For web services to work, a mechanism must allow their discovery. That's where Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI) comes in. Initially, the UDDI project was started by Ariba, IBM, and Microsoft, but currently, over 220 companies are involved in the effort. The primary goal behind UDDI is to enable companies to find one another on the Web and make their systems available to one another. Think of UDDI as an online yellow pages for web services.
Registering with UDDI is not only easy, it's free. Go to http://www.uddi.org to get started. The registration process takes only a few minutes. Currently, you can register with either Microsoft or IBM. However, SAP and Hewlett-Packard have registries in beta, so it shouldn't be long before additional options are available.
Select Microsoft as a registrar to be directed to http://uddi.microsoft.com. The registration requirements are simple: a valid email or a Passport account and the usual address information. From the administration menu, one or more businesses can be configured under the account, each with as many web services as needed.
The great thing is that one company's services are on equal footing with the others (name recognition aside). The factors that make a difference, of course, are not only the features offered, but performance and scalability. Chances are that a company running ZipService over a cable modem from the garage will not fare well against another provider that has serious fire ...