Administration. User Accounts. 12 Feb 2020
[ii]2019 beta.sam.gov. General Services Administration. Contract Opportunities 12 Feb 2020